Tonight we have vivacious and exuberant Elizabeth Hamm with is in Writerpunk Press basement. This writer, designer and all around creative type has helped with both Shakespeare Goes Punk anthologies. Stay awhile and listen as Elizabeth regales us with tales of daring do and design prowess!
(Decidedly Overt Plug: Once More Unto The Breach: Shakespeare Goes Punk 2 comes out December 1.)
Can you tell us a little about yourself and your background?
My name is Elizabeth Hamm. I’m 23 years old and finishing up two degrees this fall: one in Broadcasting with Marketing, Graphic Design, and Honors concentrations; and a Multimedia Studies degree. I currently work as a manager for the college radio station as well as working part time as a copywriter and videographer for a local ad agency. I’ve been lucky so far to get a lot of opportunities to expand what I love to do, including helping with the cover designs for the Shakespeare Punk Anthologies.
Have you always been interested in Punk Fiction or is this a recent development in your life?
I’ve been interested in it off and on. I think my love for historical fiction, and science fiction sort of fueled my love for Punk Fiction. I love when you can take the ordinary and make it extraordinary. Punk Fiction just adds another twist to any story, makes things interesting. I mean, who doesn’t want to read about zeppelins, automatons, and cybernetic limbs? It fuels the imagination.
What road did you walk to become a writer and a designer?
I’ve loved story telling all my life—be it with the written word, video, or graphic design. So I wanted to be a part of that. Originally I wanted to be a writer. Then I found out that you don’t have to be just one thing. My parents fueled my creative spark. I started making videos to go along with what I wrote. I started drawing pictures and designing covers. I still am learning what I can do to tell a story and I’ll continue to explore different ways to tell a story for as long as I can.
How did you end up getting involved with the Punkwriters group and WriterPunk Press?
I originally found a Facebook NaNoWriMo group about two years back and joined them. I found the group didn’t fit my personality after a bit and was invited over to the Punkwriters group about a year or so ago by a fellow member. I wasn’t currently writing anything Punk related, but I did love the genres involved. The group fit me well. Everyone was nice, even when you got too busy to ever post (which is usually my issue in any group). And when Shakespeare Goes Punk first popped up I volunteered my services as a cover designer because I didn’t think I could make Shakespeare’s work justice in word. There’s always an opportunity for creative people if you put your mind to it.
What anthology are you helping with or hoping to help with?
I have helped out with the first Shakespeare Anthology and am helping again with the second. I hope if there is another Shakespeare Goes Punk in the future, I can tackle another cover. Until then I’m waiting to see what future anthology sparks my interest to actually write a punk inspired piece. I might want to take a crack at that.
What it is about the punk genre that inspires you as a creative?
I was first inspired by the Victorian mash up with clockpunk and steampunk. I found the idea of an alternative timeline of zeppelins and steam powered apparatuses so mesmerizing. I wanted to write fantastic female leads. I wanted to make a thousand things with gears and cogs and steam puzzles. It was exciting. No matter what style of punk, there is always a sense of an adventurous excitement. I just eat that up.
Of all the various *punk genres and subgenres, which one would you like to live?
Oh. That’s tough. I feel I would love to live in cyberpunk. I’m hugely into video games. I have a video game news YouTube Channel called Probably Gaming. So if I could be in a world where technology is so advanced I could just flip a switch and instantly play a video game like virtual reality that would be fantastic. Also I’m a fan of just anything cybernetic. People getting limbs! People living better lives! I just love all that cyberpunk has to offer.
What is your favorite genre to read/write?
I love to read a lot of different genres of Punk. Every time someone mentions a new Punk to me I’m like “oh is there something I can read?” because they are all just fantastic stories no matter the type of Punk. But I started with steampunk (writing and reading) and that will always have a special place in my heart.
What inspired you to work on this specific project?
I felt it a great opportunity for me to expand my skill set, talk to great people who knew WAY more than me, and to help out with a fantastic project. It was a win, win, win. I’m glad we were able to raise funds for the PAWS shelter this last time. I hope we raise even more money this time, and for every anthology after.
Can you tell us a bit about some of the people that influence you the most?
My inspirations come frequently from those I know and have interacted with in the art and written community. My artist friends, Anna and Joanna, who are both fantastic artists in their own right both in very different ways. My writing friends, Laura, Heidi, and Letticiae, all inspire me to write better and support me with what I write. It’s amazing.
Do you have anything shown/published outside of Writerpunk Press?
I have my current portfolio of student work and cover art at ElizabethHamm.info. I also have my video game news Youtube channel which you can visit at ProbablyGaming.com. I’m constantly working on expanding both sites and if anyone would like to contact me for commissions or editing questions they can contact me at either website.
Do you have a set routine when you work?
Between working as a manager on campus, going to school, and going to work at the ad agency, I really don’t have a set routine—I really can’t. But when I get to work on anything I always have a playlist or YouTube videos to play in the background. At home, I make sure I’m comfortable and focused and no matter what I set aside some time each day to be creative for myself.
What is your life like when you aren’t being one of those weird creative types?
Really boring to be honest. My degrees include doing something creative. My job includes doing something creative. If I have nothing to do, I’m bored. I’ll read books. I’ll write. I’ll play video games. Anything with a creative element. Anything that can spark inspiration.
Can you tell use what you have taken away from working with Writerpunk Press and the Punkwriters Facebook group?
The group is welcoming. I’ve learned so much with working with the group as an author and as an artist. I’m glad for the opportunities they have given me and I hope I don’t disappoint with the work I give back.
Do you have anything else you want to tell our adoring public or add to this interview in any way?
I would just like to thank you for giving me the opportunity to talk about my work with Writerpunk and about my work. I would also like to thank Writerpunk for letting me help with their books. It’s been a fantastic time all around and I hope to continue to contribute to the group and learn from everyone in it.
You are welcome! I’m glad you were able to make it down to the Writerpunk Basement for a chat. I know it’s a small space but it is mine! Mind the cyber eyes and gears on the way out…