English graduate celebrates anthology success

An English and Creative Writing graduate is celebrating a trio of success after getting her poetry published in three anthologies, and is now putting pen to paper on key issues she is passionate about.

The alumna, who now writes under the pseudonym Mercy Moss, graduated from BCU earlier this year but is already achieving great things in the writing world. We caught up with her to find out more about her exciting freelance career so far.

Can you tell us more about you work published so far?

In my first year of university, I was informed about the School of English Anthology which was published annually through BCU. I was hesitant to submit due to the competition, as both lecturers and established writers submit their work as well as students. However, after receiving high praise for my short story ‘High and Dry’, a sad tale about a man’s obsession with a beached boat, and my poem ‘The Cut’, which is about the Digbeth Canal in Birmingham, I took a leap of faith and submitted.

I spotted ‘congratulations!’ in my inbox: both pieces were successful. I was also given the honour to read my work at the book launch of ‘Borderlands’ at the Institute of Creative and Critical Writing. I continued to submit my writing every time the new anthology came around. I went on to publish two short stories in the ‘Other Worlds’ Anthology titled ‘Baked Beans on the Pavement’ and ‘Pinned’. In my final year at BCU, three of my poems: ‘Vase’, ‘A Lady’s Room’ and ‘Earth’s Pearl’ as well as my short story ‘The Last Zombie’ were published in the ‘Room To Breathe’ anthology.

So how would you describe your writing and what are you working on at the moment?

My writing strays into three main writing territories: the Gothic, Speculative Fiction and Feminist writing.

At the moment, I’m working freelance on a collection of feminist poetry which joins a merciless and unapologetic conversation about woman’s body. In particular, the work dissects how the female body is navigated within society.

Why are you choosing to write under a pseudonym?

This is my first time writing under a pseudonym, as this is my first attempt at freelance writing. It’s a nerve-wracking thing; especially, when you’re writing about human rights; Feminism in my case. It turns you into a target of sorts. Unfortunately, when the oppressed speak out, the oppressors speak out too. Feminist writers deal with threats every day, and for me, writing under a pseudonym makes stuff like that a bit more bearable.

The pseudonym safeguards me through anonymity. So, when I write, I have nothing to lose and that makes my writing much more vulnerable. In other words, better. A more light-hearted way to see the pseudonym is like this: she’s a cool alter ego who is much more inclined to lead a revolution than I am.

What has been your experience of your career so far?

My experience in freelance writing has been freeing yet terrifying. You’re your own boss and that can be bittersweet. But in terms of the craft, it’s made me realise how invaluable my degree has been in terms of my skillset. I’m a better writer after my degree and that’s the whole point.

It took guts to go freelance. I’m proud of how much I want to write and that I’m essentially setting up a business to do it. I never saw it as a business to start with, but when you start setting up websites and writing platforms on social media, collaborating with artists and liaising with other creators, you realise that it is in fact no different from any other business out there.

What has been the most challenging thing about working freelance?

The hardest bit about freelance writing is getting started. You suddenly realise how much you took your lecturers for granted. Their presence around your work suddenly vanishes. It’s hard writing on your own, knowing it’s all on you but there’s also a sense of pride in that too.

What advice would you give to current BCU students?

Take advantage. It’s three years of your life; people will be giving you endless opportunities to be better. Show up to lectures. Meet up with staff. Go to events.

What are you hoping to achieve in your long-term future?

I’m hoping to have achieved an MA in Creative Writing as well as made money from freelance writing. From small amounts of spending money, all the way up to earning a living and writing becoming my full-time job. The latter is definitely the dream.

Where can people find out more about your writing and current projects?

Twitter: @mercy_writes
Instagram: @mercy_write

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