An Interview with Koryne Martinez
Veronica Crichton-Hill sat down with Koryne Martinez, Trouble Child’s marketing director and nonfiction editor, to learn more about her writing style and the vulnerability of nonfiction.
Veronica Crichton-Hill: When did you start writing, and when did you start to focus on nonfiction?
Koryne Martinez: I owe every bit of interest I have in writing to my freshman year Introduction to Creative Writing TA, Jordan Thomas. Writing was definitely never a part of my foreseeable future growing up. I had a strange relationship with it all through high school. I knew I could whip up a classic five-paragraph essay for class and not think twice, but using writing as a creative outlet always seemed unrealistic for me. Then I took the class with Jordan for no other reason than I was told it was “pretty easy.” I am a big rule girl, and I crave structure, so tearing those barriers down in the name of creativity was hard, to say the least, but Jordan was so patient and made writing the safest space I’d ever known.
The focus on nonfiction came about for two main reasons: one being that I quickly learned my fiction was nothing but cheese, cliché, and more cheese, and the other being I realized how much I needed room to reflect on past experiences. I have always been a feeler, and it’s one of the few traits about myself that I cherish, but at some point I truly didn’t have the space to hold it all inside myself anymore, so I started to store it on paper instead.
VCH: What is it that draws you to reading nonfiction, specifically memoirs?
KM: Memoir is so special! I feel close to others when they are vulnerable with me, and that’s what memoir is, a fuck-ton of vulnerability. It’s essentially the ultimate level jump with another person.
VCH: If you could recommend a book for any type of reader, what would it be?
KM: This is a terribly difficult question because there are so many goodies, but for now I’ll go with a current favorite of mine, Abandon Me by Melissa Febos. No surprise here, but I am drawn to it because of Melissa’s vulnerability, which doesn’t even read as that but rather an innate necessity to share truth. Her writing is smart and dark; it allows me to lean into my own darkness and feel as though others experience something similar.
VCH: We talked a lot about personality types and debated a bit about whether that's something people can always fall back on. What are your thoughts on the fluidity of personality? Can someone truly change their personality, either intentionally or not?
KM: I think that personality can be fluid, but that fluidity is limited. There is a difference between true personality and performance. I don’t think that we as people can truly change all that much; our level of self-awareness just fluctuates. In order to truly know your own personality, you have to be extremely self-critical and unbiased, and that can be painful and unsettling.
VCH: Since we're both still in college, do you think the work you do for classes constrains your personal writing style, or does it do the opposite?
KM: As much as I wish I was more self-motivated to write, I am not. Having writing classes that force me to put things down on the page is helpful. Most of the classes I’ve taken have allowed me many creative liberties, so I have never felt tied down. If anything, having some sort of prompt given to me forces me to move outside of my comfort zone and unstrain me from myself. It’s fun and challenging and gives me the pressure I need to create.
VCH: If you had an opportunity to be on any "trash" TV reality show, which one would it be?
KM: This is a great question. Big Brother hands down. I think building relationships and networking are my superpowers, and that’s the key to winning Big Brother—making people trust you and then manipulating that trust for your own benefit.