We asked Erinne Paisley five questions about what she hopes readers will take away from her book and the experience of being a debut author. Can Your Smartphone Change the World? will be launched through Toronto Lit Up on Wednesday, October 4th and it’s free to attend!
IFOA: This is your first book! What has the experience been like?
Erinne Paisley: I have always enjoyed writing as a creative expression but this process was new territory for me in the sense that others were giving me feedback and were involved in creating the finished product with me. I found it pushed my work to the next level to have others who I could bounce ideas off of and who were invested in the project themselves. This came in the form of getting feedback on my work from my editor at Orca, collaborating on graphic design ideas, and even talking publicity strategies. It also made me grow an even deeper appreciation for the field of writing and creative expression because of how much goes into producing a completed work.
Paisley: I would describe my creative process as cathartic; as I’m sure most writers would! I find I often have to bribe myself to actually sit down and start writing but once I get into a groove, it comes much easier. I’m definitely an over-thinker in life so it feels good to put all of that energy into something productive.
IFOA: The political climate is intense right now. What’s the one thing you’d like your readers to take away from your book?
Paisley: The one thing I want my readers to take away from this book, especially in our modern political climate, is that social media needs to be talked about more. I think with the past American election, we got to see how much social media algorithms and subsequent echo chambers have contributed to political polarization.
Social media is a new language we speak, and it’s not going anywhere. It affects us every day, whether we want it to or not, and the more we discuss the power it has and how we can use it as a tool, the more we can make sure it’s a positive thing!
IFOA: What are you working on next?
Paisley: There are two more books in the PopActivism series which will come out Spring 2018 (Can Your Outfit Change the World?) and Fall 2018 (Can Your Conversations Change the World?). I’m very fascinated by the concept of publishing work in instalments on Instagram. I have started to write a series of anecdotal instalments which I plan to publish on my own Instagram about my life experiences so far.
IFOA: What are you reading now?
Paisley: Right now, I’m just finishing up Sweetbitter by Stephanie Danler as well as History’s People: Personalities and the Past by Margaret MacMillan. I’m also re-reading Caroline Calloway’s book which she wrote over Instagram.
Erinne Paisley is an activist, public speaker, youth content developer, writer and student. Paisley gained international attention for her graduation dress created out of homework to raise awareness and funds for the Malala Fund. In response to this new audience, Paisley started an activism and pop culture blog, Pop Activism, to further engage youth in social media activism. She was awarded one of ten University of Toronto National Scholarships and is now studying International Relations at Trinity College. Can Your Smartphone Change the World? is her first book.
For more information, visit www.popactivism.com.
Follow Erinne on Twitter @popactivism and subscribe to her YouTube channel: Erinne Paisley.