Monday, March 30, 2015

Doug Solter, Rivals




AUTHOR:  Doug Solter
BOOK TITLE:  Rivals
GENRE: Young Adult           
PUBLISHER: Indie published

Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?

Unfortunately, I have to keep a day job to pay the bills so that forces me to be a part-time writer. I write four to six hours a day on my three days off. But on my ten hour work days I can only write for about two hours or do my promotional and/or author business tasks during those days.

What was the toughest criticism given to you? What was the biggest compliment?

A review on Amazon said I wrote like a child. Given I write young adult fiction, I should take that as a compliment.

The biggest compliment was from a female reviewer who thought I wrote the inner thoughts of a teenage girl very well. Being a man in my forties, I took great pride in that compliment.

Do you ever have writer’s block? If so, how do you get through it?

I don't personally believe in writer's block. There are times when creativity is higher or lower on any given day. Yet, you still must force it out. In my opinion, writer's block is a resistance to something. You must drop all of your resistance and go where the muse is telling you to go. You can evaluate and judge it later on, but when you're writing, all that matters is getting something down on paper.

Did you learn anything from writing your book, and what was it?

I learned not be afraid when things go off the rails during the writing process. This novel was originally 156,000 words and I faced a big decision. Gut the middle of it to bring it down to a reasonable word count. Or rewrite the structure of the story arc and turn it into two books. I decided to rewrite the structure and I'm so happy I did. Rivals feels like a complete book in terms of its own story structure, yet it feeds nicely into the next book of the series Legends.

What are your current projects?

I'm working on Legends the third book of the Skid series which will finish the story arc created in Rivals. The book should be out by the summer of 2015.

What do you plan for the future?

I plan to return to my paranormal romance series My Girlfriend Bites and write the next two books of that series together to finish it off. Then I have some exciting new book projects I want to work on in 2016.

How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc.?

You can find out a lot by going to www.dougsolter.com. There you will find links to all my social media platforms. My twitter handle is @DougSolter.

What genre do you write in and why?

I write in young adult fiction because I love the fresh point of view of teens. They see the world differently. As an adult, the genre stirs me out of my complacency about the world that most adults fall into and never climb out of. To me, that complacency can kill your creativity as a writer. I also want to help teens cope with this crazy period in their lives as best they can. For me it was hell.

What influences your writing?

Movies are a big influence so I like writing big, epic stories full of escapism. The more a story strays from reality, the more I'm attracted to it. I want teens to read my books because they want to escape from their own situations and connect with characters who show them life from a new angle.

What do you hope your readers will take away from this book?

That no matter how talented a person is, they still need help from others. We all need a support system of friends and family to keep us grounded and focused on what's important. Success can be bitter if one has no friends to share the glory with. And difficulties can be made far worse when one has no friends to lean on.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

Thinking of a satisfying ending after I chopped the original story arc into two books. Legends received the original kick-but ending, but then I had a problem with the ending of Rivals. The mid-point of the main story arc wasn't strong enough to support the ending of a book. So I decided to strengthen the romantic sub-plot of the story arc and make the ending of that sub-plot the actual ending of Rivals. When I did that, I found it fit perfectly with the main-story arc continued in the next book Legends.

Do you outline before you write?  If not, what’s your initial process?

I always outline. I find it essential for me getting through a first draft. Without a guide that prompts me forward, I tend to get lost in my own story, writing in circles and getting absolutely nowhere while becoming very frustrated.

What do you look for in a book when you sit down to read for fun?

I look for an intriguing story concept. A setting or a subject that interests me. Now having said that, there are certain sub-genres like spy novels which I love and will generally pick up even if there's nothing particularly unique in the author's approach to them. But then the main character becomes more of a factor. But if I love the character, I'm hooked.

What, if anything, bugs you when you read a novel?

Exposition done poorly. Information dumps are particularly annoying. I read one novel which did a great job sprinkling necessary bits of information throughout the book...until I ran into three entire chapters composed of info-dump. It dragged the novel to a screeching halt and I had to stop reading.



Synopsis for Rivals:

Last season seventeen-year-old Samantha Sutton shined as the hottest new racing star of Formula One, but her rise to the top takes a hit when her boss steals her arch-rival Emilio Ronaldo away from Ferrari and makes the sexist jerk her team's number-one driver. This sends Samantha's perfect life into a tail spin that threatens to destroy everything she's worked so hard for. 

Besides her six wins last season, the best thing Samantha won was Manny, the cute German boy who saved her from herself. But Manny chafes against the self-absorbed racing star rising above the ashes of the simple girl he fell in love with. Can he save that simple girl from destroying herself again? 

While Samantha's performance on the track suffers and her status on the team plummets, Emilio rises within striking distance of another championship. Is this the final wake-up call the girl needs to beat Emilio and win the world championship? Or will the pressure break her. 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Jake Kerr, Tommy black and the Staff of Light





AUTHOR:                   Jake Kerr
BOOK TITLE:            Tommy Black and the Staff of Light
GENRE:                      Middle Grade fantasy action/adventure
PUBLISHER:              Self-published (Currents & Tangents Press)
BUY LINK:                 http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00OT4CZB0

Please tell us about yourself.

I went to college with Laura Hillenbrand, who once hit me in the head with a lacrosse ball. I left college and taught at Phillips Andover Academy, where I got to introduce young men and women to the work of Philip K. Dick. I then worked for a radio station, where Lou Reed thanked me for organizing a record release party with the gift of an Andy Warhol Factory print. I then worked for a record company where I got to ride with Henry Rollins on his tour bus between Denver and Albuquerque. Then I was a music journalist, during which Creed lead singer Scott Stapp once punched me. I then started writing fiction, got nominated for a Nebula Award, and was hugged by Neil Gaiman at the Nebula ceremony.

Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?

I mostly write part-time at night, usually on my Macbook while sitting in my bed with my wife watching TV beside me. But I tend to write wherever I can. So I’ll sneak some time in at Starbucks while escorting one of my daughters around town or while traveling on business in the plane or hotel rooms. My computer is truly my office.

When and why did you begin writing?

Ever since I read The Hobbit when I was nine years old I wanted to be a writer. Well, a reader really, but that quickly evolved into wanting to be a writer. However, I didn’t start to truly write fiction until I was in my forties. Before then I would start a piece, see how awful it was, and then give up. It wasn’t until I had written close to a million words of journalism that I tried fiction again, and after countless writing exercises and critique sessions at the Writer’s Garret in Dallas, I was finally happy with the results.

What do you do when you’re not writing/editing or thinking about writing/editing?

I like relaxing with my family. That can include everything from just watching TV with my wife to watching my daughter ride her horse to cooking with my youngest. Beyond that I am focused on self-publishing. So publishing and marketing have filled the time when I’m not writing or revising. Examining and testing book marketing and how difficult it is to move the sales needle is a humbling but very enriching experience.

What was the toughest criticism given to you? What was the biggest compliment?

The toughest criticism I ever received was when my mother, with the best of intentions, recommended I apply for a job as a shoe salesman. It was based purely on a practical reality—I was dirt poor and my mom had found a job opening—but the implication of failure was very difficult for me to grasp. My mom was telling me to spend less time pursuing my dream and more time working. It was a perfectly legitimate criticism of my life choices, but I did not listen to her criticism, whether that was due to wisdom or luck is unknown. And there is a lesson in that: Sometimes the best criticism is the criticism you ignore because it focuses you not on short-term solutions but what you are really trying to achieve.

The biggest compliment I ever received was from a grizzled old radio music director in El Paso, Texas. I worked at a record company, and he was a client of mine. I flew in to see if I could convince him to play one of my records.

I was at his house, and we were playing chess and drinking beers, and he was regaling me with tales of Juarez and its nightlife. I hadn’t spent a lot of time with him, but the time we spent together was always fun and positive. More than anything we were more like old buddies than business colleagues.

We’re about halfway through our game of chess, and he looks at me and goes. “Did you know I’m a Vietnam veteran?” I replied that I didn’t. He kind of said it out of the blue, and I was surprised because it didn’t seem to have any context. He then added, “Well, I am. So know that there are very very few people I would say this to.” He then leaned close enough that I could smell the nicotine on his breath, and said, “I would go to war with you. You’re the kind of guy that you want in a foxhole or guarding your back.”

That was the biggest compliment I’ve ever received.

Did those change how or what you did in your next novel?

All experiences change you, and while I was perhaps coy with my answers above by not directing them to my writing, the truth is that they shaped me and my work. The criticism reinforced in me that all I needed to count on to get ahead was myself. For a writer, this is powerful stuff because you are constantly being judged. The compliment gave me a confidence that I could relate to others, another powerful thing for writers to know about themselves. After all, if you can relate to others to the level of them going to war with you, you can be confident that they’ll identify with your words and that they are in good hands when entrusting you with their imagination and dreams.

Did you learn anything from writing your book, and what was it?

In terms of the craft of writing I learned one of the most important lessons of my writing career: I do not know how to end a book if I just write it on the spur of the moment. When I started Tommy Black I did what many writers do: I took an idea in my head and just followed where it took me.

Before I knew it I had 80,000 words but was nowhere near an ending. In fact, I didn’t even know how the book would end. It was at that point that I made a conscious decision to stop writing via discovery and look at the book holistically and figure out how it would end, even if it was a clinical decision and not a creative one.

Of course any time you are inventing something it is creative, so even when creating the structure of a novel you are creating, and that was the lesson: Plotting a novel out in advance does not destroy the magic of creation.

I plotted the book from the beginning, writing all the key markers down in an outline. When I was done I realized that the beginning was mostly fine, but I needed to cut 40K words from the end and then rewrite that from scratch. That was painful but necessary. I have already plotted out book 2 and 3, although that outline morphs and changes as I think of new ideas to add, but make no mistake: The core path is there and the odds of cutting 40K words again is unlikely.

What are your current projects?

I’m currently revising book two of the Tommy Black series and putting the finishing touches on the outline of book three. I am also preparing to publish a special edition of my award-nominated story, “The Old Equations.” As it was written as an homage to the legendary fifties era science fiction story, “The Cold Equations,” I am going to publish them both in a single volume with some additional material.

What do you plan for the future?

I am tentatively planning on adding a book four to the Tommy Black series, and I have two long-delayed projects I want to get to: A young adult fantasy series and a literary novel with light science fiction elements based on the world I created in my story “The Past Within.” Beyond that, who knows? I need to write faster, though.

How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc.?

facebook.com/authorjakekerr
@jakedfw
www.tommyblackseries.com

Tell us about the current book you’re promoting.

Tommy Black and the Staff of Light is the first in what will most likely be a four volume series. It is set in 1938 and tells the tale of a young boy named Tommy Black that is thrust into a magical adventure using his grandfather’s magical staff. The thing is—magic is dying in the world and considered a sideshow curiosity, so to Tommy the idea of magical creatures and a magical artifact is almost as fantastic as we would consider it. The novel deals with how Tommy tries to rescue his grandfather with a magical artifact that he barely knows how to control and which comes with a troubling history.

Oh, and there is a young girl named Naomi who is confident and powerful in magic. She wants nothing more than to push Tommy aside to get things done, and their dynamic is one of my favorite parts of the book.

What genre do you write in and why?

I am primarily known for my science fiction short stories, which is amusing to me because my first few novels will be middle grade historical urban fantasy. I’ve published literary stories and am planning on a literary novel for release at the end of the year. But the truth is that I’ll never stray far from my fantasy and science fiction roots.

What is your experience working or being around children or teens?

I originally wanted to be a teacher, and I spent a semester student teaching seventh graders. I also spent a summer teaching talented high school students at Phillips Andover Academy. And, of course, I have three daughters who are aged 10, 13, and 18. So dealing with children is my full-time job!

Why do you feel qualified to write a children’s or teen novel?

I love all kinds of books in all kinds of genres. Three of my favorite books are Tom Jones, Wuthering Heights, and The Great Gatsby. My college thesis was on Shakespeare’s first and last plays. I love thrillers, mysteries, and literary novels. My love of literature is deep and broad.

Yet the books that will always resonate the most in my heart, the ones that fill me with the greatest sense of wonder and joy, are the action adventure novels of Edgar Rice Burroughs, the novels Ursula Le Guin wrote for girls and boys, the epic fantasies that would keep me up late at night as I traveled through space, time, and reality and truly lived in the world of the Shire or Pern.

So, I am qualified to write children’s literature because I never stopped being a child. Of course, I matured and aged, and my tastes became more refined--I am still awed by the stark beauty of Blood Meridian, for example--but that doesn’t mean that I can’t pick up The Land That Time Forgot and lose myself among the dinosaurs. 

And you know what? I actually didn’t write Tommy Black for children. I wrote it for me. It’s the kid’s book I loved when I was a child and the kind of book I wanted to write for myself in my forties. That children truly love it was my hope, of course, and the fact that they do pleases me to no end.

What influences your writing?

Nothing influenced my writing more than Edgar Rice Burroughs’ novel The Land That Time Forgot. The novel opens with the narrator finding a manuscript rolled up in a glass bottle. He starts reading, wondering where in the world and from what ocean it came from. At one point he speaks directly to the reader, preparing them for the fantastic story to come, and says something like, “In a few pages you will forget that I exist.”

Burroughs was such a master storyteller that he was explicitly telling the reader, “I’ve set the story up, and now I will tell it with such skill that you will be totally immersed in it and forget that anything else exists.” And he does it! He is so good that you are immediately lost in the world he created.

As a writer, it takes a special kind of confidence to know that your words will carry the reader away to another place, but it takes a transcendent story teller like Burroughs to warn us its going to happen and then do it anyway.

I wanted to write like that. I want to write like that—to make the reader entirely lose their sense of place and time as they enter the world I created.

What do you hope your readers will take away from this book?

What a great question. While I first and foremost wanted to write a fun action adventure story for young readers, I also wanted to delve into some important moral questions without being overt about it. So I really want to have my young readers come away from the book with some important questions that they can share with their parents or teachers.

For example, the artifact that Tommy inherits has a dark and horrible origin. How do you deal with something when you find out it has a history that you find morally questionable? Also, there really is no villain in the book. There are unlikable characters, but the motivations of everyone can be conceivably explained as being due to trying to do good. What is it like when multiple people all have conflicting agendas, and they all have a reasonable claim to being “right?”

The depth I purposely added to the novel is why the edition that came out in 2015 includes an educational supplement, part of which is a study guide for the difficult questions raised by the book.

What do you do when you’re not writing?

Read, watch NBA basketball and Hell’s Kitchen, spend time with my family, walk my dogs. I also spend an extraordinary amount of time on the publishing side of my career—learning, designing books, marketing, and all the pieces beyond just the writing.

What books have most influenced your life?

Two very closely linked books: The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin and The Great Gatsby. Both books outline a powerful personality who had a goal and created a plan to achieve it. Despite all the challenges and difficulties, both men achieved their goals.

What is interesting to me is that the fiction book is the one that does a better job at presenting the complexity, the price you may need to pay, and even the tragedy of achieving your dreams. But the yearning for that dream is tangible in both books. I’ve felt it my whole life, and it is that yearning that keeps me going, even to this day. 



BLURB

For fourteen-year-old Tommy Black, nothing is worse than being raised by an overprotective grandfather in the city that never sleeps. That is until his grandfather is captured by magical creatures and Tommy has to save him with his family's magical staff.

That wouldn't be so bad, but the only magic he can do with the staff is weak--making light. What the heck can you do with light?

Tommy finds out as he fights golems, shadow creatures, and djinn in a journey that features a magical river, an enchanted train, and an illusionary fortress. But the worst part of all? Tommy has to save his grandfather with the help of Naomi, a girl whose talent with magic is only rivaled by her ability to hurl insults.

From Nebula, Sturgeon, and Million Writers Award nominee Jake Kerr comes the Tommy Black trilogy, an action adventure series for readers of all ages.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Esther Altshul Helfgott, Dear Alzheimer's A Caregiver's Diary & Poems





AUTHOR: Esther Altshul Helfgott
BOOK TITLE: Dear Alzheimer’s: A Caregiver’s Diary & Poems
PUBLISHER: Cave Moon Press
GENRE: non-fiction

GENRE: poetry
BOOK TITLE: Listening to Mozart: Poems of Alzheimer’s
PUBLISHER: Cave Moon Press

When and why did you begin writing?
Writing is something I’ve always done – letters, diaries, notes to myself. The feminist movement of the early 1970s brought me to consciousness as a writer and a person who lived in the public, as well as the domestic, sphere.

Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?
When I am finishing an essay, poem or book – a particular writing project— I write all the time, day and night until it’s done – with breaks, of course, for life. Walking the dog, making dinner, listening to music, being with family, etc.  My kids are grown so I have that luxury. I wish that when I was a young mother I had blocked out a couple hours a day for professional writing, but I didn’t think of myself as a writer then. I just wrote because that’s what I did, letters mostly.

Do you ever have writer’s block? If so, how do you get through it?
I don’t believe in writer’s block. I think the concept has all to do with ego and little to do with putting words on the page. If we think we must write in a certain genre or for a particular magazine or journal or if we think we must write about a particular subject or memory and can’t get the words out, we haven’t developed the ability to access that information from ourselves yet. But we can still write something, anything. We can sit down with our notebooks in our laps and write “I can’t write what I want to write today.” Then, of course, we’ll launch into why, where, how, what, when, who and so forth and our pencils or pens or keyboards are on their way. The concept, “Writer’s Block” will not have its way with me(us); rather, I (we) will be in charge of my (our) writing destinies.

Who is your publisher and how did you connect with them?
PUBLISHER: Cave Moon Press
I was at a poetry reading on poetry and hunger and met Doug Johnson, publisher of Cave Moon Press. A couple years before, he had sent me an email to submit to an anthology, which became Broken Circles: A gathering of poems for hunger, but I was too involved with taking care of my husband then to think about anything else. I sent Doug’s email around to other poets who submitted. I went to the reading when the book came out and saw Doug there. He invited me to send him some pages on caregiving and Alzheimer’s. I did; he liked them and offered to publish the work, which became Dear Alzheimer’s: A Caregiver’s Diary & Poems.

What is your marketing plan?
 I really don’t have one. My publisher, independent bookstores books and, of course, Amazon, sell the books. I do book readings and signings and I donate sets of books to Alzheimer’s facilities for their caregiver groups. I’m not a commercial writer, not that I wouldn’t like to be, but I only have enough energy for writing and reading. I have a roof over my head, food to eat, medical care and a few bucks for entertainment and the kids. I do have a fantasy that a movie producer will put my work to the screen, but I’m not holding my breath.

What are your current projects? –
 A book of poems about my family-of-origin and a biography of a Viennese-born Seattle child psychoanalyst, Dr. Edith Buxbaum

How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc.?
Witnessing Alzheimer’s: A Caregiver’s View  Seattle PI blog; I have a twitter account but don’t use it much.




Tell me a little about your book.
 Dear Alzheimer’s started as a blog for the Seattle PI on-line. I had written a couple guest columns before that paper went out of print. When it became an online publication, I developed Witnessing Alzheimer’s: A Caregiver’s View.  It’s a combination of articles from the blog, diary entries and poems. I enjoy mixing genres, putting different types of writing and forms together, entwining them which I see as a reflection of real life, at least a woman’s life or anyone’s life that is fragmented.

What gave you the idea for this particular book?
 I felt it important to tell one couple’s Alzheimer’s story. Now many are being written but not as much in the 2000s when my story with Alzheimer’s began. I keep a diary so later I was able to look back and extricate some of my entries for publications.
  
What kind of research did you do for this type of book?
I listened very closely to my husband and read everything I could get my hands on about Alzheimer’s. I went to Alzheimer’s support groups. I listened to my feelings and cried a lot.

What about your book makes it special?
It’s my particular story. Everyone has a story to tell, but each one is different. The more people sharing their stories the more information we have about Alzheimer’s and caregiving.




When did you first know you wanted to be a poet?
I came to the writing of poetry via the women’s movement and, more specifically, the women’s poetry movement. Anne Sexton, Diane Wakoski, Erica Jong were important influences. Sylvia Plath’s The Bell Jar was important to me, more so than her poems. But my poetry writing emerged as a result of my diary and letter writing, which I’d done since I was a child. The diary form is my favorite of literary forms and styles. I like the honesty and the lack of artifice (usually). Virginia Woolf’s diaries, Anais Nin’s, women’s diaries of the Western Expansion and so forth.

Why are you drawn to poetry?
 Poetry helps me relax. I like free verse where there’s lots of space on the page, space between the lines, in between words and stanzas. I like prose poems and those that speak in the poet’s vernacular, regardless of ethnicity. There are poems for everyone and about everyone. Poetry explains the human condition; it helps me see myself in other people’s work and I hope readers can see themselves in my work. That’s the greatest success for me, the best compliment when someone says: “That’s just what I wanted to say but I didn’t know how to say it. Thank you for saying it for me, for writing down what I didn’t know how to say.”

In order to write poetry, one needs to read it, just as a fiction writer, say, needs to read fiction in order to write it. I don’t understand when people say they can’t read poetry. Maybe they’re looking at technical form poems or poems with a lot of Latin and Greek, such as Ann Carson’s work, which I love regardless of the foreign language elements. I skip over what I don’t understand. There’s a lot of meat in what I do understand and when I have the time and inclination I’ll look up a Latin or Greek word. But there are all kinds of poems, including nursery rhymes and Shell Silverstein’s and Langston Hugh’s wonderful poems for all ages. Who doesn’t love Emily Dickinson or hate her for that matter. It’s fun to read a poet you love to hate, though I can’t think of any I hate at the moment.

Would you give us an example of your poetry?

Alzheimer’s As Prayer

Who would have thought
that Alzheimer’s
would knit
the warmest and best parts
of their struggle together
into a blanket
and like a prayer
hold it over them
until
morning
came?

The last two weeks

I haven’t heard him speak 
a word 
in the last two weeks
but today 
when we were sitting 
together
in the quiet 
of an out-of-the-way 
room
after I finished
cutting his mustache 
and beard
he said: 
I’m sorry, honey.
a
s if he knew exactly 
what we’d gone through 
all these years
The Last Two Weeks appears in Here, There, and Everywhere  (RASP 2013) and in Dear Alzheimer’s: A Caregiver’s Diary & Poems (Cave Moon Press, 2013)

Any tips for new writers hoping to write poetry?
 Don’t worry about writing in a particular genre or form. Write every day and see what themes develop. Find out what you want to say, what you need to say and how you want to say it. The poem will find you, but you have to do the work – writing  – for it to find you. Keep a journal. Make it your best friend.

Is there anything in your poetry based upon a real life event? If so, tell me about it.
Yes, everything. Both Dear Alzheimer’s and Listening to Mozart have to do with caregiving and loving a person with Alzheimer’s, my husband, Abe, who died in June 2010. Dear Alzheimer’s started as a blog for the Seattle PI on-line. I had written a couple guest columns before that paper went out of print. When it became an online publication, I developed Witnessing Alzheimer’s: A Caregiver’s View so I could share my experiences with others and, probably most important, to process my feelings about what was happening to Abe and, by extension, to me.

Listening to Mozart: Poems of Alzheimer’s came about after I read Jane Hirshfield and Mariko Aratani’s The Ink Dark Moon: Love Poems by Ono no Komachi and Izumi Shikibu, Women of the Ancient Court of Japan (Vintage, 1990), I wrote about 50 poems in tanka-like form and found I was able to access feelings about missing my husband and about being widowed that I wasn’t able to write before. It was a new way of relating to my husband. I started keeping a Tanka diary, I sent it to my publisher, he liked it  and Listening to Mozart: Poems of Alzheimer’s was born.

What do you do when you’re not writing?
Read; think; walk my dog; watch old movies; go out with family and friends; historical research; listen to music, especially Beethoven, Mozart and Bach. I like folk music, jazz and blues.

What seven words would you use to describe yourself?
active, patient, disciplined, honest, conscientious, nurturing, curious



Monday, March 9, 2015

Deborah Lloyd, Believe and it is True: A Story of Healing and Life Lessons




AUTHOR: Deborah Lloyd           
BOOK TITLE: Believe and it is True: A Story of Healing and Life Lessons
GENRE: Nonfiction; Mind, Body, Spirit
PUBLISHER: John Hunt Publishing

Please tell us about yourself. 

I am a Hoosier, having grown up on a farm in Indiana. At the age of three years, I was stricken with polio and have always walked with a severe limp and had physical limitations. In the mid-90s, I experienced post-polio syndrome; my most troubling symptom was chronic fatigue. Although I lived a traditional life, I opened up to alternative methods of healing after experiencing Reiki energy healing sessions. Not only is the fatigue gone, but I also experienced other physical improvements – and more importantly, emotional and spiritual growth.

Are you a full-time writer or part-time, and how do you organize your writing time?  

I am a part-time writer. I work fulltime as a hospice home care social worker. This work has been the most fulfilling of my career, as I have the honor of walking alongside people during this most vulnerable and emotional time. I also am a Reiki Master and provide healing sessions and do trainings. As you can see, the chronic fatigue is gone, as I have a very busy life!

When and why did you begin writing? 

I have always loved to read and in the back of my mind, always wondered if I could write a book. I have always enjoyed writing, but in the past it was usually in the form of journaling. Journaling is simply freewriting where you write any thoughts that come to mind. It is a great way to figure out solutions to life’s problems. Journaling also meant “for my eyes only.” Although writing a book always felt exciting for me, I had no idea what I could write about!  

What inspired you to write your first book? 

Truly, I am an ordinary woman who has had some extraordinary experiences. It is amazing to have a strong belief system for over 50 years – and then changing it when unbelievable things started to happen…As I experienced physical, emotional and spiritual healing, I knew I had to share it with others who struggle to find healing in their own lives.

What are your thoughts about promotion? 

Writing a book is truly part I of the process; marketing is the big part II!! This has been a huge learning curve for me, as well as for many other authors. Networking with other authors, in person and on the Internet, has been helpful to me, as we share our ideas of what works well. Nowadays, having a social media presence is essential. This includes having a website, Facebook and Twitter accounts, doing interviews such as this one, writing articles and blogs, blogtalk radio shows, etc., etc. For me, selling books is not the main focus. My purpose is to educate others on the unlimited possibilities of healing; if they decide to buy a copy of my book, good. If not, that’s ok too. I hope they have learned something that will be helpful to them.

Did you learn anything from writing your book, and what was it? 

While writing my book, I learned how important it was to set aside quiet time just for writing. I actually scheduled 2-hour appointment blocks in my calendar, and I did not check emails or get on Facebook, or doing anything else. I closed the door to the office, left my phone in another room, and instructed my husband not to interrupt me, except in an emergency. Between writing sessions, my mind often went to what I would be writing next….so, when I sat down at my computer, the words seemed to flow effortlessly. I also spent time with re-reading and editing what I had previously written during those special appointment times.

Who is your publisher and how did you connect with them? 

Truly, I did not know where to begin! So, I did an Internet search on the question, “how to find a publisher.” The best piece of advice I found was to look at the publishers of the books you owned, in the same genre. Then, go to each website and read the submission guidelines for books. My publisher’s website clearly articulated an openness to new authors; others clearly stated a preference for established authors. It was an exciting moment when the contract was sent to me!

How can we find you? Website, Facebook, Twitter, blog, etc.?

I am happy to share ways to find me and learn more about energy healing. My website is: www.deblloydhealing.com



Tell me a little about your book. 

My book is the story of my own healing journey. This includes the transformation of expanding my traditional beliefs to a holistic perception of the mind, body, spirit aspects of my being. Along the way, I learned many life lessons. Each chapter has a life lesson attached to that portion of my journey. The life lessons are truly applicable to anyone who wants to heal any aspect of themselves – mind, body and/or spirit.

What do you hope readers will take away from your book? 

The main message of my book is that healing is possible in any situation. So often, we think we cannot change a problem, because we have lived with it for many years, or other people are involved. What I have learned is that the first step to wholeness is changing that belief. When we believe change is possible, and we become open to that reality, the right person, book, or idea will appear in our lives. We have the choice to follow that inspiration – or not.

What is the toughest part about being a non-fiction writer, and how do you get past it? 

The hardest part was sharing such intimate thoughts about my own journey! How I worked through it was to accept the fact that my story may truly help other people. If some people had negative judgments about it, I would have to accept it. Fortunately, I have only received positive feedback; but, I know those who do not believe in these possibilities will probably not be drawn to this book!

What draws you to non-fiction writing? 

I am always drawn to true-life stories, whether it is a book or a movie. I often learn life’s hardest lessons through others’ stories and feel encouraged by others’ strength, resilience and perseverance. When we share our stories, we help each other with life’s difficulties.

Do you have an agent and do you feel an agent is necessary for non-fiction? 

Being a first-time author, I did not know if I should have an agent or not. I did a lot of reading on the topic – from books on writing and publishing, to blogs, to other author’s websites. I also talked to a few authors that I knew. There are many opinions on which is the better route; there are pros and cons for either choice. So, I decided I would give myself one year to try to find a publisher on my own. I looked for a publisher that gives some support, especially to first-time authors. Fortunately, I found the right publisher and was offered a publishing contract within a few months. I do not believe there is one right way, or a wrong way – every author should pursue the course that feels comfortable for her or himself.

What do you do when you’re not writing? 

Besides my work life that I described above, I love spending time with family and friends. Our children and grandchildren live in other states, and we visit them often. My husband and I also make sure we take at least one trip a year, just for us. We love visiting new places and learning about new cultures, visiting historical sites, and seeing beautiful places. I see myself as a lifelong learner and truly enjoy learning through traveling.

What do you look for in a book when you sit down to read for fun? 

This question is a good one for me, because my natural inclination is to read non-fiction spiritual, or metaphysical, books. But, I also enjoy reading, just for fun! I make sure I have a fictional book every second or third book I read. I love a really interesting novel that has a message, or teaches me about a historic time and place, or another culture. One of the richest aspects of our country is the free library system – what a joy it is to walk into a place with thousands of books, and I can read anything I want – for free. And, I buy a fair number of books – inexpensive entertainment. We live in an amazing time.