What is your most recent book? Tell us a bit about it.
I wrote Gogo’s Dream: Swaziland Discovered as an act of love for a people and a country I have never visited. The tenacity of the Gogos (Swazi for grandmother) touched something deep within me. As a grandmother, myself, I connected with their spirit of unconditional love for their children and their grandchildren, even in the face of pain, disease and poverty.
The poems written for this book were written originally as part of the Poetic Asides “Poem-a-Day Challenge” last year. It was suggested by the facilitator that we try to write the poems with one particular theme in mind. I chose Swaziland, finding the challenge stimulating.
Tell us something about yourself.
I was born and grew up in South Boston, MA where I self-published my first written work at the tender age of seven on the cardboard from her Dad’s shirts when they came back from the laundry. Since then, I have written extensively in various venues, publishing and performing my work throughout New England, including my own column in two newspapers in Southern Maine and as an online writer and contributing editor at BrightHub.com.
When not writing, I love to garden, teach, and spend time with my grandchildren. I live in an enchanted cottage in Western Massachusetts with my beloved.
How did you publish this book? Why did you decide to self-publish?
After years of writing, years of being told my poetry was not what this magazine, that paper, this publisher wanted, and years of hearing from others that, “Gee, this is good! You should put it in a book,” I finally had had enough rejection.
With my first book, Winter of the Soul, I self-published through a local printing coop. It was time consuming, as I had to do all the proofing, approving of the galley, and proofing, again; however, the end result was a “real” book with my name on it!
Having self-published once already, I began looking into how to do it again. I wanted a process that was reasonably priced, quick, professionally done and offered a way to market internationally. This book is a fundraiser with all the profits going to Possible Dreams International a group that works with the peoples of Swaziland.
After networking with several writer friends and acquaintances, I looked at Blurb. It was love at first sight!
How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?
As I said, I started by writing my own family newsletter on cardboard. I guess self-publishing was in my blood, like writing. I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t placing words one in front of the other.
What do you believe is the hardest part of writing?
The most difficult part of writing is not writing. I love it. I write daily. I think if all the computers crashed, there was no pen and paper, I would find a way to write on the leaves of the trees using berry juice!
How do you do research for your books?
I learned to research while studying for my Masters in Education. I read, read, read and then I look for resources on the web through education, organization and government sites.
Did you learn anything from writing this book? What?
Great question! On a personal level, I learned that I could write a poem from a prompt, something I never believed I could do.
What are you reading now?
I just finished, The Shack by Wm. Paul Young. It was an interesting book. I am also reading The Tale of the Rose – The Love Story Behind The Little Prince by Consuelo De Saint-Exupery.
Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
I am presently working on two children’s books. One is a resource for teachers and parents on social justice issues and the other is a story written from the perspective of a hundred year old tree.
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
The very best advice I have, and it is the same advice that authors I admire give, is to read, read, read and write! The more you write, the better your craft becomes. Like anything, we humans do, the more we do it, the easier and better we are at it. Read everything; don’t limit yourself to just one genre or style. Limiting yourself is like being a gardener and only raising daisies. While daisies are beautiful, you will not know and understand the entire scope of gardening until you plant and care for other flowers, bushes and trees.
So, read novels, biographies, all styles of poetry. Some will touch you deeply; learn from them. Others will leave you empty; learn from them, too. Then, write! Write every day. Keep a journal, even if you only write the date and time, eventually, you will be inspire to write more. Enjoy!
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?
Readers can get a sneak peak of Gogo’s Dream at this link: http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/1321608
Remember, more than half the profit from the book will go to Possible Dreams International.
They can also visit me at Words from the Heart, my blog site.