Icy Sedgwick: I like my coffee black, like my soul (e-Interview)

LivinginCyn.com’s e-interview feature for October welcomes Icy Sedgwick, traditionally- and self-published author of several short and regular-length novels.

This time of year, I think of pumpkins, Halloween and ghosts, so having Ms. Icy Sedgwick join us and share what she’s up to is particularly exciting for a wimp like me. Visits to her website will quickly reveal that she is almost like the author expert in all things paranormal.

If you haven’t yet decided on a good book to curl up with during the transition from All Hallow’s Eve to the Day of the Dead, you might swing by Icy’s website for some inspiring reads. She entertains and educates with such blog posts as, 3 powerful people to meet at the crossroads: Papa Legba, the Devil & Hecate! (Did I mention I was a wimp?)

Continue reading “Icy Sedgwick: I like my coffee black, like my soul (e-Interview)”

Hannah McKinnon: It’s almost impossible to be in this business… (e-Interview)

How’s that for a teaser headline to introduce a recently (traditionally) published author?

Hannah McKinnon actually finished that statement with less provocation: “…without being able to cope with critique”. As someone who wrote a book, found an agent to represent her and then scored a deal with a publishing house, she should know. Whether you’re an indie or traditionally-published author, critique is unavoidable–and perhaps entirely necessary, not only for being in this business, but also for success.

Some of you might recognize Hannah McKinnon’s name from her #WhatIf blog tour in June: Living in Cyn hosted a chapter from her debut novel, Time After Time. Now, we get to hear a little bit about who she is and her experiences becoming an author!

As usual, our questions are in grey and Hannah’s responses are in regular, black type. Read on!

Hannah McKinnon, Pinterest 1

Name/ Age/ Website… Hannah McKinnon, age 45, www.hannahmckinnonwriter.com

Where do you currently reside? I’ve lived in Oakville, Ontario (Canada) since mid-2010.

What’s your hometown/origin? There’s no short answer to that ☺

I was born in Stockport, near Manchester in the UK. When I was one, my parents moved the family to Switzerland (where my dad was born) and we lived in Interlaken for a number of years. When I was eight we moved to the Lake District in the UK, then back to Interlaken when I was eleven, where I stayed until I finished school. After that I lived in Geneva and Neuchâtel before moving to Canada in 2010.

So am I British, Swiss or Canadian? Well, my sense of humour is definitely British. I’m as timely as a Swiss train (oh, I love cheese too). And I like to think I’m as open and friendly as the Canadians. So that makes me all three!

Movie = bookYou mention on your website that you “decided to follow [your] oldest passion” and started writing at some point in your forties. Can you remember when you first re-discovered this passion? How did that happen? How did you know? I’d thought about writing a book for a number of years and had a couple of one-page drafts and outlines, but never found the time to do anything with them. The idea for Time After Time literally popped into my head one summer. The concept was so clear, I wrote the entire outline in under three hours. And that was it – I was hooked and knew I had to finish the novel.

Your debut novel, Time After Time, was just recently published (June 2016). Congrats! Can you share a synopsis? Thank you! It’s such an exciting time.

Time After Time (Amazon US, UK) is all about choices and the paths not taken. The protagonist, Hayley Cooper fantasizes about what her life would be like if only if she’d made different choices. It’s understandable; the past two years have been hell. She barely sees her kids, her boss is trying to sabotage her, and her marriage is falling apart. Burnt out, Hayley goes to sleep wishing for a different life. When she wakes up married to her first boyfriend, one she has not seen in over twenty years, she realizes there might be some truth in the saying “be careful what you wish for”.

So, over a single weekend, and just like Ebenezer Scrooge, Hayley gets to see her life on other side of the white picket fence – not just with her first ex, but with each of her past loves. The question is, is the grass always greener? And will she ever want to go home?

Many of my readers are writers. Some of them are self-publishing their works, while others are going the traditional route to publishing. It appears you have lucked out with the latter. Do you have any secrets to your success in landing a publisher/ agent? My writing course teacher, Brian Henry, once said, “There are three keys to getting published traditionally. You need a great manuscript, a healthy dose of luck, and buckets of perseverance. The good news is that, most of the time, two out of those three will suffice.”

Personally, I’d add a fourth item to the list; dealing with feedback. It’s almost impossible to be in this business without being able to cope with critique. At times it can be incredibly difficult to hear and accept, but when you do, it will make your writing stronger.

So what worked for me? I think my perseverance definitely paid off. I was absolutely determined to get an agent, and just as unwavering about getting a publishing deal. It was tough, I can’t deny it – the rejections, the waiting, the seemingly endless rounds of edits … But I didn’t give up because so many people had said the concept of Time After Time was a great one. Their encouragement kept me going.

I was also very lucky that Brian introduced me to The Rights Factory during one of his workshops, and that Cassandra Rodgers took a chance on a debut author.

So what about the other key, ‘a great manuscript’? I’d like the readers to be the judge of that.

Hannah McKinnon Pinterest 2

Looking back on the process of getting representation, could you say there was one thing you would do differently if you had known then what you now know? I wish I’d taken some writing courses earlier, and that I’d had my manuscript assessed by an independent editor before I submitted it to agents the first time around. To be honest, I was pretty arrogant in my “I read therefore I can write” attitude. Looking back, I’m not surprised in the least by the rejections I received. Actually, I cringe a little when I read the first draft of my manuscript.

On the other hand, ignorance can be bliss. If I’d known how long it would take to get this far, how many rounds of rejection – revision – rejection I’d go through, maybe I wouldn’t have had quite as much drive to persevere.

My readers and community are also very much interested in the writing process. How do you go about getting words on a page? Do you take a freestyle approach, just sit down and write–or are you methodical? A little bit of both. With the exception of Time After Time, I seem to come up with the beginnings and endings of stories, but am not entirely sure what will happen in the middle (and sometimes the endings change too).

I like to write a short outline, maybe a page or two, then jump right in. I’m not the most patient of people, so writing pages of detailed outlines really isn’t for me. If I get stuck with the story once I’ve started, then I’ll go back to the outline and work on it some more until I find the right direction to move in. And sometimes the characters take over, and lead me to plot points that hadn’t occurred to me, which is so much fun.

Some writers say they already know the story they want to tell before they’ve even written the first word. Others say writing the first draft of fiction is a process of discovery every time they sit down to write. How did Time After Time come about? The idea for Time After Time was crystal clear. I knew exactly what I wanted Hayley’s journey to be, and how the story should end. Having said that, if I compare the first draft to the final version, the essence of the story is still the same, but I added more layers, depth and complexity to the story and Hayley’s situation. I also interwove the past and present chapters far more for better pacing,

All of this wasn’t done alone, far from it. I had input first from family and friends, then my writing group, beta-readers, an independent editor and my agent. Everybody’s feedback shaped the story in one way or another, and I’m so grateful to work with such amazing people who share my passion for this book.

Could you describe a typical day for you? … And when in that day to you squeeze in writing time? I’m fortunate in that I work from home, and therefore have a lot of flexibility. During the week I’m up around 6am, preparing lunches for our three sons. Once they’ve left for school I’ll sort out pending correspondence, anything administrative, whether it’s for my husband’s electrical company the kids’ schools, personal finances, etc. I like to get all of that out of the way before I write – which sometimes means I don’t get to write anything!

I’ll stop writing when the boys come home in the afternoon, and will often continue once they’re in bed. I like to keep the weekends free for family time.

Do you ever experience writer’s block? What do you recommend to aspiring authors dealing with writer’s block? Oh, I’ve definitely been stuck a number of times. Various things have helped, such as going to the gym or out for a walk, skipping the chapter that’s proving to be difficult and working on the next, writing something completely different (a short story, for example), setting a timer for thirty minutes and writing without editing – even sleeping on it can help sometimes. It’s amazing what your subconscious will do for you if you simply let it be.

Do you have any new projects brewing at the moment? My second novel, working title THE SECRETS THAT MAKE US is with my agent and will be submitted to publishers within the coming weeks. I’ve also finished the first in a series of children’s early-grade chapter books (ages 6-9). Right now I’m working on two things – a middle-grade book (ages 9-12) and the outline of my next adult fiction novel.

Coffee or Tea? Tea with milk and 1 ¼ teaspoons of sugar (the ¼ is what makes it perfect!). Although a frothy, decaf cappuccino or an iced coffee are very welcome too.

Any questions you wish I’d ask you? I think you covered a lot of ground. Thank you! ☺

Connect With Hannah McKinnon!

Hannah McKinnon Writer #whatif book tour
Connect with Hannah McKinnon! Chat with us hashtag #WhatIf

You can connect with Hannah through the following links, or you can say Hi to her in the comments!

Time After Time is available for purchase at Amazon US, UK and other Amazon sites.

WANT TO BE A PART OF LIVINGINCYN’S E-INTERVIEW SERIES FOR ASPIRING AUTHORS?

e-interview with Starrene Rhett Rocque LivinginCyn.com / Cynthia T. LunaIf you’re a new or aspiring author — that is, you are actively working on your debut book, you plan on publishing, or you recently published your debut work — you qualify for an e-interview! Enter a comment below or send an email to cynthia [at] livingincyn [dot] com if you wish to participate in an e-interview. This series is slated for the 3rd Wednesday of each month.

NoteThere are links on this page that will lead you to Amazon.com. If you decide to make a purchase on Amazon as a result of clicking the link, I receive a small commission from your purchase. Find out more about affiliate links here. Thanks for your support. 

In the Merde: An e-Interview with L. Phillips on Living in France, and Her New Book, Houses, History & Humour

Amazon US | UK | DE | FR
Amazon US | UK | DE | FR

If you’re anything like me, you are thinking about your summer vacation. (I’m always thinking about my vacation.) Perhaps in reading today’s e-interview with L. Phillips, new author of Houses, History and Humour (A British Estate Agent in France), released in the Fall 2015, your curiosity about things français might be piqued and you might decide on a trip to France, or at least the travel section of your bookstore.

L. Phillips’ book is an adventure into the unexpected, “filled with stacks of amusing incidents and Continue reading “In the Merde: An e-Interview with L. Phillips on Living in France, and Her New Book, Houses, History & Humour”

#Whatif you lived “A Blast from the Past”? (Time After Time, by Hannah McKinnon) — #whatif Blog Tour Sample Pages

Time After Time, by Hannah McKinnon #whatif #booktour
Available on Amazon (US ¦ UK)

How many times have you had a “What if…” moment in your life? There are smaller what ifs–the kind you can hashtag for Twitter, like, “#WhatIf I hadn’t put cream in my coffee…?” (okay, maybe that’s not so small!) or “#WhatIf I didn’t work a day job…?“—and then, there are bigger what ifs, like the one Hannah McKinnon explores in her newly released debut novel, Time After Time:

#WhatIf I could turn back the clock and do things differently?

Hannah McKinnon Writer #whatif #timeaftertime
Hannah McKinnon, author or Time After Time

Time after Time (US ¦ UK), Hannah McKinnon’s debut novel, recently released on June 2, 2016, explores just that question–and I am thrilled to share with you the novel’s first chapter. So, get your cup of coffee (hold back on the cream, your jeans will thank me for that…) and enjoy.

CHAPTER 1 – A Blast from the Past

It was the odd silence that woke her.

Where are the kids?

Hayley tried to burrow back into Sleepland. Fat chance. She’d become too much aware of her tongue that was stuck to the roof of her mouth. It felt like she’d been chewing on a ball of fuzzy felt rolled in a slice of Gouda.

‘Ugh,’ Hayley groaned, her eyes still tightly shut.

She remembered getting a taxi back from Ellen’s but her throbbing head didn’t make sense. They hadn’t had that much wine, surely?  Hayley briefly wondered if her best friend felt equally queasy. Then her stomach rumbled, a sure indication of how late it might be.

Breakfast is going to be fun. Serves me right for getting back so late.

Hayley squinted, barely able to make anything out in the dimly lit room. She looked at her old-fashioned Mickey Mouse alarm clock that ticked loudly. Her parents had bought it for her fifteenth birthday as a joke because nothing short of a sledgehammer ever seemed to wake her. She’d used it ever since.

Mickey’s glow-in-the dark gloves showed five minutes to nine.

Where are the kids?

She couldn’t believe they weren’t up yet. It was total bliss that she’d got an extra hour and a half of much-needed sleep. As she rubbed her head again she heard Rick’s gentle breathing next to her. Her husband had always been a quiet sleeper. She was the snorer – he’d even recorded it once on his phone and played a frighteningly realistic warthog impression back to her with a grin on his face.

It’s not like him to be in bed this late on a Saturday morning.

He usually went out for a run and did push-ups at the park while she got the kids up and made breakfast. He reckoned it was the reason he could still eat Fish and Chips and not turn into a lard-arse.

Hayley thought about Rick’s firm legs and trim waist. She briefly considered slipping her hand down his boxer shorts – they hadn’t had morning sex in months, probably years, even – but that pint of water she’d downed just before she left Ellen’s had turned her bladder into a bouncy castle. She was busting for a pee and wanted to move her legs but they felt like lead-filled sausages. Slowly she started to drift off to sleep again.

‘Yougonnagedup? Gedsumbrukfast?’

God, he sounds rough. I bet he’s coming down with a cold. Oh joy. Man-flu alert.

‘In a minute,’ she mumbled, then remembered their row from the night before. At least an eight and a half on the Richter scale of arguments. Maybe even a nine. Bad enough for her to walk out, fleeing to Ellen’s for wine and moral support. It wasn’t the first time she’d speculated if Rick had found someone else. Wondered if he wanted to leave, then wondered if she wanted him to.

She sighed and decided she should take a few steps towards reconciliation. Besides, she had a brief to finish. Washing to do. Costumes to pick up. Parents to see. And with all of that on her list, it was hardly a practical day to put a bullet in her marriage.

Hayley crawled out of bed, eyes barely open, headed for the door and walked straight into a chest of drawers.

‘Ouch.’ She rubbed her leg.

‘What the bloody hell are you doing?’ Rick’s voice really was rough.

Hayley opened her eyes properly to take in her surroundings.

Hang on a second.

The bedroom seemed smaller than usual. The window was in the wrong place, surely, and she felt carpet under her feet, not hardwood floor. Instead of the door being straight ahead she could make it out to her left. Pictures hung above the chest of drawers. She squinted at them, but couldn’t see them properly in the dark room.

It all had a certain familiarity about it that she couldn’t quite place.

God, we must have got completely trolleyed. But why can’t I remember?

Hayley grabbed hold of the chest of drawers to steady herself and knocked over a vase.

‘I’m trying to sleep, keep it down.’

An alarm bell went off in Hayley’s throbbing head. She spun round faster than she intended, lost her balance and landed on the floor on her bum.

‘Ow. Fuck it,’ she said loudly.

‘What are you doing?’

Hayley popped her head up, quickly brushed her brown hair away from her face, and gasped. The person she’d thought was Rick now sat up in bed, staring down at her. She shook her head and quickly rubbed her eyes. Despite the dim light there was no mistaking him.

No … No way … It can’t be.

‘What are you playing at?’ he said. ‘I didn’t get to sleep until four.’

With wide blue eyes and her mouth forming a perfect ‘O’ of surprise, Hayley stared at the man for so long, she could practically feel the seasons change.

‘Chris?’

Hayley blinked three times thinking that she’d never, ever, cheat on Rick. Never.

And she hadn’t seen Chris – her first boyfriend, her very first love – in over twenty years.

So when … no, how had she ended up in bed with him?


Did that get you thinking about #whatif?

I don’t know how I’d react if I woke up next to my first boyfriend. I shudder to think… I’ll be hanging around Twitter intermittently today (because I’m traveling) tweeting #whatif hashtags, and I’ll be checking into comments if you have a #whatif or #timeaftertime tweet to share.

#WhatIf you could connect with Hannah McKinnon through the interwebs and find out more?

Hannah McKinnon Writer #whatif book tour
Connect with Hannah McKinnon! Chat with us: #WhatIf

Here are some of her details…

Note: There are links on this page that will lead you to Amazon.com. If you decide to make a purchase on Amazon as a result of clicking the link, I receive a small commission from your purchase. Find out more about affiliate links here. Thanks for your support.

Linda Gray Sexton: Writing never felt like a hobby or an assignment (e-interview)

Landing Linda Gray Sexton for this interview was a complete accident. If I hadn’t flubbed, I probably wouldn’t have dared reach out to her. You see, I was careless. I stumbled on her Twitter profile (@LindaGraySexton), noticed that she had recently published a book, Bespotted (read more on that in the interview), and thought, “Voilà! ‘new author’ for my author interview series.” And then I direct-messaged her.

1on1 Consulting with Linda Gray SextonIf being a published author of nine books is not enough, Linda Gray Sexton is also the literary executor of her late, Pulitzer Prize-winning, mother’s estate, Anne Sexton. And, yet, she still makes time to help writers (at varying stages in their writing careers) with their writing projects. She informed me that she has room for just a few more clients. (In fact, I attribute her willingness to have an e-chat with LivinginCyn.com to her love of books and all things writerly, including aspiring authors.) You can find out more about her editorial consultant service by clicking here to visit her website.

So, yes, I tripped and fell face-first into a goldmine. And, today, you too can enjoy the wealth of knowledge, experience and grace that she brings to lovers of the literary—without getting egg in your mascara!

Before we head to her interview, here are some ways you can get social with Linda Gray Sexton!

Twitter: @LindaGraySexton
Facebook: LindaGraySextonAuthor
And Sign Up to her Newsletter here: LindaGraySexton.com/sign-up/

Linda Gray Sexton - No one's Muse

Name/ Age/ Website Linda Gray Sexton/ 63 in July (oh my God!)/ lindagraysexton.com

Where do you currently reside? What’s your hometown/origin? I live in Redwood City, California, up high in the mountains, just south of San Francisco, on the Peninsula.  I grew up on the East Coast, in the Boston suburbs.

Some could say you’ve been “born to write,” but can you remember that first time you absolutely knew that writing was going to be more than a hobby, or an assignment? I do think of myself as being “born to write,” as the daughter of the poet, Anne Sexton. I learned my craft “at my mother’s knee,” spending afternoons in her study showing her my early poetry and short stories, starting when I was in the sixth grade.  By my early years in high school, she was showing me her work and asking my opinion, which she took amazingly seriously.  She flattered me by calling me her “best critic”(not sure I believe this), as I was honest and (I hope) perceptive about what did–and did not–work for the ordinary reader, in a world where poetry was largely an esoteric mystery to many.

Linda Gray Sexton Title CardTo me, writing never felt like “a hobby or an assignment.”  It always came naturally, flowing from the heart, if not from skill in the beginning.  In college, I took poetry seminars and wrote my English assignments with great pleasure, and graduated magna cum laude in English and American Language and Literature.  I had thought I would go into editing at a publishing house, as commenting on my mother’s work had come so naturally in the later years, but I began my writing career instead by compiling a volume of her letters after her suicide.  She died shortly before my graduation from Harvard when I was 21.  I am also her literary executor, initially a painful task, but one that has become less so over the years and more filled with the satisfaction of representing her work and making sure it is remembered in the future.  By the time I finished editing Anne Sexton: A Self-Portrait in Letters, I was fully launched and never wanted to do anything else but create with words.  I’ve been a writer (in three different genres) ever since 1975.

Was there an occupation you aspired to besides writing? Do you see elements of that “life” in your current life, or do they play out in your literature? Interestingly enough, I dreamed in junior high and high school of becoming a psychiatrist.  I now see that urge as a misplaced desire to take care of my mother, who was so very mentally ill, and I’m glad I didn’t follow it.  However, a psychiatrist examines the mind, dreams, wishes and thoughts of her patients’ emotional lives, and I like to think I offer my readers similar aspects of my own emotional life via my writing—which in turn offers them the opportunity to identify with me and my situation, and then to examine their own lives.  Most of my “fan” mail (as my mother used to call it) centers around how a reader feels attuned to me and what I’ve offered with candor about my own life, be it through my three memoirs, my four novels–or even my newsletter, which isn’t really a newsletter at all, but instead an biweekly meditative essay on the ideas I have about everything we face as we wind our ways through our days.  So that introspective, emotional side comes out in my writing.  I was never a medical doctor to a patient, but I make myself an example of how one can struggle with and overcome any problem, hoping that each reader can find his or her own way to a little bit of peace through what I offer.

Can you tell us a little bit about Bespotted? This is the third book in what I like to think of as a trilogy of memoirs, being preceded by Searching for Mercy Street: My Journey Back To My Mother, Anne Sexton (Editor’s note: named a New York Times Notable Book of the Year and optioned by Miramax Films) and Half In Love: Surviving The Legacy Of Suicide.  The first two memoirs are darker in tone and deal with the pain of loss, suicide and forgiveness—how you can come from a very difficult place in your life to resolution.  So they both have an upward swing and a hopeful ending.

The last one,  Bespotted: My Family’s Love Affair With Thirty-Eight Dalmatians, describes the pleasure my family has always taken in our dogs, who happen to be Dalmatians, and the ways in which they guided us through the tough times in our lives.  It begins with my childhood, and watching my mother turn our Dals into “therapy dogs” who comforted her through her days.  It then moves on to my adult life, where Dals reappear as soon as I had a fenced yard available for them to run in.

Bespotted by Linda Gray Sexton
Clicking this image will take you to the Amazon book page. Please note, I am an Amazon Affiliate. I make a small commission if you make a purchase as a result of clicking on this link.

Later, in the midst of a great depression in my forties, I, too, made a special dog—the dog of my heart—into a therapy dog.  He was the one who really pulled me through to the other side of my bipolar illness with his love.

It is an upbeat book, dwelling on the happier aspects of both my childhood and my adulthood and the incredible relationships I have formed with these black and white miracles, as many people form with their own dogs.  It really is a “dog book” of literary bent, which happens to be about Dalmatians.

My readers and community are also very much interested in the writing process. It seems there is a strong therapeutic undercurrent motivating your writing. Would you say that’s true? And, if so, do you take a freestyle approach to laying words on a page, or are you methodical? Do you wake up one day already knowing what your book is about? I’ve already talked a bit about how my books are introspective—for me and for others.  I don’t think, however, that they are personally cathartic.

Linda Gray Sexton and her DalsFor me, to write about an emotional subject requires both knowledge and resolution, because if you were just blurting material onto the page for the sole sake of release, you would be better off keeping a journal. I need to have completed “the catharsis” long before I begin to actually write the book.  Otherwise I won’t know what I am going to say, or what I am going to take away from my own experience. Or what I can offer my readers.

I do take an “associative” approach to getting my words down on the page—just following them wherever they may go, a process dictated by the unconscious.  I turn off my internal editor, usually write a first draft (that I would never show to anyone) to try and catch the waterfall of words, and then go back and revise.  If I sat there worrying about my prose, I would never put down a single word. I revise over and over again.

And yes, before I begin, I try to know “what the book is about,” though sometimes a book surprises me and moves beyond what I had originally planned or divined—or even designed.  And I never tell anyone (except my husband maybe) what It’s “about” as that seems to be a jinx for me (yes, I am very superstitious!).  I wrote a whole newsletter on the topic called “Killing A Novel Stone Dead,” which a lot of people really liked.  You can sign up for my newsletter on lindagraysexton.com, and there is a free giveaway of any one of my books for subscribers every month.  (Not to plug my newsletter—but hey, writers have to be self-promoting these days as no one else will do it for you!)

Could you describe a typical day for you? You seem very generous with your time away from actually writing — you even help budding authors with developmental edits, tightening their pitch, and you provide one-on-one consultation. What’s your secret? My days are very regular and self-disciplined.  They have to be or I would never get anything done.  I usually start writing at 9 a.m. and work till 1 pm, when I break for lunch.  If I don’t have anything lyrical to say and the “juice” isn’t flowing, then I write whatever I can manage, which can be rewritten or relegated to the back of my file cabinet, though I don’t ever throw anything away, as you never know when it might come in handy after all.  Sometimes important ideas are hiding in material you’ve rejected.

After lunch, I either do more work on the manuscript—if I am feeling incredibly productive—or I read, looking for examples of other writers who have mastered their craft.  Or, I work on my newsletter, or write a blog for someone else, or try my hand at some kind of article that will probably never see publication, as the “magazine” market has contracted to the point of non-existence. Whatever it is, I keep on going.  There are those days I stall out, but I try to be kind to myself and just get going again the next.

And, as to the last part of your question: well, I’m not sure I have a “secret” for those hours I spend away from my own writing and with others.  For me, it’s more of a philosophy: what you give, you get back—in spades.  Or, to quote the popular saying, “what goes around, comes around.”  I like helping other writers, which is what led me to extend myself by offering consulting services (also detailed on lindagraysexton.com).  It’s fun to work with other people’s words, rather than my own—less pressure, I guess—and I suppose it also reminds me, in a happy way, of all those afternoons I spent working with my mother when she asked for my opinion and treated it as something valuable.  I like to believe I have something to contribute.

I also find I enjoy writing as a charitable enterprise.  I work with a Dalmatian rescue, (Save the Dals), writing the biographies for the dogs who have been abused and are looking for new forever homes.  It’s tremendously rewarding.  Recently, I wrote a detailed brochure for the Dalmatian Club of America in their effort with the AKC to better educate potential and new owners about the breed, so that they know what they are getting into when they choose a Dal—lots of love and cuddling, but their realistic needs and character flaws, as well.

The Dals on the SF Bay - Linda Gray Sexton

Do you ever experience writer’s block? What do you recommend to aspiring authors dealing with writer’s block?  Every writer must experience writer’s block at some point, or they aren’t putting themselves out on the line and challenging themselves with their projects. For writer’s block I always try to write SOMETHING, no matter how awful it is.  It helps just to get one word down on the page, even if it’s an expletive.  And sometimes that one word, that one sentence, leads you into the unconscious, which is the wellspring.  Sometimes, I recommend writing exercises or journaling.  It depends on the stage of the writer and the depth of the block.  I believe it can be overcome with diligence and determination.  No one’s muse shuts up forever.

Do you have any new projects brewing at the moment? I’m working on a new novel.  It’s a lot of fun to be working in the land of the imagination, after spending 21 years dealing with the reality of past and present in the land of “me” and “my life.”  Both genres dig for the truth, but each in its own way.  I find there are themes that will be central to your writing for your entire life, in many guises, and that we return to them book after book, no matter which genre we are working in.  For me, I think that central theme for each book is the characters’ emotional survival when the consequences are dire and the odds are against him or her.

If there was one person (dead or alive) you could spend an afternoon with, who would it be and why?  I suppose the answer to this is obvious.  The one person with whom I’d choose to spend that time together with would be my mother.  I would love to share with her all I have written, get her reactions, tell her how much I value her impact on my life as a writer.  She once told me not to be a writer—that she would follow me around “like an old gray ghost.”  Of course, this is exactly what has happened, but I’d like to tell her that I don’t mind that any more, that I value her haunting.  Yes, an afternoon with Mom.  From beginning, to middle, to end.  That would be a special afternoon, indeed.

Coffee or Tea? Coffee with LOTS of Fat-Free Half and Half.  But I always drank sugared tea with my Mom in the afternoons.

Any questions you wish I’d ask you? Nope. I think I’ll shut up now!

WANT TO BE A PART OF LIVINGINCYN’S E-INTERVIEW SERIES FOR ASPIRING AUTHORS?

Kerrie Lee Brown: Love what you do, but love yourself more ¦ LivinginCyn.com ¦ Cynthia T. Luna
Kerrie Lee Brown was featured last month. Check out her e-interview here!

If you’re an aspiring author — that is, you are actively working on your debut book, which you plan on publishing — or you recently published your debut work, you qualify for this e-interview series! Enter a comment below or send an email to cynthia [at] livingincyn [dot] com if you wish to participate in an e-interview. This series is slated for the 3rd Wednesday of each month.

Note: There are links on this page that will lead you to Amazon.com. If you decide to make a purchase on Amazon as a result of clicking the link, I receive a small commission from your purchase. Find out more about affiliate links here. Thanks for your support.