Interview with Rebecca Cofiño

Describe your desk
My desk is 100 years old!. I bought it at a thrift store years ago, painted it a cream color, and then sanded it so it looks shabby chic-ish. A few drawer pulls were missing, so I added ridiculous ceramic rose pulls from Anthropology. One is already chipped; I guess that's the shabby part of my design. Still, it is adorable and I love sitting down to it.

My desk almost always has a cup of coffee on it. It's small which keeps clutter to just one stack. It is located under a window that faces a row of bamboo. I love to look up from my computer and see that. There are two other desks in this room, Ikea creations for my two sons. I long for my own office, but for now I work when they are at school.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the great Northwest, Spokane, Washington, to be exact. I spent my childhood outdoors where I formed a deep and abiding love of nature, which definitely influences my writing and thinking. I went outside no matter what the weather, but long winters certainly helped me become a bookworm and a writer. There was a lot of freedom and wide open spaces in my childhood which suited my contemplative nature.

These days I am living in Miami as a mother, and the contrast to my children's upbringing and mine couldn't be more different. Still, I make an effort to protect their free time, because I couldn't imagine what life would be without time and space to explore nature, stumble upon discovery, and let the mind wander. So much of who we become is formed in childhood.
When did you first start writing?
In the fifth grade we could get out of three weekly essays if we entered a fiction contest in a Portland newspaper. I thought that was a great bargain! I received my first rejection letter when I was ten years old. Two months later, the contest decided to open a category for very young writers, and informed me that I had won. I signed a real contract and was paid $25. What a thrill!
What's the story behind your latest book?
I wrote "Enjoy the Holidays: Turn Holiday Stress Into Holiday Cheer", because I am deeply saddened by what has become of the Thanksgiving-Christmas-New Years trifecta in recent years. There has always been a commercial aspect to the holidays, but lately it seems like unchecked consumerism is bulldozing a season I hold dear. I have so many amazing holiday memories from my childhood, and I don't just want to give up my cultural heritage in disgust.

I have devoted my life to mindful living, and I know that if we shine the light of awareness, we can reclaim the magic of the holidays. This book is about placing the role the holidays play in our lives into perspective, and empowering us to celebrate with true joy and inner peace.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
A few years ago I read an article that ebooks had finally surpassed traditionally published books in sales. My first reaction was a punch in the gut. I felt hopeless that I could ever find an agent in such a difficult climate.

And then, I made a choice.

I decided to look on the bright side, which is the incredible opportunity indie publishing has created. The old system never panned out for me. Agents liked my work, but rejected me for not having a big enough platform. If I have to do all the marketing work in addition to the writing, I might as well just embrace it and strike out on my own. Instead of feeling run over, I eagerly joined the publishing revolution. Although it is still a struggle, new technology has opened entire vistas that were once controlled by a monopoly. That is amazing!
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
I divide writers into two categories: those who love to write no matter what, and those who love to write about specific ideas. I am in the idea camp. I write about topics that light my heart on fire, so when I manage to craft the right words to express those ideas, I literally get up and dance around the house.

The process of writing is really tedious and challenging at times. I enjoy "having written" more than actually "writing." What's fun for me is getting to spend so much of life with my ideas. I LOVE thinking, and language is the tool I use to both understand and communicate my thoughts. When the exact words fall into place on a page, it is nothing short of magic.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I am a yogi and meditation instructor, so I devote a good part of my life to my spiritual practices. I also love swimming laps, and can be found at the pool whenever I get the chance. Of course, I'm also a bookworm.

Motherhood is a big part of my identity, so I give a lot of my attention to my two little boys. They delight and frustrate me to no end. I love witnessing their lives unfolding and hearing them form their own ideas.

I'm a big foodie, and cook every single day. I love writing recipes, and am gratified that my kids are developing good pallets. My husband is a great eater too, so much of our life revolves around sharing meals.
What is your writing process?
Meditation and exercise are big parts of my writing process. At first this just happened naturally; I would go for a run and come back inspired. I started to form a habit of interspersing writing with exercise. Later I learned that brain research has shown how critical movement is in opening our neuropathways, so I always break my day into chunks to maximize my thinking power.

I do a lot of writing in my head, and I try to always have a journal on hand for a quick jot. I write rough drafts by hand. My work is stronger that way.

Over the years I have gotten to know my natural ebbs and flows as a writer. There are times when words fly off my fingertips, and times when my ideas are just out of reach. I don't worry about it anymore. I enjoy my bursts, and allow myself to recharge when the words just won't come. It helps that I don't believe in writer's block. I call the times when I can't write anything good my "incubation time." I know that I'm working on an idea that is just not ready. In that case, I switch to an editing job or writing a recipe, which doesn't tax the same part of my brain.
What do you read for pleasure?
I rotate between character-based novels and nonfiction books about spirituality, the brain, and happiness research. It can be a challenge to find new novels, because too many reviews give away plot. I love reading a book cold, and letting the author unfold the story in her own time. I compile a master reading list for myself by reading year end reviews by bloggers. They usually write just a sentence about why they loved a book, and that's enough for me.

I also read poetry and can't get enough of Mary Oliver and Louis Gluck.
What are you working on next?
I have another ebook coming out on January 1, 2016 called "Live a Deliberate Life: 8 Steps to a Life You Love." This book is based on a speech I gave at HeartCamp, and encompasses my main passion of helping people to live lives of meaningful happiness. I can't tell you how excited I am about sharing this work.

I am currently about halfway through writing a full-length memoir. It's a coming-of-middle-age story, and has my best writing yet!
Published 2015-11-02.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Stress Free Holidays: Bring Back Joy & Peace, A Mamaguru Guide
Price: $9.99 USD. Words: 23,410. Language: English. Published: November 2, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Self-improvement » Personal Growth / Success
(5.00)
Stress Free Holidays: Bring Back Joy & Peace is a smart guide to help you recapture the magic of the holiday season. This book teaches you how to incorporate mindfulness in your holidays, as well as offering a host of practical tips and holiday hacks to make the season run smoothly. It's promise is simple, but vital: to bring joy back into the holidays by cultivating a bit of inner peac