I read different many different types of material. I just finished reading "Breakfast With Buddha" by Roland Merullo. What a wonderful journey! The main character, Otto, is manipulated into driving a spiritual master across the country to the future site of his meditation center. Otto enjoys his life and is not looking for a new way of looking at the world. But, like most of us in our forties and fifties, he has some nagging doubts. Despite Otto's determination, the journey takes a spiritual turn. The book is light hearted and humorous. Which is just what the spiritual master is preaching.
On a totally different note, "Bringing Up Bebe - One American Mother Discovers the Wisdom of French Parenting" by Pamela Druckerman. It was an easy read and an enlightening look at how parents in another culture approach child rearing with a clear philosophy and proven techniques for raising healthy, considerate, curious, wonderful children. I highly recommend it, even if you are not a parent.
How do you approach cover design?
I look for an image that illustrates a major theme in the story. In "Close to the Heart" the pigeons were always there and they represented the relationship between Jack and Maria so I used them as the cover image.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
I don't remember the first story I ever read, but my father was an avid reader. At the breakfast table, he read newspaper stories of the day out load to our family. But I also remember him reading stories and poetry from the red volumes of children's stories that filled the book shelves on either side of our fireplace. My favorite story was in volume two. It is called "The Velveteen Rabbit" by Margery Williams. If you haven't read this story yet, I highly recommend it, even to adults. It is a beautiful story with a deep abiding message.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I just use my laptop because it's also what I use for writing and editing. But I am envious of those folks I see in airports and coffee shops with handy little e-readers.
Describe your desk
I heard once that the difference in organizational styles could be summed up as files or piles. I definitely fall into the piles category. It's really a reflection of the way I think. I don't think in a straight line. I think from the perimeter of the circle toward the center. I keep everything in play until the last possible moment and then make a decision. As a result, nothing gets thrown out until I am sure I won't need it. But that's just my desk. The rest of the house is pretty tidy.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in a small town about an hour north of New York City. We spent summer vacations with family near the Finger Lakes Region in northern New York. So, I didn't venture outside the tri-state area (New York, Connecticut and New Jersey) until I was a teenager. After graduating college, I lived in Boston for almost ten years. Then I began to travel. That's when I realized how fortunate I was to grow up just an hour train ride from one of the greatest cities in the country. I had access to culture from around the world; art, literature, music, food and people.
When did you first start writing?
My first memory of writing is in the third grade, about eight years old I guess. I wrote a book of poetry and later a play. As a teenager I wrote every day.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Doing it my own way. In most other jobs, you have a boss who wants things done their way. You always have to consult and ask permission. In art, whether it's writing or visual art, the joy is doing exactly what I want. The only limitation is my own skill. When others connect with my work and appreciate it for their own reasons, that's a blessing.
What are you working on next?
I'm working on a memoir. Each chapter is titled with a saying that someone in my life repeated to me often. My Dad used to always say "tomorrow never comes." So that's the title of one chapter. Mom used to say "it's not you I don't trust." so that's another chapter.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I like the idea of letting the audience decide what they want to read. It took a long time for me to write this book. I work a full time job and I had to steal hours in the early morning, on weekends, over vacations and late in the evening. I didn't want to wait months or even years to have it published. I spoke with other authors and they encouraged me to publish independently.
It's here. It's available and I'm working on the next one. If people enjoy my work, it they think it's worthwhile, they will support it. I'll keep writing no matter what.
Who are your favorite authors?
The classics, John Steinbeck for the message and his expert use of regional language; Jeannette Winterson is just amazing. Every new work is a surprise. Annie Dillard, Louise Erdrich. I'll keep updating the list as I continue to explore.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords made the process easy. They thought of everything. When the next book is ready, I can publish it without delay.
What do your fans mean to you?
I've been writing my whole life and that will continue to write. But, fans are the difference between doing it as a hobby and writing full time. At this point in my life, I have the perspective and insight that really gives a story depth and meaning. I've always gotten so much from books. I'm excited about sharing my work with others. I look forward to feedback from my fans.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Usually our cats. If they aren't jumping all over the bed at 4 AM, by 5 o'clock one of them is standing on my chest biting my chin. It forces me to face the day even if I would rather not. Animals are great like that.
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