Exclusive Interview with
When did you start writing?
I've always loved words and writing. I started writing stories as a young child and used to write lyrics to music on the piano as a teen. Stories turned into public speaking competitions with the Royal Canadian Legion. Then in high school, I wrote the weekly column for the school in the Oshawa newspaper. I think I earned 40 cents per square inch back then. I write a lot for my work - as a policy pointy-head and for business and organisational strategies. My favourite writing is now, as an author - and I love writing poetry too.
What makes writing your passion?
I'm a words girl - with so many delectable choices to convey moods, atmospheres, visuals - selecting words is SO satisfying. PLUS sharing how-to or giving guidance to help us be better humans and live and love together as unique authentic adventurers. I cannot imagine my life without words.
How long have you been writing?
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
Publishing my first book was like birthing my first child. I didn’t know what to expect until I'd been through it. After the publishing experience, you gain more confidence that you can accomplish writing a book. The second comes more naturally and (ahem) you don’t need to push so much :)
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
As a non-fiction writer, I usually have real characters or a mash-up of real peoples' personalities to work with. I giggle when friends read my books and try to guess who's who.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
Remember to stay faithful to your passions. They will be layered by social mirrors and expectations and tough to uncover if they are allowed to be trodden and misplaced. It would have been great to have a time capsule containing your essence as a child, serving as a reminder decades later, when we often 'forget' what we are all about.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
I always enjoy getting reader emails, comments and reviews. I love hearing how my stories affect others and the sharing of common experiences in their reactions. I’ll sift through book reviews online periodically - due less to avoidance than just plain busyness. I LOVE getting good reviews, seeing in words what people think as they read and enjoy my books. It is not only rewarding to hear, but it makes me glow inside, fuelling the whole writing process, making the craft enjoyable and worthwhile.
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
I write my first draft using names of real people that inspire me and infuse the characters in my books. Sometimes I blend together the best traits of two people into one. At the second or third draft I have a ton of fun ‘re-naming’ everyone. Since the characters typically grow and change during the story, it can be challenging to find an appropriate new name (have you ever tried to name a baby … well imagine a dozen at once!) When someone asks me about a particular character. my reaction is first who’s that? I often have to follow the breadcrumbs back to the original person/people that inspired the character to come to life before I can answer effectively.
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
I'd love to say 'don't judge a book by its cover' but after writing four books and hearing what readers say about covers - well, we DO judge books by their covers. Authors need to be excellent marketers (with fabulous cover designs) in addition to having perfect prose in the pages that follow.
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
There is a Maori proverb about what is important in the world - He Tangata! He Tangata! He Tangata! - It's people! It's people! It's people! When my work is enjoyed and appreciated by others, I feel energised and connected by the invisible thread that ties us all together. I live to serve people.
Who is your favorite author? Why?
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
I'm such a fan of Brene Brown's research into shame and being strong; and I love Glennon Doyle (just finished untamed - fantastic) and refer to Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert - a lot. My dream would be to one day be considered up there, with these amazing women writers, researchers and the shoulders we all stand upon to reach new heights.
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?