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Writer Wednesdays – Lisa Kohn

Writing Wicket interviews Lisa Kohn today.

Lisa is the author of to the moon and back: a childhood under the influence, as well as The Power of Thoughtful Leadership. She is a writer, teacher, and public speaker who owns a leadership consulting and executive coaching firm (www.chatsworthconsulting.com) and who works to bring to others the tools, mind-shifts, and practices she’s found that have helped her heal, as well as the hope and forgiveness she’s been blessed to let into her life. She will always tell you that she is a native New Yorker, but she currently lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two children, whenever they’re around.

Q: How long on average does it take you to write a book?

to the moon and back is the only full-form book I’ve written. (The Power of Thoughtful Leadership is a compilation of my work blog.) I had been working on a hybrid book – part memoir, part self-help – and when I finally decided to make it into a full memoir, it took me about a year to write the book.

Q: How does your life unfold in a normal writing day?

Because my writing is not my “day job” (my leadership consulting and executive coaching firm is what I do on a daily basis), I work my writing into my life. I set aside specific blocks of time to write, and I take myself away from my home-office desk, to a designated “writing” spot, so that I can think with that different brain and ignore my work responsibilities for a little while.

Q: If you could start over again in your writing career, what would you do differently?

I would start writing earlier. I had no idea how much I loved to write, to edit, to craft, to delete, to recraft, etc. I would give myself the gift of that much sooner, and I would create even more space and time in my life to write.

Q: Have you ever cried with one of your characters?

Because my book is a memoir, I am the main character. So, while I don’t think I can say that I’ve cried with myself, I certainly re-experienced many of the situations and emotions as I wrote the book, and now, during my author readings, I certainly re-experience them again.

Q: Do you believe in writer’s block?

I know that it sometimes can take me a while to get started when I’m trying to write – to find the best way into the story or idea – but I don’t believe in writer’s blog, per se, because as soon as I just start writing something, ideas and words seem to flow.

Q: What genre do you favour?

I really enjoy narrative nonfiction and memoir.

Q: What are the ethics of writing about historical figures?

When I wrote my memoir, I tried to be as true as I could be to my memory, while also being aware of other people’s perspectives. While this is not the same as writing about historical figures, I think you would need to be as aware as you can be of the bias and perspective you bring, which flavors what you notice and what you write.

Q: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

Because my genre is memoir, there isn’t specific research that I do. That said, I do speak with others about their memories and perspectives, and I do go through old journals, calendars, notes, etc., to see what was or seemed true at that time.

Q: What is your favourite childhood book?

I loved all of Louisa May Alcott’s books, especially the Little Women, Little Men, Jo’s Boys series.

Q: What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

The most difficult part of my artistic process is actually one of the most rewarding parts as well. It is the editing, and specifically going through my writing carefully and deleting words, sentences, paragraphs, and full concepts/ideas that don’t move the story along. I have learned to thoroughly enjoy it, but it can be quite challenging to delete anything that I’ve “created” and written.

Q: Does writing energize or exhaust you?

In some ways, writing both energizes and exhausts me, but I would have to say it is more energizing. I am lucky in that I found that I love to write, and while I pour my heart, soul, and energy into it – especially because I’m writing memoir and narrative nonfiction – it fuels me to write more and more.

Q: What is your writing Kryptonite?

The two Kryptonite that can bring me down are: 1) getting started – it can be tough to figure out how to start a story or map out what I’m going to write. I can sit with my fingers on the keyboard for what seems like forever, waiting for the inspiration to hit me (and to hit me well). I have learned to “just start” – and then to work with whatever starts flowing. and 2) because I write memoir, I can get stuck trying to remember what “actually” happened. I’ve learned a great deal about memory through this process – largely that memory is subjective and hazy at best – and when I task myself with capturing as “true” a version of the truth/situation as I can, getting words out can be quite baffling.

Q: Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym? If you write under one now, why?

I have never considered writing under a pseudonym because I am trying to spread a message of hope and love with my memoir, and I believe I will be best able to do this when I am cleary writing as myself.

Q: Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?

I don’t necessarily think one must feel emotions strongly in order to write. Just as there are many ways to go through life, I believe there are many ways to be a successful writer. While my writing is clearly influenced by my emotions – and my emotional nature – I think one can just as easily create/capture a story from a different life-viewpoint.

Q: If you could be any author, who would it be and why?

If I could be any author, I would be Mary Karr. She is, in many ways, the “queen of memoir.” Her memoirs have touched many people and also inspired many memoirists go public with their story. I also think she writes beautifully.

Q: What is the first book that made you cry?

I am pretty certain that it was Little Women that first made me cry. I yearned for a family like the March’s.

Q: Why did you decide to self-publish?

While my leadership book, The Power of Thoughtful Leadership, was self-published, my memoir, to the moon and back: a childhood under the influence, is not. I decided to self-publish The Power of Thoughtful Leadership because my business partner and I wanted to quickly get our book out to clients and prospects, and self-publishing was the quickest way to do this (with the most control).

Q: What are common traps for aspiring writers?

I think the most common trap is thinking it will be easy and not being willing to put in the time and/or work. I have found the writing, publishing, and now promoting all to be challenging in their own way, and there are times I’ve wanted (and want) to quit. However, I keep at it because I remember that I’ve written (and am promoting) to the moon and back for a reason – to spread a message of hope and love. When I focus on that, I can keep at this and give it time to have results.

Q: What books have you self-published?

The Power of Thoughtful Leadership

Check out Lisa’s website: www.lisakohnwrites.com

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C.A. MacKenzie is the author of the novel WOLVES DON’T KNOCK, a psychological drama/thriller, available from the author or at various retailers, including Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Wolves-Dont-Knock-C-MacKenzie/dp/1927529387/.

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Writer Wednesdays – Rhonda Eichman

Writing Wicket welcomes Rhonda Eichman.

Rhonda is a lifetime resident of Kansas and received her education at St. Mary of the Plains College in Dodge City. She offers an authentic view of life on the Kansas prairie where she lives.  As a history buff, she can relate with unique historical culture to create fiction that is entertaining and features life’s lessons through her characters’ actions. She is the author of articles in Kansas Country Magazine and several technical materials and grants. She lives with her husband, Ray, in Seward County, Kansas.

I asked Rhonda:

Q: What’s the most you’ve ever edited out of a book? 

My first book, Bargain On The Prairie, lost 5,000 words during edits.

Q: What motivates you (either in writing or otherwise)?

A desire to leave what I know for others to read and understand.

Q: Are you ever upset when you’ve finished a story, that your characters have said all they’re going to say?

They’re actually never finished, and I have to keep going with the next book or sequel.

Q: Have you read anything that made you think differently about fiction?

Oh yes, Christian Fiction as a category.  After I started reading Christian Fiction, I can’t go back to regular fiction. It feels flat, missing something.

Q: What are the ethics of writing about historical figures?

Researching each detail about the historical period I’m writing in to make sure the places, the goods and services, and character actions are correct for the period.

Q: As a writer, what would you choose as your mascot/avatar/spirit animal?

The Eagle

Q: Do you ever have trouble coming up with titles for your books?

Yes, the hardest part ever.

Q: Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

Yes, I read them and try to reflect on what I can do better.

Q: Do you hide any secrets in your books that only a few people will find?

Yes, characters’ actions and thoughts that only a reader of Christian faith will get.

Q: What was the hardest scene you’ve ever written?

When one of my characters has a miscarriage.  I cried.

Q: Have you set goals?

Yes, when my next book will be finished.  Horsethief Canyon will be done in March or April, 2019.

Q: Does a big ego help or hurt writers?

Hurts. You must be able to take criticism and make corrections to move forward and be a better writer.

Q: Do you Google yourself?

Yes, I do have a larger profile now that my first book is out.

Q: When you were growing up, did you ever expect to be a writer?

Always, that was my goal.

Q: What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?

Housework! Lots of laughs. I often put off tasks I should do so I can write. I take on-line seminars to improve and try to connect with other authors, so I don’t feel isolated and give up.

Q: Have you ever cried with one of your characters?

Oh yes, when I can make myself cry, I’m finally there.

Q: If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?

Stop and write everyday, work always waits on you.

Q: Is there a genre you wish you could write that you can’t?

Hot Romance!

Q: How long on average does it take you to write a book?

Six to eight months.

Q: What books have you self-published?

None, I am a traditionally published author with my first book, Bargain On The Prairie, released 9-24-18

Check out Rhonda on social media:

Twitter:

 https://twitter.com/EichmanRhonda

Wix Website:

http://rhondaeichman.wixsite.com/website

Instagram:

http://www.instagram.com/rhondaeichman/

facebook author page:

https://www.facebook.com/rhondareichmanauthor/

linked-in:

https://www.linkedin.com/in/rhonda-eichman-289037160/

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C.A. MacKenzie is the author of the novel WOLVES DON’T KNOCK, a psychological drama/thriller, available from the author or at various retailers, including Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Wolves-Dont-Knock-C-MacKenzie/dp/1927529387/.

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Writer Wednesdays – Drew Lankford

Today, I interview Drew Lankford.

Drew at Pa Bunks 2 (2)

Drew lives in Murfreesboro, TN, with his three beautiful children and sometimes beautiful cat. He has published four books of poetry: For You, Limitless, Lollipops, and Fluffy Socks. He has also published widely in journals such as Skive, 34th Parallel, and Living with Loss.  Unclear of its tone or direction, he is currently hard at work on his fifth collection of poetry.  Most of his encouragement as a writer comes from his friends at the writing workshop that meets weekly at the local library. Besides writing, Drew loves listening to music, going on long walks, and playing with his children in the backyard.

Q.  How long do you write daily?

I write between 2-3 hours daily depending on how well things are going. If the writing gets tense and seems to be going nowhere, I go for a long walk.

Q.  What is your biggest accomplishment?

My biggest accomplishment is graduating from Austin Peay State University with an MA in English Creative Writing. That was tough study, and I’m proud to have made it through.

Q.  What is your major emphasis now?

Right now, I’m working on writing. Besides caring for my children, it’s all about writing. Nothing will get written on its own.

Q.  What are you currently reading?

I am reading Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austin. Her writing looks so simple it’s amazing. She’s one of the best, ever. Besides Austin, I’ve started re-reading some of Shakespeare’s sonnets.

Q.  What is your favorite book?

I’ve got to go with two here: The Call of the Wild and The Hound of the Baskervilles.

Q.  Which contemporary authors are you reading now?

Billy Collins is one of the coolest authors we have with us today. His imagination is incredible. Also, I enjoy reading the playful and lighthearted M.C. Beaton mystery books.

Q.  What are your goals?

One goal is to have ten collections of poetry finished by the time I’m fifty. That sounds like a good number to me. Also, I’d like to try writing something off the grid: a collection of essays, humorous tales from the classroom, things like that.

Q.  What are you working on at the moment?

At the moment I’m working hard on the fifth collection of poetry. If it makes sense, the collection is lifting off a bit–its shiny head in the wind–and I want to keep it down, but I know I can’t restrain it. I’ve got to let go and see where it leads. That’s what I’m working on.

Q. What do you hope to get from writing?

I always want to learn more about myself and others. I love to see how far we’ve come and the possibilities of the future.

Q.  If you could tell your younger self something about writing what would it be?

I would tell my younger self that writing is like life. There are unpleasant times and there are pleasurable times, and the trick to the whole thing is to stay at it, no matter what.

Q.  What did you want to be when you were a child?

When I was a child I wanted to be a Major League baseball player. I made it to high school, not bad, considering.

Q.  What do you do for a full time job?

At this time, I’m between jobs and that gives me time to write. Trust me, I’m taking advantage of the time.

Q.  What are your feelings about ethics used in writing about historical figures?

Accurate history must be based in truth or it becomes fiction. If the author is honest and tells us if his or her work is based in fact or fantasy, that would ease much tension.

Q.  Where can we find your work?

www.dwb.publishing.com

or through any normal online locations.

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C.A. MacKenzie is the author of (among other books) the novel WOLVES DON’T KNOCK, a psychological drama/thriller, available from the author or at various retailers including Amazon [https://www.amazon.com/Wolves-Dont-Knock-C-MacKenzie/dp/1927529387/].

 

 

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Writer Wednesdays – Jane Doucet

This week, Writing Wicket showcases Jane Doucet, author of The Pregnant Pause.

Jane Doucet photo by Rachael Kelly (2).jpg

After earning an honours journalism degree from the University of King’s College in Halifax in 1993, Jane Doucet began her career in Toronto at FLARE, Canada’s leading fashion magazine. She spent the next six years working as a staff writer, editor, researcher and copy editor for several award-winning national magazines, including Chatelaine and Maclean’s.

In 1999, Jane decided to pursue freelance writing and editing full-time in Toronto. A year later she returned home to Halifax, where she expanded her freelance clientele. She wrote dozens of feature articles on health, parenting, gardening, entertainment, education, business and more diverse topics for national magazines and newspapers. In 2015, she joined the Schulich School of Law at Dalhousie University as a communications specialist.

In 2003, Jane wrote the first draft of The Pregnant Pause, her debut novel. Following a negative experience with a literary agent in London, England, she shelved the manuscript for 14 years, dusting it off in the fall of 2016 and choosing to self-publish it in order to maintain creative control. While the story is loosely based on some of her own experiences, it’s also representative of many women’s journeys.

“I wrote my novel to empower women who assumed they’d have children but, for whatever reason, it didn’t happen,” says Jane. “It’s really for everyone, though—women and men, parents and non-parents—because it’s about relationships with romantic partners, family, friends and coworkers. People will be able to relate to different parts of the story.”

I asked Jane:

Q: Do you try more to be original or deliver to readers what they want?

I try to write a story that I’d like to read and hope the readers who like the genre and topic will also enjoy it.

Q: How many unpublished and half-finished books do you have?

I’m almost finished the first draft of a manuscript for my second novel.

Q: What is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?

Not paying authors more. Except for the big names, ordinary authors don’t receive much money from each book sale.

Q: What are you working on at the moment?

A novel about a married couple in their late 50s who open a sex shop in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia. It has some racy bits, but it’s really about love—long-time mature love, love in a rut, new love, lost love, unrequited love, even the love of beloved animal companions.

Q: As a child, what did you want to be?

Until Grade 7 a teacher, because both of my parents were. Then when I was 12 I started taking ballet lessons, and I wanted to be a ballerina. I earned a dance performance studies diploma at George Brown College in Toronto, then did a short stint at the Washington School of Ballet before enrolling in journalism school when I was 20. I’ve been writing ever since, and I turned 50 in September.

Q: Do you view writing as a kind of spiritual practice?

Hardly! I find it painful.

Q: What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters of the opposite sex?

Everything.

Q: What do you like least about writing?

Revisions, and feeling like you could still improve it even after it has gone to the printer.

Q: What’s your favourite part of writing?

Finishing! Seriously, though, rereading certain passages in my manuscript after taking a break and thinking, “Hey, that isn’t half bad.”

Q: How many hours a day do you write?

I have a full-time day job so I don’t have a writing schedule. I write when I have the time, energy and ideas. I never watch the clock, but I’m obsessed with checking word count. I rented a house in Lunenburg the first week of October solely to work on my second novel and averaged 1,500 words a day over five days.

Q: What do you hope to accomplish with your writing?

To entertain and educate with humour.

Q: What’s the most you’ve ever edited out of a book? Did it bother you to do so?

I put the manuscript for The Pregnant Pause in a drawer for 14 years before I self-published it. When I went to revise it, I was a stronger writer than I had been since I had written the previous draft. I cut 20,000 words out of it and the flow was much tighter as a result. So, no, it didn’t bother me; it felt necessary.

Q: What motivates you (in writing or otherwise)?

In writing, when an idea won’t leave me alone. Then I’m like a dog with a delicious bone—I won’t let go of it till it’s good and done.

Q: Are you ever upset when you’ve finished a story, that your characters have said all they’re going to say?

Not at all. It’s a release and a relief—and time to send it out into the world and see how it’ll be received (hopefully well).

Q: What books have you published?

My debut novel, The Pregnant Pause, in 2017. I’m proud to say that it was shortlisted for a 2018 Whistler Independent Book Award.

Jane’s Website

Facebook: @thepregnantpausenovel

Twitter: @allmywords2017

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If you are an indie author and would like to be “showcased” on this blog, please send a request to writingwicket at gmail.com.

C.A. MacKenzie is the author of the novel WOLVES DON’T KNOCK, a psychological drama/thriller, available from the author or at various retailers, including Amazon at https://www.amazon.com/Wolves-Dont-Knock-C-MacKenzie/dp/1927529387/.

 

 

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Writer Wednesdays – Brenda Pearson

This week, we showcase Brenda Pearson.

Brenda Pearson

Brenda was born in the Eastern Township of Quebec, Canada, but has since been happily living in Halifax, Nova Scotia.  There she enjoys the salty air, the wildlife, and the warmth and kindness of Nova Scotians.  She hopes to retire one day and write full-time in her peaceful surroundings. Brenda enjoys writing, reading, golfing, and quality time with her dog Molly and her partner Derek. Brenda’s first book was published in 2016.

I asked Brenda:

Q: How long on average does it take you to write a book?

A: Couple of months, if I don’t get distracted.

Q: How does your life unfold in a normal writing day?

A: I work during the day, so nighttime is when I can plug in a few hours, between Social Media, writing.

Q: If you could start over again in your writing career, what would you do differently?

A: I’d start a lot sooner. I’ve only been writing since 2013, when my love of reading turned to writing. Published my first book in 2016 and the second in 2018, with a new one coming out in November.

Q: Have you ever cried with one of your characters?

A: Yes

Q: Do you believe in writer’s block?

A: Yes, but it hasn’t hit me yet.

Q: What genre do you favour?

A: Romance

Q: What are the ethics of writing about historical figures?

A: I don’t write Historical.  Even though that era is fascinating.

Q: What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?

A: I like when characters return from book to book. I like series. If research is needed, I Google, but I have friends in health care, law, and the army, so if I have a few questions relating to what I’m writing, I reach out and they are willing to help.

Q: What is your favourite childhood book?

A: The Adventures of Tintin. I used to love reading them.

Q: What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?

A: Getting the love scene done.

Q: Does writing energize or exhaust you?

A: Energize

Q: What is your writing Kryptonite?

A: Not getting it right the first time; re-writes are brutal.

Q: Did you ever consider writing under a pseudonym?

A: No.

Q: Do you think someone could be a writer if they don’t feel emotions strongly?

A: No, you need to feel emotions to be writing or it will not work, for me anyway.

Q: If you could be any author, who would it be and why?

A: H.M Ward. I love how she writes. She keeps you wanting more. Her writing is mysterious and funny, and you never know what will happen in her series.

Q: What is the first book that made you cry?

A: The Anderson series, written by Melody Anne.

Q: Why did you decide to self-publish?

A: Easier to self-publish than traditional. The cost is on you, so you need to work more to get where you want to be.

Q: What are common traps for aspiring writers?

A: Don’t give up. The first manuscript is never perfect, nor even the second or third – but if you believe in yourself, you can do it. That is all that matters. Take advice, learn from your mistakes, and keep going.

Brenda’s books:

Billionaire’s Love  – Book 1 (Max and Megan’s story)

Billionaire’s Forgiveness – Book 2 (Max and Megan’s conclusion) – Pierce Brothers Series

Billionaire’s Mistake –  Book 3 (Novella) Pierce Brothers Series coming November 10th (Josh and Lizzie)

Check out Brenda’s links:

Website

WordPress

Facebook

Twitter

Instagram

Goodreads

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C.A. MacKenzie is the author of WOLVES DON’T KNOCK, a psychological drama with elements of thriller, suspense, mystery, romance, and family dynamics. Buy it on Amazon. Also available locally from the author and at other local retailers.

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If you are an author and would like to be interviewed for a Wednesday spot, please send a request to: writingwicket (at) gmail.com

 

 

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