We welcome you to My Bookish Pleasures! Can you tell us how you got started writing fiction?
I started over twenty-five years ago when I wrote an eco-social story for children about a young bird named, “Youngen,” who lacks self-confidence and is invited to go on a journey with her owl caretaker, Rufus. The little bird is urged by her mentor to go on an “adventure” to find her unique song. This pulls her out of a lackluster
world and takes her on a journey of self-discovery but more, it teaches her that she is held in a loving web of life where all possibilities exist, and hope is alive.
I also created the audio version of the story, Youngen Finds Her Song, An Inspiring Adventure from the Heart of Nature. The audio brought the book to life with exciting sound effects, music, and the voices of birds and insects who discuss their views about aging, war and peace, the human species, and many of the wonders of nature. I was able to make an audio to place inside the book’s cover so families could scan it with their phones and hear the book.
At that time, I was a licensed Marriage, Family, Child, Therapist, and I did this to give kids a hopeful story about healing and improving self-esteem. I also wanted to focus on the power of friendship and the awesomeness of the natural world. This book has been loved by kids, parents, and grandparents, for over two decades and I am so pleased about that! It is one of five books of fiction I wrote for children. I sent many of those books to the Starlight Foundation and St. Jude Hospital which help children fight life-threatening illnesses.
I also wrote several fiction books for adults which you can see on my website: www.booksasfriends.com
Describe your writing process. Do you plot or write by the seat of your pants? When and where do you write?
I write when I get an inspirational idea. I may wake up with such an idea or it appears like a full-blown dream when I am awake. I write on my computer looking out on my garden or on my patio which is well described by Edna St. Vincent Millay’s poem, “Renascence,” All I could see from where I stood/ Was three long mountains and a wood.
Can you tell us about your most recent release?
This is my first fiction novel entitled, Defiance and Redemption, A Lifetime of Unbroken Bonds. I translated it into Spanish to honor my culture and for a larger readership. After all, the story takes place in 20th Century Ecuador, South America! Here is a short description:
Based on a true story, Defiance and Redemption, A Lifetime of Unbroken Bonds, brings to life the joys, dramas, and triumphs of two sisters, Eva and Victoria Alisio, and their loyal friend Marta. Eva, a proud and strong-willed young woman defies her family, society, and culture, faces scandal and disgrace, for her forbidden love affair. Victoria finds herself in the center of a multigenerational conflict as her benefactor bestows a great inheritance on her excluding the rightful heirs. Marta, loyal to the childhood bond with the Alisio sisters, brings humor and support to their twists and turns of fortune. The strong bond between them helps them overcome their life’s challenges and forge ahead to discover a new world of opportunities in America!
An important novel about 20th Century women, Defiance and Redemption, A Lifetime of Unbroken Bonds is an absorbing epic that moves through decades and destinies. It blends personal and historical events into a collective tale of self-determination, love, and sisterhood.
How did you get the idea for the book?
My sister and I had heard the story of our parent’s love affair all our lives. So, I wanted to write about that love story. Their love for each other lasted a lifetime, and yet there were lessons learned from these soul mates who didn’t stay together.
I also witnessed the sisterhood of three women in my family that also lasted a lifetime. These three women, my mother, my aunt, and my godmother, had a close bond for over eighty years, longer than most marriages! How they became close in childhood and what they went through in young adulthood were fascinating dramas that I felt had to be told. The three women overcame personal challenges because of that mutual support. When things were toughest, they had each other, and this helped them get through their circumstances. Those dramas filled with humor, romance, scandal, and redemption, are why reviewers call the book a page-turner.
Of all your characters, which one is your favorite? Why?
I love the three major female characters in the story, but of course, my favorite is the protagonist Eva, based on my own mother’s character and the true events in her life.
What was the most challenging aspect of writing your book?
I think the editing and translating I had to do in two languages. I had completed the English version that entailed 77,000 words. I then translated the story into Spanish. A few days I went through the editing process in English. After that, the Spanish editor checked my translation and grammar. It was a daunting process!
What projects are you currently working on?
I am working on a book for children about going to Dreamland. I will also be sharing my personal life journey told through dreams and poetry. Wish me luck!
What advice would you offer to new or aspiring fiction authors?
There were poets in my novel whose estates I could not contact for permission to use their work. I was able to get around that creatively but even fiction may contain information that has to be researched and permission granted if another author’s work is used. As writers that is our legal and moral responsibility and takes some effort.
Other than this, I think my advice to other authors is to believe in your work and write and re-write until you have your story at a level you feel is your best. You will need to have it edited so be patient, because you will write and re-write again. Hang in there! Every step from writing to publishing requires your patience and determination. If you believe in your story, you will need help, to get it out there. This where the work of people like Dorothy Thompson and others such as yourself, who love books and communicate with readers is so important!
The public won’t know your work as an author exists unless you find a place for them to find it. I also think you need to get away from writing and the sitting lifestyle. Get outside, get some sun. Play with your child or your pet, enjoy your partner, your friends! Then in the moments when you are alone or meditating, or daydreaming, in the moment when you least expect it, an idea may visit you and demand you put it on a page.
I want to thank My Bookish Pleasures for inviting me to your site. I hope it was as enjoyable for you as it has been for me!