This is my last book review of 2022, which is apt as it is centered around book people, just like us!
REVIEW: This is one of those novels that grips you from the first chapter. It is a joy for readers and writers alike as you follow Liv on her journey from cleaner to ghost writer. Getting inside a writer’s mind is as difficult for a reader as it is for one writer to another. A spellbinding story, I absolutely loved.
I managed to finish my Goodreads Reading Challenge for 2022 as well, and will look forward to another year of great stories in 2023. This is my TBR pile for this coming year.
How does yours look?
What book are you most excited about reading this year? Will it be a new novel by a favourite author, or a new genre?
As a poet and a writer, which format do you enjoy writing the most?
Poetry has always been my favourite format. Playing with words in a creative way helps me choose words to express abstract ideas. Because words have nuances and “halos” its important to make clear connections between the words and the feelings behind them. For me, the process of writing, whether poetry or prose involves feelings. For this reason, my Roget’s Thesaurus is a very useful reference book.
If others can relate to what I’m saying or are inspired by my words, I know the meaning has come through. Its comforting to know that someone else feels as I do. Poetry reveals parts of me that might otherwise remain hidden and that gives me courage to reveal my inner self and I can then be true to my values and integrity. When I feel connected to others and to nature, poetry reveals beauty. For me, its essential to be amazed.
Why is metaphor important to you?
Some people are literal minded and think in black and white whereas others colour their worlds with metaphor. This tool of the imagination affects how I see and respond to the world and how I interact with others. Metaphor can bring clarity in communication between people with opposite viewpoints because it expresses a relationship between things and ideas. For example, when my husband and I have difficulty finding common ground, we are able to access mutual understanding in a way that we cannot otherwise. Metaphor offers a big picture perspective. Colourful language creates mental imagery that boosts insight into feelings. Because perspective is so important to me, looking through the lens of metaphor provides a powerful source of soul wisdom for sharing my world.
Was the transition from poetry to fiction writing difficult?
The transition was not difficult but was freeing. A few years ago, when I attended a life writing class to find material for poetry, I wasn’t very confident in my ability to write prose. When I began telling stories about my family history and my childhood, the switch to prose opened a new world to me. I realized I had a unique story and I could share it with others.
How do you choose which format to write in, once an idea forms?
Prose lends itself to the concrete and poetry to the nebulous. I use poetic language in my prose as it creates imagery and is often a way to express difficult situations or emotions, whether my own or someone else’s experience. For me, the two formats are intertwined. I love the threads connecting all aspects of my being: physical, emotional, intellectual and spiritual. One of the big differences between writing poetry on demand using a prompt and writing prose from a prompt is that poetry come from inspiration. Prose doesn’t necessarily do that and when it comes from my imagination, is becomes fiction.
What inspired you to write a memoir fiction novel?
One of the effects of the constant moving experienced by children who do not have long lasting connection to people and community influenced my access to memory. I took the events that I did remember and built stories around them to make sense of them and find meaning in my life. I had written lot of short pieces and the best format seemed to be a novel-in-short-stories in which I created individual stories based on real experience. Each of the stories could stand alone, but the reading of them in sequence enhanced the whole story as a novel would.
Where did the ideas come from for your children’s books?
My 96-year-old mother is a great storyteller and she relishes family tales about her children. “Not My Daddy” was created from one of her stories about watching for my father as soldiers in identical uniforms got off a bus. “Naughty Alice” is also a story from my childhood. The delightful child in this story is my own Inner Child who wanted to help her Grammie tailor a new coat. The third book “Grandma’s Big, Big Backyard” was created to record the experience of my own grandchildren playing in the backyard.
How important is connection with other writers for you?
Being part of a community of writers allows me to share my writing experience and ideas with others. I enjoy encouraging other writers with positive feedback and constructive criticism. Because writing is a solitary activity, having a community of others who understand the challenges of the writing life is essential. Everyone who writes has something to share with the world and we all need connection to be our best.
Do you have a writing space – describe it.
We recently purchased a ground floor condo with two bedrooms and a study and I was excited to make the study my own. My first priority was to purchase a new desk, repurposed a credenza for storage and utilized an antique china cabinet to display my books and special keepsakes. I love the light that pours in through the frosted glass French doors. I’ve put up all my favourite pictures and made the space my own.
What message do you wish to convey to your readers?
The stories we tell ourselves shape our lives and what we believe about the world. As poet Edith Sodergran once said, “…poetry is a way to me.” All of my writing has been the way to me. I’ve spent my whole writing life searching for this person who is me and I want my readers to know that writing is a wonderful way to discover who you really are.
Where can readers find you and your work?
Please look for books by Kathie Sutherland on Amazon.ca or visit my Facebook page Kathie Sutherland Author. All of my books are available from me directly. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. My publisher Dream Write Publishing from Sherwood Park, Alberta also sells my books. https://www.dreamwritepublishing.ca/ Many of my books are part of the local author library collections at Strathcona County and Fort Saskatchewan Public Libraries.
Kathie Sutherland is a mature, observant student of life who is retired and lives in Fort Saskatchewan, Alberta with her husband of 42 years. She has two fiercely independent adult daughters, and two adult grandchildren. A Canadian by birth, she celebrates differences in culture, outlook and lifestyle, and appreciates the benefits of living in other parts of Canada and beyond. Her love affair with language is lifelong, and her unique narrative voice infuses all her writing with authenticity.
Over the past 30 years Kathie Sutherland has written poetry, personal essay, fairy tale, a true events autobiographical novel and three children’s books. Her love of words and their “halos” fanned the flame of her desire to understand the profound and lasting effects of her childhood in a constantly moving Canadian military family through personal journaling, continued learning and reflection. She believes that loss and loneliness can be transformed into love and connection by writing short life stories rich in life wisdom. Recently, she has given voice to her playful side in her based-on-real-events children’s books.
Kathie Sutherland is involved in two local writing groups and fully enjoys encouraging others in their writing projects. She also leads a reminiscence group at a local seniors lodge, helps others write legacy letters at the end of life, as well as being active in a local church community. She enjoys aquafit, pastel painting and travel to interesting places.
As we come to the close of the year – 2022 – I would like to know what you would like to see on this blog in 2023. I can keep the same regularly themed twice weekly posts, or do something completely different. I am always looking to engage readers and writers alike in my blog community.
Shall I continue with Bibliophile Collective Tuesday’s and Wordsmith Collective Thursday’s or change it up?
What do you want to see, read, interact about?
Is there something I have not covered or included you wish I did?
It was a hot August day, and I was sitting on my back deck when, seemingly out of nowhere, I felt overwhelmed with emotions and heard a whisper, “stories to be told”. With a bit of an attitude, I thought, “Okay, if this is God, I’ve already shared my story. It was hard, but I did it. How often do I have to share?”
Again, a gentle whisper was felt; “stories to be told.” The scene before me, which was my backyard, turned into a black and white scene, as if it were an old movie reel. Within the scene was a young lady on her knees, sobbing. You could feel the emotion radiating out of what I was seeing. It lasted a second, but I knew who the person was and what the reminder was. Years ago, the young woman was me crying out to the God I told myself I didn’t believe in.
I knew then what the message was. Stories, as in many stories, needed to be told. So I reached out to a few ladies I knew and asked if they’d like to participate in an anthology I was considering putting together. They said yes. I reached out to a few more ladies, and they said yes. I soon had 20 women who wanted to share their stories of Grace. But it didn’t stop there. More women reached out, and I soon realized this would be more than one book. It turned into a 3-book series, with all three published within 12 months. As time went on, another nudge was received: to share Hope and my newest release, When Hope Found Me was born.
Has writing them given you a new perspective or mission or aided you in some way?
Oh, my yes. Once this journey of coordinating anthologies began, I realized that there is so much darkness and negativity in the world on TV, radio, social media, and within neighborhoods and communities. Seeing and hearing about negative things each day becomes tiring and emotionally draining.
God again nudged me to share, and the word Hope showed up.
The word Hope had been showing up everywhere for weeks at the end of 2021. Finally, I realized that I was to do something with that word.
I bought some inspirational cards, just the small kind, and began leaving them in random places in stores when I would be out and about. You know the kind, “You are amazing!”, “You are awesome!”. But I felt that I needed to do something else. Something more personal.
I then went online and found polished stones with the word Hope engraved on them. So I thought, “Okay, here we go. I’ll call them Nuggets of Hope!”
So now, I carry a few of those Nuggets of Hope wherever I go, and when I feel a nudge to approach someone, I’ll walk up to the person and quietly say, “I’ve got a small gift for you, a nugget of hope.” And I’ll place it in their hand, wish them a blessed day and be on my way. I don’t feel I am to talk with them but to hand them a small nugget of Hope and be on my way.
That is now a part of my mission, choosing to sprinkle Hope like confetti. One nugget of Hope at a time.
How else do you spread your words and experiences?
Over the past few years, I have started a podcast called Let Fear Bounce. It is an interview-style show where I have guests from all over the world and from different walks of life share their journey, be it writing, teaching, coaching, or simply having an amazing story or experience to share. I feel blessed to be able to provide a platform for others to share their nuggets of Hope.
What message do you have for your readers?
I hope they feel a spark of something when they read through any of the books. Maybe it will be inspiration or admiration. Perhaps it will be motivation to change something for the better in their own life. Or maybe the stories will spark something inside and provide them a bit of hope; for themselves, humanity, and their family, whatever the case may be. I want readers to FEEL and know that there is hope, goodness, and kindness in the world.
Do you think there are enough resources for sufferers of PTSD?
If you had asked me that question 10 years ago, even five years ago, I would say no.
I prefer to steer clear of the word “suffer.” For me, I choose to say, “live with PTSD.” Because you do, your experience has played a big part in who you are and who you will become. Living with PTSD is a part of you, and you of it. It’s a significant life experience. It is all in how you face and deal with it that matters.
Is it easy? No. Is it worth facing and finding safe and healthy ways to live with it? Yes. Because then you can turn that into a message to help others.
Are there enough resources out there to help all of those who live with PTSD? Maybe not, but great strides have been made. Over the years, I have seen many new programs, counselors, and assistance available, especially for women. I believe that more will become available in the future.
When you began writing, what was the hardest part?
The most difficult part of the process was being authentic. What I mean by that is sharing the whole story. Not just bits and pieces worded in a particular way so as not to make the reader uncomfortable.
I realized that I just needed to be open and honest. Share what was on my heart and share that in a way that was true to me, and hopefully, those who read my words will feel something.
Where is your favorite place to write?
It turns out my dining room table is the place where I typically write. Not sure why; it is just where I end up. I have my days, though, that on a beautiful summer day, I’ll haul my laptop outside and let nature speak to me, and I let words flow.
Do you have plans for future books?
Indeed I do! I have two books I am currently working on. We’ll see where they take me. There are always stories to be write and words to share that inspire!
What does the word ‘rescue’ mean to you?
Being pulled from the darkness. A place where you feel lost and unable to see or feel joy or light. When a person, a book, a song, or a pet provides a spark of light. That small light enters into your darkness, and you lift your eyes. That is a rescue to me. So many rescuers out there aren’t aware of what they have provided. How blessed we are that they exist!
Kim is a multi-published author, writer, podcast host of Let Fear Bounce, and TV show host of The Write Stuff, The Authors Voice with the Believe In Your Dreams TV Network.
In addition, she is an active speaker sharing her story of being a female veteran living with PTSD and spreading a message of Hope. She regularly speaks for local veteran and women’s organizations in her hometown area and across numerous global organizations.
She has been writing and speaking with empathy and emotion since 2004 showcasing her faith, nature, love of rescue animals, and advocacy for veterans living with PTSD. She showcases her writing through her books, business, and website; www.kimlenglingauthor.com.
She is the lead author and coordinator of a collaborative 3-book anthology series titled When Grace Found Me. In addition, she is a published co-author in seven anthologies and numerous print and online global newspapers and magazines.
Kim sees each day as an opportunity to spread hope and encouragement, for, without hope, life would be a dark place.
“The world can be a dark place. So I choose to toss nuggets of hope out into the world like confetti; little sparks of light in the darkness.”