Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Author Interview – Gail Gillingham Wylie

October 8, 2019
mandyevebarnett


AuthorInterview

gail

First of all, my book is not a novel but a self help book so I will try to answer the questions……

What inspired your latest novel?

In 1993 I left my husband and in leaving him lost everything for a time, my home, my job, my family and so on. I struggled to make sense of how I was feeling without any real help from the therapists I went to, the self help books I read, or any friends, etc. I talked to. I decided to return to University where I discovered the work of William James. It made sense of what I, not only, was experiencing, but also what my family was going through. Had no intention of ever writing a book about it, but after hearing everyone responding to 911, in much the same I felt in 1993, I decided I need to share what I had learned and so put it all down on paper.

How did you come up with the title?                 

William James developed a model of self in the late 1800’s – the title refers to how we, without being aware, are searching for that level of understanding.

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

You are okay – no matter what is happening to you. It all makes sense if you take into account your whole journey through life. Only once you clearly understand your “self” you are you free to choose the next steps wisely.

search 

How much of the book is realistic?

All of it, I hope.

Are your characters based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

There are three main sources for the examples I use in the book, my own life and what I have learned from two groups of people who live on the extreme……those with autism and those who were sexually abused as children.

Where can readers find you on social media and do you have a blog?

Social media: facebook – interact with people all over the world on messenger through it. No blog as such, but do share thoughts through the notes section on facebook. Also have a website for my work in autism: www.autismconsultingservice.com

Do you have plans or ideas for your next book? Is it a sequel or a stand alone?

Have just completed my first novel – one I carried around in my head for 45 years. Currently have a couple more on the go. One is a murder mystery type, the other, the impact in a community in the midst of a world wide disaster. Don’t think I will be writing any more self-help books

Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?

I like the main character in the murder mystery -Oliver Weary……he is a good man, in spite of what happened to him as a child, and spite of what the community at large assumes.

Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?

Definitely a dabbler. Just finished a dinner theatre murder mystery for my family that worked out well, completing two very different projects in the moment: a manual for the work we do, and a short history of my grandfather’s life for my extended family as well as the two novels in progress.

Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?

Am amazed at how, although one has planned out an outline, how stories take on a life of their own as time goes by.

What is your best marketing tip?

Wish I had one!!!

Do you find social media a great tool or a hindrance?

For me, it has been a great tool, but it does take time and energy to use it effectively.

OPTIONAL QUESTIONS

What do you enjoy most about writing?

It is who I am and I delight in the freedom to do it at this point in my life. At a certain point in life, I actually burned everything I had written up till then, something I have regretted ever since. Not good to not live with the freedom to be oneself.

What age did you start writing stories/poems?

I don’t remember, did a lot of newspaper ideas as a child and carried on with them in high school and college – the childhood ones were all fiction, while the later ones were of actual happenings and shared with the community I was in at the time.

Has your genre changed or stayed the same?

I think it has always been diverse.

What genre are you currently reading?

Current book of the moment is Emma by Alexander4 McCall Smith – a modern retelling of Jane Austen’s novel. We have a wee library close to our home and I currently get all of my reading material from it……so becomes very diverse based on what others have contributed.

Do you read for pleasure or research or both?

At this point, pleasure. Started researching both autism and the long term effects of childhood sexual abuse in the late eighties and basically gave up reading for pleasure for the next 20 years…..so it feels goo to get back to it.

Who is your best supporter/mentor/encourager?

My husband Clay

Where is your favorite writing space?

On the computer!!! So nice to have something that I can use that gets my thoughts down almost as fast as I can think them!! Have my own office in my home so that’s where the writing happens at this point. Have this dream of moving into at hotel for a stint and having everything looked after for me so all I needed to do was write, but fear it might end up too boring.

Do you belong to a writing group? If so which one?

No, not really – joined one last fall but nothing came of it…..

If you could meet one favorite author, who would it be and why?

Margret Lawrence – to thank her for a portion of The Diviner’s which explained how I was responding to life and what I needed to do to change it.

If you could live anywhere in the world – where would it be?

Right where I am. Love my home!!! But in the midst of that, also NEED to experience the energy of the mountains, the ocean and the old growth forests so make the effort to visit them at least once a year.

Do you see writing as a career?

Since I am almost at the age of 70, not really looking for a career. May have wanted it when I was younger but know now that the life I experienced has opened me up in ways that sitting at a desk never could have….and it is those experiences that make what I write powerful.

Do you nibble as you write? If so what’s your favorite snack food?

No – drink a lot of coffee but rarely snack if ever.

What reward do you give yourself for making a deadline?

No deadlines at this point in life!!

Bio:

Gail Gillingham Wylie, M.Sc. is an individual, marital and family therapist working in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada specializing in the field of autism. She has a Bachelor’s of Art in Psychology from the University of Alberta and a Masters of Science in marital and family therapy from Loma Linda University, California. She has worked as a quantum biofeedback practitioner with SCIO since 2005.

Gail is known internationally through her books on autism: Autism Handle with Care (1995), Autism A New Understanding (2000) and Sharing our Wisdom (2003) and has spoken at many conferences on autism in United States, Canada, England, Malaysia and South Africa throughout the last quarter century. These include presentations at the World Conferences on Autism in Toronto in 1993, and Cape Town, SA in 2006. Her latest book In Search of Self takes her out of the autism world as it applies to each and every one of us.

Gail first began using the model of self as tool with her clients while working as a family therapist. She has successfully incorporated it into her sessions on the scio as it provides a visual map for those who are working towards self awareness. She fully believes that we are living at a time during which developing and unconditional acceptance of one self and of others is of prime importance. The model of self can help us do that.

Author Interview – Ellen Notbohm

February 19, 2019
mandyevebarnett


AuthorInterview

Ellen Notbohm 12 2017

What inspired your latest novel?

Through many years of genealogy work, I’ve learned that every family has that one person—the one nobody will talk about, the one with the aura of taboo around him or her. Three generations back, Analiese Rushton (not her real name) was that person in our family tree.

It took a lot of digging and a grain of luck to find out why—she faced recurring perinatal and postpartum psychosis at a time when neither medicine or society understood it. Given the intense social stigma of mental illness in Annie’s day, aggravated by stark gender bias in both courts of law and courts of public opinion, what we now know to be a bona fide and treatable medical condition threatened to cost Annie nearly everything that matters to most of us—family, home, health, safety, the right to self-determination. I also learned that maternal mental health was the rarest of subjects in historical fiction; it almost felt like publishing too was infected with that zipped-lips taboo. I wanted to tell Annie’s story in a way that would heal ills and injustices, and topple that taboo.

9781631523359_Perfect_LSI.indd

How did you come up with the title?

That’s a fun chicken-egg question I can’t fully answer. When I started writing, I had a working title that I knew wouldn’t be the final title. One of the things I love about novels is that Aha! moment when you’re reading along and come upon the title of the book. To Kill a Mockingbird and The Color Purple are a couple of potent examples. So as I was writing, I had my “third ear” open, listening for possible titles. I considered several that didn’t feel quite right. Then up popped “The River by Starlight” and there it was. Readers will know from the first page of the book that it’s from a journal entry by Henry David Thoreau. But they have to read some chapters in to find out how it impacts the story and why it’s a thread that carries throughout the book.                                                                         

Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?

Although The River by Starlight confronts loss and grief in many shape-shifting forms, it’s not a tale of depth-less terror and tragedy. I would not and could not have written a book like that. Edmonton historian Tony Cashman is a dear friend of mine, and in his testimonial, he described the book as “a story told with deep understanding of the human heart, which won’t abandon hope.” That refusal to abandon hope—Annie’s astonishing resilience and tenacity in the face of devastating events, is a tribute to the luminescence of the human spirit that lives in all of us. That’s why I wrote the book. I didn’t think she should be the one nobody talks about. I wanted her to be the one everybody talks about. 

How much of the book is realistic?

100%. I put in over a decade of research, including six trips to Montana, Edmonton, and North Dakota. Much of the book describes events that did take place, and most of what I made up was also based on that research. I consulted more than 40 libraries and archives, read more than 1,000 homestead accounts, close to 100 books, and several miles of microfilmed newspapers.

Where can readers find you on social media and do you have a blog?

You can find me on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Instagram. I have two blogs on my website, for fiction and nonfiction. My Facebook page is a very interactive community of readers from more than 40 countries.

Do you have plans or ideas for your next book? Is it a sequel or a stand alone?

I’m percolating an idea based on another long-ago real person, whose early life was a dramatic brew of siblings lost to an epidemic, the Civil War, and historic upheaval within her faith community. She eventually landed in Dayton, Ohio, in the same neighborhood as an interesting pair of brothers who claimed to be building a flying machine. Once I start writing a bit, I’ll know if she wants to tell me her story.

Of the characters you have created or envisioned, which is your favorite & why?

Like the children’s book, I Love You the Purplest, my mother impressed upon me that her children were so different from each other, it meant that each was her favorite in their own way. It’s just that way for my characters in The River by Starlight, many of whom I love, but in ways that defy comparison. Nor do I have a favorite villain, and at least one reader agreed, in what is a favorite comment: “The characters are real and pop off the page. I have empathy, sorrow, joy, and want to choke a number of them!”

Do you favor one type of genre or do you dabble in more than one?

As writers, we’re often told to write what we know, but also told to write what scares us, or write what we want to know. I’d written four nonfiction books and countless essays and advice columns when I decided to write a historical novel. I can’t say enough about how expansive it’s been, in every way, to stretch myself into uncharted territory as a writer. I’m eager to both continue on with what I’m good at, and to push my pencil into forms and genres I haven’t before considered.

Do you plan your stories, or are you a seat of the pants style writer?

Pantser! I’ll start with a spark of an idea and see where the research takes me. When I start writing, the story will either bloom or fall flat. If it blooms, I go on, listening with my “third ear” and following the arc of the story as my research expands. It’s almost like a game where I’m given facts or leads or provocative questions, I work them into the story, then listen for how the characters are going to respond. I’m constantly judging the messages I’m portraying, whether I’m getting it right, and also gauging when it’s necessary for me to take literary license and depart from that.

What is your best marketing tip?

Find what you’re best at and focus on that. It’s good and appropriate to stretch yourself to do things that may be a bit beyond your comfort zone but none of us can be good at everything, let alone have the time or money to do it all. If you really hate, say, a particular social media platform or blogging or podcasts or live events or whatever, be unapologetic about saying no to it. I believe readers pick up on insincerity, so connect them with your best self.

Do you find social media a great tool or a hindrance?

In all things, balance. It’s every author’s choice whether to invest time and effort in a social media presence, but to forego it entirely is to greatly limit your ability to connect with readers and potential readers. Readers expect an internet presence, and other less immediate sources may not come to mind. At the same time, neither is an author obligated to spend untold hours on social media. How much presence, how much effort an author wants to devote to her digital platform is entirely individual, and there’s no “right” amount. I know authors who are only on Facebook, or only on Twitter, and post only when they feel they have something to say. Writers have to prioritize the writing, ruminating, and revising that make us writers in the first place.

What do you enjoy most about writing?

The magic of it. Watching words flow out of a pencil tip, watching words form sentences, sentences form paragraphs, paragraphs form whole stories. Sometimes it’s almost like I’m an observer.

Has your genre changed or stayed the same?

Genre is such a fluid thing to me. Though the writing of my fiction and nonfiction were vastly different experiences, there was enough crossover for me to loosen the boundaries in my mind of what “genre” means. My novel has been recognized with awards for historical fiction, regional fiction, literary fiction. My nonfiction books and historical articles have a strong storytelling element to them. I hope to cross a few more genre thresholds before I’m done.

What genre are you currently reading?

I’m usually reading several books at any given time; right now I’m reading a historical novel, a memoir, a creative nonfiction, and a classic.

Do you read for pleasure or research or both?

They’re inseparable, because research is one of my greatest pleasures. It’s entertaining, informational, emotionally and intellectually challenging. In a way, everything I read is research. It all lodges in my conscious or subconscious and finds its way into my writing in one way or another, either by what I include or what I choose not to include.

 

Where is your favorite writing space?

In my head, of course!

Do you see writing as a career?

Sure, because the definition of “career” is as broad as a writer’s mind allows it to be. I just internet-searched the definition, and the first one that came up was, “an occupation undertaken for a significant period of a person’s life and with opportunities for progress.” Notice it doesn’t mention earning money? I’ve been blessed to have been able to earn a living as a writer, but I know countless writers who’ve been writing and publishing gloriously for years without earning a living. Their work is no less worthy than mine of being called a career. If we read only “career writers” as defined in the conventional sense (money-makers), the breadth and depth of what we read would be far poorer indeed.

Do you nibble as you write? If so what’s your favorite snack food?

When I’m “in the zone,” I have to remember to breathe, let alone eat. Although for a few blissful weeks in the summer, no day is complete until I’ve eaten my weight in blueberries.

What reward do you give yourself for making a deadline?

Making a deadline is its own reward. I’ve high-fived the wall more than a few times in my career.

BIO

An award-winning author in both nonfiction and fiction, Ellen Notbohm’s work has informed, inspired, and guided millions of readers in more than twenty languages. In addition to her acclaimed historical novel The River by Starlight and her globally renowned books on autism and, her articles and columns on such diverse subjects as history, genealogy, baseball, writing and community affairs have appeared in major publications and captured audiences on every continent.

The River by Starlight has been recognized with awards for historical, regional, and literary fiction. Its focus on maternal mental health and gender bias in the early 20th century explores a history rarely addressed in fiction.

Explore Ellen’s work and subscribe to her blogs and newsletter at http://www.ellennotbohm.com.

Connect through social media:

Facebook – Ellen Notbohm, Author

Twitter: @EllenNotbohm

Instagram: Ellen Notbohm

 

Blog at WordPress.com.