Monday, June 15, 2009

 

Elizabeth Kirschner, Author of My Life as a Doll, Launches Her Blog Tour!

& Book Giveaway Comments Contest!

Elizabeth Kirschner has published three books of poetry, Twenty Colors, Postal Routes and Slow Risen Among the Smoke Trees all by Carnegie-Mellon University Press. Her chapbook, The Red Dragon, was published by Permafrost, and My Life as a Doll was published by Autumn House Press.

In addition, she has a CD released by Albany Records wherein her own poetry, not a translation, has been set to Robert Schumann's Dichterliebe. Now titled The Dichterliebe in Four Seasons, it premiered in Vienna in the fall of 2005, followed by an American debut in Boston featuring soprano Jean Danton accompanied by pianist Thomas Stumpf. She has collaborated with many composers and taught at Boston College for over a decade. Kirschner also studied ballet with Boston Ballet. She now lives in a house on the water at Sea Cabins Retreat in Kittery Point, ME.

Find out more about Elizabeth by visiting her website: www.elizabethkirschner.com

My Life as a Doll
by Elizabeth Kirschner

The bleak ferocity of Kirschner's lines often comes nigh to overwhelming this narrative of an abused childhood but then the strength of the imagery, a richness for which this poet is known, seizes the nightmares and transforms them into events that can be handled, shaped and put aside. No, not a happy ending but one that locates dignity and the forever force of life. --Hilary Masters

These poems are dark, iridescent beads strung along a narrative of embattled childhood that supports but never overrides the lyrical force of Kirschner's voice and vision. The narrative begins with a mother's violence and follows its effects upon the daughter's inner landscape the visions, the bouts of madness, the circling smoke of memory -- as she grows older. It's the landscape that generates the force behind these poems, rendered as it is with stunning imagery at every turn, and with urgent rhythms that push towards a kind of exorcism. These poems confront hard things head-on, but far from being sensationalistic or depressing, they are lush, fierce, and lovely. --Leslie Ullman

Autumn House has nominated My Life as a Doll for the Lenore Marshall Prize from the Academy of American Poets. The winner receives $25,000 and national publicity. (We're rooting for you, Elizabeth!)

Book Giveaway Comments Contest!
If you received our Events Newsletter, remember, we are
holding a contest to win a copy of Elizabeth Kirschner's My Life as a Doll to those that comment. So, grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, enjoy the chat, and share your thoughts, and comments, at the end. We will randomly choose a winner from those who comment. Enjoy!

Interview by LuAnn Schindler

WOW: Welcome, Elizabeth. Congratulations on the publication of your memoir, My Life as a Doll. I'm sure our readers are excited to learn more about you, your book, and your writing background. Let's get started.

One goal of the memoir is to tell the deepest truth. You definitely achieve that goal. Why is it so important to capture that truth and share it with others?

Elizabeth: My Life as a Doll gets at some brutal truths. It is deeply concerned with the retrieval of memory then transforming it, via the alchemy of art, into poetry. The catalyst of this book was spurred by a sudden and violent assault by memory. In it, my mother was whacking the back of my head with a baseball bat. I was only three or four years old. This memory lead to the denotation of other ones thus making My Life as a Doll a survivor's tale about abuse, madness and recovery. The writing of the book was an act of salvation meant to redeem others who are keeping their stories secret. That I survived my childhood is a miracle, that I wrote this book is another one. I bare such brutal truths because my words can help heal the wounds that so very many bear.

WOW: Words play such an important role in the healing process. The first element of style that captured my attention is that you chose to write your memoir in verse. What lead to that decision?

Elizabeth: First and foremost, I am a poet. I needed the compression of language, its insistent rhythms and music, to craft the harrowing narrative the book chronicles. The short story writer Raymond Carver once said, "Get in, get out, get your pain over with." Brevity is all. I wanted to make My Life as a Doll so violently compelling that a reader could plunge through it in a single sitting.

WOW: You've achieved that goal! Once I began reading, I couldn't put it down. I wanted to know how this young girl will survive and what her future holds. As a writing teacher, the use of symbolism is extremely important. While I'm reading My Life as a Doll, four separate doll visions come to my mind: a toy doll, a blow up doll, a Cinderella or princess doll and finally, a broken doll. Talk a bit about the symbolism of the doll in your memoir.

Elizabeth: When I first remembered my mother's violence, I also recollected a poem I had written in graduate school titled, "The Doll Collection." I pulled out that poem and worked the memory into it. Abuse turns the abused into objects. Dolls are objects. Children play with dolls, but I became one—hence a toy to be toyed with, a blow-up doll that pops back up when punched, a half mad Cinderella doll, a broken doll which was what I was as a broken woman. I was treated like a thing, thus became one and turning back into flesh and blood was exceedingly painful, but if I did it, anyone can.

WOW: And we're so lucky that you were able to reclaim your life and examine it honestly. My Life as a Doll contains such vivid imagery. Which comes first: the image or the theme to tie together poems into a collection?

Elizabeth: I am a lyric poet, hence the image and the music it employs comes first. The interrogation of images and metaphor reveal subject matter for me. I never go into a book with a pre-conceived notion of what it's about. When narrative asserts itself, I ride that pulse. I learned quite early what Flannery O'Connor termed "the habit of art." I write everyday, including weekends, making process rise out of practice.

WOW: That's great advice for our readers to follow, too. Thank you for sharing it. The publisher of My Life as a Doll, Autumn House Press, promotes poetry and its continued teaching. Have you worked with other small presses? What was the publication experience like with this publisher? What can authors learn from your experience with the industry?

Elizabeth: All of my books, with the exception of My Life as a Doll, have been published by other small presses. I courted Autumn House for years before this book was taken. The publisher, Michael Simms, is a brilliant editor and true visionary. The publication experience was exquisite, but it's only the first step. Writing is a labor of love, but so is getting a book out into the hands of real readers. Not every book is meant to reach the light of publication. I have had work rejected many, many times, but persevered in spite of it till I trained myself to reject the rejections. I think that’s essential to one's survival as a writer.

WOW: Very true. Writers must learn to push those rejections aside and continue writing. Elizabeth, not only are you a talented writer, you also have experience with another creative art: ballet. I had a dance instructor who said "Ballet is poetry in motion." How has dancing influenced your poetry?

Elizabeth: Early on, a teacher told me that ballets uses all four quadrants of the brain at once. I believe poetry does, too. Ballet has trained me to use my body as an instrument of expression. So has poetry, but the instrument is primarily that of the voice. Both require an intense focus and a profound musical sensibility. I have written that poetry is the dancing lyric that sings as it blooms. That feels right to me.

WOW: Such a beautiful analogy between two creative processes! You also find time in your schedule to promote writing. Recently, you started a mentorship program called: Wise Eye: Creating Poetry That Soars. Talk about your program and what you hope to accomplish.

Elizabeth: All poets need to be mentored, but I think this notion has fallen along the wayside, perhaps become a little old-fashioned. In the realm of the classroom, we teach, most certainly teach, but there isn't enough time for true mentoring to occur. I'm profoundly engaged with the desire to nurture poets over time, one on one, to give them as Juan Ramon Jimenez says of the poem, roots that fly and wings that take root. This means cultivating the entire sensibility. I want to enrich other writers with the riches I've garnered from both practicing and teaching my art for more than three decades. I have a highly trained eye, therefore a wise eye that can look into the depths of the poem which came from the depths of its creator. I was mentored, and now, in the fullness of time, I want to return the gift.

WOW: That's a wonderful idea! It's so important for writers to have someone who can serve as an honest sounding board and guide them through the process. For many writers, examining a specific time in one's life raises awareness of global problems while bringing it to a personal level by building a bridge of intimacy with readers. What do you want readers to take away with them after reading your memoir.

Elizabeth: There is a huge population of trauma survivors out there. My hope is to reach some of them, instill a genuine feeling that they are not alone. By telling my story I'm giving voice to many stories. Abuse, mental illness is very real and still taboo. Damaged goods can be durable goods and no one should be annihilated by the violence of violation. If abuse and mental illness is real so is the power to heal. Louise Gluck has a wonderful line that opens her book, The Wild Iris, which reads: "at the end of my suffering/ there was a door." I want my book to be such a door, an inwardly opening one that at last, alas, lets the light in.

WOW: Powerful sentiments! You will open the door for many of your readers. Thank you again, Elizabeth, for talking about your work, your words, and the power of creative expression.

Want to join Elizabeth on her blog tour? Check out these dates and mark your calendar! You can also snag a copy of WOW's Events Calendar HERE.

Blog Tour Dates: Come and join the fun!

JUNE 15, 2009 Monday
Elizabeth chats with WOW! Women On Writing at The Muffin. One lucky commenter will win copy of Elizabeth's book!
http://www.wow-womenonwriting.com/blog.html

JUNE 16, 2009 Tuesday
Elizabeth stops by Carolyn Howard-Johnson's blog, The New Book Review, to share a great review of My Life as a Doll.
http://thenewbookreview.blogspot.com/

JUNE 17, 2009 Wednesday
Elizabeth stops by C. Hope Clark's blog to share an excerpt from My Life as a Doll.
http://www.hopeclark.blogspot.com/

JUNE 19, 2009 Friday
Poetry lovers are in for a treat! Elizabeth stops by Allen Taylor's blog, World Class Poetry Blog, to chat about her love for poetry. These two fantastic poets are bound to spur an interesting discussion. Not to miss!
http://www.worldclasspoetryblog.com/

JUNE 22, 2009 Monday
Elizabeth stops by Joanne DeMaio's popular blog, Whole Latte Life, to chat about the connection between poetry and music. This should be an inspiring post! Join in on the discussion.
http://joannedemaio.blogspot.com/

JUNE 23, 2009 Tuesday
If you dread public speaking, this is your day! Come learn from an expert on the subject. Elizabeth stops by Beth Morrissey's blog, Hell or High Water, and shares her tips for surviving public appearances--even making them fun! Not to miss!
http://hellorhighwaterwriter.blogspot.com/

JUNE 25, 2009 Thursday
Are you working on a manuscript based on your life, but unsure whether to publish it as a memoir or fiction? Sometimes it's better for those family skeletons to stay in the closet. Today Elizabeth stops by Cathy C. Hall's Blog, Cathy C.'s Hall of Fame, and discusses the choice NOT to publish a written memoir. Come and weigh in on the pros and cons of this interesting topic!
http://cathychall.blogspot.com/

JUNE 30, 2009 Tuesday
Elizabeth, who can claim the titles of poet, musician, and dancer, stops by Donna Volkenannt's blog, Donna's Book Pub, to tell us the advantages of having a creative force that crosses boundaries. And book giveaway comments contest! Stop by and comment for a chance to win a copy of My Life as a Doll.
http://donnasbookpub.blogspot.com/

JULY 7, 2009 Tuesday
Elizabeth stops by Mary Jo Campbell's blog, Writers Inspired, for a surprise guest post and author interview! Be sure to stop by for this fun day.
http://writerinspired.wordpress.com/

We may have more dates to come, so be sure to check out our Events Calendar HERE to keep up with the latest.

Get involved!

We hope you are as excited about the tour as we are! Mark your calendar, save these dates, and join us for this truly unique and fascinating author blog tour.

If you would like to host one of our authors, or are an author looking to schedule a tour of your own, please email Angela and Jodi at: blogtour@wow-womenonwriting.com

** Please feel free to copy any portion of this post.

Oh, be sure to comment on this post to enter in a drawing for a signed copy of Elizabeth Kirschner's memoir, My Life as a Doll.

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Monday, May 04, 2009

 

Danette Haworth, author of Violet Raines Almost Got Struck By Lightning, Launches her Blog Tour!


& Book Giveaway Comments Contest!

In Violet Raines Almost Got Struck By Lightning Danette Haworth tells a story of growing up and making friends--with a few alligators and lightning bolts thrown in for excitement. Violet Raines' life has been just perfect and when things start going wrong she blames Melissa, the new girl in the neighborhood. But maybe it isn't Melissa who causes all the changes, maybe it's Violet.

Haworth has been writing and making people laugh since she was six years old. As an Air Force brat, she also is an expert at making new friends. Haworth combined those two experiences to make a funny and poignant book that will seem familiar to every young girl whether she lives in Alaska or Zimbabwe.

Finally settled down in Violet's backyard--Florida--Danette would own a diner called "Netti's" if she wasn't a writer. It would be small--you'd probably pass it if you drove by too fast--but the regulars would be loyal. "Try the sweet potato loaf," they'd tell each other. "It is to die for!"

We had to include this trailer of Danette's book, made by Scholastic--it's so fun! Check it out.



Visit Danette at her website at www.danettehaworth.com
and her blog: http://summerfriend.blogspot.com/
Violet Raines Reading Group Guide: http://www.violetraines.com/readingguide.htm

Book Giveaway Comments Contest!

If you received our Events Newsletter, remember, we are holding a contest to win a copy of Danette's book, Violet Raines Almost Got Struck By Lightning, to those that comment. So, grab a cup of coffee, pull up a chair, and enjoy the chat, and share your thoughts, and comments, at the end.

Published by Walker Books for Young Readers, $15.99
Children's Fiction, Ages 9-12, Hardcover
ISBN# 0802797911

We will randomly choose a winner from those who comment. Enjoy!

Interview by Jodi Webb

WOW: Welcome to The Muffin, Danette. We're delighted to launch your blog tour for your book,
Violet Raines Almost Got Struck By Lightning. I just finished reading your book (all in one afternoon). I couldn't stop reading because the characters were so real I felt they would jump off the page and ask me to go search for alligators! Where did they come from? Did you know a Violet, Lottie, Melissa or Eddie? Were you one?

Danette: Thanks, Jodi! They were all so real to me that writing the book was almost like watching a movie! The story seemed to spill out in front of me. Growing up, I knew a lot of Violets, Lotties, and Melissas, but only one true Eddie.

Eddie is based on a boy I knew when I was in 4th-6th grade. He was gracious, handsome, and the fastest runner in school. This boy had dark hair and glittery blue eyes, just like Eddie. Once, we were playing manhunt and he found me, scooped me up like the hero in a romance novel and carried me to base--I just about swooned!

WOW: Tall, dark and handsome--didn’t I just see him on a movie screen last weekend? Actually, that was the most detailed description you gave of Eddie which I found surprising. As writers we sometimes rely on detailed physical descriptions to make our characters come alive. With the exception of Melissa, you never really described your characters' appearances. Why was that?

Danette: Because Melissa was the newcomer, we had the chance to scrutinize her through Violet's squinched-up eyes, but since Violet already knew everyone else, she didn't take a second thought of their looks. That's why I provided only a few nudges in the physical description of the other characters.

What makes characters in any book come alive is the things they do and the way they react to the events in the story. As a reader, I love when the author gets me to the point where I'm thinking, *Gasp* I can’t believe the MC[main character] did that! How will her best friend ever forgive her? I don't mind a little hint of what a person looks like, but I don't need a full description to see the story as I read.

WOW: I'm always interested in how ideas transform into books. How was this book created? Did you have this wonderful Violet character on stage waiting for something to happen or was something else the kernel that grew into this book?

Danette: I was just starting to query for a different novel (Me and Jack, 2011, Walker), but I didn’t want to sit around waiting. I wanted to get started on the next project. But what? I reported to my computer room everyday and sat in my chair thinking.

I had this idea for a mother and daughter story, an adult novel with issues, based on stories my mom told me about her childhood. One story I always liked was this: My mother grew up in farm country up north, and the people next door had a huge family, a big rambling house, and they invited my mom over for a fish fry every Sunday. My mom has a brother and a sister who were NEVER invited. I always thought that was funny, and I wondered why (and of course this was no small victory for my mom, who was the youngest and usually got the short end of the stick for everything).

I kept thinking everyday, all the while having an adult story in mind, when Violet Raines just walked in one day and rattled off the first paragraph of the book. I whipped around in my chair and typed it up really fast; I didn’t want to lose any of it. Here’s what she said:

When Eddie B. dared me to walk the net bridge over the Elijah Hatchett River where we'd seen an alligator and another kid got bit by a coral snake, I wasn’t scared--I just didn't feel like doing it right then. So that's how come I know just what he's saying when I see him in church, flapping his elbows like someone in here is chicken. When Momma's not looking, I make my evil face at him, but he just laughs and turns the right way in his pew.

I could see her, with her short dark hair and the swampy woods behind her. She had a little smudge of dirt on her leg from coming through the woods. I had an instant, complete sense of Violet, and I couldn’t wait to see what would happen to her!

WOW: Yet another sign that we shouldn't stop writing while we try to sell out first book! Could you tell us a little about your path from writing to publication for Violet Raines?

Danette: During the day, I wrote articles on state-of-the-art tank simulators; after work, I wrote short literary stories and submitted them. Then a few years ago my schedule changed when I became a stay-at-home writer. Since now I had a larger block of time, I thought about maybe adding more clients. Then it hit me--maybe it was time to pursue my own dream, writing a novel.

I thought about writing detective fiction since I love reading it, but then I realized I'd have to figure out how to murder people and almost get away with it. I did not want to do that! (And my husband got really nervous when books such as Deadly Doses: a writer's guide to poisons starting showing up on my bookshelf.) So I thought about some of my favorite authors: Anne Tyler, Sue Miller, Elizabeth Buchan, and Elizabeth Berg. But each time I approached a novel, the characters that came to life for me were eleven or twelve-years-old, and I identified with them! I had to write their stories!

I heard an SCBWI writing conference was coming to my area in the summer of 2007. I was still writing Violet Raines, but I knew the manuscript would benefit from a qualified critique. I polished up the first ten pages, submitted them, and ended up being critiqued by editor Stacy Cantor from Walker Books. She loved what she read, and I loved her response! In the weeks that followed, she read the full manuscript and I queried a handful of agents who I thought might like Violet Raines. I don't bite my nails, but if I did, they would have been nubs by the time I got "The Call!" In October 2007, I signed on with Ted Malawer of Firebrand and accepted a book deal with Walker Books.

WOW: That's quite a success story! Thank you for sharing. Some writers write solely in one genre, while others write a bit of everything: fiction, nonfiction, children's, YA. Which type of writing career do you think you'll have?

Danette: I don't know what type of writing career I'll have! I'm so glad I discovered children's literature because not only do I enjoy writing it, I LOVE reading it! But I love young adult fiction, now, too, and I still read mysteries, literary fiction, short stories and flash fiction. I think, in the long run, my writing career will reflect my reading career.

WOW: What are you working on now? Will we get a peek at Violet in high school? Or are there new characters waiting for their chance on the stage?

Danette: Will we see Violet in high school? Oh, my gosh--I don’t know! I love her just the way she is, and yet some things have already happened there in that little swamp town since the book got published. It’s all in my head, of course, but who knows? I love Violet!

I just turned in the draft for The Hotel of Blueberry Goodness, a middle-grade novel in which a girl who lives in a hotel meets an eclectic group of friends, including a teenage runaway. Blueberry Goodness takes place in Florida, at a dilapidating, antebellum resort whose once manicured lawns are now grown wild. (Walker BFYR, 2010)

Me and Jack is set in the Endless Mountains of Pennsylvania. Eleven-year-old Joshua knows how to play new kid: hang back, don't talk too much, become invisible. Then he pairs up with Jack, a dog he rescues from the pound. Jack yanks Joshua from the sidelines to the front line to take on an unfriendly town, a mountain, and meanest kid in school. (Walker BFYR, 2011)

Whenever anyone asks me about my writing, I'm either all hush-hush or I keep talking even when I see them start checking their watches and looking at their cell phones. Thanks for giving me the opportunity to share my work with you!

WOW: Well, we weren't checking our cell phones. We can’t wait to meet all your new characters!

Want to join Danette on her blog tour? Check out these dates and mark your calendar! You can also snag a copy of WOW's Events Calendar HERE.

Blog Tour Dates: Come and join the fun!

MAY 4, 2009 Monday
Danette will be chatting with WOW! Women On Writing at The Muffin. Stop by and share your comments! One lucky commenter will win copy of Danette's book!
http://www.wow-womenonwriting.com/blog.html

MAY 5, 2009 Tuesday
Danette will be chatting with Kim Zook in an exclusive interview! Come join these two in a lively chat at the Zook Book Nook, & book giveaway!
http://zookbooknook.blogspot.com

MAY 8, 2009 Friday
Stop by The Friendly Book Nook to learn more about author Danette Haworth and her unstoppable friend Violet Raines.
http://thefriendlybooknook.com/

MAY 12, 2009 Tuesday
Danette will be stopping by Anne-Marie Nichols' popular blog, A Mama's Rant, for an informative guest post: Write My Book or Wash the Laundry: How Does a Stay at Home Writer Do It? This is not to miss!
http://www.amamasrant.com/

MAY 20, 2009 Wednesday
Danette will be stopping by The Mother Daughter Book Club for an exclusive author interview! Be sure to join in on the chat.
http://motherdaughterbookclub.wordpress.com/

MAY 22, 2009 Friday
Danette will be stopping by A Good Blog is Hard to Find, a blog dedicated to southern authors, for a surprise guest post with tips for writers. Not to miss!
http://www.southernauthors.blogspot.com/

JUNE 4, 2009 Thursday
Margo will pick Danette's brain today at her blog Read These Books and Use Them--both about writing her book and some great activities that teachers and parents can do with their children while reading Violet Raines Almost Got Struck by Lightning. Don't worry--no lightning involved!
http://www.margodill.com/blog/

We also have several more dates to come, so be sure to check out our Events Calendar HERE.

Get involved!

We hope you are as excited about the tour as we are! Mark your calendar, save these dates, and join us for this truly unique and fascinating author blog tour.

If you have a blog or website and would like to participate in Danette Haworth's blog tour, or schedule a tour of your own, please email Angela and Jodi at: blogtour@wow-womenonwriting.com

** Please feel free to copy any portion of this post.

Oh, be sure to comment on this post to enter in a drawing for a copy of Danette's book Violet Raines Almost Got Struck By Lightning.


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Saturday, November 01, 2008

 

Linda Wisniewski Launches her Blog Tour for Off Kilter + Book Giveaway!

WOW! is proud to be launching Linda C. Wisniewski's whirlwind blog tour across the web. Linda's memoir, Off Kilter: A Woman's Journey to Peace with Scoliosis, Her Mother, & Her Polish Heritage (Pearlsong Press, 2008), has been called “A courageous insightful book,” and “unflinchingly honest.” Join in on the conversation as we chat with Linda in this insightful interview!

We're also holding a comments contest! Comment on this post and be entered in a drawing to win a signed copy of Off Kilter.

So, pull up your comfiest chair, grab a cup of coffee, enjoy the learning experience as we chat with Linda--a truly talented and inspirational author, and share your thoughts!

WOW: Welcome to WOW!, Linda, we're thrilled to be launching your blog tour for your memoir, Off Kilter (Pearlsong Press, 2008).

One of my favorite books growing up as a child was
Are You There God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume. It was also my first introduction to scoliosis. If it weren't for that book, I probably would never have known about it. Have you read this book?

Linda: Yes, long ago. It came out after I was a child, though. (I’m 62 this week!)

WOW: Happy birthday, Linda! What a great time to launch your book tour! So, why did you choose scoliosis as a metaphor for your memoir?

Linda: One of my writing teachers introduced me to the idea of using a metaphor to represent my life. This one was staring me in the face--or pinching me in the side! When I wrote about it, it became obvious. All the twisting and adjusting to be comfortable with back pain--just like life: one adjustment after another!

WOW: I hear that. I had a car accident many years ago that caused two herniated disks in my neck/spine, so I definitely know about back pain. But how did you come up with the idea to link scoliosis with your mother and your Polish background?

Linda: When I went through my writing, looking for a common theme to use in my memoir, I found three big ones: scoliosis, my relationship with my mother, and my Polish heritage. In all three cases, I felt out of balance and wanted to re-adjust my life. Instead of writing three books, I decided to hang all three themes on my 'off kilter' body image.

WOW: That's a wonderful metaphor, and it's great to have a theme. I've interviewed many famous writers who've had an extremely hard time pinpointing the main theme of their book.

Another thing that's hard for a writer is pleasing family members, especially when you’re writing about them! What has your family said about your book?


Linda: Well, I stopped trying to please my family long ago, and that's an important part of my story. We're not close, and I've lived far away from 'home' for forty years. I changed some names, and waited until my parents died. A couple of people were upset by what I wrote about my childhood but I had to be true to myself, and write my story as I saw it.

WOW: Good for you! Now, I know that memoirs tend to be subjective. How much of your book is true?

Linda: All of the incidents and people are real. I did take some creative license with things like colors of clothes, weather, and dialogue when I couldn't remember it exactly. I was always true to what the person sounded like or looked like, and the 'emotional truth' of my story. That said, of course it's subjective. I selected only the segments that illustrated my point: my life was 'off kilter.'

WOW: I love the fact that you kept it real, but why did you choose to write a memoir, instead of labeling it as fiction? (As many authors do.)

Linda: My mother suffered through sixty years of verbal and emotional abuse, and it affected me and my sister very deeply. One reason I wrote a memoir is so others can see that emotional abuse is as damaging as physical blows. The other reason is to show that we can overcome a damaging childhood and find happiness.

WOW: And I thank you for that, Linda--so true. Let's switch to the business of authoring. One thing that's hard for an author is choosing the right publisher. What made you choose Pearlsong Press?

Linda: My publisher's name comes from the image of a beautiful pearl. Sand or grit irritates the oyster, and so it produces opalescent nacre ('mother of pearl') to surround the sand. The oyster's self-healing transforms suffering into a thing of beauty. It perfectly describes my story! Plus, I liked Peggy Elam, the owner, from the start. She is a psychologist and journalist, and worked closely with me on the book design and marketing, and still answers my many questions. Also, she created a Yahoo marketing group for all her authors to share tips. It's been very helpful to me.

WOW: Oh, I just love your cover. So what has your experience been like working with Pearlsong so far? And would you recommend them to other authors?

Linda: Pearlsong is a very small and selective publisher, but if you have a story that fits with their mission--celebrating diversity of body image and size--I think you’ll be happy with their very personal, creative approach.

WOW: They sound like a great fit. Linda, from reading your excerpt, I'm in awe of your prose. You are in touch with all the senses, and bring readers along for a beautiful ride. Are there any particular activities, or places, that inspire your writing?

Linda: My yoga practice and meditation help me get in touch with my body, my breath and my place in the world. And walking every day gives me new ideas and answers to writing problems. My iPod often stays in my pocket when I walk on writing days--I don't want to be distracted in case the Muse speaks!

WOW: (Laughs) I love that! And I LOVE iPods. So how long did it take you to write Off Kilter? Did you have a set writing routine?

Linda: When I decided to pull my essays and memoir pieces together around one metaphor, and write new pieces to link them, I took about three years from start to finish. I wrote almost every day, for an hour or two, in mid-morning or late afternoon.

WOW: That's a good model. Do you do any other type of writing? If so, what is your favorite?

Linda: I've written some fiction, personal essays and poetry, but memoir is my love. There's so much we can learn by returning to the past and finding its meaning, it's like a treasure hunt!

I'm now working on a novel, only because I want to write about an ancestor from the 18th century and don’t have many facts about her. I'm having fun right now creating her character.

WOW: That's great about your new novel. Congrats! And I know you teach memoir writing. What advice do you have for a person just starting to write their memoir?

Linda: Don't edit or censor yourself. Just get the story on the page, and revise it later. Write what is important to you, write the story that wants to get written no matter what, the one that has emotional resonance for you.

WOW: That's great advice. Now, I know you've been on the promotion highway for Off Kilter. What are some of the things you've learned along your journey that you can share with other authors?

Linda: Listen when people come up to you at a signing. If you just talk about your book, you miss what your readers are really interested in. Here's the big secret: it's themselves! All of us want to read stories that remind us of our own struggles and triumphs. If you can connect with someone who has the courage to come up and talk to you, a stranger, you'll gain a new reader, and maybe a friend.

WOW: Excellent advice! Thank you so much Linda for taking time to chat with us today, and we'll be following you on this fantastic tour! I can’t wait to read your yoga tips on the other blogs, and all the other wonderful topics you'll be talking about. So, do you have any parting words of wisdom you can share with our women writers?

Linda: Writing a deeply personal book like Off Kilter wouldn't have been possible without the encouragement and support of other women writers, and two wonderful organizations: the International Women's Writing Guild (www.iwwg.org) and Story Circle Network (www.storycircle.org.) Check out the resources and tips on their websites, and support other women writers as well. And, of course, keep reading wow-womenonwriting.com!

WOW: Awwww, thanks Linda! You've been such an inspirational interviewee. :)

Ladies, come and join us on Linda C. Wisniewski's fabulous blog tour! And remember to comment to enter to win a signed copy of Linda's memoir, Off Kilter.

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About Off Kilter:

Off Kilter: A Woman's Journey to Peace with Scoliosis, Her Mother, and Her Polish Heritage
By Linda C. Wisniewski

ISBN: 978-1-59719-012-1

Even before she was diagnosed with scoliosis at thirteen, Linda Wisniewski felt off kilter. Born to a cruel father and a long-suffering mother in the insulated Polish Catholic community of upstate New York, she learned martyrdom as a way of life. Off Kilter shows her learning to stretch her Self as well as her spine as she comes to terms with her mentally deteriorating, widowed mother and her culture. Only by accepting her physical deformity, her emotionally unavailable mother, and her Polish American heritage does she finally find balance and a life that fits. Susan Wittig Albert calls Off Kilter a "splendid first memoir about the difficult business of finding balance in our lives. Funny, honest, deeply moving, Off Kilter reminds us just how hard it is to adjust to the physical pain, the emotional loss, and even the surprising beauty of being fully who we are."

Find out more about Linda by visiting her website: www.lindawis.com

Blog Tour Dates: Come and Join the Fun!

NOVEMBER 1, 2008 Saturday
Linda will be chatting with WOW! Women On Writing at The Muffin. Stop by and share your comments! By commenting, you enter a drawing to win a signed copy of Off Kilter! Stop by and say hello.
http://www.wow-womenonwriting.com/blog.html

NOVEMBER 3, 2008 Monday
Linda visits Allie Boniface's blog, Allie's Musings, to talk about the business of writing. Allie's interviews are always a lot of fun, as well as informative.
http://www.allieboniface.blogspot.com/

NOVEMBER 4, 2008 Tuesday
Linda stops by Beth Morrissey's blog, Hell Or High Water, to chat about the best thing about libraries. Both Beth and Linda are former librarians! At WOW!, we adore libarians. Don't you just have the urge to give them a big hug? There should be a "Hug a Librarian Day!"
http://hellorhighwaterwriter.blogspot.com/

NOVEMBER 6, 2008 Thursday
Linda visits Anne-Marie Nichol's blog, This Mama Cooks! On a Diet, to chat about how yoga helps with writing and work. I'm feeling relaxed and inspired already!
http://www.thismamacooks.com

NOVEMBER 10, 2008 Monday
Read all about Linda's book, Off Kilter, today at Carolyn Howard-Johnson's fabulous blog, The New Book Review. Don't you just love book reviews? Before I buy a book, I can't resist finding out what others think. Find out the skinny here!
http://www.thenewbookreview.blogspot.com/

NOVEMBER 11, 2008 Tuesday
Linda stops by Andi Lit to chat about yoga, writing in the midst of distractions, and women's spirituality. I can't wait to read this one!
http://www.andilit.com

NOVEMBER 12, 2008 Wednesday
Linda will be stopping by Jen Singer's popular blog, Momma Said, for an interview and book giveaway contest! You have two weeks to enter The Housewife Awards, but don't wait until the last minute! The contest starts November 12 and runs through November 24. Winners are announced by November 26.
http://www.mommasaid.net

NOVEMBER 13, 2008 Thursday
If you're a fan of Debbie Ridpath Ohi's popular cartoons on writing (and I know you are!), you have to check out her blog, Inky Girl. Linda stops by to chat with Debbie about the craft of writing, or whatever is on her mind. Debbie's interviews are the best! Come and join the fun.
http://www.inkygirl.com

NOVEMBER 17, 2008 Monday
Linda will be visiting Joanne DeMaio's inspiring blog, Whole Latte Life, to share her insights on how to stay focused on writing all the distractions of modern life. I can't wait to read this one--I definitely need the advice!
http://joannedemaio.blogspot.com/


NOVEMBER 18, 2008 Tuesday
Linda visits Carolyn Howard-Johnson's award winning blog, Sharing With Writers and Readers, to share her tips on memoir writing! If you've never visited Carolyn's blog, it's a must-read for authors, and a Writer's Digest 101 Best Websites for Writers.
http://www.sharingwithwriters.blogspot.com/

NOVEMBER 19, 2008 Wednesday
Linda stops by Lauri Griffin's blog, Lauri's Reflections, to talk chat about writing and many other inspirational topics. Come join them in a lively conversation!
http://www.laurireflections.blogspot.com/

NOVEMBER 20, 2008 Thursday
Linda stops by Maddie Jame's blog, Life, Unedited, for a candid interview! Come and join the chat!
http://www.maddiejameslifeunedited.com/

NOVEMBER 24, 2008 Monday
Readers delight! Linda stops by Musings of a Bookish Kitty and chats with readers today about their favorite subject: reading. Linda shares her reading habits and more!
http://www.literaryfeline.com/

NOVEMBER 25, 2008 Tuesday
Do you believe in happily-ever-after? Or do you want to? Then stop by Allyn Evans' blog, Happily Ever After, Today, and get ready to be inspired! Linda tells a wonderful story about a family camping trip that helped overcome life's obstacles. This is not to miss!
http://www.allynevans.blogspot.com/


Get involved!


We hope you are as excited about the tour as we are! Mark your calendar, save these dates, and join us for this truly unique and fascinating author blog tour.

If you have a blog or website and would like to participate in Linda Wisniewski's tour for Off Kilter: A Woman's Journey to Peace with Scoliosis, Her Mother, & Her Polish Heritage, or schedule a tour of your own, please email angela[at]wow-womenonwriting.com

**Please feel free to copy any portion of this post.

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