When did you start writing?


I’ve always wrote, but for myself, never to publish. And I started a book club for 13 elementary students many many years ago. We invaded the libraries and read. Then we’d write, write and write. I had their works published in our local papers, had them write letters to themselves to be mailed to them on their 16th Birthdays. …Letters to the president, parents and each other. But we quickly morphed into a three dimensional facet club after I learned many of them simply could not change a light bulb and or boil an egg. I taught them about different cultures and traditions through reading and writing and how to boil the egg and change that light bulb. We learned about astronomy and I had them find their own star, name and write stories about their own star. More importantly, I encouraged them to do random acts of kindness for their families and communities. I decided when they turned twelve, to get the group; adult, infant and child CPR certified, then let them go. They protested, but in my heart I knew they had outgrown the club. They’d morphed into teens. ; )

What prompted you to try it?

My book started out as a childish diary to get through the emotional roller coaster I was experiencing at the time, then became a childish outline which I gave to William, the male protagonist inter-weaved throughout my book. To show him his own self worth and to thank him for giving voice to victims long silenced. But unbeknownst to me, William had taken my childish outline to an author and famous film producer in N.O. in 2006. They told William, “this lady needs to learn to write, tell her to go to IUniverse.” I was furious, embarrassed, but in the end grateful. The words were wise, indeed! Except for the IUniverse thingy. ; )


Was there an author or person who inspired you?

I come from a long list of ancestral authors, artists and composers, so maybe somewhere along the line, I inherited some of those creative writerly genes, at least I’d like to think so. And I can get inspiration holding a piece of old slate, looking at a muddy river or digging in my garden.

I know you write some poetry and we'll touch on your memoir, is there anything else that you enjoy writing?

Yes, I enjoy short stories and dabbling in children’s as well. And I generally will pull life lessons into all my writing.

Where do you usually write?

If I’m trying to work out serious problems in my writing, I head to my farm retreat. Otherwise it’s a small dining room nook I’ve carved out for my office. I have stain glass windows and the sunlight streams in and I can see trees and sky.

Why?

I can interact with my family and see my two pound puppies romping about outside.

Do you listen to music during the process or do you prefer to be undistracted?

Music, eclectic, no borders and crossing every genre, and played very loud. For editing I prefer quiet.

Your new book, The Unbreakable Child, is due out in April 2009. What was your writing process like, in writing your memoir? Did you find it cathartic or difficult? A mix of both?

The book was nourished with tea, typing n’ tears, I like to say. And thousands and thousands of hours of mistakes and learning to correct is not cathartic. It became painful. Even more so, I had many agents wanting it, I just couldn’t deliver--move it from 3rd to 1st POV at the time. Finally, in April 2007 a wonderful agent wrote me a letter and said, “Kimmi, for the fourth and final time, I’m sorry to say, I must again reject.” I looked at that letter over and over for a clue—a fifth chance, then jumped in my car and headed to the bookstore. For the first time since writing, I picked up a memoir, another, then another. They were all written in 1st POV! I just sat on the floor of the book store like a deranged idiot, tearing up, surrounded my 50 books, too dazed to even move. When I came home, I told my husband. He said… wait for it Sara, ready… husband said, “ohh, that’s okay, honey, just change all the words to I.”

And then came a big twist (the book had a few already, but this was for me, by far the biggest) at the completion of my work. There was a hint of it (this twist) in the book and I had to rewrite to expand on it further. It was a mind-blower.

There is much more I’d like to share with you and others, but news media is talking with me now for interviews and I’ve been advised to wait.

For me my big catharsis came from another on board here at AW. It was one of many first baby steps; a true healing to finally share with someone—someone who connected and totally understood.

After completing the manuscript, what surprised you most about the publishing process?

The ease of talking to those in the publishing world. They didn’t mind if I accidentally ‘sweetied’ or ‘hugged’ them. And the generosity my agent and publisher gave me over final say--control of my book. As well they always showed kindness and compassion. I guess from former tales and some advice on AW, I’d expected a somewhat edgier relationship.

Given the delicate subject matter and considering it's a story of your life, how do you feel, now that the book is out of your hands? Are you at all anxious about family and friends reactions?

Being an orphan and abused was my secret – and thus silence was my biggest ally, weapon for protection for me and my family. And, I kept all this from my family, children and closest friends, until I realized it was going to become an open book. Only then did I share with my children and start talking and even then—now; it’s more of a whisper. And to this day many of my friends still don’t have a clue. However, I did let a close friend of twenty years read the first two chapters recently. And she started sobbing uncontrollable. It scared me. I’d never told her I’d been raised an orphan etc… and I took the book away and found myself hugging HER and calming her, reassuring her that all was fine and I was fine.

I’d survived my childhood and when I became a young adult, I decided to educate myself on child abuse and its effects on me and others, dump my childhood baggage in the first trash bin, kick forward and survive what life had in store for me next. I simply didn’t want pity from anyone, or want to have childhood monsters peeking up from under the bed and grabbing my ankle! Still don’t. So, I try to remain positive, push aside any anxious thoughts and can easily be grateful for survival rather than bitter for childhood lost.

Do you have another project in the works? If so, what?

Yes, I have three, but have reluctantly put them aside to focus on the promo of this book. I’ve committed to advocate groups as well to touring etc. They say writers are only half way there when finishing a book—the other half is promoting. And it’s true.


Just a couple questions about you!

You are the self professed "Laundry Queen." What other talents do you possess that we may be unaware of?

I like photography and have been given national recognition and awards in the past for such.

What's your favorite meal? And why?

*laughs* There is no favorite; I like all foods except one. Oatmeal. And you can read the book on that take!

Tell me about a major non-writing related accomplishment.

I’m still working on this one, as I’m one that always has a never-ending task that needs accomplishing, which usually involves others. And I move quietly and quickly to try and move small mountains for others. These are my true major accomplishments; trying to change another’s life for the better.

According to your blog, you like to find ancient treasures for gifts or yourself. What would you consider your most prized possession?

It’s very true I love old--odd things and more so their history. But it is family that is the prize. Why? I hope you’ll read The Unbreakable Child and find out!