Meet the Author: Devil in the Wind by Frank Prem

Today we welcome Frank Prem to Meet the Authors. We’re travelling to Beechworth, in the North East corner of Victoria, Australia to hear what storytelling, Psychiatric Nursing, playing the ukulele, photographs, and the Grampians mean to Frank.

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I describe myself as a storytelling poet with a forty year apprenticeship behind me. That’s about how long I’ve been writing my poetry – mostly in an idiosyncratic free verse style, that is part poetry and part storytelling.

I live, together with my wife Leanne, in a pretty little town called Beechworth, in the North East corner of Victoria, Australia (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beechworth). Beechworth attracts thousands of tourist visitors every year because of its gold mining and bushranging background during the mid to late 1800s. A bushranger is the Australian equivalent of an wild west outlaw, or a highwayman, and we had quite a few around this way, most notably Ned Kelly and the Kelly gang about whom much has been written.

By profession, I’m a Psychiatric Nurse, and have worked across a wide range of roles in Psychiatry though my working career. My next published poetry collection will be a personal memoir of my experience in Psychiatry, tentatively titled – The New Asylum.

In my early days as a poet, I sought out as many opportunities as I could to get my work published, and had a good number of successes, but I grew weary of having my work not accepted, without knowing the reason, so I largely stopped seeking publication, in favour of developing my own writing style and voice, until just three years ago beginning to post my work on a personal creative blog (https://www.frankprem.wordpress.com) and using that as both, an online archive for my work, and as a way of attracting readers to find and engage with my work.

In the six months since December 2018, I have published two collections in book and ebook form. These are:

1. Small Town Kid – a free verse memoir of growing up in a rural setting in Australia in the 1960s and 70s.

2. Devil In The Wind – a free verse poetic rendition of the voices of survivors and victims of the catastrophic Black Saturday bushfires we experienced in 2009.

In which genre do you write?

I write almost exclusively in my own free verse poetry form. I write using very little punctuation, and in quite short lines.

As I’ve gone along I’ve developed my approach so that my line breaks and stanza breaks serve as a form of punctuation – encouraging pause and nuance in the reading, and giving a cue for taking a breath.

I don’t often write a line longer than about 4 words in length, these days.

Regardless of genre, though, I believe every piece, long or short, needs to convey a sense of story – beginning, middle and end. This can be a challenge, at times.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

I was always a good reader at school and was very engaged with the stories that I read. That interest extended to story writing in English classes at high school as I progressed through the grades.

There was an occasion where, out of sheer laziness, I believe, I decided to cut corners and several hundred words off my assignment by doing it in the form of a poem. Very quickly and very easily.

I was a little dumbstruck to receive a high grade for the work and I think that may have been all the encouragement I needed to set me on the trail of experimenting with poetry as a genre.

I attempted to self publish some of my work in book form quite a few years ago, but the technology wasn’t helpful and the costs were enormous, so nothing much came of the first attempt. Print On Demand technology makes a world of difference to an up and coming poet like myself, but is probably a whole different discussion in its own right.

What is an interesting writing quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?

For a few years now, I’ve been playing ukulele and singing in a community choir/ensemble, here in Beechworth.

It has always been a delight to me to sing, but until I started playing the uke, I rarely managed to sing in tune. The uke has changed that.

Last Spring we recorded ourselves in a couple of songs that were pasted on Facebook. Readers might enjoy a listen, so I’ll pop in a couple of links to the songs:

Dog and Mob (written by Leanne and myself): https://www.facebook.com/springsingbeechworth/videos/20339179721516/

Boris and Maria – a very short little love song: https://www.facebook.com/springsingbeechworth/videos/765584533788001/UzpfSTEwMDAyNTI1MTY3NTExMzpWSzoxMzkxOTQ3NDE3NjA2NTU1/?q=boris%20and%20maria&epa=SEARCH_BOX

What does your ideal writing space look like?

At the moment it is my dining room and dining table – very impromptu quarters, but I don’t really need all that much.

We’ve begun planning to build a sort of Men’s Shed outside the back door that will become my Writer’s Den, but that is still to happen. I’m looking forward to it because my needs are changing. As I become more ambitious in my writing endeavours, I think dedicated space will be helpful.

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?

I’ve been surprised at something that has become something of a skill for me, which is allowing photographs and other pictorial images to inspire interesting poetry. There is what feels like a kind of empathy that I am able to apply to allow a story to emerge.

Sounds a bit mumbo jumbo, but perhaps I can illustrate with a small poem.

This one was taken from a series of photographs I took while walking through a collectibles barn. I later sat down and wrote the story that each picture suggested.

Voices #15: chill factor

people say
I am cold

my demeanor

my manner

cold

I hardly consider them
worthy
of my time

You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What song do you listen to before speaking? Or, what do you do to prepare yourself?

I prepare by reading my material aloud several times in the lead up to a speaking engagement. On the occasion itself, I’m generally a little numb with performance anxiety. It always feels very important to me to present as knowing my material and also my limitations as a presenter, so the audience feels I’m within my range of competence at all times.

Where music is important to me is in the actual writing.

I find I write much better if I can find some music in my head – not a song as such, just music, as I believe that our language is musical and I need to be able to sing my way through the poem, in order to know that it will read well after I put my pen down.

Do you believe things happen for a reason? Do you have an example from your own life to share why you believe this?

I truly do believe things happen for a reason. I went through a long lifetime, doing the best I could – sometimes ok, sometimes not so good – but it was only after passing through a very low ebb that I met the lady who completes my life.

The whole of my life was spent, I now believe, preparing me to be the man I needed to be from that point on.

As an aside, we met at a poetry open mic session in Melbourne. I was reading my 3 poem set and she sang a song. Life is sweet, sometimes.

What’s your favorite place to visit in your country and why?

We have a quite wild part of our state named the Grampians (indigenous name – Gariwerd). Strange rock formations, wonderful wildlife and bush. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Grampians_National_Park

This area is about a half days travel from where we live and we always find it to be a spiritually uplifting place.

Tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it.

My most recent collection is titled Devil In The Wind. This book is a free verse collection of poems that are my interpretation of the voices of survivors and victims of the catastrophic Black Saturday bushfires that took place here in Victoria in 2009.

I personally feel that the fires have left my whole State traumatised and that we haven’t psychologically recovered from the experience yet.

I enjoyed learning more about you, your life, and writing style. I also write poetry inspired by photographs, with a bit of twist from your style as mine are using the nature photographs I make. It’s wonderful to meet someone else who has a similar style. The Grampians sound like my kind of place to visit. I look forward to reading your poetry collections Frank! It was a pleasure having you be a part of MTA! –Camilla

Book Trailer:

I also have recently started a YouTube channel which I’ve begun to populate with a few videos of myself reading from Devil In The Wind.

The link to that is here: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCvfW2WowqY1euO-Cj76LDKg

Blurb for Devil In The Wind

Devil In The Wind is an account of catastrophic fire and its immediate aftermath.

In this 21st century, the whole world seems to be on fire. America burns. Europe burns. Greece is reeling after its own tragedy of fire.

And Australia burns, as it has always done, but now so much more fiercely.

In February 2009, wildfires burnt through entire communities, taking 173 lives and injuring hundreds, while destroying thousands of houses and other buildings. Up to 400 fires destroyed 450,000 hectares of forest, native fauna and habitat, livestock and farmland.

In the aftermath of the fires, the voices of people who had lived through the experience — victims, rescuers, and observers — were spoken and were heard.

Devil In The Wind is Frank Prem’s poetic anthology of the personal, and very human, accounts of those who themselves experienced and survived Black Saturday. Poetry writing that interacts directly with readers emotions.

The collection is available in paperback book form at all the good online retailers, and in e-book form through Kindle and Kindle Unlimited.

Devil In The Wind (ISBN 978-0-9751442-6-8):

Amazon (Available in all markets): https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/097514426X/

Booktopia: https://www.booktopia.com.au/devil-in-the-wind-frank-prem/prod9780975144268.html

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Devil-Wind-Frank-Prem/9780975144268?

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/books/1130932330?ean=9780975144268

Small Town Kid (ISBN 978-0-9751442-3-7):

Amazon (Available in all markets): https://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B07L6114KS

Booktopia: https://www.booktopia.com.au/small-town-kid-frank-prem/prod9780975144237.html

Book Depository: https://www.bookdepository.com/Small-Town-Kid-Frank-Prem/9780975144237?

Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/small-town-kid-frank-prem/1129995806?ean=9780975144237

Connect with Frank:

Author Page: https://FrankPrem.com

Poetry Blog: https://frankprem.wordpress.com

Twitter: https://twitter.com/frank_prem

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/frankprem2

If it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Founder and Host of Meeting the Authors …

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Meet the Author: Apple Island Wife by Fiona Stocker

Today we welcome Fiona Stocker as we travel to Tasmania to learn how River Cottage, a sloth, The Time Traveller’s Wife, and Four Weddings and a Funeral are a part of Fiona’s business, life, and writings. Get ready to get in the zone ….

Tell us a bit about yourself.

I’m an Englishwoman living in Tasmania. We moved here for a slower lifestyle. Last year I had a travel memoir Apple Island Wife – Slow Living in Tasmania, released by an independent publisher in the UK. It’s kind of like A Year in Provence or Driving Over Lemons, but in Australia. I live on five acres with my husband, two children, Alice the incompetent collie, Charlie the killer cat, and around thirty-five pigs.

In which genre do you write?

I have just published a travel memoir, about living in Tasmania – think A Year in Provence and Driving Over Lemons, and then add breastfeeding. It’s the wife’s tale. Long overdue.

How many published books do you have?

This is the first book I’ve had published in my own name. A couple of years ago I was commissioned to write a book for a women’s farming group here in Tasmania, which is jollier than it sounds. Farming women are full of grit, and their lives make for great stories. I’ve also worked as ghost writer and editor on a book of short travel stories about women traveling solo, and a couple of other books too.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

When I was sixteen my English teacher Mr. Warnett put a comment in red pen on an essay I wrote saying I had a particular way with words and would do well to nurture it. There wasn’t a big tradition of encouraging one’s children in my family or even talking to them and I spent a lot of time alone in my bedroom listening to Dire Straits. Mr Warnett’s comment was the first time anybody had taken an interest, and gave me a hint of what might be. (My parents are very loving, they were probably downstairs watching Morecamble and Wise. Parenting has changed a lot in the space of one generation, we’re all a lot more interested now.)

What is an interesting writing quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?

I gaze furiously at my laptop screen when writing and if I’m in the flow with a deep frown on my face, my husband knows he must not interrupt me for fear of severe consequences.

I also think that good writing comes with practice. I’ve written professionally as an advertising copywriter, and write freelance journalism and press releases and other communications in my work now. I can do what I do quickly and efficiently and I know immediately and instinctively whether something is working or right, or not.

What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal, or avatar and why?

I’d possibly have a sloth, as they get a lot of sleep, which I love, but they’re not good communicators and I’d find that frustrating. I have a teenage daughter, she’s fifteen, and doing a lot of internal adjustment which requires a lot of sleep. She reminds me of a sloth, another reason for choosing said creature, because it would remind me of the miracle of her.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

If I’m in the zone, I can write anywhere. I’ve written in the back of my car, in my very untidy office with piles of notebooks around me, in the foyer of a local college while my daughter and son do band practice with their college wind instrument band (think trumpets). If I’m below par, I write in bed. I channel Roald Dahl for this. He wrote in a shed at the bottom of his garden, but I dress it up the same way, woolen blanket, one of those breakfast trays for my laptop, a pile of paperbacks for my mouse to sit on, the curtains drawn, the cat at the bottom of the bed, and the electric blankets set on ‘toasty’.

What are you currently reading?

Anna Funder’s book All That I Am, about a small group of artists and writers fighting fascism in the second world war. It’s intense. Also Flesh Wounds by Richard Glover, an Australian journalist. This is his memoir. It’s very revealing and also very funny. I admire a man who can write personal detail unflinchingly. I believe a lot of men think they’re too important to do that, that the domestic and the familial is women’s realm and we should be left to it. Those men need to be given lots of the housework to do, have their pocket money taken away, and stick to a 5pm curfew until they shape up. (Removing self from soap box now.)

If you could have a coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

I’d have an afternoon coffee date with Henry from Audrey Nifenegger’s book The Time Traveller’s Wife. I’d ask him how his day has been. And I’d most definitely sleep with him.

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?

That I’ll do pretty much anything to make my writing and my book sell.

Do you journal write or keep a personal diary? Has this helped with your published writings? If so, how?

When I began writing Apple Island Wife, it was as a blog. That really helped pull the book together because I had this huge bank of material – 135 posts. It had to be rewritten because the voices for blog and book are very different. That was a very long exercise which required a bit of discipline and determination. You’re in it for the long haul as a writer. Since then I’ve made sure I keep notes, some in notebooks, and sometimes for the next book I just collect info that’s relevant and shove it into a file in Word, with a well key-worded file name.

What is the most amusing, crazy or inspiring thing that has ever happened to you?

I met the man who is said to be the world’s sixth best chef last year. I interviewed him for eleven minutes for a newspaper article. He looked a bit scary during the research phase – he’s a serious, Brazilian ju-jitsu master. He turned out to be insanely genial, generous and completely absent of ego. I was completely smitten and loved the piece I wrote. The bloody editor who had commissioned it then never got back to me so it remained unpublished. So I put it on my blog recently. Shooting Star: Alex Atala Does Tasmania.

You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What song do you listen to before speaking? Or, what do you do to prepare yourself?

I always have a water bottle with drops of Rescue Remedy in it. That stuff is magic.

What do you miss about being a kid?

Nothing! My life gets infinitely better as I get older, know more and am prepared to sweat the small stuff less.

What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?

I watched Four Weddings and a Funeral the other day, for the umpteenth time. It’s brilliantly written. The dialogue is tight, it has fantastic running gags, and great characters. So clever the way Hugh ends up saying ‘I do’ – that’s very neat narrative making. I like the swearing too. And it was the first movie that depicted a gay couple respectfully. So much to like, and it never fails to amuse.

Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?

I’ve got quite strong willpower. Every so often I mess up and offend somebody,usually by saying something unguarded. I used to agonise and beat myself up and spend hours in deep self-recrimination. Now I just think this is me and I’ve got to like myself anyway, live with myself, forgive myself and get on. People forget things, and they get over things, and maybe they needed telling. Nobody is perfect, and this is what’s meant by that saying. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to hold the view that there’s not much time left. It certainly keeps you on a straight path to what you really want to wring from life!!

Thank you for joining us on MTA Fiona. It was interesting to learn more about you and your book! – Camilla

Where to find the book:

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2N9fqmJ

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2UMBynH

UA Amazon: https://amzn.to/2UItt3A

If it feels right and you have the time (and you enjoy the interview) please like or comment or share it. The nature of the online world … the more eyes that see it the more it will spread and benefit the author and the website! Thank you!

And if it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Host of Meeting the Authors …

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Meet the Author: People Who Hurt by Celia Micklefield

Today we welcome Celia Micklefield as we travel to Norfolk on the east coast of England to discover how writing short stories, growing vegetables, complex characters, narcissism, a barn owl, and curiosity are a part of the fullness of Celia’s human experience. Slip into the gardening shoes, let’s go …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My real name is Celia Smith but I write in my maiden name: Celia Micklefield. I used to think that was a good idea but now I know how difficult it is to fit such a long surname on the book cover!

I was born in the county of West Yorkshire in the north of England where folks call a spade exactly what it is. I’ve lived in Scotland, near Aberdeen, where for the most part I couldn’t tell what people were saying at all and for nine years I lived in southern France where my schoolgirl French improved considerably. Now I live in Norfolk on the east coast of England. It’s a wildlife wonderland with its inland waterways, wooded areas, windmills and quaint villages. I often use inspiration from nature in my short stories. That’s how I began: writing short stories for a UK women’s magazine. Since then I’ve published two short story collections, three novels and one non-fiction book. I’m currently working on my fourth novel with another two in the pipeline.

Leisure time is usually spent in my garden. I love growing vegetables but have to make sure the deer can’t get at them or they’d eat the lot.

In which genre do you write?

I suppose you could call my work Women’s Fiction but they’re all different.

How many published books do you have?

I have six self-published books. I used to have an agent but it didn’t work out so I went ahead by myself.

My first novel, Patterns of Our Lives, is a UK saga set partly during World War Two.

It’s essentially a multi-generational story about love and the sacrifices people make in its name.

My second novel, Trobairitz – the Storyteller is harder to classify. Trobairitz were female troubadours in France during the 12th and 13th centuries. My Trobairitz is a contemporary woman entertaining other truck drivers at an overnight stop in Languedoc by telling them a story. Her main character is an ex sex worker, now in her seventies who has a running battle with the current mayor of the village and his grandfather.

My third novel, The Sandman and Mrs Carter is a psychological mystery. Narrated by five main characters the story of Wendy Carter unfolds through their different points of view.

All my fiction is character-led. I love stories with multiple threads and complex characters with problems to solve. There’s usually a mystery woven in and maybe a tragedy or two. Life isn’t all sweetness and light so I hope to reflect the fullness of human experience in my work.

My two collections of short stories feature work that isn’t suitable for women’s magazines as they prefer, if not a happy ending, at least a hopeful one. Women’s magazines fiction tends to shy away from difficult subjects too but I love to jump into the dark stuff every now and then. In Arse(d) Ends you’ll find dark comedy, sexual harassment and sibling rivalry. In Queer As Folk the story Lemon Meringue captures sisterly love when one suffers from dementia, for example.

My sixth book, People Who Hurt is non-fiction. Part memoir, part informational the book outlines covert, passive aggressive narcissism and the abusive patterns of behaviour individuals with this personality disorder inflict on their partners. I make this book free as often as Amazon allows and I’m pleased to know it’s helping others realise that not all abuse is physical.

What is an interesting writing quirk you have that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?

I’m slow. In everything I do I’m slow. In 2013 I was hit and knocked down by a careless driver. My bones mended but my central nervous system didn’t and I’m in pain all the time. My condition’s been diagnosed as CRPS (Complex Regional Pain Syndrome) so on low pain days I write as much as I can. On other days my energy is used up by just getting up. It’s taken me a whole week to fill in this questionnaire. I can’t sit in one position too long or my muscles spasm and my joints lock. That’s how slow I am.

What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal or avatar and why?

The barn owl.

After I’d left the abusive relationship I lived with friends until the legalities were finalised. It took three years to get my money out of the property we’d bought together because of his delaying tactics and spurious claims against me. I began looking for a place of my own but was anxious it should be the kind of home where I could find peace.

As I drew up in preparation to park outside the cottage I wanted to view, a barn owl flew low over the roof of my car. I watched it fly down the lane ahead of me. Its wings were majestic, beating slowly, calmly. It wasn’t in any kind of rush. I felt it was an omen. If a beautiful creature like that was happy meandering along this country backwater then this was the place for me.

What does your ideal working space look like?

Ah, it’s beautiful. Deep in the forest there’s a hidden clearing beside a lake. Distant mountains rise in misty mauve beyond the tree line. There, like Snow White surrounded by cute animals, I sit in my cottage and the words flow like magic.

In reality I’m in the spare bedroom with my trusty iMac up against the window. I can see cute animals, though. Except for when they’re eating my vegetables. They’re not cute then!

What are you currently reading?

Currently I’m not reading anything other than research for my next book but I have The Wisdom of Sally Red Shoes by Ruth Hogan on my Kindle ready to begin.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

Not a lot. I like a quiet life. But I do like visiting foreign countries when I’m able. I usually pay for it afterwards and have to rest but I love the Greek islands in particular. I can look at that turquoise water for hours!

If you could have a coffee date with an author from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

I’d choose Daphne du Maurier. I keep a copy of Rebecca near my work station to remind me of the power of character. I’d like to ask her what she’d change about the book for today’s readers.

Do you believe things happen for a reason?

I do now. Everything is a learning experience. I like to think we are spiritual beings having a human experience. If I hadn’t experienced loss, grief, betrayal, bereavement, etc. how would I know what it felt like? I want to write well about how these emotions affect my characters and the things they do. My research following time with an abusive partner opened my eyes to a hidden world of domestic abuse and it pleases me that my story is helping others in similar situations to come to an understanding of what happened to them.

Which of your personality traits has been the most useful and why?

I think I must name two things:

Curiosity. I have to look things up. I want to know the reasons, meanings, backstory, processes, outcomes etc. etc. I love learning. Very useful for writers.

Patience. Without it there’d be no number one!

What is your most recent work and what is your work in progress?

My most recent book is People Who Hurt and the link is above. My work in progress is A Measured Man, an unsentimental, passionless romantic comedy aimed at mature readers. At the rate I’m going it could be finished in 2020!

Please drop in and say hello at my website or facebook page. I’ll get back to you as soon as I can.

Thank you for being a part of MTA Celia. It was wonderful learning more about you and your writing style. –Camilla

Where to find Celia’s books:

People Who Hurt:

US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2ZP5LaA

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/31dYw9C

Patterns of Our Lives:

getBook.at/POOL

Trobairitz:

getBook.at/TTS

The Sandman and Mrs Carter:

getBook.at/TSAMC

Arse(d) Ends:

getBook.at/AE

Queer As Folk:

getBook.at/QAF

Website: www.celiamicklefield.com and Celia has an author page on Facebook also.

If it feels right and you have the time (and you enjoy the interview) please like or comment or share it. The nature of the online world … the more eyes that see it the more it will spread and benefit the author and the website! Thank you!

And if it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Host of Meeting the Authors …

Buy Me A Coffee

Meet the Author: Eat, Pray, #FML by Gabrielle Stone

Today we welcome Gabrielle Stone as we travel to Los Angeles, California and we learn how a unicorn, romantic love, Dee Wallace, being a foodie, and Robin Williams all play a role in Gabrielle’s life and how this book came to be. Pack your travel bag and let’s go ….

Tell us a bit about yourself.

Hi! I’m an actress/director born and raised in Los Angeles. I’ve always loved poetry and creative writing but I never considered myself a writer. That has changed considering I have a book out now. 2017 was an absolute tornado in my life and the only thing that got me through it all was writing it all down…in this book!

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

I didn’t really realize I wanted to be a writer. My circumstances that prompted me to write Eat, Pray, #FML more or less happened to me. A shocking divorce after finding out my husband was having an affair with a nineteen-year-old for six months. Falling madly in love with someone new, only to be broken up with forty-eight hours before we were getting on a plane to Italy. Everyone in my life kept saying “you can’t write this stuff,” so, I did.

What is an interesting quirk you have, that we wouldn’t know by reading your biography?

I am a serious foodie. If I didn’t care about the shape my body was in, I would literally out eat most of the men in my life. I definitely didn’t hold back on my Europe trip (and paid for it when I got home). For the record, I regret nothing.

What is the most beautiful memory you have of something shared between you and your mother, Dee Wallace?

That’s a tough (but great) question. There are so very many. Were best friends. My mother has been the one constant in my life that has always shown up for me no matter what. So while we have a million light hearted and beautiful memories it’s the times where she had to help me pick up the broken pieces that truly matter the most.

For one, taking care of me when my father passed. I write about how strong she was at handling that whole situation in the book. When my high school sweetheart was killed in a car accident. My divorce. I don’t know how I would have ever made it through any of it without her.

What is the most inspiring advice your mother has shared with you to date?

-Again, THERE’S SO MUCH. If I had to pick one, it would probably be to not be a victim. If I hadn’t learned to not succumb to the victim-ness in situations I probably would have lost my mind a long time ago. It has shaped me into who I am and how I handle situations. This is the reason I am as strong as I am.

What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal, or avatar and why?

A unicorn. Cause I’m freaking magical.

What does your ideal writing space look like?

I wrote Eat, Pray, #FML in a leather bound journal on my Europe trip. There were days I wrote in cafes, on beautiful balconies, in the Gardens of Versailles, long train rides, incredible restaurants, and beautiful beaches. Because of this I would say that anywhere with rich culture and beauty is my ideal space. I think I definitely got spoiled in that sense 😉

If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

Robin Williams. What Dreams May Come is one of my all time favorite films. He had such a light about him that was inevitably taken over by the dark. He was one of the true geniuses of our time.

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?

Writing this book quite literally uncovered every deep rooted belief I have carried with me since I was a child. My fear of abandonment, how I handle intimacy, not feeling okay by myself. I have never learned or healed more than I did while writing this book. It was like therapy for me.

What’s the strangest thing you’ve done or experienced to help create a scene or plot or to help you remember something if writing a memoir?

This entire book is a collection of strange and ridiculous experiences that happened over a few months in my life. A divorce, romantic love story, a last minute solo adventure, sex, mistakes, growing, traveling to seven different countries by myself, and learning how to love myself. Every single thing on this adventure lead me to something I needed to either heal or learn. I came back from that trip an entirely different human, in the best way possible.

What do you miss about being a kid?

LITERALLY EVERYTHING. The simplicity of life, mostly. Not having any inhibitions or fear of being judged for things. Being a kid is one of the most pure and innocent times in our lives. I was always in such a rush to grow up and get older. While there are things I love about being an adult and my current life, I definitely miss not having a care in the world. And being able to eat whatever I wanted.

At this stage in your life, what advice would your young self give to your more mature self?

Don’t let anyone dim your freaking light.

If you were trapped in a cartoon world from your childhood, which one would you choose and why?

Ha! What a fun question. Probably Rugrats. I was obsessed. Or The Berenstain Bears. I had every book and VHS.

Do you believe things happen for a reason? Do you have an example from your own life to share why you believe this?

MY ENTIRE BOOK. From the moment I found out I would be taking this trip on my own, I knew it was all happening for a reason. I have always been scared to be by myself–the Universe delivered a clear way for me to go force myself to deal with that head on. Every single decision I made on that trip lead me to exactly where I needed to be. Every person that crossed my path crossed it for a reason. If I hadn’t have made certain decisions things would have ended up so differently, and I would not be where I am now.

Describe the perfect solo date you’d take yourself on … where, time of day, weather, place, etc.

Somewhere out of the country, by the water, on a sunny day with a light breeze. Preferably with lots of pasta and lots of wine.

Tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it.

Eat, Pray, #FML is available now exclusively on Amazon in paperback and ebook! I love hearing what people think, during and after the read, and love sharing it on my social media, so please tag me and the book so we can see and share!

Thank you Gabrielle for joining us on Meeting the Authors. It was wonderful to learn a bit about your background and the parts that come together for the role of your life.

I am a huge Dee Wallace fan. Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s, the most memorable role for me of your mother, is the mom in the movie E.T. I loved that movie as a kid! It was not until about 7 years ago that I re-discovered Dee through a friend. I have been inspired and moved by her ever since through her newsletter and blog talk radio. And, her newsletter is how I heard about your book! Good stuff! –Camilla

Synopsis:

A year and a half into our marriage, I found out my husband had been having an affair with a nineteen-year-old for six months. I filed for divorce and left.

Two weeks later I met a man, and we fell madly in love. It was a fairy-tale romance for a month and a half, and he convinced me to join him on a romantic month-long vacation in Italy. Forty-eight hours before we were supposed to get on a plane, he told me he needed to go by himself. I was devastated. So, I had a decision to make. Either stay home and be heartbroken, or go travel Europe for a month by myself. And staying at home heartbroken? F%*k. That.

What does a woman do when her life has fallen apart and her heart has been ripped out and stepped on twice in two months? She goes on a wild adventure, makes some bad decisions, and does a sh*t load of soul searching. But most importantly? She finds out how to love…herself.

This is so not Eat, Pray, Love.
This is Eat, Pray, #FML.

Where to buy and connect with Gabrielle:

Amazon US: https://amzn.to/2LrHeRv

Amazon UK: https://amzn.to/2J1egXc

Website: http://www.EatPrayFML.com

Social Media:
@gabriellestone
@eatprayfml

Book Trailer:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8m2K2LJJPE&t=3s

If it feels right and you have the time (and you enjoy the interview) please like or comment or share it. The nature of the online world … the more eyes that see it the more it will spread and benefit the author and the website! Thank you!

And if it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Host of Meeting the Authors …

Buy Me A Coffee

Meet the Author: In Bloom Not Broken by Katie Maylea

Today we welcome author Katie Maylea. We travel to Birmingham in the United Kingdom to learn about what The Mad Hatter, Alice in Wonderland, and an 8 month old puppy have to do with road blocks as stepping stones. We’re all mad here, come join us …

Tell us a bit about yourself.

My name is Katie and I am from Birmingham, UK.

I am a mental health campaigner, author and ETSY shop owner (www.etsy.com/uk/shop/katiescabinhandmade). I am also a Mommy of a six year old little princess and a doggy Mommy of 2 chorkie’s.

I am passionate about mental health awareness and a lover of handmade.

In which genre do you write?

My current book is a non fiction memoir but I also have a fiction children’s book coming soon too!

How many published books do you have?

I have one mental health memoir which is my journey through mental illness.

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?

I am technically not a “writer” in the sense of the word. I have always loved writing poetry from a very young age but as far as my book goes my goal was never to be a writer. It was more that I had a story that I wanted to share to raise awareness on mental health.

What would you choose as your mascot, spirit animal, or avatar and why?

I am a huge Alice In Wonderland fan and love all the quotes from the film a huge amount. I have a tattoo “Do you suppose she’s a wildflower?” and a mad hatters hat on my forearm so I would probably choose the Mad Hatter.

As he said…. “We’re all mad here” and i feel a bit like him sometimes!

What does your ideal writing space look like?

Ideally a beautiful summer house surrounded by singing birds and summer sunshine. What it really looked like was anywhere i could get some peace from two dogs and a six year old 😉

What are you currently reading?

I am reading “The Girl Before” by JP Delaney and loving it! I keep vowing to make more time to read as I find it very relaxing.

What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?

You will usually find me busy making my ETSY orders or making new items to add to my ETSY shop.

Either that or working on something to do with mental health awareness, volunteering for SHOUT, a mental health crisis text line or in my spare time watching something on netflix.

I am a “busy” so I am always doing something. I find it very hard to sit still and just totally switch off. I get bored easily and like to be productive.

If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author or famous person from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?

Oooooohhh, that’s a tough one! I would say Channing Tatum and ask him if he wouldn’t mind acting a little bit of Magic Mike for me, but that is for selfish reasons 😉

What is the most surprising thing you’ve learned about yourself through writing?

That I can do it! I honestly thought when I started my book that I wouldn’t manage more than a few pages. 85,000 words later I had a book on my hands!

What’s the strangest thing you’ve done or experienced to help while writing your memoir?

There were a few songs I literally had on repeat a lot of the time. Mostly Beyonce’s “Listen” and Emeli Sande “Read All About It”.

Do you journal write or keep a personal diary? Has this helped with your published writings? If so, how?

I don’t anymore but i did for many years especially throughout struggling with anorexia. I have about 8 diaries spanning years and I remember about four years ago thinking about getting rid of them as they held so many painful memories but something inside me said, “Don’t do that in case you write a book”.

I am so glad I kept them as there are diary excerpts throughout my book that really give insight to the mind of mental illness in “real time” that was really important to me when writing my book as I wanted it to be as raw and honest as possible.

What is the most amusing, crazy or inspiring thing that has ever happened to you?

I think the thing I always think of is the night that I was sat planning to end my life, I had made the plans, written the notes and I had really made my final decision about that evening.

I was sat on the floor and my laptop was open. Within that moment a friend popped up on messenger who I had only every spoken to via text and on the phone as the internet wasn’t quite as huge then as it is now. I can’t even remember what I said but that one message resulted in him coming over.

I went to the hospital and that one message ultimately, potentially, saved my life. That one moment has gone on to inspire a lot of the projects that I do and the fact that I volunteer for a crisis tect line as I truly understand that sometimes the smallest things in one moment can save a life.

You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What song do you listen to before speaking? Or, what do you do to prepare yourself?

I would come back to a song that I mentioned before Emeli Sande “Read All About It” I really resonate with this song and it’s a song that always makes me feel a bit stronger and more determined to share my story and be truthful about what I believe in.

If you were trapped in a cartoon world from your childhood, which one would you choose and why?

Oh goodness, I loved Spot The Dog, Rosie and Jim but probably with what I do now if I was to get stuck in one it would probably be Art Attack!

If you could turn into one of your characters for a day, which one would it be and why, what would you do? If you write non-fiction or memories, what fictional character would you invite into your story and why?

I would invite Alice from Alice In Wonderland in to my story. I have a feeling we would have got along well.

What’s the last movie you watched and why did you choose to watch it?

I watched “A Star is Born” for the second time. I watched it the first time at the cinema and love the soundtrack so really wanted to see it again. Plus I can’t deny, I have a bit of a thing for Bradley Cooper!…..It’s those eyes!!

A penguin knocks on your door and is wearing a sombrero. What does he say and why is he there?

He comes to tell me that he has come to take me away to somewhere hot and sunny because like him, I need some sunshine in my life.

Do you believe things happen for a reason? Do you have an example from your own life to share why you believe this?

Absolutely yes! The example I gave before about the night that I planned to end my life is a massive example of this, I generally believe this and while I often have people say to me that they are “Sorry” for what has happened to me or that they don’t know how I have remained so strong. I now look at it and think if it hadn’t I wouldn’t have the passions or goals and dreams that I now do.

I like to think that I experienced what I did to use it for something good and to fuel me with a fire that I now have, As the quote says

“Road Blocks can often prove to be stepping stones”

If you could ask your pet three questions, what would they be?

Haha! I have two dogs so my oldest Alfie who is ten I would ask ” Do you like Eddie?” (The new 8 month puppy) and “What do you want me to know?” The youngest Eddie who is 8 months I would ask ” Why do you refuse on doing a number 2 outside?!”

Which of your personality traits has been most useful and why?

I would say my determination and drive, I think this has seen me through a lot not only with goals and ambitions but also through emotions and getting through difficult times.

What’s your favorite place to visit in your country and why?

I love Devon, I want to move to Devon one day. Anywhere quiet and ideally by the sea. Somewhere calming where I feel like I can switch off of have some wonderful scenery. I live in Birmingham and I definitely wasn’t built to live in a city.

Describe the perfect solo date you’d take yourself on … where, time of day, weather, place, etc.

Somewhere hot with sea. That is my happy place. I am such a sun lover. I have wondered if somewhere in my family tree there is some Spanish or similar. I always get asked and every holiday I go on at some point someone will talk to me in their own language. I love being in the sun by the sea with a book – pass me a vodka and diet coke while I’m there and that is perfect.

Tell us about your most recent book and where we can find it.

My book “In Bloom Not Broken” is my journey through mental illness. It covers my battle with self harm and depression starting from the age of 14 through to my battle with anorexia throughout my 20’s and lastly being diagnosed with Bipolar Disorder which included manic episodes with psychosis and delusions and suicidal depressions.

I wanted to write a book that was very raw, honest and that had no heirs and graces to really give insight in to the mind of someone struggling with mental illness to raise awareness and also to show others that they are not alone with these thoughts and feelings that can sometimes feel shameful and that things really can get better, even when that feels impossible.

It is available on Amazon in ebook and paperback formats as well as being part of Kindle Unlimited.

Thank you incredibly much Katie. Another I am adding to my list to be read. I truly enjoyed stepping into your world, even if only for a brief moment. And, I LOVE your Etsy shop!! Very cool!! –Camilla

UK Amazon: https://amzn.to/2HsOb2f
US Amazon: https://amzn.to/2WdSPcB

If it feels right and you have the time (and you enjoy the interview) please like or comment or share it. The nature of the online world … the more eyes that see it the more it will spread and benefit the author and the website! Thank you!

And if it feels the thing to do and you are inspired to do so, I would be deeply grateful if you’d like to “Buy Me a Coffee” … Camilla – Host of Meeting the Authors …

Buy Me A Coffee