A few weeks ago, I was a Guest Blogger for Kathy Pooler whose memoir is pictured. Read more about it here. I asked Kathy if she'd consider doing an interview for my blog. Gracious lady that she is, she agreed without hesitation. The interview will run over two days. Part 1 is below. Not only memoir writers will find this of interest. All writers can gain some knowledge and insight from this writer's answers to my questions.
Interview with Kathy Pooler, Memoir Writer
Nancy: Did you have any writing background before you started to write your memoir?
Kathy: The only background I have is a lifelong desire to write. My career was in nursing. I think my passion for writing started when I was around nine- years-old and wrote plays to perform in front of my maternal grandmother and all her Italian lady friends. They chattered in response and though I didn’t understand a word, their enthusiasm motivated me to keep doing it. Soon after, I received a pink journal with a lock and key and I have been journaling ever since. In 1999, I took a Writer’s Digest course, Getting Started in Writing which jumpstarted my writing career. When I decided to write a memoir, I took online courses in the art and craft of memoir writing from 2009 to 2012 through The National Association of Memoir Writers with Linda Joy Myers.
Nancy: What made you decide to write the book?
Kathy: We all have challenges and struggles in our lives that help to shape us into the adults we become. After surviving two divorces from emotionally abusive men, one of whom was an alcoholic, cancer and a son with addiction, I looked around at the life of peace and joy I was living and decided I must tell my story to give others in similar circumstances hope for themselves. No matter how far down into the abyss you may go, there’s always hope for a better life.
Nancy: How long did it take from start to finish?
Kathy: Memoir writing is a marathon, not a sprint. It has been a slow unfolding of past memories with new discoveries along the way. As I mentioned above, I journaled through all my challenges from the time I was in high school. Many of these journal entries became the seeds for my memoir. I started writing in earnest in 2009 and published my first memoir, Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away From Emotional Abuse in July of 2014.
Nancy: Did you have a professional editor, or do it yourself?
IKathy: feel strongly that professional editing is essential in producing a marketable book. I need an objective, professional review and would never rely on myself to edit.
When I complete my first draft, I put out a call to fellow writers and friends to be beta readers. This gives me feedback from a reader’s perspective. After incorporating the beta readers’ suggestions and when I feel my manuscript is ready, I send it to a professional editor for the evaluation of the content, story structure, narrative arc and writing. I will then hire a copyeditor to check for grammar and punctuation and a proofreader for the final review.
Nancy: How many publishers did you submit to before being accepted at Open Books Press?
Kathy: I was lucky. The small publisher reached out to me after seeing a comment I had made on a popular writer’s blog, Writer’s Unboxed. I had an established platform through my weekly blog and he requested I submit my manuscript to him. Before that, I had explored other publishing options, including traditional and self-publishing and already decided to aim for a small publisher.
Nancy: What have you done to promote your book?
Kathy: I think the most important thing is to take the time you need to write a good book and I hope I’ve done that. I participated in online and onsite book tours, book signings at local venues, such as libraries, counseling centers, senior centers. In one case, a coworker’s mother who worked at a local counseling center read my book and recommended to her director that I come to speak at a staff meeting which I did. This meeting was broad cast to two other counseling sites. As a result of the newspaper article about the meeting, a reporter from the newspaper requested to come to my house to interview me for a full page Sunday feature story. Other opportunities came my way, such as requests to speak at a local nursing association’s dinner meeting and an invitation to be keynote speaker at an annual fundraising event for the local domestic violence shelter.
Please Come back tomorrow for Part 2 of the interview