Nancy: Did you find yourself reliving the abusive marriage times in your life as you wrote? If so, how did you handle it?
Kathy: My first memoir was not the story I wanted or intended to write. I started out writing about being the mother of an alcoholic son. But when I sent my manuscript to a developmental editor, she strongly recommended that I had two memoirs, one about the emotional abuse and the other about my son. I then had to face all my vulnerabilities and flaws—why and how I got into two emotionally abusive marriages-- which was very difficult. There were many times when I had to put the manuscript aside, sometimes for months at a time. But the story kept nagging at me and I eventually finished it. And I will add that seeing it through helped me to heal from the guilt and shame I had carried around all those years. It also helped me to forgive those in my life whom I felt had hurt me. Most important, it helped me to forgive myself.
Nancy: Did you ever want to quit writing the book? If so, what made you continue?
Kathy: Indeed, there were times when I wondered if it was worth exposing such intimate details about my family life. I was especially concerned about the response of my first ex-husband, the father of my children. I consulted an attorney and prayed about it. One day a few months before it was published, I sat in church and had an overwhelming feeling come over me. I felt compassion for the young woman in my story (me). With that feeling came a renewed passion for telling my story to give others hope.
Nancy: What are you working on now?
Kathy: I am currently in the final editing phase of my second memoir, Daring to Hope: A Mother’s Journey to Healing From Cancer and Her Son’s Alcohol Addiction. I started writing vignettes about this story in 1999. So it’s been in the works for nineteen years.
Nancy: How soon do you expect the new book to be published?
Kathy: By next year at this time, I hope to have it published. Maybe sooner. It all depends on how the revision process goes. When I’m done with this phase of my revision, I will print it out and have a red pen in hand to mark the areas that still need work. I’m in no hurry but I will feel good when it’s done.
Nancy: What advice do you have to others who might like to write a memoir?
Kathy: Read a lot of memoirs.
Study the art and craft of memoir writing. There are so many free resources online: The National Association of Memoir Writers (NAMW), The Memoir Network with Denis Ledoux, International Women’s Writer’s Guild (IWWG)
Facebook groups: Memories to Memoir with Cami Ostman, IWWG member group, NAMW, Gutsy Indie Publishers
Follow blogs: The Write Practice, Women’s Writing Circle with Susan Weidener, Writing Through Life with Amber Lea Starfire, Marion Roach, Memories and Memoir with Linda Joy Myer to name a few.
If you can, get to a writer’s conference. IWWG and Writer’s Digest Annual Conferences are my favorites.
And finally, if you want be a writer, you have to write and keep writing until it’s right. And don’t forget to be kind and gentle with yourself. Memoir writing is a daunting, often painful process but well worth it in terms of the healing and transformation that occurs within you.
Bio: Bio: Kathleen Pooler is an author and a retired Family Nurse Practitioner whose memoir, Ever Faithful to His Lead: My Journey Away From Emotional Abuse, published on July 28, 2014 and work-in-progress sequel, The Edge of Hope (working title) are about how the power of hope through her faith in God helped her to transform, heal and transcend life’s obstacles and disappointments: domestic abuse, divorce, single parenting, loving and letting go of an alcoholic son, cancer and heart failure to live a life of joy and contentment. She believes that hope matters and that we are all strengthened and enlightened when we share our stories.
She lives with her husband Wayne in eastern New York.
She blogs weekly at her Memoir Writer’s Journey blog: http://krpooler.com
LinkedIn: Kathleen Pooler: https://www.linkedin.com/pub/kathleen-pooler/16/a95/20a
Google+:Kathleen Pooler: https://plus.google.com/109860737182349547026/posts
Kathy Pooler : https://www.facebook.com/kathleen.pooler
Kathleen Pooler/Memoir Writer’s Journey: https://www.facebook.com/memoirwritersjourney
One of her stories “The Stone on the Shore” is published in the anthology: “The Woman I’ve Become: 37 Women Share Their Journeys From Toxic Relationships to Self-Empowerment” by Pat LaPointe, 2012.
Another story: “Choices and Chances” is published in the “My Gutsy Story Anthology” by Sonia Marsh, September, 2013.