Carry On Dancing – Heather Grace Stewart


I am happy to introduce to you Heather Grace Stewart, Canadian Poet.  This week, I asked Heather if she would accept an interview for my blog and she graciously accepted.  Just last night Heather found out that her book Carry On Dancing is currently #2 in bestselling Canadian Poetry on Amazon.ca.  Congratulations!

About Heather Grace

Heather Grace Stewart is the author of two poetry collections, ‘Leap,’ and ‘Where the Butterflies Go,’ and two non-fiction books for youth. Her third collection, ‘Carry On Dancing,” is published by Winter Goose Publishing, which was made available in March 2012. A member of the Professional Writers Association of Canada and the League of Canadian Poets, she lives with her family in Montreal, Canada.

.

An interesting fact: 

“Heather wrote her first poem at age five, inspired by falling down a lot while trying to figure skate. At the Arena was published in her school newsletter. (ref:  Winter Goose Publishing)

The Interview

Describe yourself in 5 words

Bubbly, creative, passionate, adventurous, spirited

How did you come to live your passion?

It’s been a lifelong process, and I am still growing every day.

I knew I wanted to be a writer from the time I was a young child. I loved writing poems and short stories for Mrs. Nash’s grade 2 class. I thought journalism was the route for me, and I did love working at a paper and for magazines, but I felt I wasn’t able to be as creative as I wanted to. In 1999 I decided to forge ahead on my own, with my freelance writing  and editing business, Graceful Publications. By working from home as a freelance journalist, I found I had more time to try creative writing projects on the side,  and that’s how my poetry books were published. Last year it became an official publishing company too, with the release of my first children’s book, The Groovy Granny, which I wrote with our then-five-year old daughter, who illustrated the poems. I still write and take photos for magazines, but I’m focusing on creating books right now, because it’s what I most love to do.

That was the technical answer to how it all came to be, but the process of deciding that I deserve to do what I love every day was a long one. I don’t think it was until my  friend and mentor died of a brain tumor when I was 24 that I realized, truly realized, that I wanted to live every day as if it were my last. Now, I can’t throw my caution with money or my own health or anything out the window, as if I may die tomorrow,  but I do try to treat each day like it could be my last. I try to leap at unique opportunities (like working for myself). I try to learn something new or try something new every day. I try to send friends snail mail and surprises and if they call, I call  right back so I won’t forget. If I catch myself losing my patience with my daughter, I’ll go apologize to her a few minutes later, so she knows parents aren’t perfect. I sometimes forget and slip back into taking days for granted, but it’s almost a way of life for me now, and I think it has made a great difference.

What do you do when you are not writing?

I love to play with my daughter and husband. We do a lot of gardening and flea-marketing in the summer, but we kind of hibernate in winter. We toboggan some times, but our daughter likes creative games like playing ‘spa’ – soaking my feet in a bowl of sea salts by the fire! – and I am just fine with that! In my own free time, I love to inline skate, take photos, scrapbook, cartoon, and I just love walking along a  beach,looking for pretty shells, sand dollars, and other tiny miracles.

Where does your creativity come from?

For me, it’s a bit like a natural water cycle. There’s the source, which is inside my heart and soul and mind, always ready to be tapped into, and a constantly flowing stream, but that can get interrupted by dams – like my own laziness or self doubt or just a really rotten week. But when  it’s flowing, the water or my creative work eventually moves up and is spread out into the clouds, until it all returns to the earth as rain, and, the cycle continues.

What book struck you as a child and why?

A friend gave me a hard cover copy of The Neverending Story for my 11th birthday. I remember pouring over it many times, especially up in my tree fort. I liked the story line -the boy was bullied but he managed to overcome that – and I loved how the real world was written in green ink and the fantasy world was in red ink. It was magical; and that’s how I think books should be.

What is the last book you absolutely couldn’t put down?

“Safe Haven” by Nicholas Sparks. When I am writing poetry, I try to stay away from poetry, because I want to do completely my own thing, so right now, I’m reading quick-read-fluff-fiction. I do enjoy autobiographies and there’s a series of books by physicist Michio Kaku about the physics of the future and the physics of parallel worlds that I’m finding so fascinating, but with my recent book release I’ve been in need of very easy, mentally easy you know? reads at night, to just unwind. Safe Haven was predictable in its characterization and how the  story was resolved – by now we all know what to expect from Sparks – but the plot was a little more mysterious and darker than his usual work. I liked that. I love studying his work, because I’d like to try writing a romance novel one day. One day!

Who inspires you?

My parents and grandparents inspire me – they’re just damned good  people. My daughter and husband make me laugh, and that always inspires my work. I’m inspired as a writer by so many poets ~ Frost, Thoreau, Sara Teasdale, Mary Oliver ~ but mainly by people who took/are taking brave stands: Terry Fox, Rosa Parks, our war veterans, the single parents of 911 babies. Their stories remind me not to be a wimp when I’m having troubles writing a piece, or achieving any kind of goal. I think of them and I say to myself, Suck it Up, Buttercup!

Can you tell us about your new book?

Carry On Dancing is out in bookstores and on Amazon.com and bn.com now! It’s a book of poetry that I wrote in the last year and a half. It’s a mixture of poems about the world we live in – the world of Twitter and war and tsunamis and money-hungry marketers – set against our private worlds – those of our loves, our loss, our partnerships – and how we can balance both worlds and carry on dancing, through it all.

Where did the inspiration for the book cover come from?

I took that shot on our daughter’s fifth birthday. We’d just made this colourful tutu for her together after school (it was really easy- from a kit! I’m a poet, not a seamstress) and as she put it on and started twirling around, I started snapping away. I have such happy memories from that day.

What are your future projects

I have a lot of projects in the works. I have an illustrator finishing up my children’s bed time story; I’m working on my next book of poems but I’m going to take my time at that one, and I’m thinking about writing a novel. I’m also open to opportunities that come my way.

5 things you would like to accomplish in the next 5 years.

Gosh, can we just do the next five minutes? I’m trying to live in the moment more. I do have goals, but having just realized the biggest one – getting a poetry book published by a publisher before I hit 40 (I’m 40 on April 11!) I don’t want to push myself. I’m in coasting mode: sit back, enjoy the ride and the view, and see what comes my way. I just want to be a good wife, mother, friend, daughter, and to continue writing, and living with passion.

Do you have anything you wish to share with aspiring writers? Any advice?

Write what you know. Write from your heart. Don’t over edit. Don’t second-guess yourself. Volunteer. Be persistent. Don’t be afraid to ask questions.

How can we purchase  a copy of your Book?

Carry On Dancing is now available on Amazon.com, bn.com and signed copies are also available from me, via Paypal, by writing writer@hgrace.com

Click here to all my books on Amazon and my children’s book:  The Groovy Granny

This is my new web site :  http://heathergracestewart.me

This is my blog:   http://heathergracestewart.com

Thanks so much for chatting with me today, Kim!
Heather

Thank you Heather!  Such a pleasure getting to know you more.. and a fellow Montrealer to boot!  We should do coffee soon!  Congrats on being no 2 NOW!!  at Amazon.ca!!

You can also follow Heather Grace Stewart on Facebook 

Hope you enjoyed your stay,

Kim 


Magic In the Backyard – Kellie Elmore


 I am genuinely honored to introduce to you Kellie Elmore, Author of the up and coming book:  Magic In the Backyard.    This is not a dream interpretation, but an interview I had with her this past week.  Kellie and I met online about 2 years ago.  I have always been drawn to her website , which shares the same title as her book, for its beauty and prose.  So get comfortable, grab a cuppa, and enjoy the show!

Now available for PRE-ORDER on AMAZON

About Kellie

Kellie Elmore is a writer who knows no bounds. She believes self-expression is most beautiful in its pure, raw and unedited form. “No rules, just write” is her motto.

Kellie finds inspiration in nature and in the humble surroundings of her “backyard” – Southeast Tennessee. Through poetry and prose, Kellie writes freely about cherished and magical moments as well as tragic losses. Her goal is to take readers back, rekindle a memory or elicit a feeling. Charles Bukowski wrote, “If it doesn’t burst out of you, don’t do it.” Kellie agrees and states, “If it were not for my pen, I would explode! Writing is my happy pill.”  Join Kellie as she writes her way through life’s journey – magic in the backyard…

Magic in the Backyard by Kellie Elmore will be released in April of 2012 via Winter Goose Publishing.


The Interview

Here we go…

KL:  Describe yourself in 5 words.

KE:  Sensitive, Loving, Funny, Silly and Weird

KI:  What do you do when you are not writing?

KE:  I’m always writing! lol But I enjoy playing with photography. I have really been experimenting with it here lately and have actually snapped some pretty neat shots I am pretty proud of.

KL:  Where does your creativity come from?

KE:  That would be life in general. Everything around me gives me something to write about. Especially people. I love watching people, how they interact and try to figure out why they say or do certain things and then I build scenes and characters from what I come up with.

KL:  Can you tell us about any challenges getting your first book published?

KE:  Actually, there were not many challenges at all except getting up the courage to submit my work in the first place. (Rejection scares me.) But, once Winter Goose Publishing graciously accepted my work and we began the whole process, it has went pretty smoothly.

KL:  Would you change anything about your experience?

KE:  Oh, not at all. I am having a blast with all of this! Can’t you tell?

KL:  Can you tell us about your upcoming book?

KE:  My book is titled Magic in the Backyard and it consists of prose and poetry. It is made up of primarily stories about growing up here in East Tennessee and the experiences both emotional and spiritual, that I have lived. Inspired by love, loss, nature and a wellspring of memories, I have literally put my heart to paper for this collection.

KL:  Can you share a little of your current work with us?

KE:  Sure! One of my more recent pieces that has received quite the reviews by my readers is titled “My Porch Swing is a Time Machine” and it is a really great example of the kind of prose you will find in the book…

in the silence of the afternoon

when the sun is just laying down to rest

giving shadow to the pecan tree in the yard

that blows a sweet wave of

cool air across my shoulders

and the town is crawling home from

their business and loafering-

when all I hear is the grinding creak of

the chain of the swing against the hooks

and the evening songs of the mockingbirds

my porch swing becomes a time machine,

with arms of gentle breezes,

wrapping me in yesterday

back and forth between memories

and I let it carry me

to the times when I sat with her

rocking the day away, watching birds

and drinking sweet iced tea on

hot summer days, with not a care for

much of anything at all except

what we might have for supper

and like the slow drifting clouds,

time and those hungry, empty spaces

travel- passing by in fleeting wisps

just beyond the reach of my fingertips

KL:  Thank you!  I almost felt as if I was on that swing!

KL:  I am in love with the book cover. Tell us how you came to choose this particular image. What does it mean to you?

KE:  As much as I would love to, I cannot take credit for the cover. Jessica Kristie and the WGP graphics team are responsible for this beautiful piece of artwork! I was ecstatic when I saw it for the first time. the tire swing was such a perfect choice. And blended with the snow, it really sets the mood and hopefully will allow you to appreciate the warm words that await you inside.

KL:  What are your future projects?

KE:  I am currently working on a new poetry/prose manuscript. Magic in the Backyard puts you into moments, my memories and introduces you to who I have known and loved with nature as a backdrop. My new book will be more of a personal journey into who I am. How these people and memories have affected me. I can only relate the content to that of Sylvia Plath as it will ride along the lines of the darker side, just into the gray.

KL:  5 things you would like to accomplish in the next 5 years?

KE:  Nothing is ever set in stone for me. Never has been. Who I am changes often; my idea’s, my desires, my views, my journey so to pick out five specific things would just pull on the reins.

KL:  Do you have anything you wish to share with aspiring writers? Any advice?

KE:  Everyone who knows me, knows my answer to this. Just keep writing. Write about anything and everything, any chance you get. Let your pen replace your television. Get everything on paper – leave something behind – the most remembered things in history have been words.

KL:  Last but not least, how can we purchase your book when it comes out the first week of April?

KE:  You will be able to purchase Magic in the Backyard from Amazon.com, BN.com (Barnes & Noble) as well as the Barnes & Noble Booksellers and other major book retailers in your area beginning the first week of April. Direct links to the purchase pages will be posted on all of my social media sites as well as my blog, so be sure you are following me!

Links:

TWITTER GIVE AWAY!!! 

Website – kellieelmore.com
and of course you may always keep updated on my book along with all the other wonderful WGP books and authors by visiting the website at http://wintergoosepublishing.com

Good luck with your book Kellie!   Keep us up to date with your new projects!  

Kim 

Lily Pad


The ache for home lives in all of us, the safe place where we can go as we are and not be questioned.
Maya Angelou

My Lily Pad

Sitting in a pond

I see your pacman smile

I had never foreseen

You would wait a little while

Just wait a wee longer

My Lily Pad so strong

I coming to see you soon

It really wont be long

My legs are sore and tired
But my spirit is soaring light
Can you hear the whispers
Of the quarrels and the fights?

My mind needs songs of silence

And my heart needs tender care

Oh Lily pad of mine

Don’t worry, I’ll be right there…

Kim Larocque