Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
I have been writing since I was a child. The first thing I wrote at about age nine was a poem, which I still have thanks to my mother who saved it. Its theme is about escaping to a better world; a theme that would follow me around the rest of my life. This is the first time I have been published.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
Letting Go: An Anthology of Attempts is a compilation of 30 essays from writers writing on letting go. They write more about the process than the success. It isn’t a how to guide, yet it may inspire someone who is struggling with letting go of anything from feelings of rage to family heirlooms. My essay, The Boy Who Saved Me, explores my journey into rage and fear while watching my high school aged son navigate homophobia.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
No. I have limited time so I have learned to simply sit down and write, get up from where I am and write. I do need privacy and relative quiet. In my family life that means closing a door and mentally shutting out everyone else’s ‘stuff’. Which I am not good at doing. Consequently, I don’t write every day, which is recommended.
What authors, or books have influenced you?
Earliest influences in terms of writing would be Thomas Wolfe, F. Scott Fitzgerald, some of James Joyce, Tom Robbins, and then later Alice McDermott, and Alice Munro. The first novel I read was The Exorcist which my aunt covered in plain brown paper as if it were a school textbook. She was putting me on a flight to England to spend the summer with relatives and didn’t want anyone, including my very Catholic, Irish grandmother to see what I was reading. That’s when I learned that literature could be clandestine, and that thrilled me. Perhaps one wouldn’t recognize The Exorcist as classic literature, rather commercial fiction. Regardless, it was an engaging story, well written and well told that captured my eleven year old mind and made me think that maybe one day I too, could tell a good story.
What are you working on now?
Final touches on last draft of literary fiction, Memoirs of A Budding Drifter. We get to experience parts of Ireland and America, and Ireland again through the lenses of a young female protagonist who is looking for permanence until permanence is shaken up, again. She’s walking the razor’s edge, trying to figure out the next right step.
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
Being new to this part of the published author world, promotion, I have to say I don’t have a specific recommended site. I do tweet other authors, and have discovered mutual promotion on twitter.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Learn that dreaded world of marketing. It hasn’t been too difficult for me. I come from a marketing/promotion background, and technology, although sometimes frustrating, isn’t something that scares me. Use social media, find sites like this one that will help you promote your book. Set up readings alone, or with other authors. Until you become Stephen King or Alice McDermott, promotion will largely be on you.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Rewrite. Find a trusted editor, fellow writer who has experience and then take their advice. Saying out loud, ” My editor says . . .” is pretentious unless it’s followed by, “that I should go through it one more time.” Do it. Let go of the crush you have on your written words, and rewrite, improve your craft so the reader can fall in love with your words. Crushes vs. Love. Go for the love every time.
What are you reading now?
In the middle of Someone by Alice McDermott. I read poetry every day. Poets.org which is sponsored by The American Academy of Poets will send you a poem a day. My inbox usually has three or four waiting to be read. For me, the creativity in a poem in a modicum of words if you will, is paramount. Poetry lends itself to my own creativity. A couple of volumes of Seamus Heaney sit next to my chair. I flip through those at will. I would like to tell you I write every day. I don’t. It is vitally important to write as much as possible and for most that is every day. I know that my craft improves with each line I write. My time is crunched, and my ability to set aside all other things and people isn’t easy for me. So, when not writing I do make sure I read something every day.
What’s next for you as a writer?
On the agent hunt, and writing another novel, which I began several years ago and put down. Revisiting that.
If you were going to be stranded on a desert island and allowed to take 3 or 4 books with you what books would you bring?
Webster’s dictionary, Look Homeward Angel by Thomas Wolfe, a comprehensive anthology of W.B. Yeats, and the same but of Alice Munro.
Author Websites and Profiles
Kerry Guerin’s Social Media Links