Can you start off by telling us a
little bit about yourself?
am a middle-aged woman whose favorite pastime is to renovate things... like
houses, boats, cars. My last project was to gut an old Dodge camper van and
redo it in cherrywood. I delighted in working with all the systems - running
water, 12V electricity, wood, vinyl for headliner, etc. But that was in 2002,
and I now look forward to one day remodeling the kitchen in the mobile home
where I live.
the past decade, I have evolved from living on a sailboat to landlubber,
married to single, nurse to author, photographer, and publisher, drinking
myself into oblivion every night to sober, praying for death to joy and inner
peace, and from living in my van to homeowner. I live with my spunky cat, Izzy.
She's a hoot. For example, when I print things out, she is right there by the
printer and if I don't watch her and shoo her away, she jumps into the printer
where the paper is coming out. It's always a race to see who gets to the
printer first. lol
How and why did you become a
have loved to write since I was a child. I remember that in 11th grade, I was
placed in an enriched English class because of my writing abilities. In later
years, specifically 1999, I started journaling in order to manage my feelings
that arose because of a man I fell for while I was still married.
journaling continued even after I injured my right, dominant wrist in a
work-related accident. It was too painful to write with the injured hand, so I
taught myself to write left-handed. This is important, because all sorts of
deep thoughts found their way to the page when I wrote with my left hand. In
fact, much of the prose which appears in my book came from my left-handed
I became sober, my writing began to be my solace for feelings of pain I was
experiencing in early sobriety. As I think back, I realize that my writing has
always been an attempt to soothe myself from pain and life's hurts. In
present day, I no longer journal. I stopped around 2009. I don't feel that lost
and defeated feeling about which I wrote for years.
Is there a genre that you’d like to
write and one you’ll probably stay away from? Why?
love to write about ways to treat ourselves and others better, with more
kindness, tolerance, compassion, and love. Ever the idealist, I like words
which we can all use as a reminder of how to act in the world. I am told my
writing is very inspirational and spiritual. It just seems to flow from me when
I write left-handed, which I did up until I stopped journaling in 2009. So,
inspirational and spirituality are my genres. I am least able to write fantasy
or science fiction. My mind just doesn't think in that direction and I
frequently cannot understand the storyline. It's just a little too "out
there" for me.
Can you tell us a little bit more
about your writing habits? Do you have a special routine?
routines surfaced during the years in which I journaled. First, while still
married, I'd leave the boat at 5 am and walk to the local coffee shop, where I
wrote voraciously for a couple of hours. Writing became my reward for walking
in the mornings. Once I became sober, my ritual included reading from 7
meditation books and then journaling. During my early sobriety, I spent 4-5
hours a day writing. As I have healed and gained peace within myself, my
journaling has dwindled to nothingness. Now, my ritual includes working on the
computer in the mornings.
Where or how did the idea of 'Opening the Gates of the Heart: A Journey of Healing'
originate? What inspired you?
did not come up with the idea or inspiration to write "Opening the Gates
of the Heart." In fact, I didn't know I was writing a book until several
years into the process. "Over here," I was journaling, as I said
earlier, while "over there," I was taking pictures of these lovely
gates I had accidentally discovered in 2001 and later photographed in early
2004. These were two separate and distinct activities that ran parallel to each
I had a body of photographs, I began to title each gate image in preparation to
frame them and sell to galleries. Then, in late November 2004, I wrote in my
journal words which described an image I had just titled "Webs of
Fear." My words gave voice to the image far beyond the visual element. I
wrote: "I have spent a lifetime spinning webs of terror and shame between
the spires that stand as sentinels to my heart."
was flabbergasted when I realized these words related to "Webs of
Fear." This prompted me to search all of my journals, looking for anything
I had written about my feelings, from despair to joy. I searched for anything
that spoke about ways to treat ourselves and others better, and good principles
of living, such as tolerance, forgiveness, and respect, to name a few. I found
many paragraphs within my journals that spoke to me, as I stated above. In
fact, I found prose which described about half of the images I had
was at this point that I realized a book was in-the-making, and I began to get
inspired to put the words and photos together. And there you have the events
that led to the making of "Opening the Gates of the Heart."
What activities do you do offline
to market your book?
are several things I have been doing to market offline. First, I have been
getting the book into San Francisco Bay Area bookstores; I am in 22 of them. I
also have placed the book in out-of-state stores in areas where I have
connections. I am in stores in Boulder, Colorado, West Chester, Pennsylvania, and the library in Allen, Texas.
have marketed and sold my book to hospital gift shops, as well as 12 step
recovery homes and bookstores. I am putting effort into getting on radio shows
across the country and was recently on KUSP's "Talk of the Bay" with
signing events are a large part of my marketing plan, and I have several
upcoming talks, both locally and out-of-state. I also am beginning to get in
touch with gate makers, to collaborate and perhaps to do some book signing
the result will be online, I have developed an ebook, which will soon be
available on all the major sites.
What are some of your favorite
favorite novels include Nicolas Cage's "The Horse Whisperer,"
"Smoke Jumper," and "The Divide." But more than novels, my
favorite books are ones that are spiritual. For example, my favorite book is
Oriah Mountain Dreamer's "The Invitation." "The Dance" and
"The Call" are also favorites. Other authors I thirsted for in early
sobriety include Eckhart Tolle, Iyanla Van Zant, and Melody Beattie. Currently,
I seem to be fixated on murder romance mysteries. Lisa Jackson is a favorite.
What are you working on next?
next book is in the making and is called "Gates of Grace." It flows
naturally that once one has walked through the gates in their heart, they live
in grace. My other potential project is a book tour in the summer, probably in
the southwest. I am gearing up to do an all-out campaign with radio stations,
in an attempt to schedule some interviews. I also will be trying to get on
"View From the Bay," a local TV station. Certainly, I will continue
to market to hospitals, rehab facilities, and bookstores.