Hi Gail, it’s a pleasure to have you here today. You’ve publish two books to date, The Regret of a Flower and The Girl in the Iron Lung, both with rather different subject matter. While the focus today is on TROAF I would like to know how you came to have two books released on the same day?
Hi Laurie! Thank you for having me here on Odds and Ends (smile). I had the memoir manuscript completed, as I had been submitting it to agents. With TROAF, I had the full collection on hard copy and typed it into my word processor as a manuscript. It’s a collection of poetry which spans forty years of my writing. I was a little worried that it would be disjointed, but when my editor asked me to put the poems into chapters, I surprisingly discovered I had several themes. Nature and Love, Vulnerability, Culture, Portraits, and Writing.
I’ve seen in other interviews that you edit your poetry numerous times before you feel that it is ready to be seen. How do you begin the process of writing your poetry, does something inspire you or do you just write when the urge strikes?
I must be inspired. I can never force a poem by topic or idea because I want to write. I find that I am most inspired when I am out in the community. Art specifically inspires me to write poetry; nature, people, situations and my own experiences.
There are topics in your poetry such as mental illness that are not commonly addressed, were you nervous about their inclusion in the book?
I wasn’t at all nervous about sharing the poems about mental illness. It touches one in three people in some way, and there is no shame in it. I have a deep and abiding respect for individuals who suffer in any way or are on the fringe of society struggling.
How do you approach writing about such subjects, normally considered to be so touchy?
The poems come to me. I am inspired by people, situations, and my own life experiences. I don’t have an inner censor at all about anything. I feel lucky that way, because I never feel “Oh I shouldn’t write this.” or “That feels too risky.” I am a deep person, and when I write it all comes out.
The reviews for The Regret of a Flower are amazing, how does it feel to see them?
Thank you. I am completely humbled and grateful for the reviews of TROAF. It has taken a lifetime to share my work, and to hear that I have touched people is an honor.
You recently did a book signing and reading for your books please share your experience with us.
The readings and signings were fabulous! They were a highlight of my life. Twenty-two people came, and I had chosen two serious and two humorous poems from TROAF to read. It was so rewarding to see people listening intently and then the bursts of laughter at the second two poems was contagious. I knew this wouldn’t be a crowd of writers or poets, so I chose what I read to reach them. I would do it again in an instant (and plan to).
Was the reaction to the reading that you did at the signing what you hoped for?
It was so much more than I hoped for. After the readings I had an opportunity to go around the room and hug and chat with my oldest fans, my writer group friends, and my neighbors who had come as well as people I didn’t know. It was humbling. I signed each book with a personal message, and that was heartwarming.
If readers leave with only one lesson from reading TROAF what would you want that to be?
I think they will learn that poetry is not always what you think it will be.
I have it on good authority that you have one of the best publishers in the business. Please tell us about your experience with Redmund Productions.
When Red Dwyer, executive publisher at Redmund Productions accepted my memoir manuscript for publication, I went through the roof with happiness. When she accepted TROAF, it was a lifetime dream coming true.
The publishing company is a cooperative and the idea struck me as brilliant and something I wanted to be a part of. I wanted to contribute to all of the authors publishing through RP. I wanted to gain my own success, and I have. I may have written the material, but the editing, layout, and production was done by Red and her personnel, and the valuable Beta readers, pre-edits, cover art, art for the book trailers, and feedback from everyone in the cooperative is responsible for the beautiful books I have here on my desk today.
Thank you Gail,(smiling) it has been delightful to have you today. We hope you will come back soon to talk about GIL.
You can pick up your copy in Paperback, epub, Kindle or PDF format from Redmund Productions in addition to finding The Girl in the Iron Lung. Get to know Gail better by visiting her at Gail Thornton's World.