THE NEXT BIG THING asks writers to self-interview about their current or upcoming books with 8 designated questions,
post somewhere in the internet-o-sphere and then "tag" other writers to do the same. Karla Huston tagged me.

Q: What is the working title of the book?

A: Gathering the Harvest

Q: Where did the idea come from for the book?

A: Originally I thought about a chapbook that dealt with my experience of throat cancer, cellular collapse, and almost death.

Not expecting to live, and living fully was something I wanted to share. I sent the manuscript to Tiger's Eye for a critique
which was positive. Before that my writers' group and a special poet friend encouraged me. I never submitted it. Decided that
I wanted to continue writing poems rather than market them probably because I had thought I'd never write again.

Q: What actors would you choose to play the part of your characters in a? movie rendition?

A: I'd want Meryl Streep to play the main character. She is interested in art and music as I am, is married to a sculptor,
and both of my parents were creative. She plays with emotional depth and courage, and her passion for what she does feels
similar. As a model of a strong independent woman, one who loves and lives deeply, she would understand what it is like to
be thought dead and live with the consequences of both loss and joy.

Q: What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

A: A blurber says it is both an elegy and a quiet celebration–an elegy for a world either lost or never fully realized, but
a celebration too, of all that remains, survives and flourishes.

Q: How long did it take you to write the first draft of the manuscript?

A: The cancer part of the book was begun in 2008, but there are poems much earlier than that as well. I just wrote the poems
as they came with no particular idea in mind. When I realized I it was time to take stock of what I had accumulated, and finally
do something about it, the idea of a book came back strong. I had published a chapbook in December with none of the poems in this
present book. There were more poems that had been published, some which had won awards so I decided on a book. I brought 90 some
poems to a friend and advisor and we discussed what the book could look like. She spent time thinking about an arc, sections, etc.
and was most encouraging and supportive. I found a way to include some art poems and then at a certain point, my daughter and I
spread the poems all over the floor like pieces of a puzzle. The arc of the book presented itself, the title. The cover.

Q: Who or what inspired you to write this book?

A: Having cancer and its aftermath inspired the book, and the thought that this was a second chance. When I finally left the hospital,
I could not even write my name. With the support of all my poet friends, and one in particular who never gave up on me, I slowly came
back to writing. I wanted to share that experience knowing there were many people out there who thought they'd never do certain things
again—that their life was over. I wanted to show that great loss changes one; life will be different, but it can be lived with richness
and even more meaning. It seemed a great opportunity to convey that. So I had circled back to the original intended chapbook.

Q: What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?

A: I'm very happy with the cover art—done by a young graphic designer and poet, Chrys Heidel who lives in Delaware. It shows so well a
life moving forward toward harvest, reaping all the world has to offer.

Q: Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

A: The book was published in November by Bellowing Ark Press in Shoreline, Washington. I had worked with editor and publisher, Robert
Ward, on my first book and knew that he worked closely with authors and sought to produce the best book possible.

Editor's Note: Gathering the Harvest was reviewed in the December 2012 issue of Quill and Parchment  

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