I have a very special interview to share with you all. Ms Kelley Harrell asked me to interview her for Novel Ideas. How could I refuse such a great request from a writer who has so much to say? I tried to get the real Ms Harrell down on paper, or blog paper anyway, for you to read about. Her book “Gift of the Dreamtime” is a really great read and I think after this interview, you will want to check it out!
Q) Welcome to Novel Ideas, Kelly! Let me start by asking you to tell me what drives you as a writer?
A) The burning cells in my head drive me to write. I can never write enough to soothe them, though the only solution seems to be to keep writing. They quiet every now and then, and it’s a nice reprieve, albeit a little boring. Then they sneak back up, taunting scenes and characters so flawed I have to plot them out of my head.
Q) Do you feel that a good story is more important than a good writing style?
A) No. I confess, I will read a topic I’m not interested in if it’s well-written over a sloppy guilty pleasure, any day. I cringe over a lot of what sells well, just because it’s cornered a market or hits on particular buzz topics. I really have such limited time to read that I can’t shove myself through something that’s not a joy to read. Those rare times that a book both conveys a great story and is well-written–they are Nirvana.
Q) How do you approach your writing? Late nights slaving over a laptop? Long days with the iPad? How do you like to work?
A) I used to write every spare minute, often to the detriment of other things that needed to be done–little things like eating, laundry, sleep, interpersonal communication. Now that I have small children, I’ve learned that ancient maternal skill of compressing and expanding time. I can squeeze hours of productivity from a few minutes and still wonder where the day went. I set aside time daily to write, and even though it’s hard to stop on time, I honor my boundaries. As a result, I write cleaner and more efficiently, yet with even less rest…
Q) How would you personally describe your book “Gift of the Dreamtime?”
A) My memoir is about a period of my life during which I’d exhausted all the conventional healing approaches for PTSD and depression. I’d felt for well over a decade, at that point, that soul healing was needed, though such a novelty was hard to come by in rural North Carolina. I did everything I could on my own, along that line. When finally I did engage such a healer, my life changed dramatically. Not only did I feel relief for the first time in my life, I felt a responsibility to carry that healing forward to others.
Q) Do you think your book is unique? What makes you think so?
A) “Gift of the Dreamtime” is unique in that it takes place entirely on the other side of the veil–the spirit world destinations shamans travel to in order to bring back healing. No other book has accomplished that, and I’m extremely proud of that fact. That odd travel gives the book a fantasy-like quality, though the reality of what’s happening in it is quite tangible, deeply accessible by readers.
Q) I have learnt that different things excite different writers. What excites you as an author?
A) What doesn’t? I guess it’s exactly that. I am so inspired by the teasing plots in my head that I have to cull out which ones really want to play. Which ones stand the test of time (and synapses), and actually evolve as they work their way into words. Some don’t. They’re just indulgences, like personal TV shows–brief dalliances, pretty, saucy, but ultimately distracting fluff. The plots that bare themselves and refuse to leave until I can formulate them into peace–that excites me. That’s a kind of math I can actually do.
Q) Let me ask you something many interviewers wouldn’t care to ask. So, are sales or fanmail more important to you?
A) I’ll take both any given day, though what I remember most are the letters from readers. “Gift of the Dreamtime” is wide-open intimate, personal exposure, yet it demands the same of the reader. I feel very honored that people trust me enough to take the time to write, tell me their stories, and to share how the book moved them to a new place in their own healing.
Q) How was “Gift of the Dreamtime” received by readers?
A) It’s been wonderfully received, and that thrills me beyond words<—–rare. As a writer with an ego, I’m just over the moon that the book has reached the audience I intended it to, and as a modern shaman, I’m pleased that it is recognized as a contemporary healing story, inspiring others to tell their own.
Thanks, Nick! Connecting with you was great fun!