AUTHOR INTERVIEW ON WRITING DODGING RAINDROPS: POEMS AND PROSE OF BEAUTY, PEACE AND HEALING
(Originally Published on September 9, 2013)
What inspired you to write, Dodging Raindrops: Poems and Prose of Beauty, Peace and Healing?
Loretta Boyer McClellan: The majority of the poems included in this book were written years before this collection of poetry was published; they were waiting for their time to be shared publicly. Shortly after Misthaven of Maine: Journey to Beyond, Vol. 2 was published in November 2012, while reviewing my portfolio of unpublished poems, I saw a recurring theme of nature and peace in many of them, which struck me as a great base for a book of poetry. This core group of poems became inspiration to build upon, which happened over the course of a few months.
I felt a connection to others seeking peace for whatever reason, and for those who enjoy nature in all its many marvels. The book became a natural extension of this connection.
Do you plan to author future books of poetry?
LBM: I hope to do so. I find poetry is a wonderful creative outlet for me. I compose poems on-the-go, usually one at a time, inspired by many things, or one thing, or even people. Sometimes I go on poetic streams of thought, where I compose several in a day or period of days, then usually take a break. There are probably other poetry books that could be put together already, from my existing vault of poetry, but it’s not their time yet to come out and play. Hopefully sooner than later, though. At the moment, I am working on another novel. I enjoy the creative balance.
What is your personal favorite poem in Dodging Raindrops: Poems and Prose of Beauty, Peace and Healing?
LBM: I guess it would depend upon the moment, as it can vary, but then it’s also like choosing a “favorite child” at the same time, if you know what I mean.
The time of day affects the poem’s composition. Many were written during sunrise, which, depending on the time of year it was written and location, could have been around 5 a.m.; it is an entirely hopeful time to write for me. The late afternoon is another time of day that I find myself waxing poetic. The experience I have during the composition naturally plays a role in how I experience it as a reader, as well.
That being said, one of my favorites is, “The Gift of the Winnowed Muse.” It was written in a primordial location, full of timelessness and textures. The poem means something vastly different for each reader, which is why I enjoy it so much—its broad appeal is a gift in itself.
“Ladybug Logic” is such a fun little Haiku. It has a spritely feel, almost whimsical in very few words, yet the “logic” prevails.
In writing “Find Your Peace,” this poem pretty much sealed the deal for this particular book coming together as it stands today. This was one poem in particular where I felt like a bystander, along for the ride, yet very much included in the experience and audience of its message.
This book would not have been complete without its namesake, “Dodging Raindrops,” the first poem in this book. It poses a question that sets up the entire collection to be considered. It’s an appropriate introduction—a herald, if you will.
Each poem included in Dodging Raindrops: Poems and Prose of Beauty, Peace and Healing has a special place in my heart, otherwise they would not have been included. I eliminated a few poems that were originally included, because they didn’t fully serve the purpose of the theme and for readers; perhaps they will get their turn at a later date.
The important thing is, which poems resonate with each, individual reader?
American Author, Artist, and Poet, Loretta Boyer McClellan sees the art of writing as an exciting medium and source of abundant joy in the creative process. Her multilayered career as a writer of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry; conscious PR, brand, graphic design, and communications; and as an Arts instructor, journalist, and artist, “sized the canvas,” so to speak, for a fruitful life of expression. Author of The Nature of BEing: A Healing Journey, The Misthaven of Maine Series, and Dodging Raindrops: Poems and Prose of Beauty, Peace and Healing, Lori creates and teaches from the heart. Writing, meditating, and painting—particularly in watercolor—are her connection to the Infinite.
Text, Dodging Raindrops book cover, author photo and logo ©2012-2013, Loretta McClellan; all rights reserved.
AUTHOR INTERVIEW: PART ONE
(Originally published July 20, 2012)
This is the first in a three-part interview with the Author, Loretta Boyer McClellan:
What motivated you to write Misthaven of Maine?
Loretta Boyer McClellan: I’ve written magazine and newspaper articles, poetry, lyrics, as well as blog and marketing/marcom content throughout my career. I’ve also been an avid journal and letter writer, personally; however, approaching fiction seemed this elusive triumph that was always just out of reach to consider, until something within me changed. Life experience changed my approach. It was like a light switch: one day it wasn’t a consideration, and the next day the light switch flipped on. Suddenly it was a defined goal to achieve that seemed not just surmountable, but a very focused endeavor!
Writing fiction became a challenge that I wanted to achieve and succeed in, as I was seeking creative options. I suppose the same way that writing lyrics was not something I thought I’d ever do, then somehow, the words just came during a period of growth in my life. When the words were put to music and one of the songs won an award, it was a wonderful surprise! The experience in writing Misthaven of Maine has also been full of wonderful surprises. Writing fiction is much more creative than writing a feature story or a news article, working within the parameters and constraints of reality. The joy of watching the story unfold is like nothing else I’ve ever done. I’m hooked!
Speaking of your writing process, what is involved?
Loretta Boyer McClellan: I first start out with an idea, as I suspect most authors do. It can come from many sources—even a single thought—but primarily the foundation of ideas for Misthaven of Maine in particular was built upon life experience. I then write an outline, adding as much detail as I can, but allowing for an evolution and freedom to change and adapt, as inspiration and ideas come along during the writing process—quite profusely at times, in fact.
Like painting, I take breaks. I take a step back from the “canvas” if you will—and come back to view it later with a fresh perspective. For me, this works consistently well. I come back to scenes in the story to build upon later, as ideas come. Just like in a watercolor, where you can overwork an area and ruin the nap of the paper beneath, so too is writing much the same. There is a need to preserve the quality of the work and let go of the unnecessary that clouds the clarity. Hopefully I’ve achieved that.
When I wrote the ending for Misthaven of Maine, I just knew it was the right place to stop. It was an instinctual confirmation, instead of a subjective decision—which was how I expected the ending to be determined. It was yet another surprise in the process for me. Additionally, it was an intentional move to take a stanza in the epigraph from Misthaven of Maine to use for the title of sequel, Misthaven of Maine: Journey to Beyond.
To be continued…
Text, images and logo ©2012, Loretta McClellan; all rights reserved.
Photo, “Old Letter and Quill” by Simon Howden of freedigitalphotos.net; used with permission.
AUTHOR INTERVIEW: PART TWO
(Originally published July 27, 2012)
This is the second in a three-part interview with the Author, Loretta Boyer McClellan:
Who did you write Misthaven of Maine for? Who is your readership?
Loretta Boyer McClellan: I wanted to write a book—which has now evolved into a series—that adults and teens could equally enjoy, and even discuss, if they should be interested in doing so. Keeping an age-appropriate focus for teens, without losing the draw for adult readers seeking a proper love story that lingers wasn’t as big of a challenge as I thought it would be. The emotion is definitely there. The story has been generally viewed as suitable for teens, as well as adults; however, I would expect parents to be the judge for their own teen’s needs. I’ve had adult readers say their pre-teen daughter is also reading it.
Some may consider labeling Misthaven of Maine as Young Adult Romance/YA Romance, but the criteria for deeming it as such is varied. Misthaven of Maine is definitely contemporary fiction, with a love story, for teen and adult readers alike. Marketing execs will say to stick with a niche for reaching a target readership, but I was determined to cast a wider net for the audience for Misthaven of Maine, as many contemporary fiction authors are doing presently. Hopefully this goal has been achieved. I anticipate opinions varying in trying to categorize my book.
Your bio references that you draw from the many places in the U.S. you’ve lived for your writing. What other influences from your life are prevalent in your writing style or translate to the story?
Loretta Boyer McClellan: Misthaven of Maine is certainly influenced by some events in my life in a select, few parts in the story; however, I wanted to write about things and people who interest me outside my own sphere, to take me on my own journey. This focus clearly takes me far and away from personal experiences. If the process in writing is an adventure for me, hopefully that translates to the reader as well.
There’s something empowering about the control an author has in building this world and shaping its people—although most of the time it feels like the characters and story truly have a life of their own, and I’m just along for the ride!
To be continued…
Text, images and logo ©2012, Loretta McClellan; all rights reserved.
Photo, “Period Letters” by Simon Howden of freedigitalphotos.net; used with permission.
AUTHOR INTERVIEW: PART THREE
(Originally published August 9, 2012)
This is the third in a three-part interview with the Author, Loretta Boyer McClellan:
Why write in the first-person perspective?
Loretta Boyer McClellan: For me to first build the main character, then get inside Eliza’s head and flesh-out her likes, dreams, hopes and attitude, I needed to write it from her perspective. This is a personal preference for me as an author and specifically for this series—future novels may not be in first-person.
Much like an actor assumes a role, so too is the process for me as the author of Misthaven of Maine, only I’m presenting the characters at the same time as I’m creating the environment they live in. It’s definitely a fluid process.
First-person perspective created a deeper connection for me as an author with her as a character. I suppose a lot had to do with my liking her and relating to her as a character and as a fictional person. I suppose it would be much more difficult for me to write in first-person if the main character’s psyche was not one I would want to visit. [Laughs] I prefer to spend time inside a fictional person’s head who teaches me something positive.
Speaking of learning from your characters, what did you learn from individual characters, and from the experience as a whole in writing your debut novel?
Loretta Boyer McClellan: Eliza most definitely taught me patience, not only in her own ability to move forward with purpose for the right time in her life for different achievements and experiences, but also in being patient myself in crafting her as a person from youth to adulthood. Writing Misthaven of Maine didn’t happen overnight, as much as I would have liked it to. Clearly, I still have much to learn about the whole, “patience” thing. [Laughs]
Ashleigh, Eliza’s best friend reminded me to laugh and not take the process too seriously. She’s a very likeable, witty character, even if sometimes she’s focused on materialism. Her absolute commitment to friendship and loyalty to Eliza balance her out and make her a bit of a hero, in my opinion.
From the comprehensive experience of writing Misthaven of Maine, I discovered how fabulously fun writing fiction is, and how much more difficult the process is for me than writing news stories, and even feature stories. Like producing my paintings, the writing and designing of this book was a deeply personal effort for me.
Lastly, I was reminded, yet again, of the importance of making plans, then living them. Misthaven of Maine began as a dream; the story stemmed from a vivid dream I had years ago. Now I’m living it!
Text, images and logo ©2012-2016, Loretta McClellan; all rights reserved.
Photo, “Letter and Key” by Simon Howden of freedigitalphotos.net; used with permission.