Nature photographer, author, and presenter Amy Gulick kindly took a recent afternoon for a WOWI interview with Tom and myself. Having spent time in Alaska studying the ecology and wildlife, she has made sense of the heavy sciencey-stuff and presents it in her books, such-as “Salmon In The Trees”.
Amy was great to meet with, and clearly is one of the most animated guests I can remember in our nearly three years of podcasting. The passion for her work drove this episode, and was a joy to personally experience. I have no doubt our listeners will be similar thrilled to listen to this WOWI session!
Find out about Amy Gulick and her work everywhere online:
Magical Realism. That’s a genre that shows some style even in its name. Nonfiction titles wish they could have such a label. Magical Realism (as well as the terms Urban Fantasy and Fabulism) is one way to get to know Stephanie Barbé Hammer. She writes in the genre as well as teaches and coaches interested writers. That is not the only reason to listen to her interview. She has skills and insights, of course; but she is entertaining with an obvious skill at telling stories, and laughing. Just check out her bio photos online; not exactly a dour demeanor, eh?
Have you noticed that writers have stories to tell? Writers are interesting people. Writers with experience, like Stephanie Barbé Hammer, are also frequently people with stories and careers and accomplishments. She’s a familiar name to many of those who remember the Whidbey Island Writers Association and the MFA program. As it says in her bio, “has published short fiction, nonfiction and poetry” with the added touch of being a 6-time Pushcart Prize nominee. Add in several gigs as an instructor at the university level. Is that enough? Nah.
Her work goes back a couple of decades and includes a start at blogging that is a good example of perseverance and a way for new readers to meet her, and existing fans to keep in touch with her works and her progress. And in May 2022 she’ll add another novel to her list of accomplishments.
Listen in for hear her approach to publishing with small presses that enable creativity make for a pairing worth paying attention to.
Oh yeah, and it was a fun interview to be a part of.
Welcome to another multi-talented member of the Whidbey Island writing community. Amanda Goodwin is the author of the recently published book, “I Played the SMART PIG: A half-true made up novel”, written as Mandy Goodwin. While that’s enough of an accomplishment, it is simply the latest in a career of acting, directing, producing, editing, and writing. As if that wasn’t enough, add in publicist and it’s hard to imagine what else to include.
She was nice enough to find the time to talk about her present and her past, and even a bit about her future. “I Played the Smart Pig” may be the story inspired by her childhood in the late 60s, but it is not a children’s book. It is for readers who’ve lived and matured and can sympathize with how childhood affects the rest of life.
We talked about her wide range of experiences prior to starting her novel. Her stories from years of film-making illustrated that it is more elaborate than writing a book, but there are plenty of similar steps in the process. A lot of it comes down to having the right resources, and then getting the word out via a good network and connections. People knowing people is still a powerful tool, regardless of social media.
If you haven’t seen her around the island much, that may be because she moved to the island just before the pandemic. That’s one way for her to find enough time to concentrate on setting up a new household. One way to see some of her film work is to follow the YouTube links below.
As for the future, another book is in work, which is also a common and positive condition for authors, one book leading to another.
In the meantime, her books are available throughout the island’s bookstores, and online, too, of course.
Listen in for a conversation that traveled through a wealth of topics, and even some physical traveling, too.
Thanks to Meg from Kingfisher for the introduction, too.
You know it is a good and engaging conversation when Google kicks you off the system because you’ve been on too long. Dianne Shiner and Janice O’Mahony were nice enough to also speak for Dallas Hunt and Faith Wilder, too, as they told us about a book they recently published, “Out of the Blue”. Each of the four have impressive resumes in and beyond the writing world. Several years ago, they began meeting because of a mutual interest: poetry. They effectively became a writers group of four, just enough for diverse feedback, not too many to be overwhelming, and close enough that they developed friendships. They also created that rare gift, a writer’s appreciation for another writer’s style and voice. In retrospect it seems natural that a book would be the result. And now it is done and available on the island and online.
Each produced 25 poems. Actually, each produced many more than that, which isn’t a surprise for anyone familiar with their varied accomplishments. Editing and sorting down to a final 25 for each was necessary.
Readers might appreciate four perspectives on, as their Overview points out, “…deep sadness, sardonic wit, prophetic wisdom, and occasional laugh-out-loud twists.”
Writers might appreciate the reality that; “One of us gets help eliminating superfluous first stanzas. Another sometimes puts her strongest stanza in the middle when it might be incandescent at the end. One has an ambivalent relationship with punctuation. A fourth could sometimes be less blunt.”
For WritingOnWhidbeyIsland it was nice to see a mutual appreciation that they are, “…grateful for the beautiful community we share and for our growth as artists.”
(And on a personal level, I enjoyed the fact that; “The clarity of each voice is enhanced by the companionship of one another’s poems and countless cups of tea.” Tea!)
As a co-host of this podcast, it was also nice to read such a well-written Overview that was engaging and well-written, something easily overlooked in the publishing process.
Listen in to the conversation with Dianne and Janice.
How to summarize a life that has passed through so much of the sports world, particularly Seattle’s? A post can’t contain it. Our podcast pulls in more. It would take a book, no, several books to begin – and he isn’t done, yet. Mike Gastineau was kind enough to talk to us about how he got started in broadcast sports radio, expanded into books, and even is an advisor on a screenplay.
Mike lives on Whidbey, and for many years he was the sports reporter for KJR. Reporting something new and interesting several times a day is an amazing accomplishment, and also great training for becoming a productive writer. So much for sitting and waiting for a muse to drop by. His deadlines had second hands sweeping past.
He has stories about the Huskies, the Sonics, and the Sounders, and he was willing to tell the stories behind those stories. Listen to his energy as he talks about things that enthuse him. Listen also to the difference between writing for broadcasts, which are ephemeral; and non-fiction books, which have more permanence.
His work is also a good example of being an expert, of not trying to know everything about everything, but knowing more than almost everyone about topics that have intense followings, fans. And he knows how to make it sound easy, engaging, and educational.
Which came first, the chicken or the egg? (Actually, that’s finally been resolved, but that’s another story.)
Which came first: the idea for the challenge, or the idea for the book?
Kurt Hoelting is the author of The Circumference of Home: One Man’s Yearlong Quest for a Radically Local Life. What would it be like to stay within 100 kilometers of Whidbey and yet never get behind the wheel of a car? What would that book look like?
The need to tackle the challenge was greater than the need to write the book. Each author works from a unique inspiration. In this podcast, Kurt was nice enough to discuss both the process of enjoying and basically living within this disc of the world, as well as the process of writing and publishing his first work. The two were intertwined.
Read the book for the details, of course, but he describes the fascinating positioning that put his house at the center of a circle that touches many of the area’s significant mountain peaks, and encompasses home for several million people. With walking, bicycling, mass transit and a bit of help from his friends he demonstrated the ease and effort required to live in modern society without a car.
Listen to Kurt for his insights about the challenge but also about how his history and community helped him complete a book that is unique and hyper-local. Writing a book, particularly a first book, doesn’t have to be done alone. Life experiences help. So does the expertise within a person’s social network, and professional literary help too, of course.
Listen in, but also keep in mind that Kurt has other skills and stories that may be best explored by contacting him, directly.
Big Purple Undies. That’s a fine way to start an interview with Suzanne Kelman, a writer of books and screenplays, who walked the Red Carpet at Cannes, and who is also memorable for her laugh.
Suzanne’s writing career entered its most recent era when she moved to the island more than a decade ago. She’s gregarious and funny, which is why folks can be distracted enough to miss her large collection of books and screenplays.
One of her earlier works was “Big Purple Undies” a story that became a performance that she showed around the US, as well as on Whidbey. That makes her a performer, too.
Her more recent list of historical novels describe life during World War II. Her productivity continues. As she points out in the interview, she continues to write, has recently completed another for publication, and already has the next one lined up.
As it says on her Amazon Author Page;
“Suzanne Kelman is an Amazon international bestselling author in America, United Kingdom, Canada, and Australia and her books have sold over 250,000 copies worldwide and have been translated into six languages.”
She’s been busy.
Another favorite title is “The Rejected Writers’ Book Club”, the first book in the Southlea Bay series. A great title, and proof that she can handle several genres.
Writers might find it useful to listen to how she found training, resources, as well as her process.
Adding to the rest, she also had a podcast, “Blondie and the Brit”. She’s the Brit.
Listen in for stories, laughter, and a splash of reality. We’re back to remote interviews for our podcast (in-person was short lived, alas), so please pardon the inevitable connectivity issues.
At least on Whidbey Island, creative people tend to create more than one way to express themselves and help others. Yet another reason the island’s writing community has multiple layers that support each other. Deb Lund is probably best known for her children’s books, but she’s also taught writing and coached writers, which inspired her card deck designed to inspire them. But, really, it is hard to ignore and easy to remember someone whose books include dinosaurs that “take to the skies, the rails, and the high seas” as well as monsters on machines (wearing hardhats, of course.)
The conversation started with the dinosaurs because, why not. They may be children’s books, which can be much more complicated to write, produce, and publish than conventional novels. With a conventional novel there may be effectively no limit to the word count, except the thickness of the binding. Deb pointed out that children’s book are much more constrained (imagine editing a story of a few thousand words down to a few hundred), and require the writer to relinquish much of the control to the illustrator. Instead of only one graphic which is limited to the cover, every page can be a graphic from edge to edge. A children’s book is more of a duet, but with the two artists working separately much of the time, and yet the two efforts become one creation.
Deb also has teacher cred, a natural background for someone writing children’s books, as well as a natural lead to teaching and coaching writers. Along the way, she created a series of inspirational playing cards to give writers fresh perspectives on their works in progress. They became popular enough that her students encouraged her to create and sell the decks. Welcome to yet another publishing accomplishment that was much more than lots of words on blank pages. Concise messages on colorful cards required multiple art forms, again.
Her accomplishments are impressive, but are better heard about from her. Listen in on the podcast for the stories in her own words, and maybe contact her if you want to benefit from an experienced artist – who also can tell stories about gargantuan dinosailor goofballs.
“Life is a wave. Your attitude is your surfboard. Stay stoked & aim for the light!”
Subscribers to drewslist, a much friendlier and more neighborly (and very Whidbey) version of craigslist, can recognize that as the signature at the end of each email from the service that Drew Kampion started years ago. (As Drew put it, “It is like craigslist, but exactly opposite.” paraphrased)
That attitude and philosophy was handy during this wintry recording of the podcast that involved internet glitches and dropped signals. Drew rode those waves with a laugh and a smile. Whew. (And thanks to co-host and audio techie, Don, for stitching it back together.)
For this podcast about writing on Whidbey Island, we talked less about For Sale ads and more about the books he has written, his time as a journalist, the early era of the now-famous Patagonia company, surfing (the subject of much of his work), how he got to Whidbey, and what he did when he got here. Fake spoiler alert: that signature philosophy isn’t theoretical, it’s practical, and has been steering him through an interesting story.
I’ll leave the storytelling to him, but will mention that it is fun to hear about someone who loves something like surfing can take a talent like writing and create a career in a way that wouldn’t make any textbook. Find what you enjoy. Find what you can do well. And if the two can work together, then celebrate that. Listen in for his story of the ride.
Pluck another apple, Eve, and finish it. Or more appropriately, “Pluck Another Apple, Eve, And Finish It”; or something like that. (What is the right way to capitalize a title?) Maybe we should ask an editor. Actually, we did. Holly Thomas, editor, poet, artist was kind enough to let us interview her. We didn’t ask about this title or her artistry (this is a podcast about writing); but we did ask about life as an editor and her work as a poet. If you haven’t noticed the graphic below in some preview pane, she published a collection of her poems titled, “Pluck Another Apple, Eve, And Finish It“.
Holly’s work is a reminder that while some of us count how many words we write per hour, poets can spend hours per word – and it shows. Easy grace can require effort and introspection. As captured in the book’s description on Amazon, the term “steel lace” comes to mind. (There may also be some poems that touch on nature, emotions, and physics – a wide range that gets tied together.)
Poets have a difficult time paying bills with poems, which is why she is also an editor, earlier with Microsoft and more recently as an editor working with individual authors. Managing the creative spirit internally, in a group, in a corporation, or with fellow creatives is a special talent, possibly a collection of talents as each environment is different. Her insights into how to work with an editor are valuable. Being able to respect another’s creativity while polishing the product is a rare and hopefully appreciated skill.
(Writer’s note: Writing about an editor’s work can make a writer incredibly self-conscious. Oh well, she’s probably edited worse.)
Listen in for a range of perspectives from corporate to consulting to publishing to working on items that are so personal they may never be shared – oh yeah, and laughter. We can all use a good laugh.