Guest Author Interview - Michele Swensen
Thank you Michele for granting me an Author Interview. Please give us a brief overview of yourself and your work.
I’m a mom from Ohio. I wrote a couple memoirs mainly so my kids would always have access to my story, but also to help others who are going through similar situations.
I read your memoir, Strait of Tears, and it's an incredibly captivating story. It's deeply moving and taught me about a world that I had no knowledge of before reading this book. Please tell our readers how did you begin writing?
I have always loved writing. Writing is cathartic, and I love the power contained in words. If I feel bad, I sit and write. If I’m happy, I sit and write. I write pretty much all day every day.
Michele, it sounds like you're constantly writing. What inspires you to write?
I don’t have family, and I have just a couple friends that I don’t get to see that often, so writing is my main form of communication. I have so many thoughts and ideas, and I need to organize them. So, I write. It helps me sort and organize the things in my head. And years later, I can look back and see where I was and how much has changed since then.
Is there any situation or experience that has happened along your writing journey that you’d like to share?
None that I can think of. I love words, though, and I want to speak all languages, so I can communicate with people from different cultures and people with different customs and perspectives. Of course, when you’re learning a language and trying to speak it to native speakers, you’re going to mess up. So, when I was living in Japan studying Japanese, I made lots of those languages errors. I was at a very fancy meeting once with high-level executives. Everyone was so formal. I wanted to be formal, too, and I had to go to the bathroom. So I tried to use the polite form of Japanese to excuse myself and say, “Please excuse me for a minute” but after I said my fancy Japanese phrase, the whole room started laughing. Later, I found out that I had said, “I must go do research”, and then they watched as I walked into the bathroom.
I loved that you shared your vulnerability telling this experience of speaking another language with us, just as you did in your memoir, Strait of Tears. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Write, write, and write some more. Learn the rules first, then play with your words and break the rules.
Any advice for approaching publishers?
Thank you for your honesty Michele. You've self-published two books, what do you think is the biggest marketing challenge for new authors?
I haven’t done much marketing, but these days, there is so much information available everywhere to everyone. Anyone can write something and upload it as a book for sale online now. So I think the biggest problem is standing out and getting noticed instead of drowning in the vast pool of books, articles, and publications.
In order to stand out and get noticed as an author, what methods of book marketing do you find the most effective?
I don’t have experience here.
As an author, how do you handle rejection on your writing journey?
I write for me. If others like it and can use it, that’s great. If not, I’m still happy. I don’t write for fame or money. I write because I need to write.
Many authors I've talked to share this sentiment for writing; We write because we need to write. You recently published your second book, your memoir. Tell us about your recent success with it.
My books were self-published. I did not approach traditional publishers. If there’s a do-it-yourself option for anything in life, that’s the option I will opt for.
What have been the reactions from your readers regarding this book? Any lessons learned from your readers or author events?
I’ve heard readers say they liked my book, so of course that makes me feel good. I have not had any author events.
Last but not least, is there anything else you’d like to share with aspiring writers?
Just follow your passion. Make decisions based on your own desires, talents, and wants. Too many people let others tell them what they should or shouldn’t do. Blaze your own trail and when you get to the end, maybe you can look back and say, “It was a good ride, and I did what I wanted to do”.
Thank you for sharing your writing experience and advice with us. Where can readers/other authors find you?
I write at betterbelieveit.net, realanxietyhelp.net, smartenings.com, and I’m on facebook at facebook.com/mswensen1. My amazon author page is at https://www.amazon.com/Michele-Swensen/e/B00J54S8HO