I am honored to have my guest this week, Margaret Kazmierczak as my guest this week. In this interview you will learn about how she came to write her book and why she loves to write.
Leave a comment or question at the end of the interview for a chance to win a copy of her book in ebook fashion.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
As a child the English language was a nightmare as I found it so hard to master. At twelve I still could barely read however I had a vibrant imagination. The books I loved were picture ones and I would make up my own stories to go along with the colorful illustrations.
As a young adult I entered a Religious Order and the strictness triggered off my sense of humor. I would write humous little quips. These were my first written examples. The smiles and chuckles gave me a great boost and my poor grammar and spelling seemed a mountain that I could climb and overcome. I submitted an essay to the Retreat Master about the role of the church in encouraging the clergy to bring hope to their congregations instead of preaching about empty seats. He told me that if I ever gave up the life of a religious sister i should become a writer.
In retrospect I have been a story teller all my life. I loved telling my children bedtime stories. Actually being a writer did not dawn on me as a possibility but i felt I had a book wishing me. In my fifties I became unwell and God turned my life upside down. During this time I wrote and prayed and a book was born. A book that changed my life and prayer, instead of saying give me this or take away that, I realized the most important prayer was "yes" to his will and not mine. I found it hard to write a non-fiction book so this concept was intertwined into a fictional journal but with a real heartfelt message for all Christians through family life.
How long does it typically take you to write a book?
This is a hard question to answer because my first book took around two years due to coping with chronic fatigue. I wrote when I could and there were times of empty pages waiting to be filled. I still take time with my writing as my illness dictates my concentration levels. I do blog as this easier and takes less time.
Writing is a great release. writing a story line in my head is much simpler as I watch it like a movie unraveling before me---I don't need to write words or worry about grammar, as a result the story lines take less time but are never written.
What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I am not sure I have an interesting writing quirk, although the book in itself is quirky as it is different from other Christian books. I have tried to make it relevant to Christians trying to cope with everyday life and living in the presence of God. People have asked how to pray, what to say. How to Make Victoria Sponge helps with these questions, but in a human and humorous way. She is normal, copes with every day trials, laughs at the joys, and gets frustrated with a cold shower. She could be your or me, and I love her.
Having said that perhaps my writing quirk is the title. So many people congratulate me on a cook book. The truth is that those who know me, know I cannot cook. So that would be something to be congratulated on. I love the play on words How to Make Victoria Sponge, because the book is about ingredients such as life, experiences, how we deal with them, etc. All of which makes us who we are.
What do you like to do when you're not writing
I have to confess I love games like Farm Heroes Saga, and any match three game as well as Solitaire. I love reading, especially action thrillers, science fiction, dystopian novels. My favorite author is Ted Dekker, but it takes me quite a while to read a book.
I love the countryside, walking and taking photos. I enjoy sitting on the couch listening to my children talking, planning for the future, and laughing together. I treasure meeting new people and hearing about their stories. My husband always makes me laugh---he as a brain the size of a planet but no common sense. He is always very encouraging and says he loves my writing. I am intrigued by family history because again there are so many stories to be uncovered.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I think the statement "A book is never finished" may well be top of the list. no matter how many times you read it during its birth you will still find things that could been written better or worded differently. It is after all a skill that needs to be honed and crafted and this can take many years. I am only at the beginning of my journey and have a lot to learn. Thankfully there are some wonderful in Christian groups who are so generous with their time and knowledge willing to share their expertise with new authors.
What do you hate most about the writing process?
That my fingers and brain don't work fast enough. Often I am awakened at 0500 with an idea and I know that I cannot go back to sleep until I have written it down. Then more ideas come and it might change the whole story line, which means I have to either disregard it or try to work with it. Or it can be an idea for a completely new story, which distracts me from the work in progress. I have lots of half started stories saved onto the hard drive, but i can only concentrate on one.
What do you think makes a good story?
I think a strong plot is important along with well rounded and strong characters. In my book you have the main character, Victoria Sponge, who is an ordinary woman who says "yes" to God each morning even though she does not know what His question is for the day. The you have God showing Victoria how her day parallels Jesus' day during his last week---Lent. There are petitions from Victoria intermingled with her daily exploits.
For example: "As i think about the delights of washing away the stress of this morning's preschool antics, I step under the shower head. IT IS COLD. I jump back out of the way shaking with the shock of being drenched by such a stark realization that my family has left me with no hot water. I grind my teeth in frustration and mutter impure thoughts about each o my offspring. Aaaaaah."
"Oh Lord, I understand that the first shall be last and the last shall be first, but could you organize a warm shower for me just for once? I have served my family this morning and the least I ask for is a little bit of consideration. You said ask and you shall receive. Well, I am asking for a shower with hot water. It's not much!"
An how does God answer this petition? Well, you will have to read the book to find out. Each day moves into the next and builds up the stages of the Passion as well as building up Victoria in her journey of faith.
Where do you get your ideas for your books?
My idea for this book came when I accepted the calling to write a prayer book with a difference. I felt drawn to encourage others, a commission I have felt was given to me by God. By listening to people's experiences, observing behaviors and many events have actually taken place in many households, supermarkets, and schools. You may recognize some of them, or see yourself in the pages. So many ideas come from everyday events and I added humor to them for seasoning. You may well find yourself laughing and crying and nodding your head saying, "Oh yes, seen and done that."
Where can we find your books?
Will you give us an excerpt from your book?
I shall share the letter Victoria's son Johnny wrote to her.
I am sorry for the things I said to you. I don't hate you; I just get so angry inside with myself for being me. I don't understand who I am, but thank you for your lofe, for knowing my limitations and accepting them. I feel like I am serving a life term in prison. I see you standing out of reach. I try to reach you but my body and mind are trapped behind the bars. I stretch my arm as far as possible but the bars prevent me from reaching you, from hugging you and showing my true feelings. I am a prisoner unable to escape the cell of my disability. I long to be free to express my inner self, to be part of your world, to join in and be like everyone else. I hate being different, trapped in a parallel world, a world that is alien to you and the family, seeing, but unable to partake. There is no key, not even a lock to put a key in, no release. I am a reluctant prisoner, confined indefinitely, with no reprieve date. What heinous crime have I committed to be serving this sentence? How do I find freedom? I may not show it but I do love you, I always have. Thanks for having in there for me. Johnny.
I hold the letter to my heart. What a revelation from my son and disturbing too. His life seen as a prisoner, locked forever in an inescapable fortress of the mind, certainly not by choice. But unknown to him he has found the slit, a chink in the iron, a route out. for the very first time I am able to see his world from his side of the door. there might not be a lock with a keyhole in it, but he has opened it fractionally with a pen.
"Oh Lord, you understand about being a prisoner, charged as a criminal and sentenced without being guilty. You rose above it all. Help me to mirror your example to help my son to be who you made him to be."
Thank you Karen for this opportunity to tell you and your readers about my book. I have enjoyed speaking to you and sharing some of my thoughts.
\ I THANK YOU, MARGARET FOR SHARING ABOUT
YOURSELF AND GIVING A "TASTE" OF "HOW
TO MAKE VICTORIA SPONGE"
FB Author Page: https://www.facebook.com/writerandblogger/
Guest blogger on: http://www.heartwingsblog.com/
CelebrateLit Publishing http://www.celebratelitpublishing.com/product/make-victoria-songe/
Amazon Author page: https://www.amazon.com/margaretkazmierczak/e/B00O6BR6D8