Wednesday, September 02, 2009

Widow's Walk by Kenneth Weene

Today we welcome Kenneth Weene to our writing blog. He is discussing his book Widow’s Walk.

YVONNE: Tell me something about yourself and your writing background.

KENNETH: Let me start talking about me, about Ken Weene the person. I love nature, culture, other people, and experiencing the richness of the world. I have many people who are very special to me. I wish I could mention them all. But, most of all I adore my wife, Roz.

Professionally, I worked as a psychologist and a pastoral counselor. I also have done lots of teaching over the years.

I have always wanted to write and have always been an avid reader. While “Widow’s Walk” is my first published novel, I’ve had other writing published over the years. For example, recently I’ve been a featured poet in Sol and one of my short plays, “The Right Number” was work shopped at Space 55 in Phoenix.

YVONNE: What is the title of your book? Give us the basic story line so we’ll know what it’s about.

KENNETH: Widow’s Walk is the story of Mary Flanagan, a woman caught between her sense of faith, obligation, and responsibility on the one hand and her growing awareness of and desire for a fuller life. It is also the story of her children, her son, Sean, who is a quadriplegic, and her daughter, Kathleen, who works in a hospice. Then, of course, there are the other people in her life, especially her friends and her boyfriend. Widow’s Walk is a book rich with relationships and with sensuality and sexuality. There is also violence and self-centeredness. This is a book about people and about life.

Not surprisingly to people who know me, this novel also raises issues of faith and meaning.

YVONNE: What inspired you to write this book?

KENNETH: Let me start by acknowledging that Mary is reminiscent of a woman with whose family I worked years ago. However, the real motivation was my own search for meaningful faith and answers to my own questions about the nature of God.

YVONNE: Is this the first book you have written?

KENNETH: Actually, I have two other novels currently being improved and looking for publishers, and I have the beginnings of a nonfiction book sitting in my computer. There is also another book, an anthology of my work, which was published by Inkwell Productions; it is called Songs For My Father. I can’t really say which book came into being first. Like many writers I tend to jump back and forth among my “intellectual children.”

YVONNE: How long did it take to write this book? Any interesting tidbits about your writing method or how the book developed?

KENNETH: I think that every book is written over the author’s life. No matter what the content, all books draw on who the author is. In terms of sitting at a desk, I’d say that Widow’s Walk has been the labor of hundreds of hours over the past eight years.

If I were to pick one unique thing about my writing, it would be the personal relationship I feel with the characters. I may start the book and I may have ideas about the plot, but ultimately the characters take on a life of their own. For me, a central part of writing is opening myself to these very real persons who have come into existence on the pages of my novel.

I should elaborate on the idea of opening myself to the characters. I experience them as real people. In my head there are conversations with them. They tell me what they think, what they want, and most importantly what will happen. I can discuss this with them; but in the end, I am telling their story. If I try to change their story or make them do things they don’t agree with, why they simply force themselves into my dreams until I – thoroughly defeated – give in.

YVONNE: How did you publish your book? Tell me about your publishing experience and what you learned from it.

KENNETH: As with most first novels, I sent Widow’s Walk out again and again. I didn’t expect a big house to take on an unknown author, but I wasn’t going to self-publish. All Things That Matter Press has been a good connection for this novel. They have been supportive and informative. However, sure I’d like to be with one of the big guys.

One thing I would say to would be authors, “Edit with care. Your book isn’t finished until it’s actually in the press. Don’t rush that process.”

YVONNE: Where is your book available? Do you have a Web site or blog where we can learn more about you or your book?

KENNETH: “Widow’s Walk” will be available through Amazon and through the publisher. The easiest way to order will probably be to use the links on the website. Please go to HTTP://WIDOWS-WALK.WEBS.COM

YVONNE: Tell me some ways you have promoted your book. Give examples and links to any sites you feel might help other authors.

KENNETH: To be honest, I’ve hired somebody to do a lot of that. She has set up a number of blog and Internet radio events, which I’ll have a good time doing. I’ve also tried to build my presence on networking sites. Perhaps the potentially most interesting thing I’ve done is trying to get a viral video out. That has been done with the assistance of dear friends.

YVONNE: Any other comment you would like to share?

KENNETH: I think “Widow’s Walk” is a great read. I sure hope that folks will enjoy it and grow as a result of reading it.

I want to thank you for giving me this chance to let people know about “Widow’s Walk,” and I wish you and them all the best.

YVONNE: Thank you for giving us the opportunity to get to know you and learn about your book. I wish you well in your journey as an author.

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