Archive for Personal Memoir

Client Success: Illustrator Kevin Gosselin Creates Vivid, Emotional Art for Prescott’s “A Stone for Kayla”

“Walt’s vision for the book had always been watercolors which was terrifying for me because I had little experience using them,” said illustrator Kevin Gosselin. Though an artist from a young age with years of experience in graphic design, A Stone for Kayla on the Camino de Santiago was his first time illustrating a book.

Author Walt Prescott shared, “The obvious choice to illustrate my book was an accomplished artist in Seattle who just happened to be my nephew and godchild Kevin. Using my Camino photos, Kevin nailed my vision and flew with it, stunning me with his creativity and the art’s beauty. His watercolor impressions bring me back to the Camino every time I view them.”

Kevin added, “I think an added spark I had for this project was my love and respect for the author.  The story is about him, and as the illustrator, I possessed a deep connection to the protagonist.”

Kevin also found inspiration in learning to work with watercolors.  “I love the inherent life of the water and how it wants to do its own thing.  After a while, it affected how I saw my surroundings.  Suddenly everything was light and values.  The medium provides a quality I can’t get with opaque paint.”

All 27 illustrations began as watercolor paintings which were then scanned for enhancement using PhotoShop.  Once completed, Kevin typeset the story into his artworks.

“Both Walt and you, Wayne, were excellent in keeping me going. I had never worked with an editor before. It was great, more like having a coach instead of a boss. You brought an experienced eye to the process, always providing me with the right amount of guidance and enthusiasm.  You were very easy to work with.”

“It’s nice to have a book feather in my cap.  I’ve long had an interest in being a children’s book writer and illustrator.  All my fine artwork has been sculpting creatures and character design with the idea that maybe one day I would put them into books. A Stone for Kayla has given me the audacity to think that by the end of this year I will produce my own.  Recently, I developed the origin story…”

And so the artist / illustrator begins a new adventure into writing.  I, for one, am excited to discover where he ends up.

Buy A Stone for Kayla on the Camino de Santiago by Walt Prescott, illustrated by Kevin Gosselin, available in hardcover, paperback, and Kindle.

Client Success: Walt Prescott’s “A Stone For Kayla” Illustrates Oneness of World Family Through Communal Journey on the Camino de Santiago

A Stone for Kayla on the Camino de Santiago is about living every day to the fullest, expressing gratitude, and letting those I love know how important they are to me,” shares author Walt Prescott.

Walt’s new illustrated book about how his love for his granddaughter inspired each step of his special journey delights both children and adults.  A memoir of hiking the Camino de Santiago in Spain, there’s plenty about his pilgrimage for those considering the hike for themselves.  However, the tale, its characters, and the illustrations are as compelling as the lessons learned are universal.

“My intention for the book was to be a personal exchange between myself and my granddaughter. The first variation was barely more than extended captions below my Camino photos that had been enhanced with a watercolor app on my phone.

“I had met Wayne through my role as the President of The Friends of the Library group at Toco Hill that frequently sponsored his writing workshops. I remember standing in the back of the room while Wayne engaged his audience, thinking of all the ‘what-if’s and ‘maybe someday’s of writing a story of my own.  After showing my book and being encouraged by librarians Lesley Barber and Elizabeth Isabelle, as well as others, I reflected on my Camino experience and realized it was important for me to share this with a wider audience.

Wayne saw the potential in my initial book and was able to coax the story I wanted to tell. Through numerous revisions and rewrites, he remained positive while encouraging me to fill in the rich detail that painted a picture with my words. Wayne’s gentle questioning and nudging were key to bringing my vision to life. Any editor can help with the mechanics of writing; however, Wayne also has the ability to inspire the love of writing and word creation in others.

“Wayne also worked as Creative Director as we brought on Kevin Gosselin, a wonderful illustrator from Seattle who took my app-adapted photos and created gorgeous illustrations before laying out the book with text.  Wayne kept us rallied and focused through the process of bringing the book to print.

“So if you’re undertaking an illustrated children’s book or a memoir, get a great guide like Wayne. There are so many “unknowns” that make it critical to have someone show you the way. Like life, writing a book is a journey!  Buen Camino!”

Buy “A Stone For Kayla” in hardback, paperback, or Kindle.

Client Success:  Heather Dobson’s “Memoirs of a Future Ghost” Reveals the Truth of the Paranormal

“One Sunday morning while grumpily clutching my coffee, I tuned into Ghost Adventures where Zak Bagans yet again found himself possessed by a demon,” Heather says, rolling her eyes.  “I became frustrated, deciding right then and there that I would write an honest and thoughtful account of what it’s really like to investigate the paranormal.”

Memoirs of a Future Ghost shares the truth—the freaky, the funny, even the forlorn—of Heather Dobson’s 12 years investigating ghosts and the people they haunt.  At its heart, this first memoir in a trilogy comes from her childhood fears of the unknown reflected by those of her children when they were wee tots, afraid of what was in their closets, under their beds, and outside their windows.  As diligently as she pursues evidence to prove the paranormal is, well, normal, she seeks the answer to the proverbial question, “Is there life after death?”  This passionate lifelong exploration, active on the front lines with her group Paranormal Georgia Investigations, combined with her love of science, a wicked sense of humor, and a maternal instinct, make her ideal to guide readers—even the most scaredy-pants ones—into the real world of the paranormal.

Heather (center) at her book launch, August 2019, with Wayne and Sheryl

On writing, Heather unabashedly admits, “I am my own worst critic, so I knew I needed an editor. Whenever I searched for editors, the web results sounded cold and distant. My neighbor and friend Sheryl Parbhoo recommended Wayne from his work on her novel The Unexpected Daughter, so I reached out and our rapport was instant!”

Heather felt her book was practically finished when she submitted it to me.  Assuring her I could do the quick edit she requested, I admitted that I was taken with the writing but felt cheated.  I wanted to feel like I was there with her and the shadows, the disembodied voices, the other investigators.  I suggested she rewrite the collection of blog posts, giving herself freedom to flesh out the details to create a vivid account of these fantastic stories.

Her resistance was immediate but ephemeral.  “Because of Wayne’s coaxing, coaching, and belief in my writing skills, my book became a cohesive story that I believe everyone could enjoy, whether ghost stories scare them or not.”

“Though working with Wayne was easy, it was still challenging when he would say, ‘I know there’s more here. I want more.’ I would ignore that note, move on to easier things in the manuscript, and walk away from my computer, stewing on ‘more.’ Usually the next day, I was ready to give more. And then I got him back by inserting more exclamation points than he knew what to do with!!”

I survived the onslaught thanks to the “delete” key.

Heather adds, “My biggest lesson from this experience is that I’m capable of writing a book. And that I have a voice people enjoy reading. And to tell Miss Negative Nelly who resides in my head that she’s a bitter woman who needs to shut the hell up.

“Honestly, across the board, even when I do things well, I feel as though I’m a failure. For the first time in my life, I’m really proud of myself. And that’s saying something.”

And that’s an everlasting truth…to be continued as Heather concurrently works on her second and third books in the trilogy to be published in the summers of 2020 and 2021, covering your reading for the next three Halloweens.

Buy Heather’s book or e-book, or see her at  DragonCon or other appearances.

 

 

 

Client Success: Ann Temkin’s Memoir Illustrates Personal Struggle to Revelation in Spiritual Quest

“I know others have held the same secret,” Ann J. Temkin said of her newly released memoir. “I needed to explore this period of my life, and I wanted to let them know they are not alone.”

The Smoking Nun recounts a woman’s conflicts over loving God, humanity, and one forbidden man.  Passion, struggle, and betrayal ignite this true story lived amidst the Civil Rights Movement and Vietnam War. Advanced readers found the book inspiring, relevant, and revealing for our current times, calling it “a spiritual quest bound with an inextricable thirst for justice.”

In late 2015, Ann saw the Oscar-winning film Spotlight about The Boston Globe investigative journalists who found proof of a cover-up of sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic Church.  Even though her situation was not the same, Ann began to think differently about a part of her life she had kept secret.  Then came her struggle with whether or not to write about her hidden love affair with a Catholic priest.

Soon, she went to the book signing of a friend.  “She didn’t know my story. No one did.  And when she signed my book, she wrote, ‘Tell your story.  It matters.’  I took that as a sign and began to write.”

Though possessing a career’s worth of writing experience and a published author of 2014’s memoir Sight In The Sandstorm: Jesus in His World and Mine, Ann shared that writing this book was often painful.

“My story involves an early time when I was not in touch with my own feelings and in an environment that encouraged denial. Writing about it, I often asked myself, ‘What was I feeling?’  I had to confront realizations and emotions that had never surfaced before. And it was scary to make myself so vulnerable, not just about the secret, but about my spiritual life.”

As her editor, Ann and I worked from initial writing through publication.  “Wayne got it, and when he didn’t, he asked questions and remained encouraging.”  I facilitated a focus group to lead into final revision, and she credits the stellar panel for their insight and praise. Ann’s cover designer Cristina Montesinos, along with fellow authors, friends, and Mort, her husband of 35 years, were positive influences during the two-plus years of process to publication.

Ann always welcomes opportunities to share her book and hear reflections from readers. For details about readings or to inquire about having Ann speak with your group, please visit www.anntemkin.com or follow her on Facebook.

For budding writers, Ann advises, “Just start somewhere.  Anywhere. Then just write. Thinking about it comes later.

Through her journey of revisiting and resolving the past, Ann came out stronger on both life and writing.  “I’m not at all shy about calling myself a writer now.”