Every day is a breakthrough, milestone day for someone somewhere. Just recently, my pal (and distant relative) Janet Mainville had her breakthrough day; she published her first book, Scar Tissue. I can remember that heady day (over 40 years ago for me), that jumping-for-joy, happy-dance day. It’s a day that should be celebrated and remembered.
So Janet, congratulations! Tell us a bit about your book. What’s in it and what inspired it?
Well, Melissa, it's a book of poetry and essays that are related to the human condition. I wanted an outlet for the feelings that I was coping with and writing the book provided that release. My inspiration for the book was my own personal experiences, my family and my interest in writing through the eyes of a different character, one who I share no common ground with.
When you originally wrote the pieces in the book, did you actually intend to publish them? I’m just wondering if you wrote with the idea in mind that people everywhere would someday be reading them.
Actually, I planned to publish some of them but not all of them. I opened up and shared some writings that I never thought that I would. It was actually the idea that one day, someone would be reading the book that made allowing myself to be vulnerable that made it possible for me to write the book. It's my hope that somewhere someone will read my book and not feel alone in their struggles.
A very worthwhile intent, to be sure. Writing personal experience (and personal emotion) can be scary, but it can also be very therapeutic. Did you find that writing down your experiences was helpful to you? How does writing help you in your own personal process?
I found writing to be very therapeutic and terrifying simultaneously. Sometimes the words that I want to say are on the tip of my tongue but I just can't seem to get them out, but when I write, I can bare my soul and that has made all of the difference.
You’re facing very serious health issues in your life. Did writing about them help you to cope? Did it help to give you some perspective?
Absolutely! Coping was so much more difficult before I began writing! I was stuck before I began writing and that was not helping me at all. Since I started writing, I have gained so much perspective and I've become able to find strength that I never knew that I had!
That is good to know. I'm so glad. I've also found writing to be immensely therapeutic.
I’m guessing that writing about your experiences has proved helpful for others who have similar health issues. What kind of feedback have you gotten?
I'd like to think that my writing has had an impact on others with the similar health issues. I started a Facebook community page called "Just a Little Lupie" and a closed group called "Just a Little Lupie". I wrote a petition regarding Judge Judy's uniformed and ignorant comments regarding lupus and in a pretty short amount of time, I had well over 4,000 signatures. I am also working on a photo collage banner for the group/page that represents our daily struggles, what we've lost, what had changed for us and what has made us stronger. The feedback that I have received has been unreal! A big part of the reason feedback has been so strong and positive is because I have 2 other admins who are awesome where I tend to not be as strong. I've been working on a document compiling a list of all of the vitamins, minerals and herbs and their effect on the body (the good and the bad). I have a medical background so that has been really helpful.
Wow, great results! Obviously you're on the right track and accomplishing exactly what you had planned. I'm sure you'll be doing more and more as you go.
Okay, now down to brass tacks. How was the publishing process for you? Scary? Fun? Frustrating? Liberating?
I have to say, it's a bit terrifying! While it's been a bit on the scary side, it really has been fun. Liberating doesn't even begin to describe how I feel! This has always been a dream of mine and I love that I have been able to make it a reality!
Glad to hear it. Writing while thinking about publishing can be somewhat of a safe haven because how many people actually go through with it? But once you've committed to it, it's a bit like jumping off a cliff. What did you learn along the way?
Oh boy...where to start! I learned that formatting can really be quite difficult and that it's good to have more than one person edit!
Now the clincher; will you do it again? Are there more books in Janet Mainville’s brain?
I am absolutely going to do it again! I have so many ideas in my head and I have been finding myself getting extremely excited over the prospect of writing more books in different genres. I want to branch out and I want to write in styles that I've never tried before! I want to challenge myself!
Coming off your oh-so-recent success, if someone came to you and said they had a book they wanted to publish, what advice would you give them?
My advice would be to love what you are writing or the book won't be what you want it to be. It's important to take pride in your work. Another piece of advice is to be original. There are certain themes in books that have been done to death and that's the kiss of death. Just be authentic.
Thanks for your very candid answers, Janet. I know your book will do everything you wanted it to do. Now, where can readers find out more about Janet Mainville and Scar Tissue?
Where can readers connect with you?
My email address is firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook Links: https://www.facebook.com/groups/jmainville1976/
Website (This is a just in its beginning stages and my goal will be to sell my books there in addition to other places. It's a work in progress.)