Post #16 – Women’s Memoirs, Conversations – Matilda Butler and Kendra Bonnett
Kendra and I are pleased to share with you our interview with bestselling author and memoirist Donna VanLiere. Donna’s memoir, Finding Grace, has just been published and we are so pleased that she took time from her busy schedule to talk with us. We had great questions from regulars on this website as well as a few we tucked in.
We were struck by Donna’s earliest writing memory. She recounts, “I was in the second grade and I started to write a little story about a bear. Then a kid named Mike looked over my shoulder and said, ‘What do you want to write a stupid story about a bear for?’ And I just waded up the paper and threw it away.” Many of us who write carry an inner critic that acts much like Mike. The critic says, “What makes you think your story is important? Besides you can’t write.”
We need to find ways to silence that inner critic. Donna’s real life critic may have slowed her down, but she continued to be drawn to writing although she often took on those projects on the side. Finally the subject matter and opportunity presented itself and she launched her bestselling Christmas Hope series of novels. Two of these have been made into television movies.
Donna suffered childhood abuse and it takes a long time to be ready to talk about it and even longer to be ready to mention it in a book. One of your questions to Donna focused on how to handle abuse in a written memoir. Other questions that Donna answers include:
1. I’d like to write a memoir about my family, but I can’t help but wonder if my life and that of my family is special enough or unique enough. I think they are pretty special but will the world?
2. I wonder what was the most difficult part of the writing process for you and how did you overcome the problem or difficulty?
3. Your book has the theme of being lost and finding your way. What if we don’t have an overriding themes to our live. How do we make the ordinary interesting?
4. I recently looked back through many of the thing I have written and was emotionaly “sucked back in” to the difficult times in my life. How do I go back into my old writings for inspiration and ideas without the risk of getting myself mired in old feelings?
5. I’ve been trying to write my memoir and find my writing covers parts of my life that I didn’t intend to write about. I wonder if you had a set plan, a good outline, that you found you could follow?
Listen here as Donna VanLiere gives her responses to these questions: