Introducing Author Winslow Eliot

Posted on June 3, 2013. Filed under: Author Interviews, Book Reviews, L.Leander Book Reviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , |

Winslow EliotIt’s my great pleasure to introduce author Winslow Eliot this week.  I stumbled across this author’s site as I was doing research and  I was very interested in what she offers.   Ms. Eliot runs a series of workshops for writers called WriteSpa-An Oasis for Writers: Writing Through the Year based on faith and daily exercises.  I joined and have thoroughly enjoyed the process.  Immediately I contacted Ms. Eliot and asked if she would like to be featured on this blog and she agreed.  I’m glad I could interview her and share her work with my readers.  If you’d like to read my review of her book The Happiness Cure click here.  Please leave a comment and let us know you visited!

Interview with Winslow Eliot

by L.Leander

What is the favorite character you have written and why? Probably Tess HeavenFallsCoverDuncan – she was my heroine in Heaven Falls. I just loved how she entered into an entirely new situation with such grace and humor, and I found her as lovable and interesting as the hero did!

Are you self-published or traditionally published and why? I’ve been published traditionally (NAL/Signet and St. Martin’s Press) in the past, but since 2010 I’ve been self-published. I MUCH prefer the freedom, adventure, thrill of investing in my creative projects. I love owning 100% of my work, and receiving 100% of my profits. In addition to being able to thoroughly enjoy writing my stories the way I want to, I also love the covers that my designers have created.

What did you want to be when you grew up?  Did you realize that dream? I always wanted to be a writer. Even before I knew how to write I’d fill up notebooks with arcane scribbles, pretending that I was writing a book. So, yes, writing has been my dream, and I HAVE realized it. Dreams do continue, though, so it’s not over… there’s always more to realize within the dream of writing. We’ll see what unfolds.

Explain your creative process.  Pantser?  Outliner? Hmm. It’s hard to say. A story sweeps me away, scenes sweep me away, and I follow my beloved characters through those events. My stories are very twisty-turny, unexpected, so once the first draft is completed I do find I spend many months—sometimes years—making sure that all the twists, turns, and unexpected surprises are 100% explained and tied up by the end.

How do you come up with ideas for your writing projects? That’s just one of those things. They pour out—I can’t really keep up with them, because I do like to take my time with my stories.

Who is your biggest supporter?  Why? I’d have to say my mother has always been my biggest supporter. She was a fantastic editor of every single one of my first drafts of every book I wrote. She was one of the most enthusiastic fans. She admired my talent, my determination, my courage in pursuing my dream. She died recently and I sometimes don’t know how I’ll write and get my next book to press without her editorial skills and her unstinting encouragement.

Explain a day in the life of a writer (you). I wake up around six a.m. and lean over the edge of my bed, pick up and turn on my laptop, and begin to write. I start with writing down my dreams and some other things, and then always write my “daily happinesses” which I then share on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, etc. During this time, my handsome husband has brought me coffee in bed, without interrupting my flow. Once my happinesses are posted, I check mail, but unless it’s really important I don’t respond until later in the morning. I devote the rest of the morning to working on my writing project—whichever book is currently absorbing me. In the afternoon, we’ll walk, or I’ll do yoga, answer emails, or indulge in various other hobbies I have: like meditative sufi dance and tarot. Then in the evening I’ll join my husband for a glass of wine and some light entertainment—currently our favorite is watching old Perry Mason mysteries. I do teach high school students twice a week during the school year, and have other things I do. But basically that’s my ideal “day in the life.”

What is your wildest dream for your writing? To be a beloved household name—and the income to show for it LOL.

What types of books do you like to read/authors that have inspired you? So many! I love the classics like Jane Austen; love Graham Greene and Anne Douglas Sedwick. Contemporary novelists…I just read Karen Engelmann’s The Stockholm Octavo which is fabulous. I also recently discovered Robert MacLean, who’s a sort of modern-day P.G.Wodehouse. I love an author (like him) who can make me laugh out loud. Most of all I love my grandmother’s books. Her grown-up novels are all out of print, but they definitely inspired me growing up. Her name is Ethel Cook Eliot.
belly dancing 2
What is your favorite hobby?  Does it enhance your writing? As I mentioned earlier, I love dancing. I used to do a lot of belly dancing, and that has morphed into a sufi dance meditation practice. I also enjoy using the tarot—those cards are like my friends. We sit around telling each other stories! Also, I sing and play guitar, and we have friends who come over and play with us on occasion. My husband is a musician too. Yes, I think singing and dancing definitely enhances my writing! It keeps me light-hearted. I can get much too serious otherwise.

Happiness-cover-ebookSHORT AUTHOR BIO: Winslow Eliot is the award-winning author of the novels Heaven Falls, Bright Face of Danger, A Perfect Gem, and Pursued, as well as the inspirational books: What Would You Do If There Was Nothing You Had To Do and WriteSpa-An Oasis for Writers: Writing Through the Year. Every morning she writes and shares her daily happinesses before turning to her work of the day: writing more books and mentoring writers.


Author site:

The Happiness Cure on Amazon:

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Introducing Author Kate Benzin

Posted on February 4, 2013. Filed under: Author Interviews, L.Leander Reviews and Interviews | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , |

Kate 2011 10I am very pleased to introduce you to Kate Benzin this week.  She’s an adventuress who shares her travel escapades with readers through her work.  I met Kate on a Facebook group and we became instant online friends.  If you haven’t read her books you’ve got to do it – you’ll be amazed, entertained and enlightened as you follow her on her journeys to different countries and cultures.  Now, so I don’t let the cat out of the bag, I’ll go on with my interview of Kate.  If you’d like to read my review of Kate’s book Transformative Travel In Nepal, you can check it out here.

Interview of Author, Kate Benzin

by L.Leander

What is your favorite pastime (other than writing)? (you can only pick one) and why?

Travel is my favorite pastime other than writing. Of course, this is a bit of a cheat because I use my travels as the basis for some of my books. For example, my book TRANSFORMATIVE TRAVEL IN NEPAL: FULFILLING A DREAM IN THE HIMALAYAS is the true story of my trekking experience in the Nepal Himalayas. I kept a very detailed journal every day and then used my journal to re-construct my experience. It’s written in a fiction style, but it’s definitely a true story.

I have another book in the works called TRANS-SIBERIA EXPRESS TRAIN: MOWCOW TO MONGOLIA – also about my travel experience on that iconic train ride. It’ll be a while before I publish that – just have too many books in the works.

Who are you as a writer?

I am a writer who like to delve into the emotions of how people react or why they act in certain ways. For me, plot is second to the emotional life of the characters.

What are your thoughts on the Indie Publishing movement?

The Indie Publishing movement is absolutely great. I’ve always written, but would have never bothered to actually publish a book without this movement.

Have you ever ghostwritten?  Would you?  Why?

I have not ghostwritten, but have actually considered it. I’m collaborating with a friend on a book that is a lot of rambling of a person who was sliding further and further into depression, paranoia, schizophrenia. If she had not been willing to have me as a co-author, I would have ghostwritten because I think her journey into that dark place and then back to recovery is very important and needs to be shared.

I doubt that I would do any ghostwriting for the money simply because I’ve got too much on my plate as it is. I have no objections to ghostwriting on principle – I guess if I ever ran out of my own stuff, then I’d do that.

What is your favorite book of all time?  Why? 

Do I have to pick just one??? Here are 3 – Crime & Punishment, Steppenwolf, Brothers Karamazov

Do you believe writers need a degree to be successful?  Why or why not?

A degree??? What’s that???

No, seriously, people need to have experiences in order to be successful. In my jaded opinion, a degree only shows that you had the discipline to do what needed to be done in order to get that piece of paper. Well, maybe it’s not the only thing that it shows, but it certainly is not a requirement for success. To be successful, a person needs to look inside, examine what he/she finds there, and figure out what to do with what is inside.

You are camping in a tent in the woods.  A loud roar happens outside the flap to the tent.  What do you do?

I run out to see what it is. And hopefully, I have my camera with me to get a photo.

What is your greatest asset?  Why?

My greatest asset – that implies that I have more than one! I guess I would say adaptability. It happens to be foremost in my mind right now because it was a very needed asset in something that I lived through a couple of years ago which is the topic of my next book – FIRE & DEATH: LIVING IN THE SHADOW OF JAVA’S MOST ACTIVE VOLCANO. This is another true story about my experience when the volcano that I live on erupted and I had to evacuate my home with my dogs. As I wrote this book, I certainly saw how my ability to adapt was so important.

What do you treasure most on earth?

My dogs – they are my loves.

What did you like to do as a child?  Favorite games, pasttimes, friends, etc.

Well, of course, I liked to read. I can remember not playing after school with friends because I wanted to go home and read. Is that crazy or what?

What is the single-most important thing that has happened to you thus-far on your writing journey?

I guess that the most important thing is that I am constantly learning how to see the world differently. If I’m in the process of writing, then I’m looking at everything through the eyes of who I was then in the case of a memoir and how much I learned or experienced  and seeing how that has affected me. If I’m writing fiction, then I’m looking at things through that person’s eyes and seeing a different point of view.

It reminds me of when I first started painting – I never looked at anything the same way again. I saw colors more vividly – I saw shapes and colors that I’d never seen before. Writing does the same thing for me, but in a different way.

How important is being successful as a writer to you?

Well, as far as I’m concerned, just having strangers buy something that I put my heart and soul into – and then reading it – this is success to me, and I guess that’s pretty important. I like selling more copies, but that isn’t the most important part. Getting emails from readers who were touched by what I wrote – that is success – and yes, it’s important.

The genie is going to grant you three wishes.  What are they?

My first 2 wishes are the time and money to build a house on the property that I bought a few years ago very close to where I’m living now. Then the 3rd wish would be for me and my dogs to live out our days in that home. But I have to say that if I never build that house, I’ve already got a little piece of paradise where I’m living with my doggies already.

You get one day to spend any way you want with whomever you want.  Describe the day (money is no object)

I hate to be terribly boring, but I’m already living the life that I dreamed of when I was younger. Later on, I’ll probably be sorry that I didn’t choose some place and someone really cool. I guess the only thing that I’d love would be if I could have a day 50 years from now to see what kind of technology has developed.

Who or what were your main inspirations for choosing a writing career?

I can’t say that I had any actual inspirations. I always wrote as therapy for myself. I went through some very difficult times emotionally and writing was what got me through those times. And little by little, writing came to mean more and more to me.

Thank you for being my guest this week, Kate.  Readers, leave Kate a comment to let her know you enjoyed our chat.  And be sure to check out her books (scroll to the bottom to see the cover of her soon-to-be-released book, Fire and Death.

TransTravTransformative Travel in Nepal: A Himalayan Journey by Kate Benzin

Kate Benzin’s Websites:

Kate’s Facebook page:

Kate’s Email:

Kate Benzin Bio:

Kate Benzin is a seasoned traveler and tour director who has lived in Indonesia for most of the past 30 years. Indonesia became her home when she took a 3-month work assignment to train Indonesians on word processing equipment, and she fell in love with the adventurous lifestyle that living in Indonesia gave her. After working as a tour director in many countries of the world for the past 15years, she now spends most of her time writing in her home/office which she shares with her three Dalmatians.

Other books by Kate Benzin:

CoverHow to Find the Heart of Bali

FD 6 smallComing soon!!! Fire and Death: Living in the Shadow of Java’s Most Active Volcano

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