Friday, September 26, 2014

Indie Author Interview: Gwendolyn M Plano


Indie Author Interview with Gwendolyn M Plano - Author of the (Family Relationship) Memoir Letting Go into Perfect Love.

Gwendolyn M Plano spent most of her professional life in higher education. She taught and served as an administrator in colleges in New York, Connecticut and California. She has multiple academic degrees, including one in Theology and in Counseling. Gwen now devotes herself to writing, volunteer work, and her beautiful grandchildren.

Interview with Gwendolyn M Plano

Author Gwendolyn M Plano
Author Gwendolyn M Plano
Alan Kealey (Indie Author News): What is your (writing) background?
Gwendolyn M Plano: I do not have formal training in writing, but for decades I was a teacher and later an administrator in colleges on the East and West coasts. I was often called upon to create brochures or reports, which required careful editing. Later I developed a monthly newsletter for employees, based upon common life concerns. In a way, this newsletter helped prepare me for writing my memoir.

Who are your favorite writers, your favorite books, and who or what are your writing influences?
Maya Angelou will always hold a very special place in my heart, because she gave me permission to write about the struggles that I had held secretly within my soul. She opened the doors behind which sexual abuse and domestic violence thrive, and with her courage she paved a path of monumental change. Though I was not fortunate to meet her, she will always be my mentor.
Poet Mary Oliver’s verses speak to my soul. Her ponderings draw me into mystery, where I am brought to a deeper level of understanding. Inevitably, her choice of words guides my own. For instance, this comment left me speechless: “Someone I loved once gave me a box full of darkness. It took me years to understand that this too, was a gift.” How extraordinary!
Oriah Mountain Dreamer’s writing is of similar quality to that of Mary Oliver—it is honest, pure, loving, and transformative. She knows pain and sorrow and yet has found joy. She is like the sister I have never met, a friend who by her life teaches me how to live.
In addition the works of the authors mentioned above, there are many others that are part of my life. Viktor E. Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning, T.S. Eliot’s Four Quartets, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s Hymn of the Universe, are just a few that crowd my bookcases and my dreams.

When did you first know that you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always enjoyed writing, even though I did not envision myself a writer until much later in life. One of my English teachers in high school pulled me aside one day and told me I was a good writer. She particularly liked a story I had written entitled My Passport. I wrote about traveling the world via my library card—it being my passport to other worlds. Growing up on a farm, I only knew of distant lands through the magic of the library—which to this day I love.

"I try to see life through my heart [...]"

Do you have a writing routine?

I begin writing in the very early morning, before daybreak. When I am engaged with a writing project, it awakens me with images and pages of prose. I run after these glimpses of possibility, jotting down what I can remember and then later I wordsmith my writing.
Though this approach may be unconventional, I'm happiest when I chase inspiration. A walk in nature, a visit to a museum, a conversation with a loved one....all provide a unique vantage point from which ideas and connections arise. I try to see life through my heart and when I do, the revelations consistently surprise me with their astounding beauty.

"I realized that my journey was everyone’s journey. I had thought I was alone."

Why do you write, what is your process?
Writing is a way for me to better understand life. I process events, situations, and travails through writing—in a journal, on scattered pieces of paper, and on my computer. It is a meditation of sorts; the silence within the play of words opens doors and offers insight. Sometimes I can express in writing what I may have difficulty voicing.
When I started to write, Letting Go into Perfect Love, I was awakened in the early morning hours with scenes, faded by time. Pages of text accompanied these reveries and though I captured some of these glimpses of insight in my writing, others hid and waited—for yet another night. My crowded desk of post-it notes became my companion and sometimes friend.
This process, unexpected and bewitching, guided me through the corridors of my heart, where I wrestled with haunting flashbacks and elusive threads of connection. The years of abuse were long past and in tow—its numbness. I could feel again; and, the tears and gasps came and went—because they could.
One story after another unfolded, as sections from frayed journals and yellowed family photos came alive and spoke to me. The dramas that once controlled my life and held me captive were but ailing memories, soon to meet their demise. And as I gazed upon this human collage of struggles and apprehensions, I was humbled by another story that emerged.
I realized that my journey was everyone’s journey. I had thought I was alone.
And, so it is that I share the stories running through my heart, because ultimately, I hope we meet sometime--between the lines of scribble and the mysteries of life.

Please tell us a little about your Memoir Letting Go into Perfect Love.
Letting Go Into Perfect Love, Discovering the Extraordinary After Abuse is about the shared path we travel to wholeness. Though our stories are unique, we all know heartache at some point in time. I would never have chosen my life difficulties, but would any of us?
As a college administrator, my work was visible and accountable. No one knew that after hours and behind closed doors, I experienced the terror of domestic violence. It was my secret; it was my shame. When my children came to know that same fear, however, I could no longer pretend that all was well. I pursued counseling and other processes that prompted healing, and as I did so, the once-closed door to my heart opened to the extraordinary.
My book exposes the stages of domestic violence; it reveals the devastation of my daughter’s sexual molestation; but it concludes with the healing experiences of an extraordinary kind.
The book will most assuredly evoke tears of sadness—and tears of joy. More than anything, though, it will bring you home to your own heart. For, don’t we all know sorrow, fear, or regret; and, don’t we all travel through life trying to make sense of it all?

Letting Go into Perfect Love (Gwendolyn M Plano)
Click to Read an Excerpt

Why did you write the book?
I wrote Letting Go into Perfect Love for all those who imagine they are alone in their sorrow. I wrote for my children who had a shell of a mother when they were young. I wrote for those who wonder why a person stays in an abusive relationship. I wrote for legislators who have the power to enforce standards of decency.
I’ve journeyed over difficult terrain. I want those who travel a similar path to know that there is reason to hope—for perfect love awaits each of us.

"At times it tore open my heart, such that I could barely breathe."

What makes your book special?
Writing Letting Go Into Perfect Love was an integrative process for me. At times it tore open my heart, such that I could barely breathe. However, my tears and gasps came and went, because they could. As I accepted and honored these emotions, compassion emerged—for myself and for all humankind, and this redirected the writing, and quite frankly, my life.
Letting Go into Perfect Love is special because it reveals the path to joy. Through tragedy, we can discover the extraordinary—the perfect love we have always sought.

"There is a reason a person writes [...]"

Can you give some advice for other Authors regarding the writing process?
When I read, I listen for the author. I want to know the person sitting at his or her desk, and when I discover the author's heartbeat between the lines of prose, I become a friend or at least a curious comrade. There is a reason a person writes; I try to find that reason, because it directs how I read.
The best wisdom I can share is to write from your heart, see through your heart. Readers like me want to know you, and once known—a friend you will be.

How can readers connect with you?
I welcome readers to write to me via gplano@gwenplano.com.

Thank you very much for the Interview, Gwendolyn.



About the Book Letting Go into Perfect Love

Letting Go into Perfect Love (Gwendolyn M Plano)
Click to Read an Excerpt
Letting Go into Perfect Love is a book for all. But, for those who have been in a destructive relationship, Gwen's story will be heartbreakingly familiar.

For those who have been spared such diminishment, it will provide insight into the often misunderstood phenomenon of domestic violence. Since one in every four women will experience such threat in her lifetime, understanding that murky world may provide the reader with the skills needed to help his or her sister or friend or neighbor.

Whether victim or friend, though, readers will be inspired by the author's courage and ultimate resolution of her predicament. And, you may see your own challenges a little differently.

As a college administrator, Gwendolyn M. Plano lived her professional life in a highly visible and accountable space—but as a wife and mother, behind closed doors, she and her family experienced the terror of domestic violence and abuse.

The statistics are staggering—every 9 seconds in the United States, a woman is assaulted or beaten—but to Plano, this was her secret; it was her shame. When her husband eventually turned his brutality on her son, she knew she could no longer stay quiet.

The actions she took resulted in a life redefined by miracles....and joy.






Links to the Book

Link to the Paperback Letting Go into Perfect Love with Excerpt on Amazon

Link to the eBook Letting Go into Perfect Love with Excerpt on Amazon


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