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HELEN McMANUS, PENNSYLVANIA POET and ARTIST

Updated on August 5, 2012

AUTHOR INTERVIEW - HELEN MCMANUS, PENNSYLVANIA POET, WIDOWED DREAMS

1. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?

I have always been interested in writing while in school, but my poetry did not manifest itself until the sudden passing of my husband.

2. Did you study creative writing in school?

Yes, as a matter of fact, I did, and it was one of my most enjoyed subjects in high school.

3. Do you still have anything you wrote as a child?

No, but I wish I did.

4. What is your work schedule like when you're writing?

I try to write either in early morning, or late at night. Those times seem to be when I am most creative.

5. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

A poet name Jim Davis, showed me how to use internal rhyme in my poetry. Another poet, Joree Williams, taught me many poetic forms including iambic pentameter. I’d like to think my writing is a work in progress—you just never stop learning!

5. How long did it take you to write your book?

I took me about two years to compile enough poems for my book, in part because of the subject matter involved.

6. Do you self-publish, or how do your books get published?

Daveda Gruber, owner of Poetry With Passion, published my book and I am ever grateful to her for the wonderful and professional job!

7. How many books have you published? Which one is your favorite?

I have only published one book so far, but I have been thinking of writing a book for children.

8. What is the title of your book and what is it about?

My book is titled “Widowed Dreams” and deals with the aftermath of emotions following the death of my husband.

9. What does your family think of your writing?

My family was very supportive of me, while I was writing “Widowed Dreams”. They felt writing was a great way of expressing of feelings, while also helping others.

10. When did you write your first book and how old were you?

I wrote my book in 2007 and Daveda Gruber published it in 2010.

11. What do you like to do when you're not writing?

When I am not writing, I am busy working as an insurance agent. I also try to spend every spare moment with my three grandchildren.

12. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?

I learned so much about myself while writing “Widowed Dreams”. I learned that I was stronger than I thought I was, and that my own expressions could help others going through the same situation.

13. Do you have any suggestions to help less experienced writers become better writers? If so, what are they?

I think everyone should join poetry workshops to read and understand other’s writing styles. In doing so, you truly expand your own abilities.

14. Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?

Yes, I have heard from a number of people who have read my book. I am gratified to know that it helped them in their own journey of grief.

15. Do you like to create books for adults? Or do you prefer children or teenagers?

I have only written one book basically for adults who have suffered the loss of a spouse, although I would like to write a book geared toward children one day.

16. What do you think makes a good story?

I believe that a true life event is the best basis for a great story. It is said that truth is stranger (and more interesting) than fiction, and I believe that to be true.

17. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?

I had always wanted to be a news paper reporter, but because my father died when I was a child, I never had the opportunity to attend college. My poetry, I believe, fills that void.

18. What would you like readers of this interview to remember about you?

I would like them to remember that anyone can do whatever they set their mind to do. It’s all about your will to accomplish those things that are important to each of us.

19. What thought would you like to leave with the readers of this interview?

I would like to leave my readers with the message that there IS life after the death of a loved one. It may take months or even years to understand why God gives you the challenges that He does, but with strong faith, even life’s heartbreaks can be overcome

20. Would you like to list some links to other websites that display or tell about your books?

Poetry with passion.com

lulu.com .

21.Who is your favorite classic poet from days gone by?

I was introduced to Elizabeth Barrett Browning in high school and have since come to appreciate and admire her writing style and the emotionality of her work.

22. Do you have a favorite poem of yours that you would like to post here to show your writing style?

Inside My Heart

By

Helen McManus

Inside my heart there will remain

A space for only you,

A place where there are no more tears,

For there, it’s just we two.

All the love we ever shared

Will be right there inside,

Within a place that can’t be touched

By this world’s time and tide.

Although my broken heart may mend,

And even love once more,

This special place will be reserved

For you, who I adored.

Inside my heart, there will remain

The memory of you,

For it is said, such love won’t die,

I know firsthand, it’s true.

*************************


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    • ROBERTHEWETTSR profile image
      Author

      rOBERT hEWETT SR. 5 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

      Great interview Helen, thanks for doing this interview with me.

      I look forward to reading the wonderful comments coming your way from your family and friends. Bob

    • profile image

      Karen Hudec 5 years ago

      Mom,

      Great interview!!! Also what wasn't mentioned is that you also write poems for your children during special or difficult times our lives which have been a help. I would love to see the type of childrens book you would write!!

    • profile image

      Karen Hudec 5 years ago

      Mom,

      Great interview!!! Also what wasn't mentioned is that you also write poems for your children during special or difficult times our lives which have been a help. I would love to see the type of childrens book you would write!!

    • profile image

      Viola Tabor 5 years ago

      Helen, you did a wonderful job on your interview. I enjoyed reading and learning more about you. You are truly a strong woman and God and His angels are walking beside of you each day. I love your poems and know that one day you will write a book for children. God bless you my friend. Love Vi

    • profile image

      Helen 5 years ago

      Thanks Kar....love ya! Mom

    • profile image

      Jo Antenucci 5 years ago

      I have known Helen since grade school and I always knew that she had a creative side to her. She is a beautiful person both inside and out and her writing truly manifests this beauty. She has a God-given talent and it surely shows in her poems. I am looking forward to reading the poems that she is writing for her 3 beautiful grandchildren. Helen, I know that God is giving you the strength and wisdom to write such beautiful poems. See you soon!

    • Daveda Gruber profile image

      Daveda Gruber 5 years ago from Hermitage PA USA

      Besides the fact that Helen is a most talented writer she didn't tell you her artist abilities. She does graphic art designs and did her own cover and interior graphics for her her book and many other covers for http://publishingwithpassion.com. Great interview Helen and Robert!

    • profile image

      sueellen11 5 years ago

      wonderful interview Helen, enjoyed getting to know a little more about, and i know when you put together the Children's book it will be wonderful with wise and loving advice in poetry form for our dear children to learn and carring with them, and i thank you for being so supportive to me in my poetry walk, great interview, blessings and hugs sueellen

    • profile image

      Mary Ann Duhart 5 years ago

      Great interview Helen. I feel like I know you better also. I too enjoyed your book "widow Dreams.". A sad write but it will bring healing to others that read it. Blessings and hugs...Mary

    • profile image

      Helen 5 years ago

      Thanks so much for stopping by to read for me Vi...

      Very appreciated.....

      Helen

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      Helen 5 years ago

      Thanks Jo...I knew I could count on your support...I appreciate the kind words.

      Helen

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      Denny Kinkead 5 years ago

      Fantastic Job! We are all very proud of your accomplishments!

    • profile image

      Erich J Goller 5 years ago

      That's a woderful interview Helen..I enjoyed learning more about you. You are a great Poetess and artist,I always enjoy reading your beautiful and inspirational poetry,thanks for sharing it.God bless you.Hugs!Erich

    • profile image

      Gene Duggan 5 years ago

      My copy of "Widowed Dreams" is on my night stand. Beautiful words from a beautiful lady.

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      Jim (Raindance) Davis 5 years ago

      Great interview Helen! Thanks for mentioning me as one of your mentors in poetry, however I wonder who taught who more! I watched you grow your skill and was amazed at how fast you progressed! You easily surpassed me and I was your biggest fan! Keep on writing I look forward to reading more books By my favorite Lady Poet.

    • profile image

      Helen VanEck Holub (Pumpkin) 5 years ago

      Helen, This is a spectacular interview and I enjoyed every word. I agree with you that early morning or later at night is the best time to write, when all is peaceful and serene and our minds are cleared from the mundane noise and such of daytime. I enjoyed your book and I understand how you felt. Writing in our sorrow always brings out the deepest feelings we have and as you have said, tells us a little more about ourself, as well. I love your graphic art and illustrations you have done for my books! Thank you so much and may your next book be filled with love, for whomever you may write about or to. Blessings always! Helen ?

    • profile image

      Daveda 5 years ago

      Yes, I did forget to mention the graphic arts...thanks for that comment....

      I appreciate you!

      Helen

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      Joe Hartman 5 years ago

      A fine interview Helen. I think a child's book would be perfect for you. Just as you were able to express the sorrow you felt while writing "Widowed Dreams", I think you would also be able to express the joy that children bring you. Do it.

      Joe

    • profile image

      Helen 5 years ago

      Thanks for the vote of confidence SueEllen...much appreciated!!!

    • ROBERTHEWETTSR profile image
      Author

      rOBERT hEWETT SR. 5 years ago from Louisville, Kentucky

      Wow Helen, 80 is considered a good hubscore and you are there already. Congratulations Bob

    • profile image

      Helen 5 years ago

      Mary...thanks always for your kindness and support of my work!

    • profile image

      william 5 years ago

      Dear Helen.

      what a fabulous interview, you are a very talented lady and deserve this accolade, we are all proud of you, knowing you on Poetry with passion is a pleasure xx bravo

    • profile image

      Helen 5 years ago

      Thanks Den....I appreciate it!

      Helen

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      Erich 5 years ago

      Thanks so much Erich...I appreciate it!

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      Pam 5 years ago

      I met Helen when I joined a poetry website 6 years ago. What a wonderful poet she is ... this interview captures her heartfelt desire to share thoughts in poetic ways. Her book is wonderful. I bought a copy for a sister-in-law after my brother passed. True life in words .. simply put. Congrats Helen!!

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      Helen 5 years ago

      Thanks my southern friend...

      I appreciate your support and kind words..

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      Bruce 5 years ago

      A wonderful interview Helen. You are indeed a truly compassionate person with a depth of understanding in your writings that is as deep as our oceans. I truly enjoyed your interview and your book, Widowed Dreams. It has helped me realize that, yes, there IS life after losing your lifelong spouse. Thank you so much and look forward to reading your future works.

    • profile image

      Helen 5 years ago

      Thanks so much Jimbo...you are and will always be my poetic mentor!!!

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      Deborah Fabi 5 years ago

      Helen...

      It was a great interview. Your book, Widowed Dream,is especially meaningful to me right now with the loss of Michael. It describes clearly what I am and need to be going through right now. There are no shortcuts in grief, as you know. It has helped me realize this feeling will not last forever....thank you!

    • profile image

      Helen 5 years ago

      Thanks for the kind read Helen.....

      and great comments!

      Helen

    • profile image

      Joe 5 years ago

      Thanks always for your poetic inspiration! You are very appreciated!!

    • profile image

      Billy 5 years ago

      Thanks for the wonderful comments!

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