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HELEN McMANUS, PENNSYLVANIA POET and ARTIST
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
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
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.