Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Author Interviews: Kenneth Weene, author of Widow's Walk
By: D. VonThaer
This I’ve learned: modern technology is not my friend. And to Kenneth Weene, semicolons are the very personification of a frenemy. I spoke with him this week about his new book, Widow’s Walk. I found the interview with Mr. Weene intriguing as he seemed to ask as many questions as he answered. I thought about this after our chat, chuckling to myself that as a retired psychologist, some habits must die hard.
In fact, I had a lot of thoughts after our chat. I started thinking about a widow’s walk. There I was, my imagination bubbling like a stream, thinking of Mary walking solemnly on the roof of some old house in Ireland, contemplating the choices life has put in her hands.
His character, Mary, is very embedded in her faith, and desperately seeking happiness. Her children are riddled with problems, fighting their way through life, hoping to end on the right side of peace. Though Mary may have an unbreakable bond with her faith, her creator (like myself) is not always so sure. Kenneth spoke about this with candor and the inspirations for this book and how those discussions with one’s faith that brings up questions and sometimes, not many answers. He said, “They are my creations, my children. I sometimes feel that the author's connection to his/her characters is very much like God's to humanity. Like God, the author has to give the characters free will even though they can suffer terribly.”
Again, this made me think a little, okay a lot, about the words on the page; the environments we create for our characters, their personalities, strengths and weaknesses. Do we, like God, make them all in our image? I can’t even count the number of times I’ve heard or said, ‘Each character has a piece of me in it.’ How often have you laughed or cried as you write, wondering what the character is going to do next? Kenneth said the process itself can feel ‘scary.’ I agreed, and put out there that perhaps our characters merely choose us to be their scribes. “Writing just makes your soul ache; the rest makes your head pound.”
Kenneth’s other book, Songs for my Father , is a collection of poems and short stories written over a period of years. He said it was written as a way to “psychologically….get on with my writing life.” I imagine that as his catalyst into Widow’s Walk. I thought of my own springboard, and I wonder: Is it like this for us all? Is the process basically the same for writers? I felt like a mad scientist putting together some long and complex formula: start with imagination and creativity. Set the negative control (distraction) against the positive control (time), catalyzed by inspiration and you have the first draft. Set your variables, replicate your samples, split your solution into equal parts (query letters), go in double blind, (neither you nor the publishers know what’s coming) subtract the background value (rejections) and you just may equal published!
(Perhaps it would have been easier to use a baking analogy.)
Kenneth Weene lives in Arizona with his wife, Roz, who shares his passion for the theater. In fact, he’s so ‘obsessed’ (his word) that his next project is a play where, once again, the characters took over, forced his hand to paper, and now has me craving cantaloupe.
Widow’s Walk is available NOW at Amazon or through his publisher’s website: http://www.allthingsthatmatterpress.com/buynow.htm
You can friend Kenneth on Facebook or visit his website .
Leave a comment on this post for a chance to win a copy of Widow’s Walk ! Contest ends September 30, 2009.