Monday, February 6, 2012

Interview with non-fiction writer Rebecca Guevara

Today's interviewee is Rebecca Guevara. She'll be sharing about her journey about writing Blossoms of the Lower Branches, A Hero’s Journey Through Grief, writing in general, and more.

Welcome, Rebecca, please tell us a bit about yourself.
Many people would think my life has been on the quiet side. I’ve spent most of it in Salt Lake City, Utah. I graduated from the University of Utah in sociology, married, had a son (who is now grown and married), and spent my busiest career years owning and running a small graphic arts firm with my husband. My duties were print buying, scheduling, the finances, and copy writing.

Now I write, ghost write, teach, edit, and help writers plan and finish their manuscripts. I enjoy it all. Woven through all of this has been a lot of emotional and intellectual thinking and growth that doesn’t always show up on a bio, but is every bit as important. Oh yes, and a bit of wonderful travel.

Please tell us about your current release,Blossoms of the Lower Branches, A Hero’s Journey Through Grief.
It is an unusual blend of memoir and how-to. I tell my story of recovery from traumatic grief, after my younger brother, my only sibling, took his own life on a beautiful August afternoon many years ago. I explain the path of the historical and literary hero’s journey that was first recorded 4,000 years ago. It is my purpose to show fellow sufferers the timeless road they are on and how others have handled it in many ways to regain a fulfilling life.

It is a road studied by mythologists like Joseph Campbell, written about by writers like C.S. Lewis and William Styron, and lived by legends from King Arthur to Superman.

What inspired you to write this book?
I experienced an insight into how I had lived the hero’s journey without consciously realizing it. The recognition and what it meant immediately made me feel better about what I had experienced, and I knew it could help others to see themselves in a more positive light instead of society’s usual view of a sad griever without ever reaching peace.

What exciting story are you working on next?
Currently, I am ghostwriting a story of a man’s true story of life-changing insights during a Christmas holiday with his grandparents when he was seventeen. But I am also working on shorter pieces that are fun for me.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
During my career I easily considered myself a copy writer of ads and industry communication, but to believe I was a “real” writer didn’t start to happen until after my first book, a novel titled The Trading of Ken, was printed in 2006. Then it was a slow-go. Why is it we so often immediately latch onto the negative names for ourselves, but not the positive? It was a slow metamorphosis, but finally happened.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
Now that I’m working with other writers on their manuscripts, it has become more difficult, but when I’m in the middle of a writing project I write what I call full-time. I’m at the computer by 8:00, go until 10:00 or 11:00, return about 1:00 and continue until late afternoon. Sometimes there is an evening session, but somewhere in there life continues, bill must be paid, floors get too sticky to walk on, and the man I’m married to requires and deserves attention. When I’m not deep in a writing project I write less, perhaps only an hour or so, but I really try to make at last that because if I don’t, after a few days I get cranky and forlorn.

I also am on the board of the Neighborhood House, which is a local non-profit, 118 years old, that provides daycare for children and adults on a sliding fee scale. The other two boards I am on are the Salt Lake City Arts Council and the Community Writing Center.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
The first time I thought about being a writer I was about eight, but mostly I didn’t give being grown up much thought. I just believed it was in a distant future and would take care of itself. Not much planning went into the beginning of my adult years.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
For readers of Blossoms of the Lower Branches, A Hero’s Journey Through Grief, I would hope they would take the information and stories that are in it, and use them to piece together their own story of a hero’s journey. We all travel its road, whether through grief, marriage, parenthood, health issues, or any number of life challenges. The hero’s journey is a timeless template of how to approach life.

People can connect with me through my website and my blog.

Thanks, Rebecca.

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