A poignant title for an IWU interview and totally far from Bible-thumping.  Today's interview’s via author RJ Palmer is a special exploration into why writing is only be therapeutic for the soul, but can also keep us firmly grounded in the present, where we belong!

So, without further whimsies, please welcome my guest this week, my new friend and author RJ Palmer:

SR:  RJ, when you began your writing career, what was the motivating factor behind your desire to write?

RJ:  I’ll not lie; my writing career began out of sheer penniless boredom and nothing less.  What was born in me was nothing short of surprising though.  You see, I fell in love with the written word.  The sheer variety of words and their usage staggered me along with the different ways that I could communicate a series of ideas with wording and imagery. It was stunning and fast became compulsion.  Now, I need to write not just for the entertainment of others but, for a large part, for myself.

SR:  You and I share similar backgrounds, in that our childhoods were anything but Brady.  My father nearly beat the living out of me, which broke my spirit so badly I went onto marry my first husband, a man who was also abused.  We then spent over twenty years abusing each other, which, sadly, carried over to our children to overcome.  That’s where the forgiving myself enters.  So tell me, has your upbringing colored any facet of your writing? 

RJ:  My upbringing and experiences have colored every facet of my writing just like they’ve colored every facet of my point of view now as an adult.  It was for that very reason that when that great well of emotion came up around this time of year (Valentine’s Day is my natural father’s birthday) it was only a matter of course that I released it in the only way I could; I wrote.  I let my emotions guide me. I just never expected that post to reach the audience or have the effect it did.  It was probably the reason I’ll put that post here because I know someone will be curious about it. Click Here for RJ Palmer's Blog http://rjpalmer.blogspot.com/2012/01/sad-happy-birthday-february-14th.html

 I’m also a firm believer of “all things in their time” and I strongly advocate forgiveness.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t believe in forgiveness for the sake of the person who would be raked over hot coals before they would ever admit they might’ve done something wrong, because some people are just like that and my father is one of them.  I believe in forgiveness for one’s own benefit because there are too many people in this world that allow the chains of the past to keep them firmly on the ground when they have what it takes to soar.  I want to ask so frequently, “Are you going to refuse to let go of what can’t be changed and let it hold you back when you can make peace with it, understand it and use it to help you fly?”  People have to let the past be in the past and learn from it, but also forgive it for themselves and not for anyone else.  My post about my father’s birthday was all about me taking the steps to be the adult and show that however much my brothers and I suffered at the hands of a truly demented man, I could still forgive him and wish him well.  I’m thirty-one years old and I figured it was time.

SR:  You told me you are an over comer; please tell us how you were able to shake free of the past and how it relates to your writing these days. 

RJ:  I figured out how to be an over comer when I was in my twenties.  Like most abused children, I perpetuated the cycle in my choice of relationships, which were anything but intelligence based.  I did it, by and large, because I was feeling sorry for myself.  When I got into my mid-twenties an idea occurred to me that never had before and I told a friend on the phone, “I’m an enabler and I’m being self-abusive.  In my choice of relationships, I’m allowing and even consenting to being abused and mistreated which means that I’m not only enabling, I’m perpetrating.  I’m a perpetrator of my own victimization.”  Then I had a conversation about changing the label with someone that I was dating at the time, (who was an addict), and I told him, “Change the label and you change your life.  Instead of calling yourself an addict, call yourself an over comer because you have overcome that addiction.”

It wasn’t until a few years later that I realized that calling myself a victim was only perpetuating what I was trying to escape so I began to call myself an over comer because I over came abuse and addiction.  A victim lets it happen and effectively perpetuates their personal lot in life.  An over comer has the courage to take a stand and not let themselves be trapped in their own pity party.  I am an over comer because I refuse to be victim.  I’m better than that and so is anyone else who sets their minds to breaking those chains.  It takes strength and courage to be an over comer; it takes nothing more than self-pity to be a victim.

On a further note, it was during that time that I had to learn those words though, the most powerful words I’ve ever learned how to say in my life, “In the name of Jesus, I forgive me.

SR:  Do you have a favorite book, and if so, has that story influenced your career?

RJ:  A line from a song comes to mind here.  One from The Sound of Music where the nuns are singing, “How do you solve a Problem Like Maria?”  The line is, “How do you catch a cloud and pin it down?”  It just seems to fit because there’s no way I could possibly nail down a favorite book.  I’ve read so many.  I can honestly say I have favorite authors but to have a favorite book is impossible for me.

SR:  Wow, I love that answer and I’m sure it sums up the way the vast majority of readers/authors feel about books they’ve read over the years, right?  Please tell us about your novel, Birthright. 

RJ:  Birthright was my foray into new country.  It was my first experience with writing a full-length novel and a reflection of my experiences at the time.  I’ve said before that Raine is a flamboyant character and that’s no less true now than it was then.  What I didn’t realize when I was writing about Raine was how much I wanted to be able to just use my mind to make everything go the way I wanted it to.  Raine can control just about anything and I was in my early twenties when I wrote about him.  I had just come out of my first divorce and my life was out of control.  He was an expression of that.  Sierra was my expression of everything I wanted to become; solid, strong, dependable and courageous.  Realistically, both were different aspects of me.  One was the way I was then, the other what I wanted to become someday.
(To read an excerpt of Birthright, go to the right of this blog)>>>>>

SR:  Your new book, Sins of the Father…what’s the story about and when will it be available?

RJ:  Sins of the Father is about a minister struggling with his faith and a severely autistic child whom the minister is compelled to help.  Hopefully, I can give a little idea here without spoilers because I hate spoilers.  They take away from the joy of reading.

Sins of the Father became more than I thought it would be from the beginning when I started writing it.  That’s not to say that I didn’t know I wanted to write Sins, it just evolved and I learned to follow where it would lead.  Sins of the Father is a more a coming of age work in which I learned apace with the characters about acceptance and patience, love and understanding.  I don’t know how else to describe it but I’ll include a short description here, which I hope will better your understanding.

Short Description:

A minister losing touch with his faith…
A severely autistic child with no past, no present and no real future…
An evil older than time itself…
When the boy Lucian is thrown into Aaron’s life with nowhere else to go, all hell breaks loose and Aaron confronts things he never actually imagined could really exist in an effort to save one small, tortured child.
Sins of the Father is being edited right now, and I hope to have it published with the next few months!

SR:   What’s one of the most surprising things you’ve learned while writing your first book?

RJ:  That’s easy.  Don’t worry so much about getting everything word perfect from the beginning. That part will come later though I still hate proof reading.  The first draft should be all about writing. Write out what you need to write out and deal with the rest later.

SR:  Do you have any suggestions that would help me be a better writer?

RJ:  My first suggestion for everyone, including myself is this:  Write for you and no one else.  If you’re so busy trying to write the next great novel, you’re writing for the money and not the sheer joy of writing.  Don’t mistake me, the money is nice but it can’t be all there is to it.  Write because you love to write and the rest will fall into place.  One of the most legendary works of sculpting art, Michelangelo’s David, was carved from a slab of marble no one else wanted and yet, Michelangelo turned it into something breathtaking.  Can we all not take an example from that?  Be who you are, write from the heart and not the pocketbook. 

SR:  Where do you see yourself, future-wise, regarding your career as an author?

RJ:  I’m going to set the world afire with written diamonds and pearls of wisdom.
Okay, now back to reality for the time being here while I say that I would love to be a writer of note and respect. Recognition will come someday and while I would love to be the next Christopher Paolini or JK Rowling, I would sooner take the slow and steady building of a following of die hard fans than be the next big name and skyrocket to super stardom only to turn out to be a one trick pony, as it were.  My writing is my quest for immortality in its own way and I would sooner my writing become legendary than die off like the next fad.

In referencing dead artists and legends again, no artists’ work was ever worth millions until after their death which isn’t to say that I want to be in my grave before I get something akin to respect or recognition.  I just want my written words to carry weight after I’m gone as well as while I’m alive. Does that make any sense?

SR:  I’d like to thank RJ for such a completely honest and touching interview.  Conquering our pasts to become loving, productive people takes courage and wisdom, as well as forgiveness and faith.
RJ Palmer proves she has all the right stuff!  

Please visit her website: 

Birthright by RJ Palmer on Amazon.com
Birthright by RJ Palmer on Smashwords
RJ Palmer's Blog