Name: Gwen Mariani
Hometown: Waterford, Connecticut
Book: The Growing-Tree
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Dorrance Publishing (DP): Describe your book in 10 words or less.
Gwen Mariani (GM): A nature-inspired story about healing old family wounds.
DP: What made you want to write your book?
GM: I found myself struggling to find my own voice within the strong dynamics of the family that I love.
DP: How long did it take you to write your book?
GM: Close to ten years, from concept to publication. It was a long journey of personal growth.
DP: How do you choose the names of your characters?
GM: I found most of the character names fit the characters themselves. Others were found during research for popular names of that decade. In the end, the names seem to flow with the storyline and time.
DP: What do you do when you have writer’s block?
GM: I find when I get writer’s block it is because I am trying too hard to make it perfect. Taking a break, which could be hours or days, to work on something different like refinishing furniture or other creative projects gives me distance from the storyline and then I can go back to it with a fresh eye.
DP: What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
GM: I love to write about nature and the symbolism that surrounds us daily. When I had the opportunity to show how we are all reflections of nature (or it mirroring us), I truly feel connected to the wholeness of life. I am proud of the chapter “A Passing Year” as it gave me the opportunity to show the connection between nature and people as we move forward through time.
DP: If you were stuck on an island and had to have one character from your book, one fictional character, and one famous person with you, who would they be and why?
GM: One character from my book: Auntie El, because she is the wise, kind soul that I believe everyone needs in their life. One fictional character: Sven from Frozen because I always need to be around animals and who wouldn’t want a reindeer as a friend? One famous person: Oprah Winfrey because I would love to talk with her for hours, soul to soul.
DP: Besides writing, what are your other interests?
GM: I love refinishing and recreating furniture as a creative outlet. Doing anything that allows me to be creative makes me happy. Being with nature for long walks or sitting on the beach reading is always a gift. I am also a student of the spiritual arts, which allows me to dive deeper into the meaning of life. Through Oracle cards, meditation, and journaling, I find guidance through some of life’s most challenging moments.
DP: Do you keep a journal?
GM: Yes. I find journaling can be a place for spiritual connection, a space where my creativity can come alive on paper, and sometimes a dumping ground for when I’m feeling overwhelmed and anxious. Either way, it is a practice that has helped and inspired me for years.
DP: How did you celebrate the publishing of your book?
GM: Simply. My husband and I went to a relaxing dinner and toasted that I was finally a published author. It was a goal set long ago, with many ups and downs along the way, so the excitement of it being in print and being read by others is something I feel blessed for and celebrate every day.
DP: If your book was made into a movie, who would play the main characters?
GM: I have always pictured Renee Zellweger. I think there is a natural beauty and way about her that could capture the thought-provoked, down-to-earth character of Lizzi.
DP: What did you enjoy most about working with Dorrance Publishing?
GM: I enjoyed learning the ins and outs of the publishing process and the excitement of each step that got the manuscript ready for its debut. Dorrance Publishing has guided me along the way through content editing, cover design, and marketing. I am proud to present my first novel to the world through Dorrance Publishing.
DP: Five favorite books of all time?
GM: When I have time to read, I lean towards books that help me to understand and learn more about myself and my relationships with others. These are some of my favorite books that I keep in my library: A New Earth by Eckhart Tolle, Steering by Starlight by Martha Beck, Soul Shifts by Dr. Barbara De Angelis, Energy Strands by Denise Lynn, and The Game of Life and How to Play It by Florence Scovel Shinn.
DP: One sentence of advice for other writers?
GM: Keep writing! When you love what you do, the creation that comes from it can’t help but be magical.
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