Sunday, August 21, 2011

Sunday Interview Of Author Donna Swanson -The Mindsinger

Hello everyone!
Today we have a terrific interview with THE MINDSINGER. Danna Swanson. Author of;  The Great Bell THE Windfallow Chronicles: Book II of Rocks and Gold,  The Deceiver: Book III, Carnivore :Book IV, and A Curious Light: Book V and her latest book, Splinters of light. This Wonderful Author and Poet has been writing her whole life and had things published in 1974. She is unique, extremely talented, and it is a privilege to be able to have this interview with her. May I introduce Donna Swanson.


Why did you decide to get published?

 I’ve been writing poetry for over fifty years and decided it was time
 to put the best into a comprehensive collection. The only poetry not
 represented there is about the Carousel and I have been searching for
 a collaborator to do add photography or graphics for a coffee table

 What kind of book do you have there?

 SPLINTERS OF LIGHT is a collection of poetry and short prose. It is
 introduced by Gloria Gaither, who has read my poetry in public and in
 private. It also contains the poem, Minnie Remembers,

 Do you have previous publishing experiences?

 Yes. The Upper Room published my book, Mind Song, in 1976. I have
 had several poems published in books and periodicals over the years;
 i.e., MINNIE REMEMBERS, a poem written in 1974 and reprinted hundreds of times; also made into a documentary film which is still available.
 If you Google it, you will find many references. The second most
 published works are the carousel poems, one of which was chosen by
 Bradford Exchange to advertise its new line of musical carousel plates.
 I have also published five books in the Windfallow Chronicles series,
 which are available on Kindle and as eBooks. Also a novel based on a
 woman whose first-born son was killed in Herod’s Slaughter of the
 Innocents, titled RACHEL’S DAUGHTERS. This is available from Amazon
 Books, Kindle and most eBook sellers. I am actually writing more
 prose than poetry now. I also have two weekly newspaper columns; one for adults, Country Roads, and one for children, Granny’s Place. I use some of that material in my three blogs. (See links below)

 What is the reason you chose the host of your publishing?

 I checked out several POD (Print ON Demand) publishers and finally
 chose Xlibris as the most professional. Create Space was a close
 runner up and will be the publisher for my autobiography.

 What is the cost of getting everything done?

 In Xlibris there are 8 levels of publishing. They run from $450 to
 $1500. I chose the 3rd level at $1100. I paid it in three
 installments but nothing really happened until I had made the last
 payment. I received 9 paperback copies and 1 hardcover copy as well
 as 1 ebook. The quality is good, but the price for ordering books
 directly from the company is very expensive. You need to check that
 out before signing up.

 Which part of the book you believe most charming to readers?


God, my hands are old.
I've never said that out loud before,
            but they are.
I was so proud of them once.
They were soft
like the velvet smoothness of a firm, ripe peach.
Now the softness is more like worn-out sheets
or withered leaves.
When did these slender, graceful hands
become gnarled, shrunken claws?
When, God?
They lie here in my lap,
naked reminders of this body
 that has served me too well.

How long has it been since someone touched me?
Twenty years?
Twenty years I've been a widow;
Smiled at,
But never touched.
Never held so close that loneliness
was blotted out.

I remember how my mother used to hold me, God.
When I was hurt in spirit or in flesh,
she would gather me close,
stroke my silky hair
and caress my back with her warm hands.
O God, I'm so lonely!

I remember the first boy who ever kissed me.
We were both so new at that.
The taste of young lips and popcorn,
the feeling inside of mysteries to come.

I remember Hank and the babies.
How else can I remember them but together?
Out of the fumbling, awkward attempts of new lovers
came the babies.
And as they grew, so did our love.
And God, Hank didn't seem to mind
if my body thickened and faded a little.
He still loved it and touched it.
and we didn't mind if we were no longer beautiful.
And the children hugged me a lot.
O God, I'm lonely.

God, why didn't we raise the kids to be silly
and affectionate
as well as dignified and proper?

You see, they do their duty.
They drive up in their fine cars.
They come to my room and pay their respects.
They chatter brightly and reminisce.
But they don't touch me.
They call me "Mom"
or "Mother"
or "Grandma".

Never Minnie.
My mother called me Minnie.
So did my friends.
Hank called me Minnie, too.
But they're gone now,
And so is Minnie.
Only Grandma is here.
And God, she's lonely!


I have music that you do not hear.
And though our hearts are sweetly tuned,
I find my music is the silent sound of laughter,
and the soft caress of hands
to brush away your tears.

I have music that you do not hear,
but know that when my eyes meet yours
such music swells within my soul
that a thousand angels
could not produce a sweeter tune!

Learn to listen, Love, with eyes and heart.
See my singing and touch the depth of harmony
from which your own best symphonies might flow.

And, if that day should come
when voice and heart are one,
it may be you will hear a dearer, sweeter song
than any your have known.

I have music you do not hear.
But know, my love, it sings for you!

1. They call me the Raggedy man.
Filled with straw, funny Raggedy man.
I have no place to call my own,
just what they give to a Raggedy man!

But I remember how it used to be,
when my smile was new and my heart was free!
In the beautiful days of you and me.
Long before the time of the Raggedy man.

2. Now I live as a Raggedy man,
filled with mem’ries of how it began.
‘Til you told me your love was too grand
to throw away on a Raggedy man.

But I remember how it used to be,
when my smile was new and my heart was free!
In the beautiful days of you and me.
Long before the time of the Raggedy man.

3. Clown’s don’t cry while the lights are bright.
And no one knows if things don’t go right.
But the spotlight fades as they clap their hands
and they soon forget the lonely Raggedy man.

But I remember how it used to be,
when my smile was new and my heart was free!
In the beautiful days of you and me.
Long before the time of the Raggedy man.

Yes, the clown must put away his hurt and his broken heart
the way he lays aside his coat and hat.
He puts on laughter and a painted smile and runs onstage
to dance the Piper’s tune.
And the child within him plays the game of Let’s Pretend,
while his eyes sparkle with tears unshed.
No one knows the broken man inside.
No one sees the little boy who still hurts but cannot cry.
So dance, funny Raggedy man!
Keep our hearts light and bring us joy.
We love you, Raggedy man!

c.2011 from Splinters of Light/ Donna Swanson

Do you have any hints on how to get published?

 Not with a mainline publisher. My first book was requested by the
 editor on the strength of the Minnie Remembers poem. By the time I
 had another ms ready, they had put out a set of guidelines for all
 their authors to follow which made it mandatory to use neuter gender
 pronouns for God and all references to humanity. I could not agree to
 that, so they politely thanked me and sent back the ms which had been
 in the works. If you don’t mind being politically correct in your
 writing, you may have a chance. The best thing for aspiring writers
 is to know a successful author who will recommend you, or go to
 writers' conferences where you can meet editors and agents.

Do you have a favorite author?
 J,R.R. Tolkien has always been a favorite; I consider the Silmarillion
 one of his best works with an exquisite allegory of the Creation. Anne
 McCaffrey was always a favorite, along with David Elton Trueblood and
 Blaise Pascal. My reading has always ranged across several genres.

 What are your major inspirations?

 I must say life itself; for my writing began as an outlet for a very
 restless and lonely spirit. Even in the midst of a happy family with
 4 children and a loving husband, I was hungry for something I could
 not explain. So I filled yellow tablets with words – not for
 publication at the time – but as an attempt to find who I was and how
 I fit into the world. After I began to be published, I still wrote to
 break through the walls of silence that had been built in childhood.
 I can take a prompt and write as it dictates, but my best work comes
 from experience. A poet is like an hourglass; above his or her head
 is a space in which experience, observation, failure and
 accomplishment swirl in random phrases. The pen takes those phrases
 and lets them bleed onto the paper in the form of poetry that pleases
 and completes the poet. The reader then brings to the page his or her
 own life experiences, observations, experiences, failures and
 accomplishments, and reads the poem as though it were his or her own.
 The poet must become invisible, her words distinct.

 What are your writing plan for the future

 I have an autobiography, WITH HEART DIVIDED, that I‘ve put on Kindle.
 I want to publish it with Create Space if I ever get the money saved
 up. That has always been the problem. My husband has been disabled
 since 1974 and we could never save much for the future. Now we live
 on a limited income and with the economy as it is, there’s never quite
 enough to go round. The words are out there. If God chooses to use
 them, they are available to Him.
 I also have ¾ of the sixth book in the Windfallow series finished and
 would like to get that completed so I will have a double trilogy.

I know you want more information on this wonderful and inspirational Author so the links are thoughtfully provided below by Donna.
Donna I want to thank you for this great interview, and may you continue to open up the hearts and minds of readers everywhere.

Please get your copy of splinters of light today!


bluebell books said...

lovely interview.


mindsinger said...

A big thank you to Bluebell Books for a good interview. I was not expecting to see it today and was pleasantly surprised. BTW, I just finished the 6th book in the Windfallow series, so I DO have a double trilogy! Now to find a publisher!
Thanks to everyone.