I am so happy to welcome, author, poet, blogger, and advocate for the chronic pain community, Mary Jane Gonzales!
I was given the great honor of being asked to contribute a piece for her book, A Voice Unheard. After reading it in its entirety, I immediately asked Ms. Gonzales for an interview! I know it will impact every reader, disabled and abled alike.
Congratulations on publishing your 10th book, A Voice Unheard.
You have very generously allowed your powerful poetry to be shared here on a Body of Hope in the past, but this is your first interview here. I’m excited! Shall we begin?
1. Did you do anything special to celebrate your 10th book release? or Do you have a traditional book completion ritual?
Well, it’s funny you would ask, because you had asked me that previously and my answer was no (I wasn’t planning anything special). But it started me thinking that this is a special time that will never come again. So, with your inspiration, I decided to have an event on Facebook. As to a “traditional book completion ritual”, my response would be “breathe”!
2. How long have you been living with chronic illness? Would you mind sharing a little about your diagnosis?
This summer will be thirty-one years that I’ve had RSD, but it was undiagnosed for eighteen years.
3. Aside from writing, what do you enjoy doing in your free time?
My pastimes would be reading, writing and crafting (especially, card making and scrap booking).
4. It’s clear you have a talent for soul stirring, magnetic writing, but why are you passionate to write for the chronic illness audience?
Because that’s where I live; in a community with others like me, who understand me and don’t see me as “different” or “weird”. Plus, I want them/ others to know they are not alone and they are not crazy, which is how this syndrome can make you feel.
5. How was compiling A Voice Unheard different from writing a book like In the Blink of an Eye?
Well In the Blink of An Eye was a personal memoir written about me, and A Voice Unheard was written about a community/ involving members of the community. I found that to be a bit scary, actually.
Another difference between the two is that, when I wrote In the Blink of An Eye, I had already dealt with the issues and was reconciled to the situation. But that was not the case for where I was at when I wrote A Voice Unheard. And, for that reason, I couldn’t do it justice. I had the inspiration but I couldn’t write it in a way that would honor God. Therefore, it took me a year to write it, which is ironic because it’s one of my shortest books. Compiling the stories was easy and exciting because every story fit perfectly with what I myself had written. When that happens, you know it was meant to be!
Another difference would be that every book I had written prior had the stories first; then, the chapter titles later. With A Voice Unheard, all the chapter titles were inspired first and the stories came later.
6. How would you describe your personal writing process?
(For example, are you research driven, logistic, intuitive, spiritually moved, or other. Please explain.)
I think I’m all of these things to a degree, but, above all, spiritually moved. I can’t just pick a topic to write about. I have to be inspired, in order to write.
7. What is your favorite part of being an author?
My favorite part of being an author is the feeling I get when the inspiration is flowing. I also enjoy editing, which is probably an understatement, since I’m drawn/gravitate to it.
What is your least favorite part of being an author?
My least favorite part is marketing i.e. self promotion.
8. In your new book, you described the world we live in today as “a microwave society.” This is a great terminology! For those who haven’t yet read your book, can you explain your meaning, and how this current mentality effects chronic illness survivors and our loved ones?
What I meant was, in our society, we want everything quick. We don’t want to wait for anything. So if someone gets sick or injured, and it continues, there’s no patience or tolerance for a lack of healing.
9. In A Voice Unheard, you share very personal accounts from fellow chronic illness sufferers. Why did you go out of your way to bring these stories into the light?
Because they need to be told!
10. In your new book, you cover practical but serious topics such as the importance of quality care giving, which you are always a strong advocate for, and you discuss hot-button subjects like pain management. Why did you feel this book was important to write now?
Because I feel the issues are critical and what’s happening is wrong. It’s one thing to have a problem, it’s another thing to have no voice, no say in the situation.
I wrote it now because I couldn’t be silent anymore.
11. Other than those who live with chronic pain and chronic illness, who else do you hope reads A Voice Unheard, and why?
I hope it is read by all. The disabled, to feel supported. The abled, to be made aware. Ultimately, to make a difference.
A Voice Unheard is available for your Nook, tablet, or download as PDF ebook at Smashwords.
Interview was first published April, 2016