September Author Interview Answer #1: What is the goal in your writing career?

A warm welcome to the two ladies who have participated in the September Author Interview under the memoir/biography genre. They are Author Debby G. Kaye and Linda Sexton.

I must say that it was pretty difficult to find writers from this genre. As a fan of biography, autobiography, memoir and non-fiction books in general, I think these ladies have some very interesting viewpoints to the questions I had asked them for this interview ! Let’s check out the question #1 and the answers from them.

“As a Memoir author, have you ever felt restricted when you are writing? Have you ever changed some of the details of people, places or incidents in your book before? How does it feel to do so when you feel restricted when you actually wanted to write everything out as it is?”

Author #1 D. G. Kaye

When I first began writing my memoir, Conflicted Hearts, I was very apprehensive about publishing it. I did feel as though I found myself holding back with certain parts because I couldn’t stop envisioning personal family reading it. I especially felt guilty for exposing my mother’s shortcomings. But I kept writing with the mantra in my head ‘write what you know, edit later,’ to keep the words flowing. I was nervous about the fact that my mother may read my book, but as it turns out, she had no interest.

I wrote the book with the best of my recollection of the events that occurred. I did change the names of people in my life because I felt it was an invasion on their privacy to use their proper names. I don’t believe by altering the names and keeping the story in truth, makes it any less nonfiction.

I wanted to demonstrate what I had put up with my mother’s rule, and as my brother pointed out to me after he read it, he felt that I held back on some details about my mother. He was right. I didn’t write the book to exploit my mother. Unfortunately, because of her actions, I acquired all of my emotional baggage. But as much as I wanted to tell my story, I just didn’t have the heart to slam her by exposing many more unflattering things about her. I promised my brother that in my sequel to Conflicted Hearts, I would go into more detail and go deeper into my mother’s motives for her actions.

Author #2 Linda Sexton
When you write memoir, dealing with the truth, however subjectively, and with the privacy and feelings of people who are also portrayed, is always a problem.  My mother, the poet Anne Sexton, always counseled me to “tell it true” whenever I was writing and this is advice to which I have always tried to adhere.  I take into account others’ feelings and try to write my truth in a gentle way, choosing my words carefully, but I have never knowingly altered an event or a situation.  I have never changed the details, or places, or incidents in Searching for Mercy Street, or Half in Love, or Bespotted, even when I knew it might cause consternation or pain.  However, I have offered people anonymity as far as their names go and  a very few took me up on the it.  I think the best you can do with memoir is to tell the truth the way you see it, be as kind as is possible without distorting your truth, and also allow those involved to see either manuscript or galleys before the book is published so that they are prepared.  Never promise to change anything according to their reading or outlook or opinions, or you will be compromised—but offer them the chance to see what is coming.
I think it has always been a personal battle to write what you truly feel because you know people will read it unless you are writing a diary. Thank you for sharing your experience with us! 
I’ll be posting the answers to the second question next: “Why do you choose to write this genre and not anything else? What’s the reason or motivation behind it?”
Share your thoughts and views below.
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10 thoughts on “September Author Interview Answer #1: What is the goal in your writing career?

  1. What a great interview. I can’t wait to read Conflicted Heart. You are so brave Debby Kaye. Despite what you had to go through in your life, you are an inspiration to all women..

    Liked by 2 people

  2. Wow, thank you so much Annie for your inspirational comment. And thank you Jas for inviting me to this interview. I was doubly honored to be interviewed alongside Linda Gray Sexton! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  3. […] September Author Interview Answer #1: What is the goal in your writing career? | International Book …. I was recently asked to be interviewed by International Book Promotion while they were looking for memoir writers for the genre of the month. Not only was I stoked to be invited for the interview, but I was asked if I knew any other memoir writers who may be interested in being interviewed at the same time. The promotion company likes to interview two or three authors of same genre and gives us all a series of same questions for readers, to get different perspectives from authors on same questions. Within the same hour I was asked if I could suggest another nonfiction author who may want to partake in the interview, I got tweeted by a fellow author and friend Adam Henig, asking me if I wanted to do an interview here on my page for an author friend of his who also writes nonfiction/memoir. I had told him that I was too busy to host an interview at that time but maybe she would like to partake in the interview I just agreed to do. […]

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  4. I can, especially, relate to Debbie’s feelings of guilt about exposing her mother’s shortcomings, even though her mother’s shortcomings caused her to carry around a lot of emotional baggage, which, I am sure, was one of the main reasons for writing her memoir. I’ve been told that I am not exposing enough of my mother in my memoir. How much should we expose? How much is too much? The main goal of writing my memoir, which I am sure that Debbie can attest to, is to connect with others who have experienced the same type of pain that we have, growing up with an emotionally-distant mother–not to exploit our mothers, as Debbie points out. I find it interesting that once the book was published, Debbie’s mother had no interest in the book. I found this interview very helpful. Thank you for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the comment! I think you too can relate to her opinion. How much is too much? I’ve opened a guest post submission on this topic. Read Linda’s guest post on our blog. I’ll be publishing Debbie’s post soon.

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    • Thanks again LaTanya for reading. Sorry my answers are late as I am not getting the responses in my inbox and I came by to check all these posts and found so many lovely comments. I think you question of, how much is too much to expose is a big one. I think each individual writer will feel what we need to expose in order to make our stories understood, without decorating it with dramatics. Like I mentioned in the post, I felt I may have held back somewhat and my brother reminded me that I did. Perhaps that was his anger he felt inside for his own hurts, feeling as though I should have exposed more about my mother, yet I couldn’t. This book was my burden, like you said, by compiling my life of guilt and sharing, I hoped that others in our situation could relate and hopefully take something from my book from the way I chose to handle situations and to let people know that we shouldn’t have to subject ourselves to emotional guilt and abuse for a lifetime from anyone, including family.

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