Welcome to TRB Lounge. Today, I’d like to welcome the author of Victorian Songlight: The Birthings Of Magic & Mystery, Dr. Kathy Martone, for an author interview with The Reading Bud.
About The Author
Dr. Kathy Martone is currently an author and artist living in a small Victorian town in the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas. Before retiring, and moving from Denver, CO to Eureka Springs, AR in 2015, she was a Jungian psychologist in private practice specializing in dream work, women’s spirituality and shamanic journeys. The magical world of dreams has fascinated and intrigued Kathy for as long as she can remember. Inspired by a dream in 2005, she began making velvet tapestries imprinted with the image of one of her own dream figures and embellished with ribbons, rhinestones, feathers, glass beads, Swarovski crystals, antique jewelry and semi-precious stones. Dr. Martone’s work has been displayed in galleries in Denver, Colorado as well as in Eureka Springs, Arkansas.
In 2006 Dr. Martone self-published her first book titled, Sacred Wounds: A Love Story. Essays and short stories written by Dr. Martone have been published in eMerge, an online magazine published by The Writer’s Colony at Dairy Hollow. In addition, some of her writings have also appeared in two anthologies titled Dairy Hollow Echo and Not Dead Yet 2.
Welcome to TRB! Please give our readers a brief introduction about yourself before we begin.
Like Kate, the protagonist in my book, I am currently living in a small Victorian village in the Ozark Mountains in Arkansas. I first visited Eureka Springs when I was 12 years old and immediately fell in love with the magic and the mystery of this place. I determined that one day I would make my home in this historic, mystical town. I just didn’t realize it would take me another 57 years to make it happen!
Eureka is an artist colony brimming with lots of creative people, many of whom find inspiration in the turn of the century buildings that whisper tales of magic and wonder, not to mention ancient history as well. People have lived here from the late Ice Age, some 10,000 years ago, to the present time.
When I was younger, I never saw myself as an artist or a writer but over the years my dreams kept prompting me to pursue creative endeavors and now I am nestled in the perfect place to follow my dreams!
Please tell us something about your book other than what we have read in the blurb?
Around 2007, I had a psychic reading in which I was told that I would publish a book roughly 12 years hence. The psychic suggested that I “seed” the book by writing a chapter on my computer. So I promptly went home and wrote the chapter and then completely forgot about it.
Some 12½ years later, I happened to spot the short text on my desktop and opened it up. I was so surprised and pleased at what I had written that I continued to embellish the story until the novel was completed several months later.
When I went searching for a publisher, I ultimately discovered a company whose name is “Dreaming Big Publications” and their logo is the image of an eye. During my career as a psychologist, my specialty was dream interpretation and my logo just happened to be the image of an eyeball! That just seemed too much of a coincidence so I contacted them and they agreed to publish my book. Like Kate, the synchronicities were flying fast and furious around the publication of my manuscript.
What is that one message that you’re trying to get across to the readers in this book?
I think the most important message would be to know that we are all capable of re-imagining ourselves, of stepping into lives that are much bigger and more profound than we could ever imagine, that magic is real. No matter what our human failings or humble beginnings, we are all spirit beings at our core and thus, we all carry within ourselves Divine Light.
Who is your favourite character in this book and why?
I think I would have to say that Kate is my favorite character. She is extremely talented but she also struggles with the same human issues that plague all of us at one time or another. I really like the way her humanity actually contributes to her talents as an artist and her gift for mystical revelations.
What inspired you to write this book? An idea, some anecdote, a dream or something else?
Victorian Songlight is based on a true story – my story. Many years ago, I was training to be a shamanic practitioner and during many of my shamanic journeys, a ghost by the name of Grandfather often showed up. Kate’s love affair with her Grandfather is loosely based on my own relationship with a disembodied spirit who goes by the same name. It was a relationship that changed my entire life – just as it changed Kate’s life in the book.
How long did it take you to write this particular book?
Once I rediscovered the “seedling” on my computer, it took me about 8 months to finish the story. However, my publisher suggested a number of additions and corrections, which took me several more months to complete. So, all in all, it took me a little over a year to complete the process of writing the book.
What are your writing ambitions? Where do you see yourself 5 years from today?
It’s hard to say what I envision for my future as I am in my early 70’s and I don’t have as much energy as I used to. However, I would like to write at least one more fantasy novel and I also want to continue creating art as long as I can.
Are you working on any other stories presently?
About the time I published Victorian Songlight, I began another fantasy novel but had to put it down in order to complete the publication process. And when the pandemic hit, I lost most of my motivation and interest in finishing it. However, just lately I have picked it up again and I’m looking forward to re-engaging with the process of writing.
Why have you chosen this genre? Or do you write in multiple genres?
Having a relationship with a spirit or ghost just automatically sets the stage for fantasy. Beyond that, I have always enjoyed an active imagination and have loved pushing the boundaries of what we call reality. I have studied shamanism extensively as well, and this spiritual practice easily lends itself to visionary fiction. However, I do enjoy writing in other genres as well and have published a number of nonfiction essays and short stories.
When did you decided to become a writer? Was it easy for you follow your passion or did you have to make some sacrifices along the way?
I am a Jungian psychologist, mostly retired. As such, my specialties have included dream interpretation, shamanic journeys, and women’s spirituality. I never saw myself as an author and only accidentally found my way into writing. (However, when I was in grammar school, I used to love writing stories especially ones with fantastical themes.) Once I picked up my author’s pen again, so to speak, I felt compelled to continue and Victorian Songlight was born. I feel lucky that I didn’t have to make any sacrifices in order to follow my passions, as my career gave me lots of flexibility with my time. And now that I am semi-retired, I continue to have that same flexibility.
What is your writing ritual? How do you do it?
I don’t really have a ritual per se. I just sit quietly and let the images and thoughts in my mind coalesce and then I start writing down what I see and hear, even if it doesn’t make any sense. (I think all the years of recording my dreams has helped me with this, as dreams often don’t make any sense at first and it is only after having them interpreted does the story become clear.) So I have learned to let the jumbled thoughts and pictures in my brain marinate until I have time to return and edit the material.
How do you prefer to write – computer/laptop, typewriter, dictation or longhand with a pen?
What are your 5 favourite books? (You can share 5 favourite authors too.)
Only 5????? Gosh, I have so many favorites! Okay I’ll give it a try.
- The Walking People by Paula Underwood
- Thou Shalt Not Be Aware by Alice Miller
- Daughter of Fire by Irina Tweedie
- Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley
- Return of the Bird Tribes by Ken Carey
- Marion Woodman
- Augusta Trobaugh
- John Grisham
- Leo Tolstoy
- Alice Howell
How do you deal with Writer’s Block?
I guess I’m lucky as I haven’t experienced any significant writer’s block yet – probably because I only sit down to write when I already have lots of ideas and images jotted down on scrap paper. If I get stuck, I just leave my computer and go do something else. Usually when I return, I have come up with new ideas, etc. And once I start writing, things usually just start to flow – its really magical for me.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
I think I would tell aspiring authors that the most important thing is to enjoy what you do. So if you enjoy writing, you should write, regardless of whether you publish anything. I would also say that publishing should be an act of joy, not a task.
Thank you, author Martone, for your honest and insightful answers!
About the Book
Victorian Songlight: The Birthings Of Magic & Mystery
The birth of a magical child at the time of the Devil Moon sets the stage for heartache and misery, magic and supernatural love. Beset by unrelenting obstacles and bestowed with remarkable psychic gifts, Kate is often accompanied by fantastical black ravens who carry her through time and space. A well known legend in the Ozark Mountain countryside where Kate lives, Grandfather is a ghost with large golden eyes who frequently rides on the back of Pegasus, another Ozarkian legend. Victorian Songlight is a tale of redemption and renewal, death and rebirth, triumph over darkness. But most importantly, it is a love story. Alone and utterly forsaken, adrift on treacherous waters, Kate meets Grandfather for the second time in her life and they become lovers fulfilling a prophecy at the moment of her birth.
You can find Victorian Songlight here:
Amazon | Goodreads | Barnes & Nobel
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