Catherine Holm: Author
I’ve created a series of FAQs about myself and my new book – My Heart is a Mountain: Tales of Magic and the Land. I’ll also be using this as a springboard for interviews.
This will be adapted over time, and revised as needed.
How long have you been writing?
I started writing in 1995 and completed a few novels, short stories (some published), a little poetry, and a creative essay now and then. I also began freelance writing in 1995 and have helped create many commercial products (website copy, a promotional magazine, grants, articles, educational material, online copy – among others).
Is My Heart is a Mountain: Tales of Magic and the Land your first book?
My Heart is a Mountain: Tales of Magic and the Land is my first published short story collection. It was published by Holy Cow! Press, a Midwestern literary press, at the end of November 2010.
What is My Heart is a Mountain about?
My Heart is a Mountain: Tales of Magic and the Land is a collection of 11 short stories and one memoir piece. These are stories about ordinary and extraordinary people, who are often strongly connected to the places where they live. Characters may personify the landscapes they are close to. This may reflect my belief that Place shapes us, and we shape Place.
Everybody looks at a piece of art or writing and sees different things. However, if I had to try and describe themes that run through My Heart is a Mountain, it’d be something like this:
- Land as part of Being
- Land as part of our beings
- Land as a Being; a real, live phenomenon
- Connection to Land or to Place
- A thread of the unreal. Magical realism. Or as one friend put it, “Are things really what they seem?”
To see what reviewers have said about my book, check out the Midwest Book Review, Mary Ann Grossmann’s review in the St. Paul Pioneer Press, Dave Wood’s review, the Grand Rapids Herald, Ken Wachsberger’s review, and a few others here (scroll down). Some of the reviews will give you a sneak peak at book content. You can also see the book cover comments here (scroll down).
Where can I order your books?
Do you write every day?
I try. And I like to write first thing in the morning. That ensures that it gets done, before everything else presses in. It’s crucial for me to consider it a high, ongoing, sustainable priority to create new writing. No one else will make this time for me – no one else will make it a priority. (I’ve gotten better at saying “No” when I need to.)
When I go through the occasional dead spells (days, weeks (eek!), without writing), I usually feel off, crabby, and incomplete. Writing is not always fun and wonderful, but I feel better when I am doing it regularly. And I think most writers and artists would understand this.
I also use yoga to keep me on track with my writing practice, and I give Yoga as Muse™ workshops for writers and artists to share these tools.
What kind of workshops do you offer?
Yoga as Muse™ workshops are for writers, artists, or anyone who wants the sustained presence of creativity in their lives. These workshops use the tools of yoga (poses, breathing, meditation) to help us access a deeper creative flow and to give us tools to bring consistency and sustainability to our creative practice.
These workshops are particularly groundbreaking for writers. Writing is a sedentary pursuit. We’re not moving; we forget to breathe. (Watch yourself sometime if you’re a writer – you’ll be surprised.) When we stop moving and stop breathing, we can’t access the deeper wisdom that our body can bring to creativity. The tools of yoga help us access the ALL the wisdom we hold – not just the think-y, superficial chatter in our heads.
There are many ways to shape a workshop. Currently, I give a workshop that focuses on “four preparations” – tools that help writers and artists keep at their practice and make it a regular part of their lives. I also give a workshop that delves into writing about Place. And I have plans for other types of Yoga as Muse workshops, too. Contact me if you’re interested.
What else do you write about?
Usually, my writing seems to be about Place or about relationships.
On an entirely different note, I’ve written a cat fantasy novel and a few cat fantasy short stories. They’re young adult or adult material, depending upon who you talk to.
What are you working on now?
I’m working on a novel set in northern Minnesota. Place, and the characters’ relationship to Place, will be a big part of the novel. I’m also working on a second collection of short stories. I’ve also started a memoir tentatively titled: Book Tour: A Spiritual Memoir.
How do you make your living?
- I do freelance writing.
- I do writing tutoring.
- I do freelance editing. Clients include companies and individuals.
- I teach Hatha yoga classes and private sessions.
- I facilitate Yoga as Muse™ workshops for writers and artists.
- I offer Life Coaching services.
- I sell my books.
How are you promoting your book?
Promotion is HUGE. It could be a fulltime job by itself. To this end I’m:
- Setting up events (see confirmed events here), such as readings and booksignings.
- Securing media interviews (listen to a radio interview here)
- Promoting actively on my website, facebook (“Like” my page here for updates) and my blog. I’ll be using Twitter too, in the near future.
- Participating in bookfairs and other vendor opportunities.
- Teaming up with other authors to do joint readings/signings. This is a great way to pool resources and give an audience variety.
- Talking to groups. If you’re interested in having me speak to your group, contact me here.
- Setting up private, in-home, or personalized book readings. If you’re a friend of mine (anywhere) and you’d be interested in hosting a gathering, I’d love to talk to you. Contact me.
- Offering Yoga as Muse workshops in tandem with book readings/signings. Contact me if you’re interested in having a workshop and/or reading set up at your venue or for a group.