It’s time to feature another debut author on the blog. I love interviewing new authors because it’s such a great opportunity to hear how they reached their dreams and learn from their success and mistakes.
Cynthia Kane received her BA from Bard College and her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and is a certified meditation and mindfulness instructor. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including the Washington Post, BBC Travel, Yoga Journal, Refinery29, Woman’s Day, Pregnancy Magazine, and the Huffington Post. She lives in Washington, DC and offers workshops and private programs.
What is the book’s genre/category? (For example, mainstream, literary, fantasy, YA…)
Please describe what the story/book is about in one sentence.
How to communicate with others and ourselves in a more mindful, nonviolent, and responsible way.
Where do you write from? (Where do you live?)
Briefly, what led up to the book?
For more than fives years I’d been writing about mindfulness with an emphasis on how to communicate with ourselves, others, and the world in a more kind, compassionate, and non-judgmental way.
What was the time frame for writing this book?
I signed the contract in February and turned in my first draft in May. After that, I had a break from the book until I received edits in August. Then it was back to revising—really reworking the entire first draft—and turning it back into my editor in October. Final edits came in December /January and that was it.
How did you find your agent (and who is your agent)?
This book came about without a literary agent. I did a piece for Refinery29.com on mindful communication and an editor at the publishing house I signed with saw the article and reached out asking if I’d be interested in writing a book on the topic.
What were your 1-2 biggest learning experience(s) or surprise(s) throughout the publishing process?
I had to learn to trust myself more and let go in the writing. The first draft I turned in I was very cautious with the work, structure, ideas, holding myself back from going deeper. It was only after the publisher said to me, “you have permission to be yourself in these pages, we want to hear your
voice not someone else’s, go deeper, let go,” that I could really relax into the material. I got rid of all the quoting of other people and referencing others work and owned my own experience with the hope that I would write something worth remembering.
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Looking back, what did you do right that helped you break in? On that note, what would you have done differently if you could do it again?
What I did right was believe that what I had to say was valuable and necessary. Without that belief, I wouldn’t have pitched piece after piece to magazines, newspapers and online outlets. What I did right was write in my integrity. I really wouldn’t do anything differently if I could do it again. I feel like everything happens in the right way and at the right time.
Did you have a platform in place?
Yes, but not as large as others by any means.
On this topic, what are you doing to build a platform and gain readership?
To build my platform, I’m doing more speaking engagements and workshops around the topic of mindful communication and how to apply it to our daily lives; I have a blog and newsletter that covers topics in line with what I write about; and I have a private course designed around the material in the
book to help people learn to communicate clearly. Also, I’m writing articles around similar topics for magazines, newspapers and online outlets, as well as collaborating with others to introduce them to my readers and vice versa.
When Harry Met Sally
Best piece(s) of writing advice we haven’t discussed?
I tried for many years to publish novels, personal essays, a memoir, but my first book was a hiking guide to Madrid and now my second is a book on how to communicate more clearly. What I had to learn and something I wish someone had told me earlier was to be open to trying different formats, genres, and structures. The stories have always been there, but I wasn’t writing to my strengths. When I found the structure that suit me the best the writing became much easier.
Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?
Along with being a meditation and mindfulness instructor, I’m also a book editor and a literary agent.
I’m working on a new book idea at the moment. I’ll keep you posted when it’s ready to share. In the meantime, I’m offering a course around the book—HOW TO COMMUNICATE LIKE A BUDDHIST. You can find out more at my website www.cynthiakane.com.
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