Today I am honored to be featured on the Author Spotlight at James J. Cudney’s beautiful blog This is My Truth Now. He asked me interesting questions in this interview. I invite you to head over to read this interview and you may be surprised with some answers.
James J. Cudney
Today’s post is an author spotlight. You’ll get to know the author and the author’s books, view book covers and marketing campaigns, read an interview between the author and me, and discover where to learn more about the author’s work, including social media contact links. Let’s meet…
Miriam and I met a couple of years ago through our blogs. After chatting about books, life, and poetry, we began following one another and became friends. I thoroughly loved her book, as you’ll see below. I’m thrilled share more about her now…
About the Author
Miriam Hurdle is a multi-genre writer. She writes poetry, flash fiction, and short stories. Her poems are included in Letters to Gaia, Whispers and Echoes Issue 2, Whispers and Echoes Issue 3, and Outcast and More Words.
She is passionate about poetry and her favorite poets are Robert Frost with his poems “The Road Not Taken,” and Linda Pastan with her poem “To a Daughter Leaving Home.”
Music has rooted in her life. Being a soloist as a teenager led her to taking voice lessons and to have ongoing singing engagements. She continues to sing soprano in choral groups. Lyrics have a major influence in the natural flow of her melodic writing. She writes memoir in the form of poetry.
She took photos when the films were black and white. Photography is still her enjoyable hobby. Drawing and painting were also fun activities as a child. Her favorite was to draw a Japanese girl with big eyes, long hair, small lips and chin. She resumed drawing and watercolor painting several years ago. In her poetry collection, photos and paintings are included to illustrate the poems.
She earned a Doctorate of Education from the University of La Verne in California. After two years of rehabilitation counseling, fifteen years of public school teaching and ten years in school district administration, she retired and enjoys life with her husband in southern California. She makes frequent visit to her daughter, son-in-law and granddaughters in Portland, Oregon.
Hi Jay, thank you for your inviting me to appear on your blog for the Author Spotlight. It’s a privilege to share with you and your readers something about me.
- What are your real, author, and/or pen names? What is your location?
- Miriam Hurdle is my real name. I grew up in Hong Kong where I finished college and worked for several years before coming to the United States. While in Hong Kong, I taught Chinese as a Second Language in the Hong Kong Baptist University and the Chinese University of Hong Kong. I was also a Director of Children’s Department for Asian Outreach. At 26-years-old, I published four Children’s books. My boss was the editor. I worked closely with two in-house artists who designed the book covers and did the illustrations. I got in trouble once when I went into the darkroom to watch them developed the films of the photos for the books. My boss said I should be doing my job.
- In the 1970s, I came to the United States for my graduate studies in the universities on the west coast and started working in 1980. After working for two years as a rehabilitation counselor, fifteen years as a teacher and ten years as a school district administrator, I retired. I have been living and working in southern California until now.
- How long have you been published? What titles and/or series have you published and with which publisher? Have you self-published any titles?
- I published my poetry in October 2018. It was a memoir in poetic form. I underwent cancer treatment in 2009 and took several years to regain the momentum of life. In 2014, I started volunteer counseling, taking classes in watercolor painting, poetry, publishing, and chorale at Osher Lifelong Learning Institute (OLLI). OLLI offers non-credit courses with no assignments or grades to adults over age 50. Since 2001, Bernard Osher Foundation launched OLLI programs at 120 universities and colleges throughout the United States. Many of the instructors are retired professionals.
- I also started a blog in 2014 but it didn’t take off until 2016. For the following two years, I wrote poems and posted on my blog almost every day. Come to think of it, during the 27 years of working, life was a clock perpetuated the clicking. Retirement allowed me to review, reflect, and reevaluate. My poems were overflowing as the results of thoughts and feelings touching many parts of my life. Nothing agreed with my heart better than choosing the title: Songs of Heartstrings: Poems of Gratitude and Beatitude for my book.
- In early 2018, I thought of publishing a poetry book. I had heard of the rough road of traditional publishing. One author made a presentation about going through ten years of submitting manuscripts to the publishers but received nothing but rejections. By the end of the tenth year, a publisher approached her and wanted her to write a book on Autism of which she had no knowledge. She did a lot of research for that book which got her foot into publishing. She continued to do traditional publishing for many years until people recognized her name. She then republished all her books by self-publishing. I didn’t want to go through that route but checked out some publishers who charge fees to publish. One publisher would cost about $7,500 for publishing plus royalty for the life of the book. Recently, an acquaintance took a $10,000 loan to go with this publisher for her first book!
- I wanted to learn about self-publishing. I purchased a “How to” package and studied for many months. By October 2018, I had designed the book cover, formatted the book and uploaded to Kindle Direct Publishing. That was the year Amazon transferred from Crate Space to KDP. It was a lot of work, but I had fun learning the process. I published the eBook and paperback. I uploaded the Word Document for the eBook many times, but my formatting got all messed up. Eventually I used Kindle Create to format and upload the eBook. It’s easier for paperback because I uploaded the PDF file. If I publish again, I will trust the professionals to have the job done faster.
- Describe your goals as a writer. What do you hope to achieve in the next few years? What are you planning to do to reach these goals?
- I will continue to write in many more years to come. There are two members in their 80s in my poetry class at OLLI. They are my inspiration because they still write new poems.
- Publishing four children’s books in Hong Kong was an enjoyable experience, and it is still my passion. I took a children’s writing course 15 years ago to learn how to get into the children literature market. My full-time job as a school district administrator didn’t allow me to go too far with that. Recently, I uncovered some stories and started to revise them. I also have several WIP writing projects, but it’s too early to reveal them. These projects will keep me busy for many years.
- Do you belong to any writing group? Which one?
- The first year at OLLI, I took a Life Story writing class with about twenty members divided into small groups of five to read and provide feedback to each other. This year I’m in a Writing for Feedback class with members writing in different genres.
- Do you think that the cover plays an important part in someone buying your book(s)? Who designs your book covers?
- I believe the book cover plays an important part to catch the eyes of a prospective reader. Once the cover catches the reader’s attention, the book has a chance to invite the reader to delve into the content. I received comments about my book cover long after the book was published. I designed my book cover by obtaining a free image and did some work to extend to image to the back of the paperback, also designed the front and back text. I played with the title and changed the wording many times before the final decision. Once the title was in a final stage, I searched the image that agreed with the title.
- What is the craziest/funniest/most enjoyable thing you’re ever done in the name of research?
- When I did the dissertation for my Doctor of Education, the research professor drew a big circle representing the scope of the research. Then he made a bunch of doodling and dots outside of the circle. He warned us to stay focus on our research. I remember that circle vividly whenever doing the research for my writing and tried not to get distracted. But when I researched again for another subject, I remembered certain information came across my mind in the previous research but was not saved in any folders. Subsequently, I created many subfolders and bookmarked a long list of links which may never be visited again.
- Do you write full-time or part-time?
- I do not write full time. I have many interests, such as painting, singing, photography, gardening and traveling. At OLLI, I joined a chorale group which performs three or four times a year. I inherited my dad’s green thumb. My two plum trees produced 1,100 plums last year There are twenty-four rose bushes plus other flowers. Many real estate agents approached us to list our home on the market because of the attractive presentation of the front yard. The photography and painting serve as illustrations for the poems in the poetry book.
- What advice would you give to your younger and/or older self?
- My personality is such that I keep looking forward. I reflect on the past but do not regret. Robert Frost’s famous poem The Road Not Taken influenced me. Here are the first and last stanzas:
“Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
- I believe who I am and what I have become are the accumulations of the past events, decisions, and experiences. Therefore, I could only give advice to my older self. I would tell myself to treasure my family and friends. Right now, I have the freedom to prioritize my life. I no longer need to build my career, so I should spend more time with them with people to build relationship. I don’t need any more fortune so I should focus on giving and not to expect anything in return. I want my family to remember me as someone who loves them and puts them first over myself as long as I could.