D.G. Kaye is a memoir writer living in Canada. Her fifth book, P.S. I Forgive You, came out in September. The Kindle edition has already gathered six five star reviews on Amazon. Her favorite review included these comments: “This is heartbreaking and heart-mending at the same time. It is an important book that should be read by many who are struggling to forgive and move on. It’s not an easy task but one very well worth your while.”
NOTE: The Kindle edition of P.S. I Forgive You, will be offered FREE on Amazon from December 19 thru December 23, 2016, as a special Christmas promotion.
Somehow, while writing books, DG manages to blog nearly every day (see an intro to her site here). Here’s she describes herself on D. G. Kaye Writer:
I’m a nonfiction memoir writer who writes about life, matters of the heart and women’s issues. I write to inspire others by sharing my stories about events I encountered, and the lessons that come along with them.
I love to laugh, and self-medicate with a daily dose of humor. When I’m not writing intimate memoirs, you’ll find me writing with humor in some of my other works and blog posts.
I write raw and honest about my own experiences, hoping, through my writing, that others can relate and find that there is always a choice to move from a negative space, and look for the positive.
Quarterly: What inspired you to start writing?
D.G. Kaye: I began writing when I was a child. I grew up in a dysfunctional family with lots of discord and no opportunity to voice my opinions or ask questions. I found solace in writing my fears and opinions about the conflict. As I got older I began keeping journals of incidents in my life that were unpleasant. I tried digging out the reasons behind the circumstances and the behaviors of those involved.
Quarterly: You write non-fiction, mostly memoirs. So that choice follows your childhood inspiration?
D.G. Kaye: Yes, as I grew up reading many self-help books to overcome my own shortcomings and lack of self-esteem. I garnered so much knowledge on the human psyche and relationships that I found friends and family coming to me for advice. I felt like an ‘Ann Landers’ of sorts and had this desire to help others. My writing is raw with no hold backs because that’s how I am in person. I couldn’t see myself writing in any other genre because my stories are from my own experiences. I couldn’t see covering them up under the guise of fiction.
Quarterly: Do you have some insights you’d like to share on writing memoirs?
D.G. Kaye: Whether writing a novel or writing a memoir, the process is similar, with different components. Some might think writing a memoir is easier than creating fictional stories but the story must still be created. Although taken from actual experiences, facts still must be checked. Writing such stories can bring emotional stress as well. Focusing on painful events from our past, writing about them, re-reading them in revisions and edits can become emotionally draining and sometimes depressing. In the end, the process can be beneficial.
Quarterly: Why did you choose self-publishing? Has it worked well for you?
D.G. Kaye: I chose self-publishing because I’m the type of person who needs to know all aspects of her own business, and becoming an author is a business. I began learning the self-publishing business at least a year before I published my first book. My first decision to self-publish was based on the fact that I didn’t want to spend possibly years of rejection waiting for a publisher to take on my book. But after learning the business more as time went on, I realized I enjoyed the control of my own books because the traditional publishing industry has changed so much with respect to contracts, royalties, and how they promote. Many publishers who take on Indies nowadays offer a small advance and require that we do all our own promoting. I thought that if I have to do all the work, why not keep my own royalties and rights.
Quarterly: What do you find most challenging about being a writer?
D.G. Kaye: While I wouldn’t have it any other way, self-publishing is most challenging because it takes so much time from writing. Self-publishing means editing, book cover creation, formatting, social engagement and promotion. While I sub out the editing, cover and formatting work, I’m still very much involved in the process. Becoming successful requires putting time into connecting with and attracting readers. I write a blog, follow and comment on blogs by others and interact on social media–all of which eats up lots of time but it’s essential. This is all part of promoting our own work if we want to give our books any visibility in a very crowded market.
Quarterly: It’s obvious from viewing your blog that you do indeed follow and engage with many other bloggers. That appears to have paid off with a large number of interviews and guest posts on those other blogs. Right? Do you believe that’s getting more reader interest and book sales?
D.G. Kaye: Absolutely. I’ve noticed my following growing immensely in this past year. I follow many blogs, leaving comments on many posts. I believe the interaction has created friendships with other bloggers and inspired them to take interest in my blog in return. Ultimately, when readers enjoy what we write, they’re often inspired or curious to know more about our books. The engagement between me and my readers has led to numerous invitations to guest appear on their blogs, and subsequently has led to increased book sales. This isn’t something that happens overnight. It takes time building and establishing those relationships by interacting, putting out informative blog content and replying to comments readers have taken the time to write.
Quarterly: How do you manage to follow all those other sites and still have time to write?
D.G. Kaye: Now that’s a toughie! I am still trying to find the balance juggling my own writing with those blog engagement tasks, social media, marketing my books–not to mention having a real life. Sometimes it’s daily living that suffers. Presently, I do my writing first thing in the morning before getting on the computer because once I’m on the computer the day flies by. I read blogs at night. I follow over 150 blogs and get email notifications daily and some weekly from all of them. I can tell you it’s overwhelming, but I love reading them and often finding information about news in the self-publishing world that keeps me up to date on new ideas for marketing and promoting, blogging tips, and often, information about things I wasn’t aware of. That’s what blogging is, a wealth of sharing among others, so I wouldn’t ever want to stop blogging. I’m still working on perfecting a system to go through the posts I receive daily. Obviously, I don’t have time to read every single post from every blogger I follow daily, so I open the posts and visit the ones that grab my interest most. I’m usually reading for 3-4 hours a night. My shortest time is for book reading which is my favorite time, but that is left to bedtime, and based on how long I can stay awake to read.
Quarterly: What advice can you offer other writers?
D.G. Kaye: Read a lot; see my answer to the previous question how difficult that can be. Read in different genres to get a sense of different writing styles to find what you like and don’t like about those styles. Write every day no matter how little or how much. Write for a blog, a book, or just use word prompts to keep your minds current and to better your writing. I don’t believe to committing to a daily word count and there will be days when the pen (or fingers) just flow and days you may only get a paragraph or two out, but it’s a start for tomorrow’s writing. Like anything else, writing daily makes us better writers. Many authors including myself will tell you when they look back at their first book, they can see how far they’ve grown as writers by a difference in their writing as time passes.
Quarterly: What are your favorite and least favorite parts of the writing/publishing process?
D.G. Kaye: My favorite part is creating the first draft. This is where I begin purging my memory and writing with reckless abandon. I get to release my thoughts and observations on paper. From there, the pen keeps flowing. Yes, I write in longhand. I just don’t get the same creative juices flowing sitting in front of a computer. Besides, the urge to edit as I go is more tempting while on the computer. I’d have to say that my least favorite part of writing is condensing my finished story into a blurb–those few small paragraphs of summary for attracting readers.
Quarterly: Are you working on the next book yet? When do you hope to have that one out?
D.G. Kaye: I initially wanted to take a year off before writing a new book. I published P.S. I Forgive You last month, my fifth book within three years. That book took a lot out of me emotionally. I also want to delve into some freelance writing to supplement the ‘writer’s’ income. So, I have a lot of irons in the fire but a book idea has been nagging at me. I’ve started journaling about that book and doing some rough writing. I have no working title yet but the focus will be relationships and how the decades bring change to them. Time alters attitudes and interests in each other’s lives, particularly when there is an age gap between spouses. So the book will also deal with things like illness and retirement.
Quarterly: How would you describe P.S. I Forgive You, your most recent book?
D.G. Kaye: I wrote it as a sequel to Conflicted Hearts, although it’s a standalone book in its own right. Both books involve my life and torment living with a narcissistic mother. In this new book, it is about my journey to understand my mother. I didn’t want to continue resenting my mother, so I chose to look into what things inspired her to become the person she was. Seeking to understand my mother became a stepping-stone in my own path to finding forgiveness for her and myself for in remaining estranged from her before she died.
Here’s a list of D.G. Kaye’s books, with links to Amazon.