From time to time I feature other authors on my blog. Today I am very excited to have Martha Ramsey on Muse News.
Martha Ramsey, M.Ed., taught in Montessori educational settings for over twenty-five years. In addition to creating educational materials and writing curriculum, she told stories to her students to highlight issues they were working on in personal relationships. She found that relating stories in the third person allowed students to recognize problems and solutions in a non-threatening manner. Martha moved to California from Ohio to be close to her new granddaughter, Penelope. She lives with a Siberian husky, Nadia, and a domestic shorthair, Silver.
Heather: Martha, thank you for joining me today. It appears we have a couple of mutual connections—our editor, Lillian Nader, and our illustrator, Martin Kaspar. I understand that you have a new book out. Can you tell us about it?
Martha: Mazy and Snub are two delightful beings of light, traveling unencumbered by bodies, time, space, and gravity until an innocent ride on the arms of the Milky Way spins them into Earth’s atmosphere and changes everything. Both are overwhelmed and amazed by their cumbersome bodies, emotions, and pesky gravity, so they set out on adventures equally comical and dangerous. Readers of all ages will appreciate the metaphorical conundrums of these delightful and endearing creatures as they evolve into earthlings.
Heather: Recently someone asked me why I write. A few short, quick answers came to mind but when I sat down and thought about it more was revealed to me about my motivation. It was eye opening. Now I want to ask you, why do you write?
Martha: When a character comes to me, it pesters me until I tell his or her story. Often I will wake up with ideas for a story plucked from the vast unconscious, or wherever we go when we dream. The characters take up residence in my head and heart with an urgency to tell their story. I love pens, pencils, paper, and even typing. So I take up the tools in order for the story to be told.
Heather: What are you working on now?
Martha: I’m resurrecting a book for toddlers about potty training for obvious reasons with a two year old granddaughter in my life. I’ve completed an early reader about horsemanship and surviving parent’s divorce. There are many horse stables around the area where I live in the canyons of Southern California, so I’m excited about the relevance of this story for local kids.
Heather: Can you share with us a little about your writing process? Are you more of a “Pantser” or a “Plotter”?
Martha: I once laid out a novel and tried to stick to the outline, but I find I am more inclined to let the story unfold as it presents itself, and organize it later. I use simple composition notebooks and write in cursive. Cursive writing somehow connects me to my creative mind. It also allows for feelings and mood to come to expression because cursive can be textbook correct, or flowery and curvy. A #2 pencil is my favorite writing implement because it’s earthy and grounding. I type the story up after finishing a draft by hand.
Heather: In addition to children’s books, do you blog, or write poetry? How do you allow the muse to work through you?
Martha: Lately, I’ve been creating songs for my granddaughter about what she is doing, or what we did that day. Songs are musical poems. I allow the muse to work through me by imagining myself as the character, and writing unedited. No matter how silly or far off a passage in the initial writing may be, it can illuminate the winding path to the Truth I am trying to frame.
Heather: What tips do you have to overcome writer’s block?
Martha: I once saw a statement that “writing is supergluing yourself to the chair.” For me, that usually works. If I’m drawing a blank, a little meditation, or simply reading good quality literature in the genre I’m writing helps. I also chant these words in my head, “There’s nowhere you need to go, there’s nothing you need to do!” Otherwise, I find myself deciding the house needs to be cleaned or some such nonsense, before I can write.
Heather: What is your process for stepping into the character? Do you find it difficult to write from a child’s perspective?
Martha: I know children pretty well after teaching for over twenty-five years, so I don’t find it difficult to write from a child’s perspective. It’s more or less, my world! The addition of my two year old granddaughter, Penelope to my life has sparked the muse of the young child again.
First, I get a holistic impression of the character, and from this viewpoint, I ask myself what this type of person, animal, etc. would do and say in the situations as they present themselves.
Heather: Do you have any advice for writers on how to put away the creative hat and put on the revising hat when it comes time for revisions?
Martha: Put away any attachment to your ideas! Make up your mind that you will not take feedback personally, but as an opportunity to express the Truth you are trying to put forth in your story. This is the time when you dig deeply into the well of your mental powers to address the problems others see. Beta readers and your editor have a fresh viewpoint and can step outside with a fresh perspective. It is “Work” with a capital W! Just when you think you can relax and let the book move into being published, you may have to face the biggest challenge of all by clarifying your intentions. It is worth it! It’s like shaking off the dust and making your work sparkle!
Heather: Thank you again for taking time out of your busy schedule to talk with me today. Where can our readers find your book(s)?
Martha: Mazy and Snub went live on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Balboa Press websites.