Hello my fellow little munchkins! How are you all doing? I am doing well. Two posts in one day, who am I? I feel amazing that I have finally made enough posts that it is all scheduled.
Anyways, why don’t we get into this interview?
What made you want to write this book?
My best friend found her 12-year-old son hanging from a belt in his closet. She and I were both very spiritual and had always believed that souls are here for the time that they’re supposed to be, in order to accomplish what they need to in this incarnation. And yet, neither of us could make sense of this young boy’s passing. Though I cover many topics in my novel (spirituality, suicide, interconnections to nature, native belief’s, etc.), it’s essentially about moving from a place of grief to one of gratitude, by focusing on what you gained by having a soul in your life, and not what you lost.
How did you decide to pick out your book cover?
I’m so glad you asked this question! I’m very visual and I often choose books solely because I’m drawn to the cover, so I wanted one that would do just that. My publisher presented me with four options, but none of them felt right. The deadline was quickly approaching, and I was completely out of ideas. A couple of days before I had to make a decision, I was sitting in my office, asking the spirit world for guidance, when I looked up at the large print that hangs over my desk. It’s a picture of a wolf by an artist named Erik Fremsted. About six months prior, he’d DM’d me, asking if the Wolf Conservation Center would be interested in selling his prints, with a portion of the proceeds benefiting the WCC. When I played his videos and saw his images, I was blown away. He’d painstakingly researched and minutely written out the history of wolves in the shape of a wolf, and then had water colored over the words. Looking at the print in my office that day, I knew that it would make the perfect book cover and, thankfully, Erik agreed.
When did you first start writing?
Recently, I found the first book I’d written and illustrated when I was 7 years old. It brought back some not so fond memories. I’d written it while my parents were out to dinner, and I was so proud to show them that I’d stayed up way past my bedtime. I handed it to them as they were walking in the door, excitedly exclaiming that I was going to be a writer when I grew up. My dad replied, “It isn’t a very interesting story and you’ll never make money being a writer.” It took me decades to get his dismissive words out of my head, and to reclaim my innate storytelling abilities.
If you could tell your younger writing self something, what would it be?
No matter what, believe in your knowing, trust in your own truths, and have faith in your intuition. Don’t try to fit in or be something you’re not. Your uniqueness and individuality is what makes you special.
When I was very young, I could hear nature speaking to me. Insects, flowers, rabbits, etc., everything had a distinctive voice and they sent me clear messages. I thought everyone heard their voices, but when I told a friend, she laughed at me, which was confusing. After that I started having doubts about my abilities and the voices got more and more faint. Now, as an adult, I’m having to work very hard to re-remember how to tap into this gift that had once come so naturally.
How are you marketing your book?
Initially, I was pretty upset when I realized that the release of my debut novel would coincide with the Covid-19 quarantine. It took me 18 years to write and I was ready to celebrate with a big release party and a nation-wide book tour, but that’s obviously not going to happen. So, I’ve pivoted and rather than planning my party, I’m spending my days doing Q & A’s, like this one, podcasts and radio shows. And because the content in my book covers so many themes (suicide, intuition, spirituality, grief, soul transition, wolves, Inuit and Native American beliefs and culture, etc.), no two discussions are ever the same. The other upside is that because people are home, they’re reading more, and book sales are way up. So, fingers crossed, this will all work out for me.
How do you deal with dreaded writer’s block?
What works for me is turning to another creative outlet for a while. Typically, I start painting. It feels like it uses a different part of my right brain which allows my book brain to take a rest and recharge. And then one day as I’m painting, it will hit me that it’s time to get back to my book, so I pack up my paints and get back in front of my computer.
How can readers discover more about you and your work?
My website is Marthahunthandler.com. This is where you can learn more about me, my musings, my blogs, order my novel, etc. You can also learn about the important work we do at the Wolf Conservation Center. Our mission at the WCC includes, 1) educating the public about the vital role wolves play in our ecosystems, 2) actively advocating on their behalf, and 3) as a breeding and pre-release facility for the two most critically endangered wolves species in North America: the Mexican grey wolf and the red wolf. I’m donating all of my author proceeds to the WCC, so readers will be treated to a great book and will contributing to wolf conservation.