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  • Writer's pictureJan Porter ~ author

Latest Author Interview by; AllAuthor

Can you tell us about your childhood? Who has been the biggest support system in your life?

I am blessed to have had a country childhood. Growing up rural grew an appreciation for nature and magical adventures where my childhood’s imagination flourished. Life without television and socializing with extended family and neighbours was filled with a community atmosphere of home spun music, companionship of all ages and a variety of supports. I can easily recall; entourages of extended family camping trips, catching frogs, chasing fireflies, swimming in lakes and wading through rivers, my Great Grandmother’s home cooking on an old wood stove and listening to inebriated old farts recite old ballads and Robert Service’s tales of the northern wilderness. Childhood memories flow and intertwine throughout my books.

Have you always wanted to be a writer? What has your journey as an author been like so far?

I have always been scribbling bits and pieces throughout my life. Ten years ago, I cocooned in a northern lakeside cottage and began to put those writing bits to paper for the published novels and personal growth works that I am happy to share with readers. I cannot fathom, not writing. Innately fascinating, writing is much like an inner journey where scenes and characters play out in movie form within my being. Essentially, I journey first hand the characters and their stories.

What are some of the values you hold dear to you? How do you deal with people who tend to impose their own opinions on others?

I appreciate integrity, honesty and those who are comfortable in their own skin, as they are. I figure that everyone is here on earth to walk a unique journey with a myriad of lessons and challenges to experience. As such, it is generally not my place to judge another’s life journey or opinions. However, as a former social services worker, I have and continue to advocate for the vulnerable.

You have written a lot about spirituality and abuse. What are some of the most important themes you cover in your books about these topics?

In a pragmatic world where intuition and spirit world, higher mind concepts are often considered flakey nonsense. Much like the wisdom of our ancestors, through exploring healing and the spiritual path, I have personally found peace of mind, joy, fulfillment and contentment. From my own life experiences, I know first hand the joy and freedom of having a direct one-on-one relationship with spirit world. I count on the guidance from an intelligence far bigger than my little mind, that has a higher objective perspective and my best interests at heart. This spirit world guidance brings comfort and creative ideas. This relationship with the divine is obviously not new idea. It is what our Ancestors knew and lived within. It adheres to not one religion, philosophy or culture. It is free for the seeking. I believe it is our birthright as humans to have knowledge of and access to these teachings. It seems to me, that we have been programmed otherwise for far too long.

Let’s talk about your book Maddy’s Wings. What inspired you to write this book? How long did it take for you to write?

I recall sitting in a diner having brunch with my Dad and he asked what my next book was about. I did not know until my mouth opened and spoke of the gist of the story and characters. This book took a joyful two months to draft and was a profoundly unique journey because, I have an inherent fear of heights.

I have always been fascinated and inspired by unsung heroes. To stepping into the skin and mind of a young Maddy trying in vain to pilot a crashing loaded B26 bomber to feeling the onset sensations of Alzheimer’s, Maddy’s journey has been an incredible experience. Maddy’s life, thoughts and experiences is an ode to strong women and men who manage to navigate unfathomable situations.

Maddy’s Wings is also a tribute to my father’s anecdotal stories that honour a generation of Great Depression children who later fought in wars, to make the world a better place for us. I believe that this generation succeeded and brought forth a world of freedoms and abundance for family and future generations that few survivors had the privilege of experiencing.

Who is Maddy and what is her life like? How has the Second World War and the Great Depression affected her?

The free-spirited main character Maddy, was born a country bumpkin during the Great Depression and first world war in rural Ontario. Like many who had family surviving war and object poverty during the twenties and thirties, Maddy did not consider herself poor, as most people in America and abroad were in similar situations. In times of great adversity such as; oppression, natural disasters, economic depression and war, many people tend to drop cultural boundaries to work together in community mindsets for the common good. It is human nature that we are normally egocentric folks who live in our own little worlds of work and home. Yet, during natural and man-made disasters, most of us will step up to help one another by sharing skills, resources and comfort. It is often in times of adversity and caring for others that we feel the most fulfilled.

With Maddy, it is the advice of her father and seasoned pilots Jack and Roy, who offer the simplest of philosophies and knowledge that assist her with life challenges, navigating fear and impossible situations. Yet, one adage that I found most endearing that arose in Maddy’s character, is that she constructs her own philosophy to cope; she owes her life and happiness to all who did not survive. To avoid giving into the depths of grief, fear and despair, she strove to live life to it’s fullest, no matter what may occur.

What are some of the themes you cover in this book?

Maddy’s Wings can simply be viewed as one woman’s life journey through many changing times. Also intertwined, are social issues and wisdoms, such as; community cooperative mindsets of dealing with poverty, war and human atrocities, acknowledging female heroines, addressing veterans’ challenges, old time wisdom for overcoming post traumatic stress and survivor guilt and of course, the aging process. Oh, and the joy of friendships and eating giggle brownies.

The story of Soul Skin is very interesting. How did you come up with this premise?

Soul Skin was my first full length novel that took many years to write. After years of fulfilling years of work in social and human services; a.k.a. the welfare system, the book is a culmination of striving to remember the magical connection to the all that is that our Ancestors inherently knew, to addressing current social ills that my former clients still live through. Shamanism, Spiritualism and any form of spiritual seeking tends to have a happy and riches marketing spin in today’s culture. Yet, our Ancestors knew that the process is often born out of great adversity, both personal and within the broader community.

Like Navi, I thrive surrounded in nature’s ambiance, without the noise and haste of television or city life, although I do love a good city fix. My country sanctuary space offer the joy of freely daydreaming and experiencing my characters lives, first hand.

The main character Navi in Soul Skin is a simple misfit, like most of us. She was born of a generation who have lost the wisdom, support and empowerment of ancient knowledge and community support while the in pursuit of the all too common, great American dream.

Soul Skin is one woman’s journey, yet, speaks to all our timeless struggles with relationships gone bad, losing the ones we love, navigating life’s adversities, exploring who we are as individuals and how we fit into the world.

I am snickering now as I write this, recalling one of my brother’s trying to fathom how boring my life must be, living rural and engrossed in writing Soul Skin. I smiled and joyfully replied, “Not at all. On the contrary, I have communed with Spirit Guides, travelled with Shamans, died in a death pit in Auschwitz, sat in audience with Lord Byron, was a captive wolf breaking out to freedom and just yesterday, I was a female pilot crashing a fully loaded B26 bomber in World War Two for another book. What did you think about today?”

You have published in many magazines and newspapers. Why did you decide to become and author instead of a journalist?

I have always considered creative writing to be one of my hobbies. Akin to any hobbyist, the personal space of creativity is a Zen like space to get deliciously lost in. The world’s noise, haste and travails dissipate and as a sighing calmness gives birth to new thoughts, extraordinary, healing, sensations and ideas come forth into my beingness that is not possible in the hectic pace of daily living.

So, yes indeed, I much prefer the Zen daydreaming aspect of story creation.

You consider yourself to be a ‘philosophical observer of the human condition and nature’. What, according to you is the essence of this nature?

I find human nature fascinating. I give kudos and have great respect for my former social services clients and their unique journeys. The poorest of the poor living rural, tend to be closely intertwined with nature and living simply. They also tend to exude a joy that most of us who are steeped in perusing the great American dream will never comprehend or experience. Some of my favourite bush clients may eat squirrel and appear to outsiders as mentally ill. They rarely ask for much, just a little assistance to tide themselves and families over a tight spot. Yet, these people volunteer the most, are the first to offer their last piece of fish to someone in need and exude an inner joy as though they regularly kiss the face of God.

So, I suppose this is the essence of this amazing nature connection.

Chuckling here, I am often questioned about my beliefs. While I am a fully educated and ordained Minister, I am certainly not a living role as most people would view a person of the cloth to be. I prefer living the simple wisdoms and philosophies of our Ancestors. There are commonalities in many religions, philosophies and schools of thought, that I suppose simpler stated, are more altruistic in nature. I would never dare to set myself on any pedestal to pontificate on any topic.

Each of has a unique soul path, unique experiences, challenges and viewpoints. I think that anyone who journeys this earthy life and manages to navigate their challenges to stumble upon fulfillment and some happiness, are heroes.

What cause do you promote through the Soul Works Gifting Foundation and what does this organization do?

Soul Works is an ad hoc group who randomly give away published books and ebooks to those who would not normally have access. Prisons and non-profit centres generally have meager book purchasing budgets, often purchasing what they can with gift cards of larger corporate book retailers that do not carry small publishers or indie books. One penitentiary librarian told me that while many inmates initially request murder mysteries and thrillers, it is the self-help and literary novels that they eventually gravitate to and spend their time reading.

To date, my daughter, friends, father and I have gifted thousands of books to jails, women’s centre’s and other non-profits. I write a personal message of hope for the mystery reader on each book’s dedication page. I also include a disclaimer note if the book is not a current version and thus, is not for re-sale, anywhere.

We also randomly send out travelling books, books that are intended to show up in restaurant bathrooms, buses, air ports or wherever we feel moved to do leave a book.

What is your secret to success?

Success is in enjoying the creative process of writing. Each step of each chapter and book completed, feels like a successful milestone and I do a little victory dance to acknowledge the moment. The pinnacle is when a reader expresses that they have enjoyed and been moved by the work.

I do not have specific monetary or fame success points in mind. I write simply because I sincerely enjoy the process and thus, will never stop striving for a wider market.

What is the best advice you have ever received?

“98 percent of the opinions and stress that people direct at you, have absolutely nothing to do with you personally.”

What book ideas are you currently working on?

“Izzy’s Ghosts”, is my next literary fiction novel on deck, which is currently being edited with a launch date expected sometime in 2019.

A happy and uplifting tale of loves lost and found, Izzy’s Ghosts is a mesmerizing journey through heart break and warm humour. Midlife Izzy is dumped by her husband and homeless, a spirit world door opens at the Rail Stop Café where she stumbles into a strange northern ghost gold mining town. Amidst wilderness and a strange community, home becomes an isolated 200-hundred-year old rural school house with its spirited classroom children and their favourite young teacher.

Resourcefully facing the inevitability of life alone in a strange rural place, Izzy unravels a family secret through a mysterious wilderness man and odd community characters. Along the way, there are ghostly descendants of Dr. Barnardo’s Home Children, Gold Rush Fevered miners, an unsanctified baby burial, modern day ghost hunters, infringing upscale cottage estates and tourists.

Befriended by loving spirits and community, history and insights collide as Izzy is challenged by ancient mystery school principles for class to begin anew.

About Maddy's Wings ~ NEW RELEASE

“It was difficult to tell what was lightning, air fire or ground fire. It seemed we were trying to navigate a sky filled with fireworks within the middle of a storm. The plane shuddered, losing altitude in a dive that was too steep and too fast. Concerned that the stalling engine’s fire and tail rip may ignite the load of ammunition within, I instinctively banked, aiming offshore to the water below.”

“Maddy’s Wings is a heartwarming coming of age story!”

Maddy survived and now she wants to know why. Racked with survivor’s guilt and beginning to suffer from Alzheimer’s in her old age, 92-year-old Maddy has a painful recollection stuck on repeat – the moment she crashed a loaded B26 bomber during her role as an Air Auxiliary Pilot in World War II. Maddy’s relives poignant memories; growing up during the Great Depression, war traumas, the death of her daughter and unborn grandchild, and yet it is the plane crash that she cannot get out of her head. As Maddy’s memories fade and life draws to a close, she seeks to live her last moments to the fullest. From intriguing new neighbours to a pet pig and giggle brownies, humour and heartbreak abounds as she struggles to shake off the survivor’s guilt that has haunted her for so long. Maddy’s free-spirited adventures are thwarted by a ruthless elder care worker, who is making her life a misery. Strange events unfold – the decades old cold case of a murdered local Pastor surfaces, and shocking truths come to light about little sister Rosie’s life during and after the war. What really caused that fateful plane crash? Why did Maddy survive while others lost their lives? What really happened to her little sister Rosie during the war? As she faces the final challenges of life to set herself free from the shackles of culpability, Maddy may just redefine what it means to be a hero.

Jan Porter is an award-winning author of literary fiction and personal growth books.

Scoll up and grab a copy TODAY. Read "Maddy’s Wings" on your PC, Mac, smart phone, tablet or Kindle device.

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