|Robin Elizabeth Mason|
How did you start writing and when?
I first started in 1995 as therapy (self-prescribed, i.e. Holy Spirit) while I was going through counseling and overcoming depression. Fast forward to 2008. While I was out for a walk, the beginning of my debut novel came to me, and the rest as they say, is history. I open my bio with the statement that, “I once said I should write down all the story ideas in my head so someone could write them someday. I had no idea at the time that someone was me!”
What is your publishing story?
Friends and readers were asking if there was a sequel. I hadn’t planned one—at least, I didn’t think I had planned one but when I looked, Clara Bess was right there all along, in two very distinct places. As I started her story, the third and final story emerged, and the overall series story arc became evident.
I am now working on a new series.
What is the storyline around your unsavory heritage series, Tessa, Clara Bess, and Cissy?
The series is called unsavory heritage because of Cissy’s story. Our words have power, and the things we say are what we will believe above anything else we hear. Cissy heard something as a child and believed it, and set the tone of her life. In turn, words she spoke resonated through seven generations of women after her—and the unsavory lineage was put in motion.
Tessa, the first story, is two sisters who although not twins, are identical. (Part of the heritage.) When one dies, the other assumes her identity. Each of the women in the lineage has her own story to tell, and each of them have something to discover about themselves and who they are.
Tell us about your anthology, Where Dreams and Visions Live.
During the time when I wasn’t writing prose, late ‘90’s to early 2000’s, I wrote dozens of poems. Several of them appear in this anthology.
My friend, Mary Blowers, who put this anthology together, also approached me about a second one, this one short stories. My story, Sarafina’s Light, is one of my favorite of my pieces. The second anthology is Blood Moon, and the following excerpt speaks to your next question: “Sara had always led a solitary sort of life, even in the midst of family. She felt isolated, and therefore was; felt invisible, and was. She seldom spoke up, rarely offered opinion, even when asked. Whatever you think, she’d say. She had learned, and learned the hard way. Her opinion, her thoughts, her heart – were always wrong.”
How much of yourself, if any, is in your characters?
Yes. Also in my bio I say “I lived with depression for many years, and the inherent feelings of worthlessness and invisibility; I didn’t want to be who I was and struggled with my own identity for many years. My characters face many of these same demons.
I write stories of identity conflict. My characters encounter situations that force the question, “Who am I, really?” For all who have ever wondered who you are or why you’re here, my stories will touch you in a very real—maybe too real—and a very deep way. I know, I write from experience.”
I’ve had depression off and on in my life. I found that my writing can help change my mood. Does writing do the same for you?
Yes, because it is the gift Father has placed in me and as I exercise His gift, it becomes an act of worship, which always lifts my mood.
Plus, there is the sense of accomplishment, and the fact that I get my mind off of my and onto someone else’s problems for a while—even if they are fictional…
I know that you put your characters in situations that force the question, Who am I?
It has become my platform.
Robin, do you know who are you now and did writing help you to figure it out?
Yes, absolutely. It’s such a God thing, as I began to “dabble” in this passion that has always been in me, I began to see who I am, and the more I saw who I am, the clearer I can see who Father is; and the more I can see who He is, the better I can know who I am.
I think depression, in a strange way, was helpful in how I am able to make a character sympathetic and believable in a story. Do you find that too?
I think anything of ourselves that we bring to our characters and our stories makes it much more believable and credible. I have a hard time writing romance because I haven’t had so much in my own life.
Who gave you help and guidance along the way?
At first it was a writer friend from church. As I got more into writer circles, my network of writer friends has grown, and there are several whose posts have been great help and benefit. I am not part of two local writing groups as well.
What were some of the pitfalls you ran into in your own writing career?
Has being published been all you thought it would be?
It’s amazing. I’m not sure what I expected but I’m still in awe that I’m doing what I love so much and get to call it work! I guess I expected bigger response, or maybe I should say faster recognition. Three years isn’t that long and it’s starting to come.
With your life experience, what advice would you give to your younger self?
DON’T WAIT SO LONG.
Who do you read?
Yes. I have several author friends whose books I look for and I fear if I start naming them, I will a) not remember them all, or b) turn this post into a novella of names!
Where online can people find you and your books? http://www.amazon.com/Robin-E.-Mason/e/B00MR5IQ9S
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