An Interview with Author Rhiannon Gelston on Tour with Her New Book, LARK and the LOON

Hello Rhiannon,

It is a pleasure to have you here. You are currently on a Virtual Tour with MC Book Tour, so let’s dig deep and talk about your writing journey.

  1. How did it start?

I have always loved writing and I suppose it may be something that comes somewhat naturally to me. I was an English major so I certainly had a fair amount of writing in undergraduate school, although it was more from a standpoint of analyzing literature that had come before me, and not so much about finding my own creative voice. It wasn’t until my son was about to turn ten, and my youngest had started kindergarten, and I thought I would somehow have more time on my hands but in actuality it didn’t really seem to be the case, it was just delegated a bit differently. Anyway, I had the realization that time was moving fast and I wanted to remember things and thought, it was time to make time, and so I started to write.

2. When did you develop your writer’s voice?

Being mostly a memoir, my writer’s voice was my own. In fact, many of my friends that have read my book have told me they could almost picture me telling the story, it was just so me. So, for the memoir piece it was quite easy to find my writer’s voice. For the transcendental fiction piece, I just imagined myself in the various scenarios I was trying to explain, being sure to include all of the details that I was experiencing in that moment of time, and tried to explain it as best I could from my point of view. When I was capturing Lark’s voice, it was a bit more complicated, as he was just ten, albeit a rather advanced and wise ten year old. His voice was not your typical ten year old but I did not want it to be. He is based on my son, who was ten at the time I started writing it, and I would say he was not your typical ten year old either. In some ways he was, and is, wise beyond his years. In other ways, he still maintains the innocence of a child and that perspective was essential to the heart of the story. I wanted the memoir piece to be completely fact based, even if there is a visit to a fantastical journey sprinkled throughout. I think that is life, really, right? We experience truths but we still escape in our imagination to process them and make sense of it all and then ultimately come back to the facts with a little perspective under our belts. We live and we learn and we love and at the end of the day, that’s what it’s all about.

  • What about Research?

Being mostly a memoir, I must admit there was very limited research involved in writing Lark and the Loon. It was just written based on my experiences and perspectives and pre-existing knowledge, so the research was simply through experience!  

  • Pantser or Plotter which one are you?

100% pantser. I completely flew by the seat of my pants on the writing of the book. I had a few key points I wanted to touch on, such as my memories from the time of my daughter’s illness and some of my experiences from my time in Africa. I had a group of vignettes of random moments in time that had struck me in some way and shifted my perspective. Some moments were big, some small, but all had an impact. I was unsure how to string them together in any coherent way which is when I got the idea to blend genres. The memoir characters are based on my family so,that was already established, but my characters in the fictional piece evolved chapter to chapter, surprising me as I wrote about them as much as they will probably surprise the reader. Through Lark traveling amongst my memories in the memoir piece, in a Dicken’s-like Scroogey (but not grumpy) fashion, reliving moments from the past but being privy to my inner thoughts and feelings, Lark was able to then return to the fictional piece and process it and make some sense of it all. The fictional piece finds him within a symbolic tree, in which he must ascend in order to find his way out and hopefully home. As he ascends physically, his inner self ascends on many other levels. The tree itself incorporates subtle notions of the chakras and Lark climbs through each level gaining insight into the various elements attached to each. So, I had the rough plot of traveling through them, with various experiences tied into that. Again, this piece is subtle but if one is familiar with them at all, they would be noted. So, each time Lark returns to the tree, he is experiencing a different level, represented by different colors, and the book travels back and forth between the two in a personal ascension. If Lark can find his way out of the tree, he can find his way home, and ultimately himself 

  • Do you write every day and when do you write morning or evening?

I have to be honest. Right now I do not write every day. Covid has thrown me for a loop but I do hope to get back to it. I was writing morning and evening when the kids were asleep or sometimes while they were in school.  With the children at home so much over the past year, I have put it on the back burner for a bit. My kids are also staying up later now that they are a bit older (ages 8-14), so I am finding that we often are all going to bed at the same time on most nights, with no extra time for writing in the evening. I do plan on scheduling in set times for writing during the day, when they are in school, as they are all now back at school, at least on a hybrid schedule. I am not a very big scheduled person but Gosh I love making a ‘to do list,’ even if I usually only tackle the first thing on that list. So, I think what I need to do is schedule a set time to write each day and stick to it. In addition, I think a set start and stop time would be good, because when I get going with something creative, it can be hard to stop. That is one skill parenthood has taught me, although still tough at times, I have learned to stop things mid-stride and focus on what is most important. Attention to those you love is the most impactful time spent so balancing it all in an efficient manner is a dance I am still perfecting. So, long story short, on the top of my next to-do-list will be to make more time for writing! Thanks for asking that question and making me think about it. As I said earlier, time has a habit of slipping by quickly if we don’t take the time to make time!

Thank you, Rhiannon for dropping by and revealing pertinent information that may help some writers on their journey.

I wish you all the best.

This is a two part tour and there is a grand prize at the end.

Have a nice day, everyone.

Shalom aleichem