Friday, March 20, 2015

Blogger Interview with Gina Stoneheart

I am pleased to have my dear friend and fellow blogger, Gina Stoneheart, on my blog today for this special interview where she shares a deeply personal story with us. She inspires me every day with her words. I'm honored to have met her through She Writes and to have built a friendship with her through our blogs. I hope you enjoy her interview. 

1. Gina, tell us about your blog.

In the beginning, when I first started blogging, I was in a totally different place.  It began as a self-reflection of my past as well as my mother’s present state of alcoholism and liver failure.  At the time, she had just received a liver transplant six months earlier.  Without it, she would have died.  She was given this life saving organ the day after Christmas, 2012.

I used her situation and my own faults to dive into blogging.  I wanted to connect with my readers emotionally and I felt the need to let them into my past, present and preparation for a better future.  Like my mother, at one time in my life, I had let my demons bury my talents.  They ripped apart at my head and heart, constantly making me fall instead of rising.

When I learned to love myself and see the light again, this was around the time my mother was dying.  She had been sick for a year, resembling more of a yellow zombie rather than a beautiful human being, like she was before liver failure and how she is now after the liver transplant.  (She is doing incredibly, by the way, and you wouldn’t even recognize the new person she has become).

But during this time, I knew I had to quit my own demons and learn to love myself again, something my mother always had a hard time doing.  Since she was more like my sister and best friend, my habits reflected upon her own.  I knew I had to change and I knew I had to return to my haven – my writing.  It was a safe place and a space I often hid inside as a child. 

I returned to my poetry, picture books, and novels.  I heard about blogging and since I kept a diary, I figured I might as well share my story instead of keeping it to myself.  I wanted to move readers, to inspire them, make them laugh, cry and cope with my pain.  After all, isn’t this what writers do?

Presently, my blog is more about writing and my work as a children’s book author and aspiring fiction novelist.  Although I focus a lot more on book releases, author work, and the blogosphere, I also make sure to touch on the emotional subjects I feel are important to me and the rest of the world.


Image from Pixabay
2. I know “Stoneheart” is your pen name. Is there a special meaning behind it?

I chose “Stoneheart” because I have a heart which is as strong as stone.  It was once weak and terrible at making decisions.  However, I managed to find time to love the person within and discovered my heart is stronger than I ever gave it credit for.

3. What are the top 5 most-viewed posts on your blog?






4. How did you come up with the lovely quote on your blog banner? 

“Walking in the write direction, one story at a time.”

I was always good at coming up with titles and tag lines.  For some reason, they come so easy to me.  Even for my children’s books titles, I know them before I begin writing.  I currently have five picture books written (one published) and their titles were whispered into my ear by my muse. =)

Gina's Blog Banner
5. What do you love most about blogging?

I love how freeing it is and how even on a bad day, blogging can lift me up.  My mind and fingers work together effortlessly to express whatever is on my mind or weighing within my heart at the time.  I also love helping to spread word about other authors and their new releases or even old ones.  This community is incredible and I have met some of the most amazing people because of it.

6. Share your number one tip to bloggers just starting out.

If you are a woman, join She Writes.  This is where I established myself within the community when I first started blogging.  I met Quanie, Kelly, Karen, Claudine, you and several other amazing women through She Writes.  I will be forever grateful for this website. 

I would also suggest navigating around the community of bloggers and find the ones which fit your liking.  Seek out those who don’t just take, but give by visiting you back on your blog.  READ their posts, don’t just skim them and leave them one to five word comments.  Leave them comments that are meaningful and have something to do with their post!


Hyper Round:

1. Favorite time to post blogs?

Anytime before noon.  My favorite time is while the sun is rising because we have an amazing view of the mountains where the sun comes up from behind.

2. Blogger or Wordpress?

I use Wordpress for my children’s author work and Blogger for Gina Stoneheart.  Both!

3. Blog Hops: Yay or Nay?

Yay of course!  How else are we going to communicate and grow our audience?  Plus, they are so much fun!

4. Do you host guests?

I haven’t hosted guests yet but I would love to.  I am always open to hosting authors and the release of their new books.  I would also be open to hosting bloggers and anything they have to say!



BLOGGER BIO:

I graduated from Rutgers University in 2003 where I received a degree in English.  I published my first children's book in 2013 under a different pen name.  Over the past decade, I've been working closely with children and writing in any free time.  I love visiting schools while helping to encourage our youth to read, write, and celebrate their imaginations.  I'm also a huge anti-bullying advocate so I emphasis to everyone how important it is to be kind and courteous toward one another while pursuing one's potential and talent.

My passion resides within a dedication to my pen and power to help others run toward their dreams.  I love inspiring people because we all need a little encouragement at the end of the day.  This blog is dedicated to my musings and ventures as a fiction novelist.

LINKS: 


Thank you for sharing your story with us, Gina!


QUESTIONS: Have you or a family member struggled with alcoholism, or liver failure? 


Please leave a comment for Gina! :)


54 comments:

  1. Thank you so much for interviewing me on your blog today, Chrys. It's an honor to be here! You are always helping others shine and I can't say thank you enough.
    I love the interview. It's sad the way my journey began but at the present time, things can only get better. I know I have been MIA for the last few weeks and currently, you know why. As for our fellow bloggers, I will be back next week and promise to catch up with everyone!
    I love the image you found of the stone and heart. I might have to use it=) Beautiful!
    Thanks again, my dear friend. You are one of the best!

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    1. You're very welcome, Gina! And thank you for agreeing to be interviewed. I knew when I started this feature that you were one of the bloggers I wanted to highlight because you have a story like no other. You have come so far, my friend. I am proud of you and so happy for you.

      I'm glad you like the stone heart picture. I wanted to find a pretty one to fit your pen name. :)

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    2. Awe, you are honestly the best. Thank you so much! And you know how proud I am of you=)

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  2. That is a great tagline for her blog indeed. And yep, blogging can sure lift one up and it is very freeing.

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  3. Sounds like Gina really has her life together and a very moving story about how she got started. Some people have trouble with taglines and would probably pay Gina to come up with one for them.

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    1. I should look into that, Susan! I love creating tag lines.

      Thank you for stopping by!

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    2. That's a good idea, Susan! *nudge* Gina *nudge* ;)

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  4. Hi Gina and Chrys - what a great post ... we learn about others' lives and struggles and I think that's one of the real benefits I get from blogging - yes the supportive comments lifted me - many didn't know my struggles ... and in many ways I was lucky ... my mother had reached her time .. slowly and she was able to communicate - so my blog was written partly for her and for my uncle (my father's BIL) both who enjoyed talking about different things.

    I totally relate to your story and I'm so pleased your mother is improving - that's great news - and incredible what the doctors can do for us. I have seen someone die from liver disease .. and at that stage I was caring ... and had no knowledge of the medical world (ie looking after my mother) ... so was shocked at her colour before she mercifully went.

    There's no stone heart in you .. but I can certainly see the strength of the analogy ... cheers to you both - Hilary

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    1. Hilary, I will be following your blog now. Thank you so much for reading and commenting. It's amazing what we can learn from one another's struggles and strives.
      Alcoholism and liver disease is a terrible way to die. So many people don't understand this. Watching my mother's beautiful Lithuanian porcelain skin deteriorate into an awful yellow pastry broke my heart. There were times I couldn't even look at her without tearing up.
      Thank the Heavens for our doctors and nurses. Some of our loved ones wouldn't be here without them.

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    2. Thank you for sharing your story with us, Hillary. I enjoyed reading about your life and interests on your blog.

      No, Gina's heart isn't stone. She's the sweetest person I know. But she has a strong heart indeed.

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  5. oh, I love Gina!! I remember reading about this a couple of months ago on her blog and my heart broke, but I am SO happy to hear her mom is doing well now. I was on She Writes years ago, I should check back again! I love the blogging community...I have met so many amazing people and you all cheer me up when I'm feeling low. Never experienced a family member struggle with either of those things but I thought I'd lose my dad a few years ago. When I was 9 he had lymphoma and survived, and then at the end of 2012 he was diagnosed with Amyloidosis (an extremely rare blood cancer)...he had a terrible time with the treatments...very thankful that he's in full remission these days!!

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    1. Beth, I am so happy to hear he is in full remission! God has blessed us both with these two miracles.
      And I am so happy you are a part of our community. Thank you so much for reading this interview and I look forward to reconnecting with everyone this weekend!

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    2. Gina is wonderful! :) I'm glad that we can cheer you up, Beth. That's what all of us in the blogosphere are here for. Or at least most of us. I'm giving thanks that your dad is in full remission. Hugs!

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  6. Gina just gained a new follower! :)

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    1. Wow, thank you DL! I will be sure to follow you back. I've been missing for the last few weeks but will return to my blog on Monday=) Thanks for stopping by here!

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    2. Awesome, DL! That's what I was hoping this blogger feature would do. :D

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  7. Thank you for being so candid, Gina. Your story inspires me, and I'm glad to hear both you and your mother are doing well. You are a true testament to the healing power of writing.

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    1. Awe, Karen this really means a lot to me. Thank you so much for reading and I am overjoyed I could inspire you!

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    2. Thanks for leaving Gina a beautiful comment, Karen!

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  8. Great interview with Gina! Glad to hear her mother is doing better these days!

    betty

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    1. Thank you so much for stopping by, Betty!

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  9. Wow! That was an in-depth interview. It's hard to share that kind of inner struggle in a public forum, but it's inspiring for all those who can read it and grow. Love the reason for the name of your blog - a heart as strong as stone.

    And, yes, my grandfather was an alcoholic who died of stomach cancer. I only saw him sober in the last three months of his life.

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    1. I'm terribly sorry about your grandfather, Tyrean.

      Gina's blog is truly inspiring. She has a lot of courage to share her story first on her blog and then here with us today.

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  10. I am so sorry to hear about your loss, Tyrean. But I am happy to hear he was sober for the last several years of his life.

    I wasn't sure if I wanted to share these ugly parts of my life, only because I didn't want anyone to judge my talents. But in the end, I am here to help others and by doing this, I knew I had to share my story. I've already helped several people become sober because of my mother's experiences.

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  11. Stress can produce turning points in life; I'm glad you can steer your creativity! Nice post.

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  12. Bravo, Chrys! What an exceptional post!
    Gina, I swear you leave me breathless. There's a certain iridescent quality to your prose that enraptures as you share yourself so freely. You're a true inspiration!

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    1. I'm so happy you enjoyed this interview, Diedre! Gina is very talented and inspirational.

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  13. Hi Gina, what a lovely ingerview! My heart goes out to you and your mother. It's wonderful that she has gotten that second chance!

    My mother has alcohol issues and I even arranged a family intervention 16 years ago. She drinks today but not as heavily. Still, i understand the pain in this addiction.

    I just love your blog, Gina and always get excited when you have a new post :). I also love SheWrites community for writing support.

    Thanks Chrys, for this interview with Gina. She is so inspiring!

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    1. She Writes is a great community. I wouldn't have gotten to know either one of you without it.

      You're welcome for the interview, Lisa. I'm honored she agreed to do it. :)

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  14. Many bloggers start in one direction and eventually head into another. Life's answers appear, we accept or reject them, and that outcome inspires moving to something new. I agree with Gina, that loving ourselves has to come first. That perspective opens wide the realm of life. We hold nothing back, and nothing is withheld from us. Thank you Gina! Much success to you in life.

    I think most everyone in my family avoids alcohol due to my Grandfather's history with it. He painted houses, and for years thought something in the paint caused him to desire the alcohol. A doctor told him to drink a glass of milk when he got home from work, every day. He did and never craved alcohol again.

    Great, interesting interview, Chrys!

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    1. Loving ourselves is so important. If we can't love ourselves, how can we fully love others? That is amazing that your Grandfather changed his habit by drinking milk. I love that!

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  15. Great post Chrys as always, enjoyed the read.

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  16. I love the blog banner quote! Just perfect!

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  17. It's nice getting to know other bloggers with posts like this one. Great tips for new bloggers too.

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    1. I'm glad you enjoy this feature, Mary!

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  18. That is an incredible story about Gina's mother. Although there isn't any alcoholism in my immediate family, there is some in my extended family and it is sad to see how far some people have to fall before they start on the road to recovery.

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    1. It is sad to see. I'm glad Gina and her mom are better today. :)

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  19. I'm glad to hear Gina's mother is doing well now! Life is so fragile and can be taken away at any time, so it's always a blessing when health is restored or someone is snatched from the Angel of Death.

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  20. I started blogging for promotion, but then it became so much more as I learned about myself and others. Gina's blog is amazing. She always writes deep, heartfelt posts.

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    1. I started blogging because people told me to build a name for myself.

      Gina's blog is amazing. :)

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  21. Wow! Now THAT is one of the best reasons for blogging I've ever heard! And I'm so glad Gina has been able to get back into her writing.

    Writing saves people. I firmly believe it.

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    1. So do I, Caryn! Thanks for stopping by and for leaving a comment. :)

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  22. Great interview! That's one thing I have the hardest time with--titles and tag lines. I just lock up and can't think!

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    1. Sometimes I have to let the idea sit for awhile and then the title/tagline will pop into my head unexpectedly.

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  23. I enjoyed this interview! And I was just going to say the same thing as Stephanie: I am TERRIBLE at coming up with titles! If it doesn't come to me right away, I struggle. Thanks for sharing, ladies!

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Please tell me what you think. I love to chat! :)

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