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!
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!
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.
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! :)