Who’s That Indie Author? Kaitlyn Jain

Author Name: Kaitlyn Jain

Genre: Non-fiction, travel, memoir

Book: Passports and Pacifiers—Traveling the World, One Tantrum at a Time

Are you a full-time author? If not, what’s your side gig? I spent fifteen years doing marketing and project management in corporate America. As of a few weeks ago, I’m taking a (short?) break to focus on writing, along with overseeing virtual learning.

Favorite author/books: Bill Bryson, Isabelle Allende, Malcolm Gladwell, To Kill a Mockingbird

What experiences or people have influenced your writing the most? I’ve been blessed with great teachers and a fantastic college professor who encouraged my creativity. Traveling with the kids in Scandinavia inspired the book. I recognized the absurdity of what we were doing, but also the pure joy, and I wanted to encourage others to see the world.

Do you keep a writing journal and if so, how do you use it? I’m not the best at keeping it current, but I use it while traveling and write in it when I have time.

Do you belong to a writers’ group? If so, describe your experience: Yes. We meet twice a month to review two pieces. Each of us brings diverse strengths and we’re all at different phases. It’s been a great learning experience—and I’ve read more sci-fi in the past year than I have in my entire life.

Are you up with the sun or do you burn the midnight oil? Neither. I love sleep so try to get in as much as I can while the kids are asleep.

How do you get over a writing slump? Reading a good book, writing in my journal, or just getting out there and experiencing new things. I come up with my best ideas when I’m running or putting my littlest down for a nap—and try to remember what I was thinking in case I fall asleep before she does!

Do you prefer writing dialogue or descriptive passages? I usually start with descriptive passages and change to dialogue to improve the flow. Descriptive is easier for me but the dialogue balances it to make the reading less dense.

What are you working on now? Since I’m launching my first book February 2021, I’m focused on successfully getting this out the door! I have started a second book, similar in content, but with a different spin.

What advice would you give to someone thinking about writing and publishing a book? Go for it! It’s important to try new things and push yourself to do things you’re not quite sure you can do. I find that challenges are merely opportunities you haven’t succeeded at yet.

Do you listen to podcasts? If so, which podcasts do you find the most interesting? Not really.

Favorite escape: I love reading and travel. I’ve visited nearly every state and 25+ countries. This year, when we couldn’t travel, I read a lot and hiked with my family.

Have you ever tried Kombucha tea? No. My mom loves it though so, based on my genes, perhaps I will at some point.

Do you prefer a couch with pillows or no pillows? Pillows, for sure, though they’re always a mess in my house. They need to be put back or rearranged since they’re inevitably removed for some fort or turned wrong when the kids are pretending the floor is lava.

Would you rather rake leaves, shovel snow or weed? Not weeds. I got poison ivy this summer and it was MISERABLE. I like shoveling because that means there’s snow to play in and go sledding. You can take the girl out of Michigan, but can’t take the Michigan out of the girl.

Favorite mask – disposable paper, plain fabric, colorful print or something else? Reusable and colorful. I usually wear a green mask bearing the name of my kids’ school since I’m PTA president and need to encourage sales.

Biggest writing challenge since Covid-19: Focus and time. Without childcare for three months (and my husband and I both working full-time), it was quite difficult to do much beyond put food on the table. Plus, for my genre, actually going anywhere! I can’t wait to travel with my kids again.

Website and social media links:
Website: www.kaitlynjain.com
Facebook: www.facebook.com/PassportsandPacifiers/
Twitter: @KaitlynJain
Instagram: kaitlyn.jain


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What’s That Book? Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother by Amy Chua

battlehymn
Title
:  Battle Hymn of the Tiger Mother

Author:  Amy Chua

Genre: Memoir

Rating:  **

What’s it about?  Amy Chua describes the strict disciplined methods she used to shape her two daughters into accomplished Chinese-American musicians and students.  Persistent criticism, narrow-minded outbursts and manipulative tactics were the norm in this toxic family environment.  A rebellious younger daughter pushes back, forcing Chua to double down on her methods. Includes many insulting stereotypes of other parenting styles, declaring her altered version of the Chinese method superior.

How did you hear about it?  A book club selection

Closing comments:  This book received a great deal of attention when it was first published in 2011.  While Chua fully admits to making mistakes along the way, she clearly believes her method is the best and shows little respect for other cultures.

A 2014 article from The Guardian, “The truth about the Tiger Mother’s family” takes a closer look at Chua a few years later.

She and her husband, Jed Rubenfeld are law professors at Yale and have since co-written a new book (2014), The Triple Package: How Three Unlikely Traits Explain the Rise and Fall of Cultural Groups in America, a look at why certain groups in America do better than others (check it out here).

Contributor:  Ginette


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Who’s That Indie Author? Gwen Miller

Who's That Indie Author pic

Gwen Miller
Gwen Miller

Author name: Gwen Miller

Genre: Adoption/Addiction/Memoirs

Books: Echoes of Silence: Letters to a Drug Addicted Mother from the Woman Who Took Her Place – Available now; Apples for Secrets: Former Child Abuse Victims Tell Their Stories for the First Time – Available Summer 2016

Echoes of Silence 2

Bio: Gwen Miller, award winning author and second helping adoptive mother, splits her time between roles as a mom, writer and speaker. Loaded with reams of hands-on experience, she serves as an advocate for the needs, proper diagnosis and treatment of abused children and helps guide adult survivors through a journey of healing.                                                 

Favorite thing about being a writer: As the mother of traumatized children, I struggle with the task of maintaining structure and safety amid a great deal of chaos. Writing gives me the flexibility to be present whenever my youngsters need me. It’s also a much needed outlet where I can find peace and solitude… and often vent.

Biggest challenge as an indie author: Marketing & PR without a doubt. I had always considered myself an advocate against the abuse of our children and often spoke freely about my own abuse and called out those responsible. But facing the horrible abuse my newly adopted children had endured, I realized that the cycle had continued on within my own family—two generations beyond mine. In spite of my efforts, I had not stopped it. The only way this cycle will be stopped is by talking about it. The victims are shamed and embarrassed into silence which then allows the predators to feed freely. I’m not really marketing the book as much as I am trying to market a message; something that is quite challenging because it makes people uncomfortable.

Favorite book: Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte

Contact Information: Visit Gwen Miller’s website and blog at GwenMiller.co. You can also find her on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Pinterest.

Please also visit this post about Miller’s fight against child abuse:  Helping victims of child abuse – Echoes of Silence, by Gwen Miller

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Defending Jacob by William Landay

defending jacobDefending Jacob
by
William Landay

Rating:

What would you do if your teenage son was a murder suspect? This is what Andy and Laurie Barber face when their son Jacob is arrested for the murder of his classmate Ben Rifkin. William Landay shows how the Barbers navigate through the conflicting emotions of doubt and wanting to believe in Jacob’s innocence. And the Barbers’ marriage suffers when Andy reveals a family secret to Laurie that calls Jacob’s behavior into question. The characters explore the interesting questions of nature versus nurture and the science of behavioral genetics.

This is a compelling, plot-driven story and, despite the problems with characters and some details, there is a clear beginning, middle and end and that keeps the story moving. Its twist at the end follows a predictable rhythm, but I think it raises reader interest. I think the author raises thought-provoking questions about inherited traits.

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