Book Alchemy
The Secret Library Podcast
#21 Colette Lafia on Memoir and a Monk

#21 Colette Lafia on Memoir and a Monk

Colette Lafia is an author, librarian, and spiritual director.

We could have talked for hours. Between the influence of her early study of poetry on her writing today, to the struggle of remembering why she's writing when a publisher turns down a proposal, there's so much to relate to in this interview. Colette is a fantastic example of how living a life with many moving parts can feed you as a writer. We talk about the wonderful messages in children's books and how adults can get so much out of those stories and how certain themes stay with us our whole lives. 

If you need support or motivation to keep going in your writing journey, look no further than this conversation. It will leave you refreshed and ready to get back to it, while reminding you that none of us is alone in this process. 

Show Notes for Episode 21 with Colette Lafia:

  • How did the books begin? (3:00)

  • Poetry's influence on all writing (3:45)

  • Creating a friendship with a trappist monk and then writing the book(4:30)

  • Writing about surrender (6:30)

  • How to know books want to be written through you (7:30)

  • The timeline of lived experience to finished book (8:45)

  • What it's like when a personal story gets published (10:30)

  • The healing element of writing about shadow topics (11:15)

  • Defining what success means for a book and the writer (12:00)

  • Boundaries around writing about vulnerable topics (14:00)

  • Vulnerability and balancing writing about self and for others (15:45)

  • Having a support team along the way (16:45)

  • The challenge of re-writing and the introduction (17:45)

  • Book proposals (19:00)

  • Finding a publisher (19:30) 

  • Having faith in the process (21:30)

  • The conundrum of the editorial calendar (23:00)

  • Dealing with rejection from a publisher & persevering (24:45)

  • What's driving your writing? (25:30)

  • The empowerment of the self-publishing option being available (25:30)

  • Going the distance in writing a book (27:00)

  • Colette's ongoing writing process and the platform you need in non-fiction (27:45)

  • Keeping writing fresh through exploring other genres and working in the children's library (32:45)

  • The love of children's lit among adult readers (33:15)

  • Leading retreats and being a spiritual director to connect with people (36:00)

  • Processing vs. living in writing (37:00)

  • Mining and finding new layers in your own experience (37:45)

  • What Colette is reading now 

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Book Alchemy
The Secret Library Podcast
Most people believe that books are created in cabins all alone, where authors pound away on some manner of keyboard. Then they hand this masterpiece off to a publisher and it feels very much like it goes down a tube and comes out the other side as a book. By speaking to authors and other book lovers, I'm diving into the mystery that is the book world today.