Monday, February 26, 2018

Interview with Emily Kemme, author of Drinking the Knock Water: A New Age Pilgrimage

Now available in Hardcover and on Kindle from Arrowhead Publishing is Drinking the Knock Water: A New Age Pilgrimage by Emily Kemme.

The author has taken a few minutes out of her busy schedule to answer a few questions about her novel.

When did you become interested in storytelling?

I’d always wanted to write the story of my family history and many times pulled out a yellow legal pad to start writing it. That’s when I discovered I didn’t know how to write a book. I’ve been a member of a research group for 15 years, and was assigned a paper about Joseph Campbell, author of “The Hero’s Journey”. During that process, I learned what the steps are to writing a book. That was over 10 years ago.

What was your first book/story published?

“In Search of Sushi Tora”, (Arrowhead Publishing 2011)

What inspired you to write Drinking the Knock Water?

I personally experienced a situation similar to a large element in the story because there was friction in my family about religion. I was raised Jewish, my husband was raised Catholic. Although we felt that what was of greater importance was living a morally responsible life and raising our children to be respectful, responsible and good community-minded people, there were those in my extended family who couldn’t make those distinctions solely because of the religious differences. This led to a variety of unpleasant situations. I decided the book needed to be written to encourage people to not judge others, to promote the idea of tolerance of others’ ideas and beliefs, and to understand there is more to people than their religion or lifestyle. If you set aside religion and sexual preferences, there are so many commonalities. That’s also why there are gay characters in the book, as well as people whose lifestyles may not be the norm. It follows my overarching mantra, “People are just people.”

What character in Drinking the Knock Water is the most/least like you, and in what ways?

Holly Thomas, the protagonist, is most like me in that she has many self doubts and insecurities because she doesn’t know that her strongest point is being herself and standing up for what she believes in. Instead, she allows people to ride roughshod over her and is almost destroyed (mentally and emotionally) in the process.

Edward Thomas is least like me. He is religious, single-minded and believes that his faith is the only true way to approach life. He is intolerant of any other points of view.

What is your favorite part in Drinking the Knock Water?

The scenes with just Leah and Rachel as they struggle with becoming Moms — including their efforts to implant Leah and their emotional adjustment to what it means to be a mother/parent.

What was the hardest part to write?

The scenes in the jail cell. It was painful because I had to relive it.

What would your ideal career be, if you couldn't be an author?

A University history professor teaching American and English history. I would also interweave Constitutional law into it.

Do you read reviews of your books? If so, do you pay any attention to them, or let them influence your writing?

I definitely read the reviews but I can’t say they influence me. They’re someone else’s opinion and the writer brings in their own individual experiences to their impression that aren’t my experiences, knowledge or impressions. I write to express an idea. People will either agree with it or they won’t. It’s not my job to convince anyone, only to put the ideas out into the public space where people can read the ideas and think about them.

What well-known writers do you admire most?

John Irving, Jane Austen, Anne Tyler, Graham Greene, William Shakespeare, Steven Greenblatt, Barbara Kingsolver, Edith Wharton Do you have any other books/stories in the works?

I am working on a children’s book with my daughter-in-law, who is creating the illustrations. It’s about a dog who emigrates to the United States and what it’s like to assimilate into the country.

I’m also working on my next novel, “The Man With The Wonky Spleen” about the oddities of human nature and how we all have a tender spot — an Achilles heel — that is beyond our control and often our understanding. As with the previous two novels, there is a lot of psychology in it.

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About the Author

As the award-winning author for her novels, Drinking the Knock Water: A New Age Pilgrimage and In Search of Sushi Tora, and on her lifestyle blog, “Feeding the Famished”, Emily Kemme tends to look at the world in all its rawness. She writes about human nature, and on her blog shares recipes and food for thought along with insights about daily life. She is a recipe creator but winces when labeled a foodie. She is the Food and Lifestyle Contributor for the Greeley Tribune’s Dining column and also writes features for the newspaper and its magazine, #Greality.

"I write about what I ate for lunch only if it's meaningful," Emily says. "Mostly, I'm just hungry.”

Emily also writes because her degrees in American and English History, followed by a law degree from the University of Colorado, left her searching for her voice. She also suffered from chronic insomnia.

“Writing helps clarify my mind, erasing clutter, and makes room for more impressions. My thoughts can seem random and disconnected, but once they flow onto paper, a coherency and purpose emerges, directing patterns into story. I sleep much better, too.”

As an author who lives in Greeley, Colorado, she celebrates people’s differences, noting that the biggest problem with being different is when it’s deemed a problem. Emily often identifies with the underdog, focusing on humanizing the outsider, showing there is not only one right way to be or to live. Through her writing she hopes her audience will be open to new ideas, the acceptance of others, and will recognize the universalities of human experience in a non-judgmental way as they meet her characters and follow their stories.

Her first novel, In Search of Sushi Tora, was awarded as Finalist for First Novel in the 2012 Next Generation Indie Book Awards and her second novel, Drinking the Knock Water, was awarded as a Finalist in Chick Lit in the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards and received two CIPA EVVY awards. Emily is currently working on a children’s book series, Moro and The Cone of Shame, a collaborative project with her daughter-in-law, Mia. She is also writing her third novel, The Man With the Wonky Spleen, a story about human idiosyncrasies.

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