Monday, April 29, 2013

The Experience of Writing: A Guest Post by Ann Whitely-Gillen, and a Giveaway

Today I have the pleasure of welcoming a new author, Ann Whitely-Gillen, to my blog.  I hope to read her recently published book, Last Train to Omaha, within the next few months or so.  The book has gotten some wonderful reviews on Goodreads and Amazon.  If you'd like to win a copy Last Train to Omaha, a story about accepting the past and moving forward, be sure to enter the giveaway at the end of this post.  You may even get to read the book before I do!  

Ann's guest post is about the experience of writing.  Whether you're an aspiring author or a professional writer--or are simply interested in reading about writing--you'll find her words both eloquent and interesting.


The Experience of Writing: A Guest Post by Ann Whitely-Gillen, and a Giveaway

Writing can be many things to many people, but to me writing has been unquestionably cathartic.  When we write about things, we can explore all angles of our subjects.  We can create new beginnings by dropping our thoughts and emotions onto a page and we can seal the deal on unresolved conflicts within ourselves and our relationships.  Human expressions printed on pages make us less vulnerable to our character flaws and frees us from the isolation we all feel when trapped inside of our own lives and personal adversities.  Writing is a means of giving and receiving knowledge, understanding, truth, love and fear.

In the words of French-born novelist Anaïs Nin (author of Little Birds and Henry and
June), “We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.”

I certainly look to this quote as a means to not only write by, but to live by.

When I wrote Last Train to Omaha, I was recovering from breast cancer surgery and radiation treatments.  Creating a warm, comfortable environment to express myself through my book’s characters allowed me to reach the most pivotal point in my spiritual life.  Writing the experiences of each of my characters led me to the reality that I, too, had the ability to overcome my fears and anxiety not only about the inevitability of death--but more so, the challenges we all face when trying to weed through life’s hard lessons and pitfalls.  What I realized during the writing process is that life always wins over darkness.  We may not recognize this immediately, but eventually, life will present itself again with a new face and new opportunities.

By leading the protagonist of the book (James Milligan) through an incredible journey from the realm of darkness into light, I found myself holding on to him all the way.  You could say it was my way of tasting life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.

Thanks for letting me share these words.

Ann and her family at the book launch


Thank you, Ann, for your lovely guest post!  The quote by Anaïs Nin is superlative.

The author is graciously offering a copy of Last Train to Omaha as a giveaway (U.S./Canada only).

  • To enter this giveaway, simply leave a comment. 
  • For another chance at winning, become a follower of this blog, or let me know that you're already a follower.
  • For an additional chance, post about this giveaway on your blog, Facebook, Pinterest, or Twitter. 

Enter by 5 PM PDT on Monday, May 13. One winner will be selected randomly and announced on Tuesday, May 14.  Best of luck to my readers!


  1. Love that quote in the interview! And the author's thoughts makes me sure of the value of taking up a pen or keyboard to write.

  2. Last Train to Omaha sounds like an inspiring book. I love that quote as well. Wonderful guest post by the author, her strong spirit shines through!

  3. A lovely, honest post. She has certainly tasted life twice. Thank you, Ann, for sharing, and thank you Suko, for introducing us to Ann! I will remember Nin's words.

  4. What a great post! I loved reading this.

  5. As a book blogger and an author I can certainly appreciate Ann's words. Congrats, Ann on publishing your book! It sounds like an inspiring story, especially knowing your experience as you wrote it. Would love to win a copy. Suko, I'm already a follower.

  6. Looking forward to reading your thoughts on Last Train to Ohama - I have 20 or so pages left to go and without giving too much away will say you should have a box of tissues at the ready.

  7. What a great inspiring post, and I enjoyed the quote as well. Best of luck to Ann

  8. Wonderful thoughts on writing.

    I agree that it really allows us to work out all kinds of things that are personal as well as universal.

  9. This post was wonderful and special. Thanks for this giveaway. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

  10. I can relate with Ann since I had breast cancer surgery and radiation recently. What an inspiring and incomparable woman. elliotbencan(at)hotmail(dot)com

  11. Thank you all for the comments! More are welcomed.

  12. I like a lot this post. I agree with Ann's thoughts about writing and admire the way she found a way to recover during these hard times. Thank you, Suko, to share this text with us !

  13. “We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” - what a wonderful quote!


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