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It’s time for another author interview at Behind the Quill. This time we get to take a peek into the life of Louise Behiel, author of Family Ties. I met Louise through one of my online courses and was completely hooked on her blog posts dealing with family dynamics. This is one fascinating lady with so much great information stored in her brain, I could probably make her a fortune off my therapy sessions alone  um, talk with her for hours.

Here’s what Louise had to say:

Me: What lead you to write Family Ties? 

Be sure to grab a copy of Family Ties today! I did!

LB: Family Ties explores the relationships in a family and why they are the way they are. In one of my other lives, I am a therapist and I work with adults whose lives have been negatively impacted by their childhood.

One day, after a particularly difficult session, I started thinking about writing and the question popped into mind: how would a woman behave after she kidnapped a child. And what would be the child’s reaction to her parenting style? What circumstances would jar his repressed memories loose? What would cause his ‘parents’ to finally tell him the truth and face his reaction and the legal system? And to spice it up a bit, what if he was an American, but raised in Canada?

Me: Does your significant other read your books and/or stories? What about your children or other family members? How do they feel about it?

LB: I am single and have been for 14 years. My daughter and son are great supports. She reads a lot of books, often one a day, so she’s one of my first readers. My son and daughter in law love what I do and are fascinated by the work of writing – they had this vision of the muse dropping in and leave wonderful wise words on the page. Instead they hear about me sitting for hours at the keyboard, writing, editing, critiquing, beta reading for others etc etc. They know it’s a lot of work. But they love it for me. The rest of my family, my siblings and mother, are thrilled.

Me: If Family Ties were made into a movie, who do you picture playingeach characters part?

LB: Oh, tough question. I don’t watch many movies (hangs head in shame) but with a full time job and a part time therapy practice, writing, a blog, social media and my chapter, visual entertainment had to go. Hmmm…

Me: What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why? 

LB: In Family Ties, I loved the scene where my hero, Gray, ‘meets’ his birth parents. His mother never gave up her belief that he would come home and he can see her love for him never waned. I cried as I wrote it and I hear from readers that it is a deeply emotional scene for them as well.

Me: Are there certain characters you would like to go back to, or is there a theme or idea you’d love to work with?

LB: Every book I’ve written (and there are a dozen or so) center on families, relationships in groups and how people interact with each other. But with my work as a therapist, what else would I write?

Me: What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?What has been the best compliment?

LB: My toughest criticism? That’s easy. I had worked very closely with a particular editor for several years. She hadn’t bought but she’d been encouraging and supportive. After many submissions with no contract I joined a critique group and we tore my book apart. I edited and edited and edited. And then I submitted to her. Her response? “Louise, what did you do? You’ve destroyed your voice and it was wonderful.” Oops. No more heavy critiquing for me.

Best compliment? I’ve had a number of readers tell me that my books are about people they might know, in lives they can identify with.

Me: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

LB: I’d like to say I write with a boa wrapped around my neck and a glass of wine at hand, but alas, I cannot tell fibs like that. I’m a total pantser and the first reader of my story. I never know what’s going to happen until I put it down on my computer. So I write the first draft fairly quickly, put it away for a couple months and then pull it out and edit it as a writer.

Me: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?

LB: Until my mid forties, I didn’t read fiction. Ever. I read self help, spiritual books (I love to study religions) and lots of recovery material. Wayne Dyer’s Your Erroneous Zones was the first book I read that led me to believe I could change my future. Boy was he right.

Me: When you aren’t writing, what do you like to do?

LB: I have four grandchildren I love to spoil. I love to travel. I have two dogs that I spoil ridiculously. And I read – my kindle is loaded with books that I’ve finished or am about to start.

Me: What is your favorite food? If you cook, what type of food is yourfavorite and would you mind sharing a recipe?

LB: My kids joke that I shouldn’t bother with a kitchen in my house and they’re right, so no, I won’t share my favorite recipe. I would eat out every meal if I could. But I’ve been diagnosed as a celiac, so I’ve had to become much fussier about what I eat. Sighhhhh. Which means I’m going to have to start cooking again. My favorite food? I spent a lot of time in New Mexico some years ago and discovered a fondness for Mexican and Tex-Mex. It’s not as big in Calgary as it is in the US and I’m so sorry about that.

Me: Are you a pet owner? If so, what pets do you have and their names?

LB: I’ve always had dogs. Right now I have two: Jake is a 14 pound rescue pooch who is Miniature Schnauzer, Shih Tzu and Poodle cross (we guess). I call him my Buddha Boy because he’s the most placid dog ever. Lucy is a Shih Tzu X Bichon and she’s a pistol. Always on the go and always guarding our home. After all, her six pounds are very threatening.

Me: What would YOU like your readers to know about this book or you in general? What do you want readers to see in your books?

LB: Family Ties is an emotional story of two people finding their way in life. And while they think they have plans, life will interfere in those plans to bring them to who they were meant to be, with a partner who loves them through it all.

Me: Tell us about your current or upcoming release. Will you have anew book coming out soon?

LB: Family Ties is the first of a trilogy about families. Family Lies, Book 2, will be out this summer. It is the story of a woman’s life turned upside down by the lies and machinations of her husband and the mess she’s left to clean up after he becomes incapacitated. The third book, (Family Values) will be out at the beginning of 2013. It is about a woman who values family and community above all else and a man who has little connection to his roots.

Me: What is one piece of advice you would give to aspiring authors?

LB: Write, read and then write some more. Find a good chapter or writing group that’s supportive and caring. If you get frustrated or can’t find publishing success, do what I did – step away for awhile (but not a few years) and then return with a fresh perspective. The industry is changing daily and what wasn’t popular last year might be this year’s best seller.

Me: This is so true, Louise. You can never tell what’s going to happen next in this industry. Great advice! Thank  you so much for taking time out to talk with me today.

Here’s a little more about Louise:
Author Bio: I’m almost afraid to say I think blogging and WordPress are starting to make some sense to me.  I’m a writer, therapist, mother, grandmother and dog lover.  I listen to Country Music, and watch CSI in all three cities and Criminal Minds.  I read romance, self-help and spiritual books.  I read anything by Wayne Dyer and Deepak Chopra and many others.   I don’t go to movies but usually have a radio playing nearby.  I strive for emotional maturity, although it often eludes me.
But I know that who I am today is not necessarily who I will be tomorrow, because life is a journey.

Check out Louise’s awesome blog, Journey of a Thousand Miles for some great posts, and follow her on Twitter or Facebook!

So, what did you think? Do you have other questions for Louise? If so, post them in the comments and I’ll see if I can get her answer a few of them for us.