Best thing I love about my work? The exploration. I dig into subjects that interest me and don’t let go. I often fall into the “Google hole” and can’t sleep because I find information I have uncovered, fascinating! I also visit almost every place I’ve written about–Portugal, Spain, Poland, Mexico, etc. Observations give you details you wouldn’t have found any other way. The smells, the food, the history of every city tells a story.
My idea of perfect happiness? Sitting someplace comfortable and reading a book. They take me on so many journeys. I also love listening to soothing classical music, especially Baroque!
Greatest fear? Not finishing everything I’ve started! I’m a woman of many projects. I love family history and stories of how we all got to this time and space. I want to write about my parents and share how they created a lifestyle with few resources. They were smart and creative.
Trait I deplore? I’m way to slow to anger. I’m one who thinks of the best retort hours later!
Dislike about my work? The waiting. I write the books and then I wait until editors go through them, then I wait for the cover, after that, the book design interior, then the social media and finally, the reviews. It’s a long process to give birth to a book!
Who do I admire? Margaret Atwood, Alice Hoffman, Elizabeth Rosner TC Boyle and Gloria Steinem.
Greatest extravagance? A bottle of French perfume that I buy at Annick Goutal in Paris. One of her stores is near Catherine Deneuve’s apartment. The women who work there showed me if the shutters are open, she is in town. They said she comes in without makeup and wears a scarf over her hair. I wish I could meet her! When I wear the perfume, it reminds me of all things glorious! I do my best to use all the senses in my writing.
When would I lie? I would lie not to hurt another person’s feelings. I do my best to be tactful; however, sometimes, especially if it has to do with appearance, I wouldn’t hurt their feelings.
What do I dislike about my work? I don’t like all the technology I have to learn and know in order to do book marketing. I’m a creative sort so logarithms are not that interesting to me. But, that’s what you have to know to get your books to move up in the rankings!
Where and when have I been happy with my work? Right here, right now. I have gone away a few times to work on a book, but my favorite spot is at my desk with shelves of resource books behind me and lots of snacks.
What would I change? At this point in life I am grateful to be where I am. I don’t want to change anything. I accept all that has been given to me, good and not so much!
Greatest achievement? Teaching myself about Sephardic history so I could write two prize-winning novels on the topic. I have read, interviewed, traveled and completely immersed myself in their culture. I have become familiar enough with the topic of the Spanish and Portuguese expulsions and the Inquisition that I’m comfortable speaking and sharing in many venues. I am grateful to all the groups who have hosted me in Canada, Mexico, Florida, Arizona, Connecticut, Georgia and more.
I love where I live in Arizona; however, a cabin in the mountains where it’s cooler in the summer sounds very appealing!
Most treasured possession? The letters my grandmother gave me written on onionskin paper from her family who were trapped in Warsaw during WWII. Many were smuggled out with the Nazi insignia on the front. They are precious to me because my great-grandmother’s handwriting and words are poignant. I based my novel on them. PAPER CHILDREN is what my grandmother said to me when she handed them over. “It’s all I have left of my family,” she said.
Marked characteristic? I’m often wearing orange, my favorite color that I find uplifting. The walls in my home are orange too! Whenever I wear it, it elicits responses.
Most inspirational place in my city? I’m in the desert that has been turned green with lots of water use. I grew up in Florida so I like greenery. I think a hike in the desert near sunset is a good way to get right with the world.
Eat and drink? My favorite place would be the restaurant Monarch in downtown Scottsdale. They have the most wonderful garden patio. While you’re eating delicious food, flowers fall on your table. It’s very special.
Books influenced my life? WOW! My father gave me Simone de Beauvoir’s The Second Sex at 19. That had quite an impact. I also read The Once and Future King about King Arthur, John Hersey’s book about the Warsaw ghetto and Jews, God and History by Max Dimont. They all gave me a foundation to be who I am today.
Who on my last day? I would spend more time with my family and listen to Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos. Maybe Pacobel for peace.
Heroes and heroines in books and real life? Anyone who shows real strength to speak out against injustice is at the top of my list. I like leaders who show reserve, tolerance and love.
Greatest fan? My husband! He encourages me to write; he’s supportive of all my research and where it leads us; and he loves me for who I am–author, entrepreneur and VP in Charge of Fun!
In 2017 I would like to meet and work with someone who understands book marketing and where I’m going with my novels. I’m looking for the ultimate public relations firm who “gets” me.
Passion Never Retires speaks to me. I wouldn’t write a book unless I was passionate about the characters, setting and the story I’m telling. Everyone has struggles; however, if we read about them, it sometimes gives us comfort and insight. I am passionate to share stories about people who beat all odds to survive and learn.
I would like my work to be widely read in 2017 because even though it’s historical fiction, there are issues that pertain to today–how we treat “the other,” immigration and who do we keep out and who do we let in, and finally, stories that tug at our hearts, stories that humanize us.
What follows is a message of Peter de Kuster, the founder of the Heroine’s Journey
What is Your Story?
Two Day Tour with Peter de Kuster in the greatest bookstores of your favorite city. In Paris, Rome, Florence, Barcelona, Berlin, London and Amsterdam we offer this unique What is your Story? experience. To (re) write your story about yourself and your work. In the process transforming your capacity to successfully have the creative life and work you love.
In this journey, Peter de Kuster, founder of The Heroine’s Journey explores with you the way we tell stories about ourselves to ourselves — and, most important, the way we can change those stories to transform our creative business and life.
“Your story is your art, your art is your story,” says Peter. As human beings, we continually tell ourselves stories — of success or failure; of power or victimhood; stories that endure for an hour, or a day, or an entire lifetime. We have stories about our creative challenges, our art, our clients, our money, our self promotion, our time, our families and relationships, our health; about what we want and what we’re capable of achieving. Yet, while our stories profoundly affect how others see us and we see ourselves, too few of us even recognize that we’re telling stories, or what they are, or that we can change them — and, in turn, transform our very destinies.
Telling ourselves stories provides structure and direction as we navigate life’s challenges and opportunities, and helps us interpret our goals and skills. Stories make sense of chaos; they organize our many divergent experiences into a coherent thread; they shape our entire reality. And far too many of our stories, says Peter, are dysfunctional, in need of serious editing. First, he asks you to answer the question, “In which areas of my creative life and business is it clear that I cannot achieve my goals with the story I’ve got?” He then shows you how to create new, reality-based stories that inspire you to action, and take you where you want to go both in your work and personal life.
Our capacity to tell stories is one of our profoundest gifts. Peter’s approach to creating deeply engaging stories will give you the tools to wield the power of storytelling and forever change your creative business and life.
Become a great Storyteller
That’s why I set up What is your Story? service in the great cities of the world and their great bookstores. A new way to use the power of your story. To guide you to life-changing, eye-opening but often elusive works of literature, both past and present, the books of fiction that truly have the power to enchant, enrich and inspire.
In two days with Peter de Kuster you’ll explore your relationship with books so far and your unique story identity will be sketched. You will be guided to books that can put their finger on what you want to rewrite in your story, the feelings that you may often have had but perhaps never understood so clearly before; books that open new perspectives and re-enchant the world for you.
You will be asked to complete a questionnaire in advance of your session and you’ll be given an instant story advice and books to read to take away. Your full story advice and books to read list will follow within a couple of days.
- What is your Story?
- Are you even trying to tell a Story?
- Old Stories (stories about you, your art, your clients, your money, your self promotion, your happiness, your health)
- Tell your current Story
- Is this Really Your Story?
YOUR NEW STORY
- The Premise of your Story. The Purpose of your Life and Art
- The words on your tombstone
- You ultimate mission, out loud
- The Seven Great Plots
- The Twelve Archetypal Heroines
- The One Great Story
- Purpose is Never Forgettable
- Questioning the Premise
- Lining up
- Flawed Alignment, Tragic Ending
- The Three Rules in Storytelling
- Write Your New Story
TURNING STORY INTO ACTION
- Turning your story into action
- The Story Effect
- Story Ritualizing
- The Storyteller and the art of story
- The Power of Your Story
- Storyboarding your creative process
- They Created and Lived Happily Ever After
RESERVATION AND FEES
The “What is your Story?” fee is Euro 2.495 excluding VAT for a private tour with a small group of 1 or 2 people.
Questions? Contact Peter de Kuster at 0031 6 33661772 or mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org