I've known Joene Hendry for quite a while now. We "met" when I was an editor for a doctor's information website. I knew she wrote beautifully on other topics and now I have more proof. Here is Joene's Q&A for Fits, Starts and Matters of the Heart.
How long have you been writing essays?
I've been writing my feelings and thoughts for years. I never considered them essay fodder until I took an essay class a few years ago taught by Andrea King Collier, who has two essays published in Fits, Starts & Matters of the Heart.
When and where was your first essay published?
This is it, in this book. All of my previously published writing, outside of my blog, Joene's Garden, consisted of reporting research for professional and consumer readers.
How did it feel when you discovered your essay had been chosen for inclusion in this book?
I was honored, excited, surprised, and a little apprehensive. I don't know if this is normal but it's how I felt.
Tell us a bit about the essay published Fits, Starts & Matters of the Heart. What is it about and why did you write it?
My essay accounts how gardening helped, and continues to help, me conquer the grief and deep-seeded loss from the death of my first husband. I wrote it as a means of organizing my feelings. I gained the courage to show it to others after some essay class feedback from Andrea. Because of the subject, it gestated in my head for years before I felt comfortable sharing it with the public.
Had you tried the essay market before?
Not really seriously.
What does it mean to you to be published in this anthology?
As so many others have already said, I'm honored. This book contains some amazing essays from talented writers. It is indeed a thrill to have mine included. I feel energized to develop more of my thoughts into works that can be pruned and shaped into solid essays.
Do you have any words of wisdom to share with someone who says "I don't have anything to write about."?
Everyone has life events and experiences to write about. It's cathartic, it clears the head, and takes a heavy load off. It helps those with no intent of sharing their words and no designs on publishing their thoughts. I've spent many hours facing some incredibly deep hurts and what could have been overwhelming hurdles. Writing my thoughts, even rambling thoughts, brings some clarity. Once my thoughts become written words I'm able to edit them with a clearer head.