I am delight to be chatting today with Ilene Kaufmann, who is someone I haven’t had on before, a poet and a children’s book author. She was born and raised in rural Lapeer, Michigan and was adopted when she was four years old, along with two of her brothers. She began writing poetry at a very early age. It became a way for her to express her deepest thoughts and feelings. Her love for writing poetry continued throughout her life
Could you tell us about yourself
I’m a 57 year old mother to three daughter’s and grandmother to two granddaughter’s and two step grandsons. Adopted at the age of 4 years, I was raised in a middle class family in rural Michigan, where I spent most of my time outdoors with our many pets. During my adolescent years I became involved with track and softball, of which I excelled in. I also enjoyed horseback riding and nature walks with my Appaloosa quarter horse, April and my dog, Betsy. After college, I moved to middle Tennessee, where I married and raised my three girls. Unfortunately, the marriage lasted only 9 years. The girls and I have been on our own ever since. I am very close to our Christian congregation and spend most of my time with Christian activities, family and writing.
When did you first decide to write and what got you started?
I don’t really think it was a decision. I needed an outlet for the pain I was experiencing, and writing fit the bill. I used to make up stories with happy endings or poems that made even the most devastating things sound beautiful, just to take me away from my reality. But I never shared my writing with anyone…until my children came along.
Do you plot your stories or do you write and see where it takes you?
Probably a little of both. But, because my poems and stories are based on true life experiences, I guess I just embellish where it’s needed for heightened interest.
Do you have any inspirations for you writing? Other authors / people / events?
Without a doubt, my inspiration comes from my children, grandchildren, and those close to me who have touched my heart with their story. I’ve never really been able to write about mundane things. I’m not saying I never have…I mean, I’ve written a poem entitled, “Yard Sale”, so I guess I have my moments. What can I say? I was kinda in a goofy mood that day. Haha.
What is the best part about writing, and the worst?
The best part for me is, being able to tell someone’s story in a way that they can’t themselves. It could be something devastating like a lost or stolen child, like in my poem, “Did you know?”, which is about a dear friends experience in searching 6 years for her 3 year old son who was taken illegally by her ex husband. In that time she had people telling her to move on. But she never gave up and at the age of 9 years, she finally found him! She said, of the poem, “I’ll Cherish this forever, you helped me to put closure to all this. Maybe, someone can find hope and strength in my story.” That’s worth more than any sum of money. It’s priceless.
And the worst…..there isn’t a worst for me.
Tell us about one of, or your most recent book
Seeing I’ve talked about ” Rhyme and Reason” already, I’ll tell you about my children’s book, ” Jaydens New Adventures” As the first book of THE JAYDEN AND RYLEE SERIES, it follows the life of my granddaughter, Jayden as she figures out her place in her ever changing world. With her puppy, Toby by her side, she learns acceptance, forgiveness, appreciation and quite often a whole lot of patience. From first day of school jitters, and the responsibility of caring for a new puppy, to helping around the house and the anticipation of her new baby sister’s birth, Jayden helps children to see that they’re not alone in their uncertainties and feelings. My hopes are that this series will help instil positive traits and manners to better equip our young readers with what they need to succeed and be happy.
What are you currently working on? How long before release?
I’m just finishing up the last story of the 3rd book from the JAYDEN AND RYLEE SERIES. The second book has been finished for awhile. I’ve been waiting to see what interest is shown for the first book,”Jayden’s new Adventures”, to see if it merits all that goes into a second books production. My plans are to have the second and third instalments on store-shelves by mid to late 2019.
You are very active on twitter, how important do you think social media is for an author?
I’m not really sure yet. I don’t think it’s affected my book sales that much. But I will say that all the authors make it feel like a family. You don’t have the cutthroat competition you see in other fields. Everyone is so quick to encourage, advise and help wherever they can. I’ve had many, such as yourself, who have taken the initiative to offer help. Being relatively new to all this, I am so appreciative of any and all help I’ve received.
What are you currently reading?
The Bible…… seriously.
Which authors and novels would you recommend?
Oh, my goodness, there are so many! Ken Stark, SS Bazinett, Ellie Douglas, MJ LaBeff, Joe Pranaitis, Kacey Kells, CP Sheppard, W. Boone Hedgepeth, Millie Thom, Darren Barker ….You! And so many more! I never realized how many amazing authors there were out there!!
Can you tell us a bit about your family pets, you have 5 I understand?
Well, there’s Toby, of course! My 11 year old, sweet and lovable, always up for a cuddle, Pit Bull. Then, there’s Lexi, our 18 month old, catch a frisbee in mid- air, Aussie mix. She’s sweet, but extremely high strung! So you can imagine how crazy she makes Toby at times. Haha. We have two cats, KC and Ally, who aren’t really fond of one another, but they love the dogs. Go figure. Two of ourselves beloved furry family members, passed away after the publishing of the books. 17 year old Tyler, a lab mix, and 14 year old Hershey, a long haired dachshund. We had them since they were pups.
Any fun facts about you that you would like to share?
I’m very goofy, even to the point of embarrassing my children. Haha. And I believe that in any negative, a positive can be found. It may take longer sometimes (maybe years, even), but it is possible. And a day never passes without me thanking God for his many blessings.