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Essence Explored: An Interview with Rebecca Jane, author of She Bleeds Sestinas

Rebecca Jane 1

Rebecca Jane writes fiction, poetry, essays, and book reviews. She is also a ghostwriter. She has taught yoga and meditation. She has also taught ESL in China and in San Diego. Her work has appeared in TARKA, Literary Mama, Spirit Voyage, Earshot Jazz, The Journal of Expressive Writing, and A Year in Ink anthology. She is a literacy advocate, a musician, and a mother.

You can buy She Bleeds Sestinas here.

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

The original title was “Witness to a Stunt Narrator,” which was awkward and clunky. But then I went through menopause and the title She Bleeds Sestinas hit me and felt appropriate; maybe it’s an inside joke. Ha ha!

How did it feel when you first saw your book cover? Or when you first held your book in your hands?

I have been trying to publish my own book for twenty years, so it felt so satisfying. Finally! And my family is proud of me, which is so much better than family being ashamed of me or pissed off at me, right?

Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

Virginia Woolf, Marilynne Robinson, Clarice Lispector, Tom Robbins, Paul Auster, and Walt Whitman are writers who made me want to write.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

I have taught in the classroom, a variety of subjects: English Composition, Remedial English, ESL, Speech and Communication, Chinese language, yoga, meditation, and TOEFL test prep. My readers wouldn’t know that I also work for an online wisdom school called Embodied Philosophy where I’m a course host and a video editor. Plus, I cook yummy pan-fried rice.

What was the most rewarding/meaningful part of publishing your book?

The most rewarding and meaningful part of publishing a book is the royalty check. I think it is important to make money as a writer. Writers contribute ideas, ways of thinking, exercises for the imagination, nuances in communication, depth, meaning, and much more to the world. I think we ought to make a fair living for writing. Sadly, it often feels the world doesn’t value writers’ work, and writers often get so little in the way of monetary compensation. So when any amount of money comes in from my writing, I am so happy.

If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?

I love this question. “Tabla Breath” by Benjy Wertheimer, “Heart of Gaia” by Ashana, “Healing the Heart” by Parjat, and “Hang Down” by Diva Baakso would definitely be on the playlist.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

I hope readers become curious about the more esoteric practices of yoga and meditation, more curious about the yogi’s approach to death and dying, and more curious about the spiritual achievement of the Rainbow Body. Plus, I hope readers feel inspired to write sestinas.

What new writing projects are you currently working on? Or, other projects that are not writing?

I am writing a new collection of poems; it is untitled. I am also working on an essay and a short story. Plus, I have a few books to review.

How was working with Atmosphere Press? What would you tell other writers who want to publish?

Working with Atmosphere Press felt efficient and fair. There was total transparency, friendliness, and professionalism. I felt like it was a harmonious collaboration. I felt empowered and respected. At Atmosphere Press, I feel part of a literary community that is committed to sincere Authorship. It is not just about the marketplace or reaching bestseller status, though those things are given their due respect here, but it is also more about being part of an inclusive and diverse literary community. Atmosphere Press supported my creative endeavor as an author rather than exploiting my creation or me. In a publishing industry where presses often take advantage of or feed off writers, I feel Atmosphere Press does not do anything like that—so this press is a necessary refuge.

You can buy She Bleeds Sestinas here.

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

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