I’m pleased to have multi-genre author Kenneth Weene on my blog today. Kenneth’s first novel is “Widows Walk,” but he has several other published works, including an anthology of his poems, stories, and essays. His poetry in particular has appeared in a number of venues. Ken’s career includes teaching, pastoral care, psychology; he has authored a number of professional publications.
Welcome, Ken. Can you please give us a synopsis of your novel, “Widows Walk”?
Ken: When Mary Flanagan's son, Sean, who is a quadriplegic due to an accident in Vietnam, decides to go to Minnesota for rehab, Mary realizes that she has to restart her own life. In the process she meets a man whom I hope readers will see as a great guy, Arnie Berger.
While Mary and Arnie are falling in love, Sean is also finding a relationship. His sister, Kathleen, who works in a hospice and is bitter after the death of her infant and the failure of her marriage, is not so fortunate. However, Mary’s relationship with Arnie and the changes it causes in her allow reconciliation between mother and daughter.
Kathleen eventually meets Danny. Their relationship is the third love story in the book, but it is one that ends badly.
Intertwined with these three love stories are a number of other characters, some of whom have interesting stories of their own. Perhaps none is more interesting than one of the dying patients with whom Kathleen works. Max is a character who forces himself into Kathleen’s and I hope the reader’s thoughts about the world and God.
I don’t want to spoil the read by talking about the end of the story. I will only say that I personally was crying when I finished writing it.
Katie: There are several themes in “Widows Walk,” such as the role of faith in life, the possibility of love, and the meaning of life and of love. Why did you choose themes for your book?
Ken: I think to be worthwhile a novel has to make us think about what is important in life. Love and faith are as important as anything can be. Strangely, however, when I started writing Widow’s Walk, I had thought it was going to be more about education. I had thought that, but the characters evidently were focused elsewhere. Because of their focus and concerns the book is a much better one than it would have been if I were in charge.
Katie: Since you have other publishing credits to your name, what inspired you to write a novel, and specifically this novel?
Ken: Writers write. I have two other novels written, one of which has been accepted for publication. I have a short play that was recently performed, and I’m working on another full-length play. Now that I have the time to do so, I just keep writing away.
As to why this novel, because I had the idea of Mary faced with this major realization: “It‘s time to start over.” I had another idea, that she would meet a good, caring man who was very educationally oriented. As I said earlier, the characters took hold and started to direct the plot. I think they made it into a really powerful novel.
Katie: Your story has many characters in it. Was your inspiration for them based on others that you have known, or perhaps yourself?
Ken: “We are all more nearly human than otherwise.” (Harry Stack Sullivan) So all my characters are in part based on me. Mary and Sean were initially based on people with whom I worked as a therapist. Arnie certainly borrowed from colleagues with whom I taught. Ultimately, however, the characters evolved and grew into themselves.
Katie: In developing the plot for your book, did you create an outline, or did you write as you were inspired?
Ken: I had an outline that was soon outmoded. The characters had taken over and were telling their own story. For example, Max, who is a very strong and important character in the final story, started out in the outline to be something of a cipher. My idea was that Kathleen would see him as an end to avoid, somebody without much presence or meaning in life. But, he had a story to tell, a very personal and moving one. It influenced Kathleen, the story, and me.
Katie: Do you plan on writing more novels? Do you have any more “in the hopper?”
Ken: As I mentioned earlier, there are two already written. Memoirs From the Asylum has been accepted for publication. It is tragic-comedic and, I hope, very provocative. The second is a conspiracy novel that is tentatively titled Times to Try the Soul of Man. There is the beginning of a third novel in my computer.
Right now I am working on a play. And, I have a non-fiction piece in mind – about politics and economics.
Katie: What kind of marketing and promotional work are you planning/doing for this novel?
Ken: All I can. Much of it is on the Internet: blogs, using social networking sites, that kind of thing. I’d love to do more. In my home city of Phoenix I’ve been trying to set up some signings, and I’m very eager to do book clubs, reading groups, anything like that.
Katie: What three words of advice would you give to authors seeking publication?
Ken: Write, persevere, edit.
Katie: Thanks, Ken, for being a guest on my blog today. Ken’s book, “Widow’s Walk” is available now, and can be ordered through: Amazon You can also visit Ken’s website, http://WIDOWS-WALK.webs.com, and publisher, All Things That Matter Press.