Interview: Laura Kester Duerrwaechter

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Laura Kester Duerrwaechter
Photo by Rhonda C. Schaefer

Today I have the special privilege of introducing one of my creative writing students. I now count her as both a friend and fellow author.

Laura Kester Duerrwaechter demonstrates courage as she steps out on a path to fulfill her dreams and it shines in every word of her new book, Bipolarity.

You called your first poetry collection “Bipolarity.” What does the title say about this collection and you as an author?

The collection is autobiographical- my life lived between extremes. Bipolar disorder is defined by the limitations of society’s prejudice. There is no chronology, the tone of each poem validates the momentary struggle. It is my intention to honor those who can not give voice to their identity.  I am not ashamed.

What made you decide to publish at this point in your life?  Was it something you’ve always planned on or has this been a recent decision?
 
Define “recent”.  The dedication to my Uncle Don is more than fifty years in the making.  I have other projects which span the last decade, but this chapbook was an urgent labor of love.  Honestly, it was six months from beginning to end. Your class description “Tell Your Story, Use Your Words” – Creative Writing at Northwest Florida State College, Fall, 2016 inspired me to try.  At 61, I thought “why not”. Thank you by the way. I started blogging three years ago.  Publishing was just a natural progression. 
 
There is a musical theme in “Bipolarity” both visually and in some of the poetry.  What does music mean to you?

Music has always been part of my life.  I am a student of classical piano and clarinet.  My last music lesson was well into my fifties.  It was a little intimidating being the oldest student at recitals!  Music is a generational flaw in my family and very much part of who I am.  “Fanfare For the Common Man” by Aaron Copeland, and Grand Canyon Suite by Ferde Grote’ are my go to favorites.  I had an intuitive reading recently that revealed I am related to Franz Josef Haydn, so I come by it honestly.

The graphic layout of both cover art and interior pages reinforce the theme of dark and light- manic and depressive episodes of the disorder.

Some authors refer to publishing their first book as a birthing process. How has this experience been for you?
 
Validation. Getting my learner’s permit and taking that 68 Pontiac Firebird , throwing it into 3rd gear and driving it at 90 mph up Interstate 25.  
 
What is your favorite poem or poems in the collection, and why?
 
Aspen’s Secret.  This is where my dreams take me at night.  
 
What can we expect from you in the near future? Any plans for future publications?
 
A well deserved nap. Future endeavors are to continue the process of reworking my original short story collection of my life as a pet sitter.
Now that Create Space is my new digital bff, I am empowered to try this publishing thing again.  Oh, and thank you for introducing me to the dark side.  I am thoroughly enjoying the challenges presented by this genre.  Late April, I will be immersed  6 feet under in StokerCon , 2017, in Long Beach, CA. Your fault!
 
Tell us where to find you…
My blog address is GotWhiskers.blogspot.com.  I have two themed blogs, one petsitting adventures (non fiction-only the names have been changed to protect the innocent) and whereprettylittlebluebirdsfly.com which is my personal journey in this incarnation.
 
Local charitable book signings in the northwest Florida region are a pretty good bet as far as personal appearances.  Your readers can contact me through Facebook @Laura Duerrwaechter if they are involved in upcoming charities.  There’s nothing like meeting your public and giving back at the same time.

About Angela Yuriko Smith

A former news journalist, Angela Yuriko Smith retired to write fiction. Her prose and poetry have been published in several print and online publications. She has nearly 20 books which include dark and speculative fiction for YA and adults, books for children and two collections of poetry. Her first collection of poetry, “In Favor of Pain,” has been nominated for an 2017 Elgin Award. When not writing, she teaches creative writing at Northwest Florida State College.
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