Featured Interview With Amy Pattee Colvin
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
I grew up in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, in Colorado Springs, and stayed there until I left for college. (My mother still lives in the house in which I grew up from day 1.) I moved to Tacoma, WA for college, and after graduation I moved to Denali Park, AK for 8 years. I eventually moved back to WA, and now I live on the edge of the San Juan Islands and have the most kindhearted and friendly yellow Labrador anyone could ever hope to meet. She’s a great companion while I work on my book!
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
I’ve loved telling stories since I was a kid, and even majored in creative writing (as well as communication theory) at the University of Puget Sound. I was the youngest in my family, and one of my brothers, 9 years and a day older than me, always seemed to like listening to my stories. After he went to college, I’d write him stories, complete with pictures I’d cut out from “Highlights for Children” or “Ranger Rick” magazines, then send them off every couple of weeks.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
I love to read mysteries and suspense novels… those genres are my “comfort reading”. I also really love true adventure stories, like “No Picnic on Mt Kenya,” (I climbed Mt Kenya once; I think that is part of my love for that book), “Out of Africa,” “Burton and Speke,” (a novel about the 1857 Burton/Speke expedition to find the source of the nile), and I most recently finished reading ” The Flying Carpet,” (written in 1932 about Richard Halliburton’s adventures exploring the world in a bi-plane).
Initially I didn’t think that inspires my own work, but in truth, I think what I love about all those stories is the willingness to embrace challenge and be truly present with who you are. I would love to have adventures like any of those characters, and an underlying aspect of all of them is courage to face the unknown, and to make the best of all situations.
Tell us a little about your latest book?
My current book is Cultivating Compassion: Simple Everyday Practices for Discovering Peace of Mind and Resilience. Though this book suggests ideas for developing a compassion meditation practice, it is far from what one might imagine a book on meditation might entail.
This book is for readers who are looking for simple, practical, everyday suggestions on how to calm the mind, and become comfortable in their own skin. It is set up with 66 daily chapters (66 being the average number of days current research suggests for developing new habits) each of which contain an inspirational idea, self-reflection questions, and suggestions for daily action. Each chapter builds carefully on the last, and yet can be enjoyed individually.
So, what inspired me to write this? It stems from the desire to help people thrive in their lives. All of us face difficulties and distress at one point or another. Sometimes it becomes easy to give up and not remember to see the positive things in life. Sometimes we just want to shove challenging moments under the rug. But, in doing so sometimes those challenges fester. This book invites people to take a look at some of the challenging aspect of life and offers suggestions for how to do so with comfort and grace.
Ultimately I just wanted to share some of the ideas I’ve learned through decades of meditation retreats in order to help other people thrive.
Surprisingly, once I decided on the format of the book it only took about 3 weeks to write. The fine tuning took a while, but the essence of it came together really quickly.
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