Featured Interview With Marie Maccagno
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
I was raised in a small town in northern Alberta, and I now live on Vancouver Island, Canada’s west coast. Spoiler alert – I’m still married – we have two adult children who also live on Vancouver Island. I love where I live, since there are many beautiful natural areas that are easy to access. I am inspired and nurtured by nature, so this is a wonderful place to call home. I have no pets, but I occasionally look after other people’s cats.
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
I started reading at age four, and I haven’t stopped since. One of my earliest memories is declaring to my family, “I’m going to be a writer!” I was probably five at the time. I’ve written in journals most of my life, but didn’t have the courage or support to develop my ideas any further. Finally, when I was 55 I realized that my dream of writing a book wasn’t going to happen until I made a “hell yes” commitment. So I joined a year-long writing mastermind group and thus began my journey. I didn’t know what I was going to write, I just knew I wanted to write. Five years later, I published my memoir, The Chocolate Pilgrim.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
My favorite genre these days is memoir, although I have quite eclectic tastes; including poetry. Cheryl Strayed was an inspiration to me while I was writing my book, as well as Martha Beck. Lately, I’ve been inspired by Tara Westover (Educated) and Jeannette Walls (The Glass Castle). I’m a big fan of Neil Gaiman, who writes fantasy. Another book that has guided me along the way is The Art of Asking, by Amanda Palmer. Elizabeth Gilbert’s book, Big Magic, reminds me how important it is to keep showing up for my writing. Mary Oliver’s poetry always gives me full body shivers.
Tell us a little about your latest book?
I am passionate about walking, the great outdoors, and chocolate. In the spring of 2009 I made a commitment to walk 800 kilometers through Spain in the hopes I could eat all the chocolate I could find. What I didn’t expect to find was myself. A walk that long gives a person a lot of time to think. My mind dished out big lessons around forgiving my mother, entertaining the idea of possibly leaving my husband, and honoring myself as a parent. One step at a time is how I completed the Camino de Santiago and learned to love herself after all the years of inner self-hate.
When I walked the Camino I had no intention of writing about my experience. Thankfully, I did keep a journal, and I had a private blog for a few close friends and family members. Over time, a clear theme emerged in my writing mastermind sessions about lessons learned. I started to realize that I could serve other readers who have had – or are having – similar challenges in their lives. It took four years from my initial realization that “I’m writing a book” to sending my manuscript to publication. My life has been transformed as a result.
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