Interview with Local Author, Lisa Metwaly

Tonight I have the pleasure of speaking with my friend, Lisa Metwaly author of, Kindness Travel.  Lisa is a participant in Brush and Pen: Festival for Artists and Authors,

Welcome, Lisa! Thanks for taking the time to talk with me this evening.


Katelyn- Tell us a bit about yourself that isn’t writing related.

Lisa- I love to laugh, dance and go on adventures. My gardens are out of control with flowers and I also love to give bouquets away to randomly nominated people that live in my city. I’m currently engaged with World Kindness USA and getting trained to be a global ambassador of kindness.

Katelyn- I love the kindness bouquet campaign you started. I nominated my chiropractor and she was so surprised to get the flowers.  She said it made her day.  I imagine this act of kindness it making a lot of people happy. I have watched the Kindness work you have been doing grow over the years and it is very inspiring!

I am always curious what inspires authors to write. What inspired you to start writing?

Lisa- I was inspired to start writing when I owned the Q Kindness Café. I took on the job of marketing, P.R. and general front of the house management. I had to get better at writing by default. The stories came easily because so much kindness happened there. People shared their stories and I wrote about them.  

Katelyn– I loved Q Kindness Cafe!  You had so many things around the cafe to inspire kindness in people.  It was so much fun!


This is your book, Kindness Travels, Penny Power. It is written like a children’s book but adults can learn from it too!  What genre do you write and what do you like to read?

Lisa-  I love to write self-help, inspiration and meaningful passages. Sometimes I write poetry and other times its short stories. I love to read self-help and a good mystery.

Katelyn- I am always curious why authors write. Why do you write?

Lisa- I write to get the thoughts out of my head to make room for more play time. It’s my hope that what has helped me will help others. Kindness really is everywhere to be found. It starts with us and boldly we can move it forward into the world. I believe that our children are our best hope to help better the world. This is why my kindness books are intended to reach the schools in a pay it forward, kindness travels, fashion.

Katelyn- I have been impressed with your commitment to getting the book into a lot of hands and the buy a book and a book gets donated to a child.  What a wonderful way to spread kindness!

I know every creative person gets creative blocks once in a while.  What do you do when you get a creative block?

Lisa- I get around water. I’ll put my fingers in a plate of water and swirl it around as I sit with the question of “what do I need to know?” Water is a great conduit for intuition.

Katelyn- You are so right about water.  It immediately opens you and like you said helps you to tap into your intuition.

What writers inspire you and why?

Lisa- Sark, Susan Branch, Rachel Awes, Maya Angelou … they all write from their heart. They inspire kindness and playfulness.

Katelyn- Sark was an early inspiration for me to open up creatively.  Her books can really help with breaking through creative blocks too.  Rachel Awesome has a similar style and way of helping us to expand the way we think.  Great choices!

I imagine there are some aspiring writers reading this blog. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?

Lisa- The only thing that cannot be fixed by an editor is an empty page.

Katelyn- That made me smile.  I always say, just start writing, it doesn’t matter what comes out, just let it come out!

How can people support you in your writing career?

Lisa- I’m always seeking sponsors that want to get their name out to the local schools. If you have schools that would like to do a kindness project, I’m here to serve. Please send me referrals of principals or teachers that would be open-minded to more kindness.

Buy a book or host a book party where kindness is created. Kindness books can be purchased in bulk at wholesale and sold at retail for fundraisers.

Katelyn-What is your web address or where can people find your books and connect with you about your kindness work?


Interview with local Author and Artist Carole Hyder

Today I have the pleasure of speaking with my dear friend Carole Hyder she is a nationally recognized Feng Shui expert, author, and artist. Carole is a participant in Brush and Pen: Festival for Artists and Authors,

Welcome, Carole! Thanks for taking the time to talk with me this morning.


Katelyn- Hi Carole can you tell our readers a bit about yourself that isn’t art related.

Carole- I am cat-centric:  I love all things cat.  Almost all of my adult life I have had a cat, or two, or three.  I work hard not to be the crazy cat lady.

Katelyn- I know about your love of cats and have met some of your furry friends in person.  As another cat lover, I have decided that it’s okay to be a crazy cat lady!

Can you talk about what inspired you to start making art?

Carole- I have a degree in print-making so art has always had a high interest for me.  Painting is a creative outlet that uses different parts of my brain and body.

Katelyn- I have known you for many years and I didn’t know this about you.  I have a degree in print-making too.  How cool is that?

I don’t know about you but I never did print-making after I graduated because I didn’t have access to a printing press.  Do you have a favorite medium that you like to work with now?

Carole- I enjoy using acrylic paints with a palette knife because it offers me freedom of expression, plus they are very forgiving.

Katelyn- I love how you are using acrylics in your art. Here is an example of Carole’s work from a recent show:


I am always curious to know why artists create. Why do you create art?

Carole- Painting is a creative outlet that uses different parts of my brain and body.

Katelyn- I think that is key to making art because it gets you out of your thinking brain and allows you to access intuitive information.  Most artists run into creative blocks from time to time. What do you do when you get a creative block?

Carole- I walk away from the canvas, give myself some time and space, and then come back to it.  My return may be the next day, next week or a month later.  The painting lets me know when it’s time for us to work together again.

Katelyn- I love the idea that the painting calls you back to it.  I never thought of it that way but that is what happens, isn’t it?

What art/artists inspire you and why?

Carole- I’m inspired by the Impressionists who captured the essence of a scene or object without the need for precise details.  The viewer understands the spirit behind it.

Katelyn- I can see the impressionistic influence in your work.  It is really beautiful! I feel the same way.  The painting speaks to the viewer and the viewer really doesn’t need language to understand what they are seeing. The work speaks to everyone differently.

What advice would you give to aspiring artists?

Carole- I am not sure I will ever get over feeling like I’m an aspiring artist—-I’m always aspiring to a new expression or a new approach.  My advice would be to maintain a steady relationship with your art and let your art lead you.

Katelyn- I love that answer.  From that perspective, the work is always fresh and new.

I also want to say that Carole was the one who introduced Feng Shui to Minnesota.  That could be a whole other interview. She has written several books on Feng Shui that she will have at the Festival along with her art. I know she would love to have conversations about both her art and Feng Shui.  You can find her books at

Thank you so much, Carole, for taking the time to share with our readers.

Interview with Local Author, Amy Zellmer

Today I have the pleasure of speaking with Amy Zellmer and author of, Life with a Traumatic Brain Injury, Surviving Brain Injury and Embracing the Journey.  Amy is a participant in Brush and Pen: Festival for Artists and Authors,

Welcome, Amy! Thanks for taking the time to talk with me this morning.



Katelyn- Amy can you tell us a bit about yourself that isn’t writing related?
Amy-I was a professional photographer for 20 years before retiring in 2018 due to my brain injury. I love all things sparkly and glittery and am addicted to Miss Me jeans and Starbucks coffee.
Katelyn- Those are some fun, harmless addictions! I have seen your photography and it is wonderful. I am so sorry you had to retire that career. I know that you have been speaking all over the country about your experience and what you have learned about traumatic brain injury and impacting a lot of lives in a positive way.
I know what inspired your writing but could you tell the readers?
Amy- After suffering a traumatic brain injury in 2014, I began writing as a form of therapy. From there I submitted a piece to the Huffington Post which went crazy viral and thus became my advocacy platform. The rest, as they say, is history.
Katelyn- Writing can be such a great form of healing when we experience something traumatic. I am glad you got confirmation from the viral post that you were on the right track.
Can you tell the readers what genre you write in and what kind of books you like to read?
Amy- I write non-fiction, and I also love to read non-fiction. I also love a good mystery book!
Katelyn- I am always curious about why authors choose to write and go through the process of getting their writing published.  What compels you to write?
Amy-As I mentioned, I began writing as therapy. I now continue to write to help others who have experienced a brain injury and to help educate loved ones, caregivers, and the medical profession. With over 3.5 million TBIs each year in the US alone, it is a grossly misunderstood and misdiagnosed injury.
Knowing that my writing is helping thousands (if not millions) of people around the world who are lost and confused in the world of TBI keeps me writing. I receive the most amazing cards of gratitude for my pieces, and it’s truly touching.
Katelyn-I am so glad you are out there as an advocate! Traumatic brain injury is just starting to get the recognition it needs.  So many people have had one and don’t even know and the effects of TBI can be devastating as you know.
As a writer and creative person, I am sure you have had at least one creative block.
What do you do when you get a creative block?
Amy- I can either sit down and write an article in 5 minutes flat, or I sit and stare at my screen for 20 minutes before realizing I need to go for a walk outside in nature to clear my mind from all the chatter.
Katelyn- Ah, nature is my place to clear my mind too.
I imagine some of our readers also feel like they have a book in them and don’t know where to start. What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Amy- I am asked often by fellow TBIers how to get started writing. I tell them to write no matter how little or how much. Don’t worry about grammar, spelling, or punctuation. Just get it down on paper and out of your head. A good Editor will help you flush it all out and turn it into a piece of art!
Katelyn- I agree. Just start and don’t worry about it being a finished product.  Like you I started by blogging and feel that is a great way for people to start writing and getting feedback.
How can people support you in your writing career?
Amy- I have started Keynoting at conferences to help the medical community understand the reach of TBI and how it impacts us when we are brushed off by doctors who we are supposed to trust. I am always looking for groups who would be interested in having me speak and do a book signing!
Katelyn- Thank you so much for spending time with me and sharing more about you, Amy.
What is your web address or where can people find your books or get in touch with you about speaking?