Dawn Huffaker lives in the mountains of the southwestern corner of New Mexico. She is the eldest daughter of two educators.
At the age of eight months, Dawn became mysteriously ill and never learned to walk. She has had to learn to deal with her world from a wheelchair. With the help of her family, she is leading a productive life.
In junior high, Dawn discovered her passion for poetry. Some very special teachers took the time to show her the beauty of words. From that point on, she wrote poetry for family and friends, and published works in the school newspapers.
In college, she received her bachelor’s degree in Computer Science, and minors in English and Biology. Dawn went on to found a local computer store. The store operated for seventeen years. Then, she spent two months in the hospital dealing with a health concern, and had to close her business.
When Dawn returned home, she spent several months recuperating. During this time, she began exploring the idea of publishing her first book of poetry, and selecting her very best poems to put in volume one. That was how Flights of Fancy came to be.
Flights of Fancy became available in 2008. It is available through Amazon.
Dawn published her second book Flower Escapes in 2009. The collaboration is with Michele Duncan who has provided her amazing floral photography. This book is available through Amazon.
The two new books will have her latest poetry. The first one is titled Poetry to Ponder. It will be a collection covering a wide variety of topics including nature and faith.
The second book is being collaborated with Maria Kontaxis. They are writers from different countries who have a passion for poetry. The Internet has allowed them to share their work and inspire each other. Their collaboration is entitled I Will Fly. This book is intended to inspire people who have had rough patches or tragedies in their lives. The authors want to share encouragement and understanding to let the readers know that they are not alone. Others have had their lives turned upside down, but, with faith and courage, have made it to a brighter day. The book will be available through Amazon.
What makes you proud to be a writer from New Mexico, USA? I am proud to be a writer from this area because it is a small mountain town where I get to live out my dreams. Having lived here for over 40 years, I am still amazed by all of the beauty that surrounds me. Living in the mountains, I have an endless source of inspiration for my poetry.
What or who inspired you to become a writer? Words have always fascinated me. When I was in junior high, two of the English teachers (Mrs. Nolan and Mrs. Thomas) introduced me to poetry. I saw how it influenced them. They would share the poets that they enjoyed, and I saw their eyes light up.
When it was our turn to write verse for them, I fell in love. It was such a beautiful form of expression. I could capture a moment out of time, or share a precious feeling from my heart. Later, these teachers continued to encourage me to keep writing, and I did.
When did you begin writing with the intention of becoming published? My friends had asked me to give it a try. Had thought about it for a couple of years, but my workload would not allow me to get very far. It was in the fall of 2006 that I got started. I was home recuperating from a serious illness. On the good days, I sorted through the poems that I had written over the years, and typed them into a manuscript.
Did your environment or upbringing play a major role in your writing and why? Being exposed to famous poets in school was the spark for my career. Also, I did a lot of reading as a child, so I learned about word craft, and how words could be used expressively. Both were important.
Do you come up with your title (s) before or after you write the manuscript (s)? I come up with my titles after I write the manuscripts, unless I have been collaborating. Often the title is created before the book is written.
Please introduce your genre and why you prefer to write in that genre? My genre is poetry. The preferred form is free verse. Rhyming can easily take away from the subject of a poem. I carefully choose my words, and use them for rhythm and impact. One can express a lot in a few words, and that is why I find it so satisfying.
What was your inspiration, spark or light bulb moment that inspired you to write your books? Friends encouraged me to organize my poetry and create a book of my best work. That is usually the inspiration for each of my books.
Collaborating with another author or photographer gives additional inspiration. In Flower Escapes, Michele would email her lovely photography to me, and I would compose a unique poem for each photo. The final book does not have all that I wrote for that project. There were over 100 poems created for the book. Unfortunately, the cost to print it in color made the book too pricey to sell. It was decided to break it up into four volumes. If the first was a success, there would be three additional volumes.
I Will Fly is a book that showcases each of our poetry. Maria and I have written poetry that encourages the reader to stay strong and work their way through whatever has befallen them.
What has been your most rewarding experience with your writing process? I paint with words. When I’ve captured my subject as I intended, the poem comes alive in the mind of the reader.
Have you had a negative experience in your writing career? If so please explain how it could have been avoided? My most negative experience is when the inspiration turns to dust. It takes much work to try to bring it back, if ever.
What has been your most rewarding experience in your publishing journey? My most rewarding experience on this publishing journey has been the freedom to create my own book. I enjoy doing the layout and artwork for each book. It allows me to showcase what I love to do. The final product is a beautiful book that I would either want to give to someone that I care about, or to treat myself.
Have you had a negative experience in your publishing journey? If so please explain how it could have been avoided? Yes, I have had a negative experience in my publishing journey. It has been with promotion. Getting my name and work out to the public. Have tried many avenues.
Cold Coffee has been one of the bright spots, but most advertising is too costly and often does not bring about positive results. You can work very hard to create an enjoyable book, but if no one knows it’s available, there is a wall that you cannot get around. The book gathers dust. I’m not able to spend time out on the road doing book fairs or poetry readings. My illness has left me housebound. Hiring an agent is too costly and they do not usually promote poets. Going through a publisher is difficult and time-consuming. If you are not writing on a hot topic, they really don’t want you as a client. Also, they do not see a new author as profitable for them.
While this may sound discouraging, I have changed my outlook. I write for fun. There is the occasional promotion on different websites like Cold Coffee, but I am collecting my fans by word-of-mouth. It will take time, and I doubt I’ll ever be as famous as JK Rowling or Robert Frost. During this journey, I hone my craft and learn along the way. That is what life is all about.
What one positive piece of advice would you give to other authors? Don’t write to get famous. Write because you have a voice that wants to express an idea. Your voice is unique and is a gift that only you can use.
Who is your favorite author and why? My favorite author is Robert Frost. His poetry inspired me to write about nature and life. The poems were thought-provoking and very imaginative. One of my favorites is The Road Not Taken. Thought I would share it with you:
The Road Not Taken
By Robert Frost
Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;
Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,
And both that morning equally lay
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
The last three lines have been my motto for many years. It is easy to go the way that everybody else does, but it is more rewarding when you choose the less traveled path.
Is there anything else that you would like to share with us? Yes, I would like to share a poem that will appear in each of the new books that will be coming out in 2015.
Here is a poem from Poetry to Ponder:
Capture That Moment
Capture that moment
In words, rhythm, and rhyme!
Paint a perfect picture.
Compose a compelling concerto line by line.
Feel the elusive emotion.
Discover the eternal divine.
Make it incredibly memorable.
Make it so subtly sublime.
Tickle the reader’s imagination.
Expand his curious mind.
Put it down on paper
For all time.
2014 © Dawn L. Huffaker
All rights reserved.
Here is poem from I Will Fly:
You Are Not Alone
You are not alone.
No matter where you go,
Or how far you flee,
You cannot escape Me.
I am here to keep you company.
I am here to free you from mistakes.
I am here to show you the way home.
I am here to help in any way.
The world does not think I exist.
They try to substitute idols for Me.
They think they don’t need Me.
They think they can handle everything.
Don’t let them convince you.
Don’t let them substitute idols to worship.
Don’t let them put fear in your heart.
Don’t let them guide you astray.
You are not alone
Because I created you.
I want the best for you.
Share this life with Me.
I am forever yours.
Have faith. Trust Me. Pray.
Walk with God.
2014 © Dawn L. Huffaker
All rights reserved.
How many published books do your have? I have three so far.
Which book title would you like featured in this interview? Hopefully, it will be I Will Fly.
This is a collection of poems written by Dawn Huffaker and Maria Kontaxis. They are meant to inspire or encourage. Life can be challenging, and, perhaps, these poems can bring a smile or give comfort. Nobody walks through life alone.
Dawn and Maria are poets with message of hope and encouragement. Some of these 50 poems that fill this book are based on real life events and others are “what if’s”. They write each poem to inspire you in your daily life.
The best way to begin this review is to tell you about the poets, so I quote their Introduction as it says it best:
Dawn Huffaker is “from New Mexico where the turquoise sky meets the rugged mountains and carves poetry alongside the chimes of nature. Living in a home where books have always been adored, Dawn, the eldest of two daughters, fell in love with literature. Over time, she also responded with great passion to Computer Science in which she obtained a degree and founded a computer store which she ran for sixteen years.
Her inspirations are nature, her parents both retired teachers and the world. This has made her write poetry with a very calm but still exotic intricacy. Poetry and her love of Computer Science are like breathing to her. These gifts that God has bestowed upon her life have brought her pure happiness.
This is Dawn’s third book of poetry, having also written Flights of Fancy: Volume 1 published in 2007 and Flower Escapes: Book 1 published in 2009.
Dawn welcomes you to this book of collaboration with her friend, Maria and hope it gifts each reader a touch of happiness, hope and love.”
“Maria Kontaxis was born in Australia. She came into Dawn’s life via a mutual friend named Chase Von. Maria was living in Greece at the time. The internet made this possible through MySpace. There, Maria and Dawn exchanged poems and got to know each other. They found out that they had a lot in common.
Maria has loved to write since she was a small child. She has written poetry, lyrics, and stories. Many of these have been about nature, the ocean and animals.
Her talent and gift for interior design has been her lifeblood for many years. It has given Maria a chance to study life and see the colorful patterns all around her. This is also a component of poetry.
Maria’s philosophy is peace and harmony among mankind. She has lived in parts of the world were hate has reared its ugly head. Her greatest hope is that love will prevail. These themes are reflected in her poetry in this book.”
I invite you to put the cares of life aside and come fly with these two Poets and see the world from their vantage point. It has been an honor to be associated with Dawn Huffaker for years. Her gentle loving spirit, e-cards and words of friendship has made my world a better place.
The cover art is designed by Debbie Kontaxis.
Cold Coffee Press Endorses I Will Fly by Dawn Huffaker and Maria Kontaxis as they touch each reader with heart felt verse that brings with it a well of emotion for both them and the reader. Poetry is the song of love and expression which these two poets have mastered. They love the world around them, every part of nature and wants the best in everything to shine through, be immortalized and passed on. This book was given to us for review in a PDF format and the review was completed on September 7, 2015. For more information please visit Cold Coffee Press. http://www.coldcoffeepress.com
This first volume covers a selection of Dawn’s poetry from the past twenty-five years.
The poems capture special moments in nature or about life. Most are happy. A few are sad. Many of Dawn’s poems describe the amazing beauty that is found in the mountains of southwestern New Mexico.
Together, with her unique outlook and style, this book makes a wonderful read.
This book showcases Michele’s incredible floral photography, and Dawn’s inspirational poetry. Together, they bring the reader into God’s garden. Once there, the poems bring nature alive. Each plant has a voice. Even the insects share their wisdom. While traveling through the garden, life is viewed through another’s eyes. Ultimately, one comes away with a new appreciation of God, and His presence in each of our lives.