I’m thrilled to be on the blog tour today for Kim Dinan’s The Yellow Envelope, published by Sourcebooks.
What Would You Do with a Yellow Envelope?
After Kim and her husband decide to quit their jobs to travel around the world, they’re given a yellow envelope containing a check and instructions to give the money away. The only three rules for the envelope: Don’t overthink it; share your experiences; don’t feel pressured to give it all away.
Through Ecuador, Peru, Nepal, and beyond, Kim and Brian face obstacles, including major challenges to their relationship. As she distributes the gift to people she encounters along the way she learns that money does not have a thing to do with the capacity to give, but that giving–of ourselves–is transformational.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Kim Dinan is a freelance writer and blogger, whose travel blog, So Many Places, was selected by USA Today as one of the 2014 Best Hiking and Outdoor Travel blogs. Her writing has appeared in OnTrak Magazine and Northwest Travel Magazine, among others, and she was on a speaking tour for Backpacker Magazine.
BLOG TOUR CONTENT – FEATURED AUTHOR Q&A
Today I am very lucky to be interviewing Kim Dinan.
Hi Kim, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background? I was born and raised in Ohio and moved to Oregon after college. I’d always wanted to write for a living but life sort of took me in a different direction and I ended up working in the environmental field. In 2012 I took a massive leap and quit my job to take a shot at writing and to fulfil another lifelong dream of traveling around the world. My husband and I ended up traveling for 3 years. Two of those years we spent abroad traveling to 25 countries on 5 continents. One of those years we worked for Backpacker Magazine and travelled around the USA giving presentations about backpacking and adventure. We got to camp and hike in 47 of the lower 48 states. It was a pretty sweet gig! We returned to the US in 2015. I wrote my book THE YELLOW ENVELOPE (which was just released 4/4/17) and began to build my freelancing base. Now I work full-time as a writer.
What are your ambitions for your writing career? The short answer is that I want to write books for the rest of my life. The long answer is that I want to write and speak to audiences about the things that I am passionate about—travel, adventure, the outdoors, nature and, most important, living a life on fire—a life that excites and inspires you. That doesn’t mean that everyone needs to chuck it all and travel around the world. I think we find a life that excites and inspires us when we hone in on our internal truth and build a life around that.
So, what have you written? I self published a short book called Life on Fire: A Step-by-Step Guide to Living the Dream that I sell on my blog and on Amazon. I’ve also written a short FAQ guide about walking the Camino de Santiago in Spain. My first traditionally published book is my memoir The Yellow Envelope. I have also written for dozens of magazines and websites and do copyediting and blogging work for companies and brands.
What is your most recent novel? My most recent book is The Yellow Envelope: One Gift, Three Rules, and a Life-Changing Journey Around the World. My husband and I quit our jobs, sold all our stuff and took off on an open-ended trip around the world. Just before our departure our friends gave us a yellow envelope. Inside was a check and instructions to give the money away as we travelled. The book is about the people we met and gave the money to, but it’s also about my personal journey of self-discovery as I figure out what I want out of life and my place in the world.
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special? Since my book is a memoir, I am the main character! My husband also plays a big role in the book as do our friends Michele and Glenn (who gave us the yellow envelope) and the people we meet along our journey. As I mentioned before, the book is so much more than a travelogue. As a character I write about what happens when the big dream I’ve been holding on to for so long suddenly slams up against the reality of living it. I write about my experience giving the yellow envelope money away and how awkward and uncomfortable giving can be. I write about what I learned about giving and vulnerability. I write about the struggles I had in my marriage as I ask big questions about what I want out of life.
What genre are your books? All of my books are non-fiction.
What draws you to this genre? Well, I think I just really love writing honestly about the human condition. I know that there are many ways to do this but the way that’s most comfortable to me is to tell the story of my own experiences in the world. I think this comes from my love of poetry. All poetry is just life boiled down to its most essential elements. I like to write about the essential things too.
When did you decide to become a writer? I don’t think I ever decided to be a writer per se. I always was a writer in the sense that writing is something I have been doing since childhood, and it was (still is) something that made me feel grounded and centred. When I finally decided that I would like to share my writing with other people I started a blog. That was back in 2010. Then in 2012 I quit my job to travel and spent more time trying to freelance. So I never decided to become a writer—it was more like I had a whole lot of hope and a massive work ethic. I still feel like I’m in the process of becoming… I don’t think I’m there yet.
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured? I have a small child at home so I write 10-3 MWF when I have a babysitter and then evenings and weekends. Most of that writing is freelance work and not the lovely creative writing I dream of. I have a new project I’d like to get started on soon, and then some of that effort will switch from technical to creative writing.
Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day? I have used this tactic at times when I am up against a deadline. What I usually do is tell myself I want to get a draft of a chapter done by a certain date and then make sure I hit that mark. But setting a daily word count is freeing in some ways, because I’ve found it allows me to get over the initial writers block and just put words on the page—even if they’re terrible. As long as I hit my word count I feel I’ve succeeded. The writing can be cleaned up later.
Where do your ideas come from? I write non-fiction so I draw on experiences in my own life and/or I write about people or things that spark my curiosity. For example, now that I’m a mom I’m interested in writing about adventuring as a mother and tackling that question that most women ask when they’re deciding whether to have children—how do you hold on to your own life (especially if it’s a life lived untraditionally) after becoming a mother?
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you? I start with big questions I want answered and then I see if I can live my way into the answers.
How long on average does it take you to write a book? That’s a tough one. I wrote THE YELLOW ENVELOPE in about six months but I’d been working on a draft of it for more than two years.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively? I think I’ve become better at telling the truth and realizing when I’ve hit on something that other people will relate to. But I’m still evolving. I want to try my hand at fiction someday but I’m scared—that’s a whole other ballgame. When you write non-fiction you work inside the boundaries of reality but with fiction anything can happen. I’m afraid I’d become lost with the choices. Of course I’ll never know until I try it.
Do you read much and if so which writers inspire you? I read all of the time- mostly non-fiction but I do love a good thriller. I love the truth tellers like Cheryl Strayed, Anne Lamott and Glennon Doyle Melton. I also love Jon Krakauer.
What is your favourite book and why? I can’t answer that question- there are too many! I read The Snow Leopard by Peter Matthiessen while walking through the mountains in Nepal and it blew my mind. A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson kick-started my lifelong obsession with the Appalachian Trail. The poetry of Lucille Clifton and Mary Oliver has made me cry more times than I can count. If a book sticks with me in some way it is added to my ever-growing list of favourites.
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why? I would be Rumi—the Sufi poet. Who wouldn’t want to be Rumi?? I’d want to have written everything he wrote.
What advice would you give to aspiring writers? Write what you need to write. Tell the truth. Don’t write because you think you’ll be the next Stephen King (although you might be the next Stephen King– someone has to be). Writing is a hard way to make a living. But if you love to write that won’t stop you. Nothing will.
How can readers discover more about you and your work? I’ve been blogging for years at www.so-many-places.com. That’s the best way to connect with me. You can find all of my social media links from there.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/Kim-Dinan/e/B00EYRASB6
Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview. Thank you Laura
Amazon UK: click here