Jill Weatherholt

Writing Stories of Love, Faith and Happy Endings While Enjoying the Journey

Summer Spotlight: Luanne Castle

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Luanne CastleLuanne Castle has been a grad student, college instructor, businesswoman, wife, mom, crazy cat lady, and more. Woven throughout those other identities has been writer, but more often than not writing has had to come second to everything else.

After years of dreaming of retiring and sitting in a pretty office writing her first book, Luanne seized the day when she partially retired. Now she works from home for the family business and writes—blogs, poetry, and memoir. Her office is beautifully decorated with her creative colors of ivory, coral, and black. Instead, she sits at the kitchen laptop, alternating between writing and handling the business demands by phone and email. She finally learned that it’s better to write “some” than “none.”

Recently, Luanne completed Doll God, a poetry manuscript. She is sending it out to publishers and contests. She also sifts through her memories and the family story, arranging it into a memoir called Scrap: Salvaging a Family. A short piece of this memoir, called “Patterns,” has been published in River Teeth’s “Beautiful Things” column here.

On her blog Writer Site, Luanne posts a review of a memoir each week. She also writes creative nonfiction posts and discusses the writing process. Additionally, she is the family historian, in charge of many antique photographs and the caretaker of family stories. She posts these photos and stories and the fruits of her research on her blog thefamilykalamazoo.wordpress.com.

Here are the questions I chose to answer:

If you could meet anyone, living or dead, who would you meet?

When I started thinking about this question, the first name that popped into my head was Benjamin Disraeli, a statesman and writer who fascinates me. He wrote and said many inspirational, humorous, and thought-provoking things. This is one of my favorites: “The greatest good you can do for another is not just share your riches, but to reveal to him his own.”
My thought of Disraeli was followed by images of Emily Dickinson, Louisa May Alcott, Charlotte Bronte, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Sylvia Plath, and Muriel Rukeyser. I was astonished that all but two of these people were from the 19th century because I’ve always thought I was more interested in 20th century literature, history, and style. I don’t find Victorian styles very attractive, for instance. But literature flourished so incredibly in that century that I can’t help but get excited thinking about meeting these people. Then the mid-century female poets like Plath and Rukeyser . . . well, it would be thrilling to meet them, although I suspect I wouldn’t like Plath and would adore Rukeyser. It’s so much easier to think about meeting dead people than living who I very well could end up meeting—and being disappointed by.

What celebrity do you get mistaken for?

I have been mistaken for many celebrities over the years, although not often now that I am older (gee, I can’t imagine why, sans Botox and plastic surgery that I am). The name that has come up over and over is Sissy Spacek, but there are other people who seem to get angry when they hear that and say, “There is a resemblance, but NO you could not be mistaken for her.” My husband and my friend both say I remind them of Natalie Wood, although I look nothing like her, so that is a big mystery.

After death, if you were to come to life as an animal, which would you choose?

I can’t think of any animal that I would like to be because they are all threatened—either individually or en masse–by humankind. When people see my cats lying contently on my kitchen counter in their beds ;), they sometimes say, “I wish I had the life of a cat.” I cringe when I hear that because cats are killed every day in shelters across the country. When an animal becomes very plentiful, like rats, they are hunted down and killed by humans through all manner of barbarous murder and torture.

If you could visit any place in the entire world, where would it be?

I would love to visit Myanmar before it was Myanmar. In 1967 I visited Expo 67 with my parents and fell in love with the Burmese Pavilion. Inside, the focus was on a gigantic golden Buddha, as if it were a temple. I felt peaceful inside and thought I had waited my short life to be there. After that, I was fascinated by the country. Burmese food is also my favorite food. The flavors are a mix of Indian and Thai, but not Indian and not Thai. Instead, they are a delicious blend of the best of both cultures.

If you could go back in time to change one thing what would it be?

I would like to stop Columbus and the other explorers from bringing disease and slavery to the native populations of the west. It seems such an insurmountable task, though, and I don’t know how I would accomplish it. It might be easier to use my one wish to go back before Kristallnacht and assassinate Hitler.

Thanks for taking the spotlight, Luanne! Stayed tuned next week for Dianna Keen.

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Author: Jill Weatherholt

My name is Jill Weatherholt and I’m a writer. I have a full-time job, but at night and on the weekend, I pursue my passion, writing. I write modern stories about love, friendship and forgiveness. I started this blog as a way to share my journey toward publication and to create a community for other new writers. Raised in the Washington, DC area, I’ve lived in Charlotte, North Carolina since 2004. I hold a degree in Psychology from George Mason University and a Certification in Paralegal Studies from Duke University. My first book, SECOND CHANCE ROMANCE, published by Harlequin Love Inspired released on February 21, 2017 and is available on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.com. I was the first place winner in the Dream Quest One Short Story Contest in the Winter 2014-2015 competition. In 2014, I placed second in Southern Writers Magazine Short Story Contest. I was also a top ten finalist in Southern Writers Magazine Short Story Contest in 2012 and 2013. I’m a 2010 and 2012 winner of the NaNoWriMo Contest. I love to connect readers, visit me at jillweatherholt.com

101 thoughts on “Summer Spotlight: Luanne Castle

  1. Nice to meet you, Luanne! Wow, I have some pretty “big shoes to fill” next week….!

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  2. Wonderful post, Luanne. And thank you, Jill, for hosting her. Luanne, I appreciate knowing this much more about you. I agree with your answers to the questions you chose. While there are times I wish I could be a cat, that reflection is based solely on my cats, all of whom pretty much rule my household. But their lives weren’t so great before they moved in with us. By the way, have you ever read Sybil by Disraeli? It’s a wonderful novel. I actually hadn’t know that he wrote fiction until I found the book at a used bookstore many years ago. Happy Friday!

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    • Marie, I have a small blue book of Sylbil! That book clinched my fascinated with Disraeli. He had such unusual politics–kind of conservative in international affairs and liberal in domestic affairs. I found his genuine compassion for people amazing for a politician. Re your cats: precisely. Ugh. So glad when we can rescue a few of them! xo

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  3. How lovely to meet you, Luanne! Congrats on your publication! You sound very busy and very fulfilled. That’s great! Cats have incredible metabolisms so I can’t blame you for at least thinking about being one. But yes, animals are mistreated!

    Thanks, Jill, for hosting!

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  4. Reblogged this on Writer Site and commented:
    Jill Weatherholt interviewed me for her Summer Spotlight series. I had a blast answering her great questions. Each one made me think of a story I would love to write ;)!

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    • Derek and I had a blast reading your answers! He was very surprised by the Burmese food answer. I think he said something like, “How many people would say their favorite food is Burmese, how cool.” 🙂

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  5. Great interview, very interesting answers, always fun to meet other authors 😀

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  6. Great post! Luanne, you thrill me by looking at the world through a macro-scope. Meet Disraeli, assassinate Hitler, write three blogs, a poetry MS, and a memoir! Wow!

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  7. A crazy cat lady AND a writer? Impossible!

    😉

    Interesting responses. Now I am under pressure to come up with good answers instead of being silly. Darn you deep thinkers!

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  8. Wonderful to meet you Luanne. Great answers to Jill’s fab questions. I love your quote by Disraeli and like you I am a huge fan of Dickinson, Plath and Rukeyser. Thank you for sharing 🙂

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  9. This is a great piece – it is encouraging to read these things and see what the community is up to!

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  10. Hey Luanne! Nice to meet you!

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  11. Nice to meet you Luanne – and thanks to Jill for providing the platform. Sylvia Plath is one of my faves too – when I’m feeling in a particular frame of mind, of course!

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  12. This is such a great piece! Jill, your questions were perfect + Luanne, I loved your answers! So interesting 🙂

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  13. Such great questions and answers…nowyou’ve inspired me to do what I’ve been putting off for weeks: re-vamp my author interview questions. I loved reading this interview!

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  14. Well, THAT was fun, Luanne – just when you think you’re starting to get to know a person, you find out Burmese food is their favorite!

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  15. Luanne,

    I loved hearing your answers to these questions. This little details reveal so much about an individual. I always feel like I know someone a little more after they share their answers in this format.

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    • Rudri, thanks so much for letting me know! It’s fun to be asked questions like this because they aren’t necessarily things I think about very often–or even realize about myself–until I’m asked!!

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  16. Great questions Jill and really thoughtful, interesting answers Luanne.

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  17. Luanne ~

    In 1967, I visited Expo 67 with my parents and fell in love with Burma! I waved to you across the Burmese Pavilion, but you didn’t wave back. Maybe the light reflecting off the giant golden Buddha got in your eye?

    Here’s a Cat Buddha you might enjoy ~ perfect timing for next Friday:

    http://nrhatch.wordpress.com/2012/04/13/friday-the-13th-again/

    Thanks for sharing such interesting answers with us . . . and for setting such a high bar for Eric!

    Jill ~

    This series is going to be a BLAST! Thanks for hosting.

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    • It’s my pleasure, Nancy! I think it will be a lot of fun learning more about everyone.

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    • No, really? Was that you waving?!!! Hah, you’re right. I assumed you were waving at somebody else! Do you really remember that pavilion? OH my goodness. Do you remember the rest of the Expo 67? I remember the awful feeling of the U.S. pavilion–I felt like I was suspended in air and was scared. But mainly, it was such a great time! We had relatives in Montreal and stayed with them in their beautiful old brownstone. Nice to meet you!!!

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      • It was me! Or c’est moi as they say in parts of Montreal.

        I don’t remember much of the expo. I think I was in the 4th grade at the time. And what memories I have are spotty ~ for example, it was NOT my parents who took me. It was my grandparents. But you mentioning the Golden Buddha rang a bell ~ and I did have a brief love affair with Burma afterwards.

        Thanks for leading off the series!

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      • So cool! I can’t wait to read the rest of the series!

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      • Interesting to hear of others who attended Expo ’67. I remember the long drive from Ohio with my mom, dad, and two sisters. My older sister brought along a friend! That wouldnt have been bad, but we were traveling in a Chevy Corvair! I was going into my senior year in high school, and the only thing I was really interested in at the Expo was getting my hands (illegally, of course) on good Molson Canadian Beer! In retrospect, I’d like to go back and take it all in on a more serious level. 🙂

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  18. Greetings, Luanne. Glad to meet you via this wonderful interview.

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  19. I follow and enjoy Luanne’s blog, and this post certainly adds even more to her impressive qualities! Thanks for sharing, Jill and Luanne. Looking forward to getting to know the others on the summer list. Great idea!

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  20. Firstly, Luanne, I think we owe a lot to Jill for each of us having our own individual spotlight!!!!! You strike me as the kind of person I would really like. How your dream to have a lovely creative office and do your work after retirement blissfully turned into squeezing it into everyone else’s life…..I do know how this is (I have that; I am an artist with a family) but it sounds like you are striving for that blissful state. And have already accomplished a lot. An amazing amount. Think of Jackson Pollack, who said, we have to have resistance in order to be creative.

    I don’t think I would like Sylvia Plath either. As Jackson Browne says “It would easier sometimes to change the past!”, I know what you mean…the artist is not the art. Think of Woody Allen.

    Boy I am full of quotes today. Aren’t I? Sorry I am not usually like this. Nice to hear all your answers. Interesting interesting!

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    • I’m looking forward to your time in the spotlight, Hollis!

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      • Jill, I am already thinking of the answers to some of those questions. Right now I feel like I can relate to the celebrity Shirley McClain in the movie “Steel Magnolias!” 🙂 Kind of beaten down….haha I will write a more glamourous spotlight though! Thinking of you in the gym today.

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      • Ha ha! I loved her role in that movie, Hollis! Hopefully you can rest up this upcoming weekend. I’m looking forward to your day in the spotlight. 🙂

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    • Hollis, I can’t wait to read your interview! Do you have a blog? I ended up at your gravatar, but couldn’t figure out if you have a blog? Wow, that is just what I needed to hear today, that we need to have resistance in order to be creative. Maybe it’s true. On the rare occasions when I am trapped somewhere where I can’t do my “stuff,” I start to zone out and feel kind of unfocused and lose those little thoughts that spark creativity–where even the way my husband puts TP on the roller makes me think of a blog post . . . or a poem haha. Thanks for your thought-provoking comments!!

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      • Yes, Luanne, I do have a blog although not regularly at this point. I did a virtual exhibition of my work last year, during a sad time when my mother was dying. An article was written about it in the Atlanta paper, so you should look it up. My mom died a week later and I still have not been able to “get back on track” with the painting. My domain is:hhildebrandmills.com. And thank you so much for the compliments. Yes we have a lot in common!!! I get the toilet paper roll syndrome and I have constant angst too about not creating. Just remember Jackson Pollack.He worked inspite of terrible cold in his studio. Have you seen the movie “Pollack?” “See you in blog land soon!

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      • Luanne. I tried to connect with you too on WP and can’t find your domain. Could you tell it to me? I would like to follow you! Hollis

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      • Hollis, you can find me at writersite.org. I’m so sorry about your mother. You are an inspirational person.

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      • Hollis, I copied and pasted that domain and couldn’t find it. Did you type it correctly?

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      • I’m so sorry to hear about the loss of your mother, Hollis. I’m sure she was a wonderful woman, just like her daughter.

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  21. This was a great interview, Jill! I wrote that I was enthralled by Luanne’s photograph and her descriptions in her thoughtful answers. You did an outstanding job of asking ‘just the right questions’ to make a lively discourse atmosphere! Everyone is commenting! Yeah for you both! Smiles, Robin

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    • Robin, haha, I was thinking that photo maybe needs a couple layers of “soft” or whatever it’s called from Picmonkey! So thank you for your sweet comments. Aren’t Jill’s questions just phenomenal?! They really made me think more deeply and pull stuff out of the old brain I never would have found in there otherwise!!!!! xoxo

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  22. Thanks, Robin! Luanne did a great job with both her biography and her answers. I’m happy you enjoyed it too!

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  23. What a great post – it was lovely to get to know Luanne! (and yes – definitely Sissy Spacek).

    The questions are fantastic, Jill, and answers very interesting indeed. I agree I’d also like to go back in time and stop the spread of disease and slavery (and get rid of Hitler). Wow – there’s a lot of food for thought here 😀

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    • Thanks, Dianne! Oh yes, I agree, I see the resemblance to Sissy Spacek too!

      On Sun, Jun 8, 2014 at 3:58 PM, Jill Weatherholt wrote:

      >

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    • Dianne, thank you so much! I’m afraid I made it sound like it would have been EASY to get rid of Hitler, when obviously it was not, but to get one person seems much less complicated than figuring out what to do about exploration and colonization!!

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  24. Jill thank you for introducing Luanne a great bunch of interesting questions. Luanne your answers were thought provoking and different. Thank you for sharing.

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  25. Great series this is going to be Jill! Lovely to meet Luanne and read all about her writing and also her role as family historian. I will definitely be visiting her blog and of course I’m very interested in her memoir.
    Hope you had a lovely weekend Jill 🙂 xoxo

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    • Thanks Sherri! Luanne writes amazing reviews on memoirs, she’s added so many books to my TBR list. Yes, you two have a lot in common when it comes to your memoirs.
      I hope you had a wonderful weekend with Nicky! xoxo

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      • Yes, I’m really looking forward to reading more of Luanne’s blog! Thanks Jill, we did (always lovely to see Nicky and I’m doing well since I saw my other son the weekend before!!).
        Hope you did too and that your week is going well… 😀 xo

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    • Sherri, nice to meet you. Your blog looks fascinating!!

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  26. Somebody needs to get to work on that time machine! I vote to allow her to revisit Columbus too. But she can’t stay there of course. We need all of our ‘writer’ voices and ‘animal rights’ voices right now. Love this. Such fabulous questions and answers.

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  27. I am finally getting around to reading this post. I usually read Jill’s posts immediately so I was needing my Jill fix. 🙂

    Nice to meet you, Luanne. I am so impressed with all of your accomplishments. The best of luck to you with Doll God. 🙂

    I love your answers to the questions Jill asked. It is obvious that you are an animal lover and are aware of the issues affecting all animals. I also agree with you on wishing you could stop Columbus and other explorers from spreading disease. Just the other day we were discussing, The Lord Jeffrey Inn (an inn in my little town of Amherst, MA) named after Lord Jeff Amherst, a commander general known to have encouraged the distribution of small pox infected blankets to Native Americans. It is certainly a topic that is much discussed in our town. On a positive note however, is the fact that Emily Dickinson came from this quaint little town of ours. 🙂

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    • Yes, Luanne’s credentials are quite impressive. We’ve missed you, Maria! I know you’ve been busy with your daughter’s graduation festivities…what a fun time. You’re going to need a long vacation when it’s all over. xo

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    • What a great town you live in! I can never hear the name without thinking of Emily! Thank you so much for your encouragement with my poetry manuscript!
      Re the small pox infected blankets: horrible. Germ warfare ahead of its time. Just despicable.

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  28. Thank you Jill for introducing me to Luanne’s writing…
    peace

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  29. Hi Luanne! I’d be your company in Burma, if you’re needing some 🙂
    I wish you could have got to Hitler, too, but then, you don’t have to look very far for evil in this world, do you? Fortunately there are also many very wonderful, brave and generous people too.

    Just a note to Jill- thanks, hon! I got my email. Just trying to get my act together a little before I respond.

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