In January 1976 I was a bliss-filled 23-year old newlywed. 3 months after our wedding, my husband and I were awakened at 3:00AM by men with guns. We feared we were being kidnapped by hardened criminals. Kidnapping was then, and still is, a common occurrence in Brazil. As we were driven from our home, fearing death or worse, my husband and I knew our lives would never be the same. And as we clung to one another in desperation we knew our trauma was just beginning. It took decades but once I began practicing yoga in 2009 I finally was able to talk about that night and everything that had happened to us. And since then I also learned that we ALL have traumas. Each and everyone of us has fears, struggles and life-altering battles. But there is good news. I’ve also learned that each of us can overcome our traumas. We CAN heal. With help, with perseverance and dedication we can lead normal, productive lives. But the most important thing I learned is this: It’s not about the storm, it’s about how we clear the debris and rebuild. And it’s about who clears the debris with us, and who helps us rebuild.
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The Parrot's Perch: A Memoirby Karen KeiltPublish: Apr 16, 2019Series: Sequel to fiction The Parrot's PerchBiographies & Memoirs
My favorite childhood memory is of a horseback ride I took in 1967. I usually rode within the confines of an Equestrian Club called the Hipica Paulista. At the time, this club was located in a fairly undeveloped area of Sao Paulo. Riders would frequently take the horses on a exterior expedition through the surrounds woods across a river. I was thrilled to finally be old enough to take this ride with a friend. We cautiously made our way along dirt trails and a small rickey passenger bridge to find ourselves inside a world I’d never explored. It was a small forest on the outskirts of Sao Paulo. We made our way up and down hills through dappled shadows and prickly tropical plants. When we’d reached the top of the hill, I realized that I had never descended such a steep embankment on horseback. Looking at the path that we would need to take back down was intimidating and would be a challenge for both my horse and myself. With an air of abandonment I really didn’t often experience I “gave the horse the reins” holding on for dear life as he maneuvered his huge body down the steep hill and coming to a final soaring leap over an obstacle in his course. It was in that moment that I first truly experienced a sense of “being one with my horse” and my love of riding increased even more than I’d thought possible.How did you get start hiking? What are some quick and easy hiking meals?
I got started hiking in 2005 when I lived in Massachusetts. I loved the silence and beauty of the green forests, but it was when I moved to Arizona that hiking became a part of my life. Again the silence and beauty of the Sonoran Desert proved irresistable and then having the opportunity to see so much diverse wildlife reminded me of being in Brasil.How did you end up being at the University of Sao Paulo, Faculdade Objetivo?
Once I had graduated from my American high school my father did not want me to continue my education in the US. He wanted me to stay home. Brazilian women were not encouraged to leave Brazil alone and they were also not very encouraged to attend college. I insisted and my father allowed me to enroll and attend classes, but only if I lived at home. Brasil was and for the most part still is a predominantly male oriented society.How would you describe your experience of being a Riding Master at the YMCA?
I loved being rRiding Master at the YMCA because it gave me an opportunity to be around horses, but at that time with a young family it also provided me with the opportunity for my son to attend a prestigious YMCA Camp. I worked there in exchange for his summer camp fees and I thoroughly enjoyed teaching both my son and other young campers to ride. The YMCA is dedicated to providing a safe, and fun experience for its young campers.How has writing memoirs been different from writing as a newspaper columnist in South Carolina?
My newspaper columnist writing in South Carolina, was a fun column mostly about community and Chamber of Commerce events although I later expanded it to include my own adventures and travels. That column gave me confidence in my ability as a writer able to reach a varied audience and connect with them in a fun and easy going way. My memoir was a difficult journey into a tumultuous past and as a result was not “fun” to write, but I felt I had the ability to write because of my previous experience.What’s the path to becoming a professional screenwriter? What type of screenplays do you want to write in your career?
That’s a tough question to answer because I believe that for the most part Hollywood is a very privat ly controlled system. You have to know someone to be allowed into the inner circle. In order to write a successfully produced screenplay, you need to have the right contacts, an agent and previous experience. But you can’t get an agent nor the right contact unless you have a successfully produced screenplay. In my opinion most of the screenplay competitions and small production companies that only accept writers who pay a fee to participate at a chance to get a screenplay produced are scams. I spent thousands of dollars attending conferences, and paying “producers” to pitch my screenplays ingot nowhere. However, while I was on vacation, I happened to meet a CEO of one of the big studios, who then optioned my story, proving to me that “who you know” is what matters most.How do you usually select character names? Have you ever named a character after your family or friends?
When I write fiction, I like to use names of friends and family. Almost everyone gets a kick out of seeing their name in a print. But be sure to get permission!How does it feel to be the first-ever female general manager of a men’s professional RHI League hockey franchise, the Florida Hammerheads?
This was one of my most professionally satisfying accomplishments. Hockey was then and still is dominated by men. The Florida Hammerheads was 1 of 2 female owned franchises in the league. My job was very difficult as I had no previous professional hockey experience. And though the Los Angeles Blades was owned by Jeanie Buss who also had no previous hockey experience, she was “ even a pass” because her father owned a World Team Tennis franchise and was well known in the sports world through his connections with the LA Lakers. I was verbally abused, made fun of and intimidated by other team owners and staff. Before the leagues first ESPN Televised Draft began, I was asked by one of the league owners, if I “ even knew what I was doing” or if I "planned on batting my eyelashes before I made my picks”. He was surrounded by other well known hockey GM and owners who laughed as I made my way to my team table. What happened was that one of those well-known and revered GM's of the team with the pick just before mine made a procedural mistake and ended up losing his pick.As a result, I “stole” his pick, and later told him that perhaps he’d been distracted “by the repartee” before the draft began.The Parrot’s Perch is a searing, sometimes shocking true tale of suffering, struggle—and survival. What challenges did you face to go back down to the year 2013 and write this memoir?
Writing the memoir reawakened nightmares I had held at bay for many years. It was at times too difficult to continue to write. There were events and situations that I had never spoken about to anyone so it was extremely difficult to put into words that would not be offensive to my readers. Writing the memoir has also exposed my name and that of my family to possible retribution.z. It was a difficult decision to make, but one I believed firmly could help others who had suffered or continue to suffer the same human rights abuses as I did.What is the significance of the title "The Parrot's Perch”?
Though it sounds innocuous, and most picture a stand for a parrot, a parrots perch is also a torture device used in Brasil to cause severe joint and muscle pain, headaches and psychological trauma. It consists of a metal bar being placed over the victim’s biceps and behind their knees while their ankles and wrists are tied together.What is the oddest thing a fan has ever said to you?
I don’t know that I would classify anyone who has read my book as a “fan”, but rather as a supporter and without exception anyone who has read my book has been kind.On a typical day, how many hours do you spend writing? What else do you do to kick back and relax during your spare time?
On a typical day I will spend approximately 5-6 hours writing. My favorite way to kick back and relax during my spare time is yoga and photography.What are the best and worst things about being an amateur photographer? Have you ever thought about working as a professional photographer?
The very best thing about being an amateur photographer is he great pleasure of capturing a beautiful image and being able to share that image with someone who might never have the opportunity to see the things I do. The worst thing about being an amateur photographer is that I don’t have the type of professional equipment that is available today. I have dreamed about becoming a professional photographer, but do not believe I’m quite technologically prepared to pursue this occupation yet.What are some of your future projects that you've started on? May we know when we can expect a new book?
I have several different ideas I’m working on at this time, but I never feel comfortable giving “anything away” until I’ve made significant progress. While I am usually able to write an entire story in a. Very short period of time, from 3 to 30 days, it then takes me much longer 2-3 years to fine tune, and submit a proper book.Lastly, how has your experience with AllAuthor been so far? Would you recommend this platform to your author friends?
My experience with AllAuthor has been fantastic. I have been continually surprised by its reach and opportunities with incredible values that are far below many similar programs. I highly recommend AllAuthor to other Indie and traditional authors seeking a way to get visibility for their books. Everyone at AllAuthor has been professional and helpful and I wish I had found them sooner.
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