Mary Bartnikowski, award-winning photographer, author, educator, mother and women’s international travel expert has lived and worked in 27 countries in the last 6 years. With no big bank account and even less electricity she has traveled by boat, plane, train, chicken bus, motorbike and rickshaw photographing the Dalai Lama in India, riding elephants bareback in Nepal, leading humanitarian projects worldwide and begging the bus driver in Bolivia to pull over so she could pee. After raising her son in California she broke free of the USA and is now a full-time vagabond. Want to ditch your job and travel the world? Find out how: read this book. www.bartnikowski.com
Bio provided by author’s site
It was our pleasure to get an opportunity to interview Mary and learn about her and her travels! It seams she has been to many different places and experienced a life time of memories. Now she has decided to write a book about her adventures, the good and the bad. So grab a warm mug of a hot beverage and please give a warm welcome to Mary!
1. What makes for a good hook in your stories? Where does your inspiration come from?
My inspiration comes from the comedy of real life. I like to write about every day topics – it could be traveling by chicken bus in Ecuador, hitchhiking in the Himalayas, or purchasing proper panties in Bolivia. I like to take the every day and entertain people with my thoughts on it. My hook is the unexpected moments of reality that pop-up as I’m living my life out loud. It’s been a fascinating past 6 years which is how long it took me to write and live my latest book: Kitten Heels in Kathmandu, Adventures of a Female Vagabond.
2. Are you an organized writer? Do you do things like take notes and make lists of characters? Or do you free write and work it out as you go?
I free write. It’s like downloading. The right side of the brain expresses the writing. The left side edits it. When I first started writing 20 years ago I wrote with a pen and paper – I highly recommend it as it forces your heart to spill out of your fingertips in a way that a computer being a machine capturing your words is different. But my fingers were not fast enough to download my thoughts so after 2 years of pen and paper writing I traded it in for my laptop.
3. What is your normal writing day like? Do you write when you are inspired or do you have a schedule?
I write every day. And try not to get too caught up in the kitchen. Eating, concocting new dishes, its very tempting to go create in the kitchen. I was a professional cook before being a writer and photographer. Cooking is a lot like writing. But more people read my writing than eat my cooking. I think.
4. Who is your favorite author and how did they inspire you to write?Back when I started writing my favorite authors were
Natalie Goldberg, Brenda Euland – she wrote “If You Want to Write” and Julia Cameron.
5. It’s easy to see that you have a passion for writing but is there any part of it you don’t like?
I’m not crazy about editing. I love writing, it’s like sailing across the page without needing water to glide on. But editing uses the left side of the brain, the analytical math side
and that’s more challenging for me but also rewarding.
6. Do you make time to read and if you do what are you reading right now?I love to read! In fact, my 10th grade English teacher just wrote me on facebook and that reminded me of all the reading over the years since the age of 6 that I loved doing. I would go to the library and get an armload of books to bring home to read. When we had contests for reading in school for how many books we could read I was always one of the top readers. It wasn’t work to me. It was play. Right now I’m editing my next book so I am reading that and only that. It keeps me focused rather than straying off and reading another author’s wonderful words. It would be too easy to lose myself in a great read right now. So I keep going. Editing more.
7. How did you come to write about your adventures and travels?I write about what I’m doing, feeling, thinking, imagining. I realized that writing about my adventures and travels could give someone else a new perspective on wandering the world. And connecting with my readers is inspiring. All that time spent alone writing erupts in to readers telling me how they feel about my writing. I hope to inspire others to step out of the ruts we dig and live big.
8. Your books have been published with Amazon.com, Does this mean you see the publishing industry headed this way?Oh yes. When my first book came out:
I was doing readings in book stores – I had my book launch at Borders and now they are closed. But online publishing is a new world to explore. And it costs less to publish online so more people can be a part of the publishing process. It’s quicker too.
9. Do you have any online sites where others can read more of your writings?
and I have photographs of my world travel here with writing about the photos:
And enjoy my 100 fun videos of my world travels here:
find me on facebook and kindly like my page too:
facebook.com/bartnikowski where you can also download my book.
10. Do you have any more stories in the works? What kinds of stories do you plan to write next?I am so excited about e-publishing now! I am just now on smashwords this week
and am doing an audio of Kitten Heels and Everyday Naked and will do one of my new book too. I am writing about my adventures in Belize, Guatemala, Thailand, Bali, and more India and Nepal – also more stories from South America.
11. If your travels story were to become a documentary who would you want to narrate it?I love acting so I would enjoy doing it. Some readers have told me that they enjoy hearing me read the book even more than reading it themselves.
12. If you could meet anyone from any time who would it be and what would be your first question?
I’ve always wanted to meet Madame Curie. And I’d love to meet Colette and Simone de Beauvoir. I would enjoy having a cup of tea with them and seeing what brews up.