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Interview: Pauline Hawkins, Author of Ashes Ashes the Twins Fall Down: Twin Towers, 9/11

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Pauline L. Hawkins was born in the Munson Army Hospital at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas on none other than Easter Sunday. Ms. Hawkins has been in the health insurance industry for almost 30 years, working her way up from the mailroom to corporate management and claims payment.

Ms. Hawkins received her Instructional Design certification in 2002, which allows her to create instructor-led and learner-paced training curricula, along with computer-based learning activities and website creation.

Ms. Hawkins has enjoyed writing since she was in high school, and has decided to begin sharing her stories with the world. Ashes Ashes the Twins Fall Down is her debut book.

Readers can learn more about Pauline Hawkins by visiting the following links:

Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Amazon Author Page ~ Barnes and Noble ~ Publisher Page

Could you please tell us a bit about your book? The story? The characters?

Ashes Ashes The Twins Fall Down is a look at the events of 9/11 from both a personal perspective and an informational perspective. I’ve shared my experience of 9/11, its repercussions on my family, my job, and how I viewed the world. The book is a story of coping with the news, reframing how I thought about America and the world, and making a conscious decision to become better-informed. I’ve tried to provide a thought-provoking context for the events of 9/11, personal stories, and hardcore facts that not everyone may be aware of.

How did you come up with the title and how much say did you have on the cover design?

I had a hard time trying to come up with a title that I felt was suitable. I thought about titling it, Do You Remember? or Where Were You?, and a few other titles but then one day Ashes Ashes The Twins Fall Down came to me and that was it. I knew that was the right title for this book.

I had complete say-so over the cover design and actually the book’s final cover was not its first cover. Originally the cover color was blue and done like you would be looking at the burning smoking Twin Towers through a window. I thought it was a nice cover but the illustrators at Outskirts Press put together what they thought the cover should look like and everyone I showed it to loved it. I was afraid it might be too ominous but everyone who sees the cover expresses how much they like it.

Do you have a favorite line or excerpt that you would like to share from your book?

Yes I do, it’s from the final chapter of the book:

“Where Were You on 9/11?”

“That question has become part of the fabric of our lives as Americans. On 9/11 when the first plane hit, I was driving to work. On that bright sunny day, none of us had any idea what was in store and how it would change our lives. New York City firefighters, police, and other first responders dropped what they were doing, kissed their wives and children goodbye, and headed for Ground Zero. They did this without question and without thought for their safety, not knowing that many of them would never see their families again. These men and women had taken a pledge to protect their city and their fellow man, and for them this was more than just a job; it was who they were. They gave of themselves, and in some cases gave their lives, selflessly and without question.

There are still those first responders today who ask themselves, “Why them and not me?” However, as we all know, there are many questions in life that do not have an answer. There is no rhyme or reason as to the events of 9/11, the deaths of those who died in the actual attacks and the deaths of those providing search and rescue. What we do know is that the heroes lost that day would have done nothing different. Had they known that their efforts would have cost them their lives, they still would have suited up and shown up, if it meant saving a single life. That was the cause to which they had devoted themselves.

What are some of your favorite ways to promote your work?

I think virtual book tours are a blast. You not only get exposure to so many people but you have the chance to meet and make friends with the people hosting your tour stops. I’d like to do a radio interview or two and a book signing but I haven’t had the opportunity to do either of those yet.

What is a typical writing day like for you?

Well, for one I’m not a real disciplined writer. For me I have to write when the spirit moves. If I sit down and tell myself that I have to write a complete chapter today I’ll find a million things I need to do that keep me from writing the chapter. But if I sit down to write when the creative juices are flowing and just allow them to flow naturally then I can complete a chapter without even trying. When everything is flowing I lose all track of time and even forget about eating when I’m in the zone. My favorite place to write is in my horses’ paddock or stall but I do most of my writing sitting at my desk. I don’t know if Tana, my horse, provides me with inspiration, or peace or what but my truly favorite place to write is with her. I’d like to be able to have my own land instead of having to board her and then I could write with her all the time.

What are some ways that you like to relax?

My friends and family would tell you that I don’t know how to relax. But I love horses and playing with my horse and grooming her and just hanging out with her are all my therapy. I also enjoy photography and counted cross stitch and being with the man I love.

What author/s do you think are overlooked in the writing/reading world today?

J.F. Penn, she’s the author of Pentecost and Prophecy in the ARKANE series which are books about historical artifacts, secret societies and all that good stuff.

What author would you most like to meet and why?

James Patterson or Michael Crichton, I realize I’m too late to meet Michael in this life but I love the fact that his books were all over the place. He wrote science fiction like Runaway, modern day crime mysteries like Rising Sun, not to mention that he was involved with the television series ER. As far as James Patterson, who doesn’t love Alex Cross? But one of my favorite books of his is Tick Tock, if you haven’t read it I highly recommend it.

Do you have any upcoming projects that you would like to share with readers?

My next book is going to be about marrying my high school sweetheart after 28 years and having it all blow up in my face in less than a week. I’m taking votes for book titles. 1) Always & Forever or 2) Sometimes Love Just Ain’t Enough

What is something about yourself that would come as a surprise to many people?

I’m into body art, more specifically tattooing. I have seven tattoos but you’d never know it unless I’m wearing shorts or nothing at all. I have my next three or four already planned and I keep a tattoo fund that I add a little money to every couple of weeks.

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