More than Just Writing

Cal Orey

Cal Orey, M.A. is an author and non-fiction novelist. Her books include the Healing Powers Series (Vinegar, Olive Oil, Chocolate, Honey, Coffee, Tea, Superfoods, Essential Oils, Herbs and Spices) published by Kensington. (The collection has been featured by the Good Cook Book Club.) Orey’s new book is Soulmates with Paws. 

Granola Girl’s Healing Power’s Series: A Treasure Chest of Goodness

Are there any classic novels that you only recently read for the first time?

Well, it’s not a “classic” but it is a bestseller and I finally read it. I savored the short and oh so sweet, tuesdays with Morrie. As a ghostwriter I was told by the client that this is the kind of vibe he wanted for the non-fiction novel I wrote for him. 

The end is a bittersweet one. I was promised co-author credit. The client fibbed and my name is not on the book. I did pen The Healing Powers of Tea, and tea plays a big role in his book. So in my heart I know it’s my baby.

You’re organizing a party. Which two authors, dead or alive, do you invite? 

I would love to host John Steinbeck. He input his emotion into his work. And, of course, Travels with Charley is one of my favorites books. When I was in my early twenties, I left Northern California and hitched and hiked with my dog in search of America. Steinbeck was my mentor, my teacher, my hero. 

Next up for tea and scones, would be Stephen King. I would love to hear him tell a spooky tale. One late winter, I drove from Lake Tahoe to Reno for a book signing. He was there a week prior. It was a hard act to follow. But I got a call from the manager a day before my event. She said, “I don’t know how to tell you this but all of your books sold out.” So, I took my beloved Brittany and we ended up bringing more books to the bookstore. 

Who are your favorite writers? Are there any who aren’t as widely known as they should be, whom you’d recommend in particular? 

The trio of authors I chose for my oral exams in grad school are still my favorite writers. So, it’s John Steinbeck, Edward Albee (I was going to be a playwright), and George Elliot who had a sensitive husband who trashed her bad reviews. (My professors did approve of the master. However, they said they hoped I became an author—not a literature teacher.)

What do you read when you’re working on a book? And what kind of reading do you avoid while writing?

I read books and articles related to my chosen topic. I make a point of it to choose a different angle, style, and turn the subject matter upside down—this way it’s all mine. I stay clear of novels because it’s too distracting and takes me out of the zone.

What moves you most in a work of literature? 

When the author reveals the inner self and isn’t timid to share feelings—that is what makes me laugh or cry.

What genres do you especially enjoy reading? 

My favorite genres include Sci-Fi, Romance, and Adventure.

What book are you planning to read next? 

I’m too busy writing. I will not be reading but writing Book 2: Soulmates with Paws: A Collection of Tales & Tails.

What books and authors have impacted your writing career? 

Anne Rice taught a class at San Francisco State University—and she was amazingly real. Rice told us when we write we should pretend to disrobe and share ourselves without inhibitions. And that’s just what I do.

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