Ruminating in the Desert: Today, Kathryn Vercillo has stopped by to tell us a bit about herself and her new book, Crochet Saved My Life. Kathryn, tell us more about your book. Generally speaking, what is it about?
Kathryn Vercillo: Crochet Saved My Life is a non-fiction book. It is about the health benefits of crafting (crochet in particular) and is designed to inspired people to take a proactive approach in using their hobbies and interests to help improve their quality of life even when living with a physical or mental illness. I share my own story of surviving lifelong depression as well as the stories of two dozen other women who have coped with a range of illnesses including OCD, schizophrenia, chronic pain and anxiety.
RITD: What compelled you to write this story? Was there an experience you had that inspired this story or did the idea just come to you?
KV: I began writing my crochet blog (Crochet Concupiscence) when I’d started to come out of the fog of my depression. I quickly found a strong community there of other crafters and bloggers who shared their stories with me through the blog format. The stories about healing through pain always stuck out to me and I quickly came to realize that I was in a position to share those stories, along with my own, through the lens of this specific topic. Health issues, and mental health issues in particular, really interest me and I wanted to be able to do the research into why crafting and hobbies help people in such a therapeutic way.
RITD: Why did you choose to self-publish your book?
KV: I went back and forth but ultimately decided that self-publishing was the better option because it affords so much creative control. I want to be able to make the book available digitally, publish sections on my blog and otherwise use 21st century technologies that working with a modern publisher doesn’t always allow without having to jump through some hoops. I also really believe in the DIY spirit and like how self-publishing plays into that.
RITD: What are some themes and ideas you hope readers will be able to take away from your book?
KV: No matter what problems you have in life, you have to continue striving to have the best quality of life possible. Only you can do this for yourself. Also, activities that encourage relaxation, self-expression and creativity are activities that will aid you in healing from almost anything. And, lastly, crochet is not a lost craft; it’s alive and well and practiced by both men and women as a hobby as well as a therapeutic tool.
RITD: Where can readers buy your book?
KV: The best spot is CreateSpace. It’s also available in print and on Kindle through Amazon. More information can be found at http://www.crochetsavedmylife.com
RITD: Lastly, Kathryn, what advice would you give for anyone planning to self-publish their own work?
KV: Working for yourself doesn’t mean working alone. It’s important to find the right people to collaborate with to produce a professional publication. That may include editors, photographers, interior layout designers, etc. Don’t be afraid to ask for help. That said, though, you’re going to have to do a lot of hard work to make this happen so make sure that you’re in it for the long haul before you even get started!
Kathryn Vercillo is a San Francisco-based freelance writer, blogger and crochet lover. Her most recent book, Crochet Saved My Life, is a non-fiction account of her experience using crochet to heal through depression. Kathryn has also authored two previous books (Ghosts of San Francisco and Ghosts of Alcatraz) and a booklet of articles called When Grandma Isn’t Crocheting, She’s Hunting Big Game. She has been a contributing author on other book projects.
Kathryn’s work has been published in magazines including Latina Magazine and Skope. She has worked as a professional blogger for numerous websites including PC World, Dial-a-phone, SF Travel, and Houzz. Her online articles about crochet have been published around the web on sites that include Crochetvolution, Crochet Liberation Front, SF Indie Fashion and Handmadeology. Her Crochet Concupiscence blog was voted one of the top 5 2012 craft blogs in Inside Crochet Magazine and was a 2011 runner-up for a Flamie award from the CLF.