Tuesday, June 14, 2022


 By Cal Orey

Today we're talking to Cal Orey, the author of the popular Healing Powers series and her other creative works in progress...

Please tell us a little about yourself.

I prefer to write in fall/winter when it's quiet.
I was born and raised in San Jose, California. It's changed due to gentrification aka (King Kong stomped on Mother Nature and now it's a metropolis). I moved to Lake Tahoe to get back to nature. Ironically, history repeats itself. More changes, including killing healthy trees (I'm a granola girl/tree hugger) and vacation homeowner invasion like Stephen King sci-fi-ish film with creatures who are interlopers. I am a journalist-author and novelist. That's what they (my editors) call me. 

How and when did you become a writer?

I got my first poem "School Days" published when I was in third grade. My teachers told me I had a "gift" when I wrote papers. I liked to write colorful stuff. So, I ended up majoring in English (Creative Writing) in college. I hold a bachelor's and master's in these topics. But I flunked math. 

What genre do you write?

I'm known as a health author. I have had thousands of articles published on different subjects, including relationships (I flunked this topic, too, in real life), pets, Earth changes, and just about anything (even sex). However, in 2021 I fell into novels and novelettes. After all, my thesis was collection of fiction stories. And many of my tales were published in national publications throughout the years. I came full circle. 

How would you describe your writing style?

I'm candid. I like to inject heart and soul into my work. Third-person narrative is boring, first-person is more intimate and an art. I do this on a regular basis. It's thrilling to channel into another person and use their voice, too. Lately, I like to write in the morning (thanks to my cup of Joe), research after swimming or rowing (the machine, not chilly Lake) in the afternoon. Late at night I brainstorm. 
When working on a book, like now, it's similar to having renters in your brain. Overall, it's cool. Think visitors that can be amusing, thought-provoking, and inspiring but pesky at times. They don't sleep! Also, it's time travel and travel to faraway places. This month I'm in Tennessee. I almost went there but still a bit covid-shy so my imagination will suffice. And decades ago, I did hitch and hike through that state.  Some things don't change--good and bad.

What makes you different from other writers?

I like to put my personal paw print on each piece of work. In other words, I prefer to write in a down-to-earth narrative. Love to say things people are afraid to say out loud but think it. Writing raw is kind of like baring your soul or disrobing in front of the world. I lose the inhibitions for my best stuff.  Love to write from the heart and tell stories--all kinds--that'll make the reader laugh, cry, and move the reader out of their comfort zone. If I get the lump in my throat or wet eyes--it works.

Who inspires you?

My dog is my mentor. He gets me. I adore his energy--an Aussie at 9 (my fave number).  In grad school for my oral exams I chose my three authors: George Eliot, John Steinbeck, and Edward Albee; my professors weren't pleased with the last two--but I didn't care.  Steinbeck knew the Golden State, Tahoe, the ocean, and dogs. And, people in real life, past and present or future (in my imagination) make my works come alive.

How did you come up with the title of your series?

I fell into the Healing Powers series. It was the title of the first book back in 1999. The Healing Powers of Vinegar paved the way for books that followed into two, a trilogy but my editor corrected me and called it a "series." The rest is history. Nine books later... Psst. Essential Oils, #8, was chosen to be featured in FIRST FOR WOMEN (Mar. 2022 issue). These books seem to be timeless.

Who is your favorite character in (your book you want to talk about) and why?

July 4th I was in Victoria, B.C. to flee Tahoe tourist chaos
A returning character is an elderly woman who is someone who helped me a lot when I was a struggling magazine journalist rolling pennies and living on pasta and veggies. Read: I scrubbed toilets for the well-to-do to make ends meet. She was a musician, traveled abroad many times and loved Europeans.
Before the pandemic I traveled to Canada. A lot. It gave me my fix of culture, diversity, England and France. I have a sense of belonging in Quebec to British Columbia.  Now? Alaska is still on my brain. I'm booked to go back in November. It depends on the variants. If there is a hurricane-force storm like last time--I'm going. An earthquake? Count me in. Read: Cabin fever. I must see the northern lights and a moose.  Snow is optional. Hopefully it will be colder than at Lake Tahoe, my home.

Bonding with a Victoria seal. 
We live in divisive times. Should your religion/politics influence your writing?

As a Catholic I admit in my books this fact does come out a bit...I co-authored The Caged Bird Sings (a nun-in-training flees and I could related). I stayed clear from politics. But now... I fell into it. Between you and me? I am an Independent, former Democrat, and closet Republican. This is probably because I'm a middle child; dad a Republican, mom a Democrat. And I was the rebellious hippie chick growing up in the seventies. 
I finished co-authoring a romance novel (it has a lot of Asian racism in it and I love being a open-minded narrator). 
And this summer I'm working now on another strong relationship book which takes the reader back to the sixties' civil rights movement. It's a comfortable place for me to be and to write.

What are you working on now? 

I helped co-author a 2-in-1 contemporary romance novel.  Now, ah. I am marketing a Carl Sagan-ish science book I co-wrote. It is so artsy and amazing!   I'm time traveling back in time to many regions I've been...  I love sharing my stories from on the road with a dog or dog-less (that's tough) and linking it to the topic to make it a fun, lively read from the heart. 

Gentrification is ruining Tahoe, my home for
almost two decades.
Advice for young writers? 

Live life! Your experiences will take you where you are supposed to be in the writing world. Example: The Healing Powers of Honey will be released June 28, 2022. It is chock-full of road trips I took with my dog when I was free and like a wayward honey bee. This book is close to me--it is me thriving amid nature and at my best mentally and physically alive. And now people can listen to my tales!

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