Skip to main content
Publish date:

Author Interview: Cynthia Kane, author of the Nonfiction Book HOW TO COMMUNICATE LIKE A BUDDHIST

It's time to feature another debut author on the blog. I love interviewing new authors because it's such a great opportunity to hear how they reached their dreams and learn from their success and mistakes.

Cynthia Kane received her BA from Bard College and her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and is a certified meditation and mindfulness instructor. Her work has appeared in numerous publications, including the Washington Post, BBC Travel, Yoga Journal, Refinery29, Woman's Day, Pregnancy Magazine, and The Huffington Post. She lives in Washington, DC and offers workshops and private programs. HOW TO COMMUNICATE LIKE A BUDDHIST (April 2016, Hierophant Publishing) was called "engaging, clear, practical, honest and wise," by Elisha Goldstein, co-founder of The Center for Mindful Living. Goldstein continues: "Cynthia Kane has done a wonderful job illuminating for us a wise path for enhancing communication and relationships in daily life. Start with the people you're most in touch with and just imagine the ripple effects."


What is the book’s genre/category? (For example, mainstream, literary, fantasy, YA…)


Please describe what the story/book is about in one sentence.

How to communicate with others and ourselves in a more mindful, nonviolent, and responsible way.

Where do you write from? (Where do you live?)

Washington, D.C.

(How to Sell Pieces to Magazines and Newspapers.)

Briefly, what led up to the book? 

For more than fives years I’d been writing about mindfulness with an emphasis on how to communicate with ourselves, others, and the world in a more kind, compassionate, and non-judgmental way.

What was the time frame for writing this book? 

I signed the contract in February and turned in my first draft in May. After that, I had a break from the book until I received edits in August. Then it was back to revising—really reworking the entire first draft—and turning it back into my editor in October. Final edits came in December /January and that was it.

How did you find your agent (and who is your agent)? 

This book came about without a literary agent. I did a piece for on mindful communication and an editor at the publishing house I signed with saw the article and reached out asking if I’d be interested in writing a book on the topic.

What were your 1-2 biggest learning experience(s) or surprise(s) throughout the publishing process?

I had to learn to trust myself more and let go in the writing. The first draft I turned in I was very cautious with the work, structure, ideas, holding myself back from going deeper. It was only after the publisher said to me, "you have permission to be yourself in these pages, we want to hear your
voice not someone else’s, go deeper, let go," that I could really relax into the material. I got rid of all the quoting of other people and referencing others work and owned my own experience with the hope that I would write something worth remembering.

Image placeholder title

Agent Donald Maass, who is also an author
himself, is one of the top instructors nationwide
on crafting quality fiction. His recent guide,
The Fire in Fiction, shows how to compose
a novel that will get agents/editors to keep reading.

Looking back, what did you do right that helped you break in? On that note, what would you have done differently if you could do it again?

What I did right was believe that what I had to say was valuable and necessary. Without that belief, I wouldn’t have pitched piece after piece to magazines, newspapers and online outlets. What I did right was write in my integrity. I really wouldn’t do anything differently if I could do it again. I feel like everything happens in the right way and at the right time.

Did you have a platform in place?

Yes, but not as large as others by any means.

On this topic, what are you doing to build a platform and gain readership?

To build my platform, I’m doing more speaking engagements and workshops around the topic of mindful communication and how to apply it to our daily lives; I have a blog and newsletter that covers topics in line with what I write about; and I have a private course designed around the material in the
book to help people learn to communicate clearly. Also, I’m writing articles around similar topics for magazines, newspapers and online outlets, as well as collaborating with others to introduce them to my readers and vice versa.


Favorite movie?

When Harry Met Sally

Best piece(s) of writing advice we haven’t discussed?

I tried for many years to publish novels, personal essays, a memoir, but my first book was a hiking guide to Madrid and now my second is a book on how to communicate more clearly. What I had to learn and something I wish someone had told me earlier was to be open to trying different formats, genres, and structures. The stories have always been there, but I wasn’t writing to my strengths. When I found the structure that suit me the best the writing became much easier.

(8 Simple Tips For Selling Articles to Magazines.)

Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?
Along with being a meditation and mindfulness instructor, I’m also a book editor and a literary agent.

What’s next?

I’m working on a new book idea at the moment. I’ll keep you posted when it’s ready to share. In the meantime, I’m offering a course around the book—HOW TO COMMUNICATE LIKE A BUDDHIST. You can find out more at my website


Check Out These Great Upcoming Writers' Conferences:

Screen Shot 2014-12-17 at 3.39.23 PM

Your new complete and updated instructional guide
to finding an agent is finally here: The 2015 book
GET A LITERARY AGENT shares advice from more 
than 110 literary agents who share advice on querying, 
craft, the submission process, researching agents, and
much more. Filled with all the advice you'll ever need to
find an agent, this resource makes a great partner book to
the agent database, Guide to Literary Agents.

Other writing/publishing articles & links for you:

NaNoWriMo’s Over … Now What?

NaNoWriMo’s Over … Now What?

After an intense writing challenge, you might feel a little lost. Here are some tips from Managing Editor and fellow Wrimo Moriah Richard for capitalizing on your momentum.

Ian Douglas: On Telling the Truth in Science Fiction

Ian Douglas: On Telling the Truth in Science Fiction

New York Times bestselling author Ian Douglas discusses how he incorporated implausible conspiracy theories to uncover the truth in his new science fiction novel, Alien Hostiles.

Poetry Prompt

Wednesday Poetry Prompts: 589

Every Wednesday, Robert Lee Brewer shares a prompt and an example poem to get things started on the Poetic Asides blog. This week, write a yesterday poem.



Every writer needs a little inspiration once in a while. For today's prompt, write about revenge.

Peter Fiennes: On Finding Hope in the Writing Process

Peter Fiennes: On Finding Hope in the Writing Process

Critically acclaimed author Peter Fiennes discusses his quest to find hope in his new travel/Greek mythology book, A Thing of Beauty.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

2021 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 30

For the 2021 November PAD Chapbook Challenge, poets are tasked with writing a poem a day in the month of November before assembling a chapbook manuscript in the month of December. Today's prompt is to write a The End and/or The Beginning poem.

Sports Afield: Market Spotlight

Sports Afield: Market Spotlight

For this week's market spotlight, we look at Sports Afield, a bimonthly hunting adventure magazine.

Apart vs. A Part (Grammar Rules)

Apart vs. A Part (Grammar Rules)

This post looks at the differences between apart and a part with Grammar Rules from the Writer's Digest editors, including a few examples of correct usages.

November PAD Chapbook Challenge

2021 November PAD Chapbook Challenge: Day 29

For the 2021 November PAD Chapbook Challenge, poets are tasked with writing a poem a day in the month of November before assembling a chapbook manuscript in the month of December. Today's prompt is to write a next poem.