Thursday, February 24, 2011

Q and A with Rain Mitchell, author of Tales From a Yoga Studio

A sparkling new series introducing five unforgettable women who flock to yoga at turning points in their lives and find the gift of lasting friendship. Tales from the Yoga Studio is an insider's look at the current obsession with yoga, told with enough humor, wit, and warmth to charm and delight readers, whether or not they've ever done a Downward Dog.

Leave a comment and get a chance to WIN A COPY Of Tales From the Yoga Studio.

You're a debut author. What's your publication story? Your bio says you had a few false starts.

I’ve had a lot of false starts in my life, and not only in the area of writing and publication! I was brought up to have a love of books (my mother was an English teacher) and always wanted to write. I started a number of novels (what I thought/hoped would be novels) but never got past the first few pages. I finally got pretty deeply into one novel that was somewhat autobiographical, based on the miseries of dating and one bad relationship in particular. I showed the unfinished manuscript to an editor friend. Instead of commenting on it, she said: “You do a lot of yoga. Have you thought about setting a novel in that world?” At first, I felt totally humiliated—she wasn’t even mentioning the pages I’d sent her. But then I realized she was being polite. And I loved the idea of writing about yoga. So I started working on it immediately. Nothing I’ve written has ever come so easily or quickly, so I knew I was on the right track.

Tales From a Yoga Studio is a series. Did you plan that when you were writing it?

I know it sounds a little obnoxious to say this, but the truth is, I really, really loved all the characters in the book as I was writing it. Even the “bad guys.” (Okay, especially the bad guys.) I hated the idea of parting company with them at the end. Then, too, it seemed to me that there are so many changes taking place in the world of yoga so quickly that there would be more to write about in that area. I came up with the series idea before I finished the first book.

Did you face any particular challenges writing the novel?

There’s only one main character (Lee, the owner of the yoga studio) but there are four other women who are central to the story. I decided to dip in and out of each character’s point of view. The challenge for me was keeping the stories moving, trying to find a balance of perspectives, and also to make sure they all converge at the end. Every day when I sat down to write, I did so with a little bit of excitement—I wonder what’s going to happen today. That was a lot of fun.

What's the backstory of Tales From a Yoga Series.

I started doing yoga a while ago, and I’ve been doing it since. With a few interruptions, of course. I know it’s hard to imagine today, but even ten years ago, it was sometimes hard to find a yoga class. I would follow teachers around to different church basements and community centers where they were holding classes. And then, all of a sudden, it seems, there was an explosion. In most major cities in the US, you can pretty much walk down the street randomly and find a bunch of yoga studios. And then there are the clothing stores and the websites and the vacations and all of that. It seemed to me this was fertile ground for drama. And comedy! I love doing yoga, but I can really see all the excess and the silly part of it, too, and in the book, I tried to include enough satire to make it fun, but ultimately show the benefits.

Do you still practice yoga? What are some of the benefits you get out of it?

Funny you should ask. I got some weird foot injury a while back from walking around in a pair of boots I really had no right to be wearing. Tomorrow marks three weeks that I haven’t practiced because of the injury. At first I was cranky, and then I got lazy, and then I started to realize how much more free time I had. (I try to practice at least five or six times a week.) Now I just miss it a whole lot and am planning to start up again in two days. Honestly, I started just for the fitness aspect, but the other benefits sneak up on you. I used to roll my eyes when teachers would start talking about “intentions” and “the universe” and other new agey or spiritual concepts. But little by little, it started to sink in. I am much more patient than I used to be. I don’t get so angry in traffic. I was in Washington a couple weeks ago and got a call at 4am from US Air saying my flight had been cancelled. This was exactly the kind of thing that would have thrown me into a spiral of anxiety and annoyance and…you name it. I really did take a deep breath and just thought “minor problem, deal with it.” That’s yoga, for sure. Every once in a while, I find myself spouting out some yoga chat philosophy to friends, but I’m pretty good at reeling myself in.

Rain Mitchell, author of Tales From the Yoga Studio, began practicing yoga as a teenager and is currently at work on the second novel in the series. Rain's favorite pose is corpse.
Winner of book will be announced on Saturday's post


  1. This is the very next book on my shelf to read!! Great interview...thank you so much for sharing:)

  2. Thanks for the great interview. I intend to do yoga on a regular basis, but then I'll step into tree pose and warrior and then think, okay, that's enough for now. Ha!

    Best of luck on your book and your writing!

  3. Great topic for a book...and for a TV series! Ha, Malena, I know just what you mean! I sometimes do about 10 minutes of poses and then go right for corpse.

  4. I tried yoga, epic fail. I do it on my wii fit, thankfully no one can see me and laugh.
    Even without the yoga knowledge I think I'd love to read the book. I enjoyed your Q&A, it's amazing how when it's right, the words can just flow. Good luck with book 2.

  5. What a fun topic for a book. Now I feel the need to get back to yoga.

  6. Rain, you're making me miss yoga! I took a class last fall, and I loved it. I'm such a Type A that anything to get me feeling calm is nirvana (and rare). Yoga did that, and I need to get back! Hopefully, soon. Good luck with the book and the series. Sounds fab!

  7. Definitely have to add this to my reading list.

  8. Thanks for sharing your publication journey with us, Rain. I love the fact the writing came so easy to you when you centered it around something you enjoy. Looking forward to the series!

  9. This sounds like a great read! I love books in a series so you can really get to know the characters. And yoga is fun so a book about it- can't wait!

  10. This sounds like a great new read and perfect for me right now. I have always been attracted to the art of yoga, having practiced well...attempted to practice and then feeling it just isn't for big girls. lol. I can't wait to read this and hopefully get the spark to start yoga again. :D