Book Title: Memories of Me: A Complete Guide to Telling and Sharing the Stories of Your Life
Your book’s Amazon purchase link: http://www.amazon.com/dp/1462114539
What is your book about?
As the subtitle implies, Memories of Me: A Complete Guide to Telling and Sharing the Stories of Your Life helps readers preserve personal and family stories and share them with loved ones. The easy and comprehensive guide includes
- Simple, down-to-earth instructions
- In-depth brainstorming and writing exercises
- Plenty of examples to spark creativity
- Writing advice to make memories shine
- Guidance for all levels of technical aptitude
What inspired you to write your book?
My maternal grandmother wrote in secret throughout her life in a simple spiral notebook, which she dubbed her “Treasure Chest of Memories.” She recorded descriptions of relatives, family stories, prayers, as well as her own memories of life on the farm and watching her children grow.
Grandma passed this collection on to her children and grandchildren, on the condition that her writings never be published, but rather be kept in the family.
Her Treasure Chest of Memories is a treasure. Grandma died the year I graduated from college. I was not able to enjoy a woman-to-woman relationship with her in life, but through her memories, I connect with her, again and again, throughout the differing phases of my life.
Writing a guide to help others create a legacy of this magnitude for their loved ones is my way of sharing Grandma’s gift, while honoring her wish to keep her writing private. In fact, the original title was “Treasure Chest of Memories.”
Can you describe your writing process?
Because so much of being a prescriptive (how-to) non-fiction author is promotion and platform-building, I’m still discovering my process. I enjoy blogging and connecting with others, but it does, without a doubt, interfere with creating new material. I blog at my own website, TreasureChestofMemories.com, as well as on the author exchange website I co-founded, TheRoadLessWritten.com.
My writing energy—process seems too generous a term—is impulsive and spontaneous. I’m working towards adding a layer of discipline on that. I try to accomplish concrete goals before I reward myself with exploring new ideas or going off on tangents.
How did you come to do what you’re doing today?
Getting sick was a huge part of my decision to pursue writing as a career. Chronic Lyme disease had me nearly couch-bound for a number of years, struggling just to get through my days. As I returned to health, I started looking at vocational options that wouldn’t tax me physically. Writing beckoned. And, as I got into it, it was like hanging out with an old friend.
Can you describe a typical day in your life?
I’m definitely a parallel processor, which is a nice way of saying I’m a multi-tasker run amok. My days include bad posture on the couch with my laptop, multiple cups of coffee, interruptions from emails, working on websites and putting out virtual fires, and going off on social-media-induced tangents. My office assistant—a tri-colored springer spaniel—also interrupts, demanding walks or insisting that I jump up to see what he’s suggesting I write about. Normally, it’s a deer or someone walking a dog down the street. He’s not a very imaginative muse.
What do you most enjoy about what you do?
What I enjoy least would be an easier question: Self-promotion.
Connecting with people through my writing makes my heart sing. Not just the “you’re such a wonderful writer” part, which I do love, but the vindication that my writing matters.
Are there any people and/or books that have inspired you along your journey?
Sahara Special, a middle-grade fiction book by Esme Raji Codell, inspired me.
As I read Sahara Special with my middle-schooler (now college freshman) some years ago, I identified with Sahara, who was reluctant to use her gift. Her teacher kept reminding her, “A writer writes.”
It turns out, she does—in fiction and in life.
Can you share something that people may be surprised to learn about you?
At 53, I still play soccer in an over-30 league. No hint of a lie, I have a teammate who recently looked at the roster and said, “Oh, Laura, you’re older than my mother!” (I won’t tell you what I said back.)
But it’s great fun and good exercise and allows me interact with women from various walks of life. My fellow Juice Box Heroes (we’re all soccer moms and we do have a post-game beverage schedule) even cheer for good efforts as opposed to execution. That means you can totally mess up and have a bunch of women yelling, “Good run!” or “Great idea!” There’s not many places in life you can get that kind of support.
What’s next for you?
Speaking at workshops as I continue to write (such as a book about blogging your family history). I love the face-to-face interaction. Heading up a NFAA chapter might be on the horizon. I’m still mulling that one over.
Is there anything else you would like to add?
I’m currently working on hosting the Detroit Metro branch party of the Global Family Reunion, the brain-child of New York Times bestselling author A.J. Jacobs. In fact, I’d recommend my fellow non-fiction authors look into attending either the big New York City event or a branch party. It’s not only about connecting folks to the global family tree, it’s about telling stories, something that comes pretty naturally for us.
I’d also like to add my social media links. I’d love to connect with, collaborate, and exchange guest posts with other authors.