I love writing and the sheer fun of maneuvering words. When I return to old essays and journal entries, I am glad to have more than my failing memory to chart past reflections and events. But how do I justify hours spent scribbling away simply for my own amusement? For now, this blog has provided an answer, a circle of kind cheerleaders in you. I love reading your feedback and free associations when you relate to something I’ve written.
Depending on my mood and phase of life, reading has been a source of comfort, escape, amusement, or companionship. During hard times, I have been blessed to find authors who have seemed to say, “I know just how you feel….been there myself.” It is always my hope that my writing might be, for others, that stand-in for a friend and a cup of tea.
My friend Tricia Tierney has invited me to participate in “The Next Big Thing,” a blog –tour of writings. I think you’ll enjoy checking out her blog as well as those of Casey Sylvestro, Eliza Twichell, Laurie Stone, Lynne Openshaw, and Elise Broach. More on them in a moment, but first, I am supposed to answer a series of questions:
What is the working title of your book? Currently Time Given or possibly Lift-Off. Many titles have come and gone, each reflecting a changed tone or emphasis in the book.
Where did the idea come from for the book? It was always one of my goals to write a book when we planned our sabbatical in Italy.
What genre does your book fall under? Travel memoir, with a taste of self-help.
Which actors would you choose to play you in a movie rendition? Sandra Bullock. Love her… plus my daughter, Casey, and I like to think Sandra’s a blend of the two of us.
What is a one-sentence synopsis of your book? A couple and their daughter, each carrying a burden of pain, seek spontaneity, healing, and re-connection in the people, history, and countryside of Italy.
Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency? It would be a wonder to find an agency, but I want this book to happen and am open to self-publication.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript? Six months, but many drafts have followed.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre? Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert and Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes.
Who or What inspired you to write this book? All three of us had a difficult year prior to leaving. Dave and I were over-committed and spending a fair amount of time in a nursing home visiting Dave’s father. Dave’s brother had just been diagnosed with prostate cancer. Casey had broken up with the boy she thought she’d marry. The trip was such an adventure, such a release, such a return to ourselves that it is a story I believe will uplift others.
What else about your book might pique the reader's interest? There is wry humor in my sleep-deprived, menopausal point of view and struggles with identity and life issues faced by virtually every person over forty. The reminders, lessons, and joys in the book are equally universal.
That's it! Now let me introduce to you...
Tricia Tierney grew up in New York but spent many years as an expatriate, including over 3 years in Kyoto, Japan where she painted and sculpted and rode her bicycle everywhere. She also lived in Croatia and Bosnia, working for the United Nations' Peacekeeping Department during the Balkan wars, where she met a number of budding war criminals as well as the dashing but troubled English international relief-worker she would marry. After a thrilling war-zone romance, Tricia wed her now-late husband in Sarajevo and a year later, after one-too-many bumpy helicopter rides while pregnant, prematurely gave birth to her daughter in Southern Italy. As she prepares to send her (long thriving) daughter off to college in the fall, Tricia is beginning to think about her own next adventures, while continuing to work on her memoir of life during war and peace, loss and sorrow. She writes mostly at the crack of dawn before going off to her full-time job at a Barnes & Noble bookstore.
After a life of performance, both as her natural state and through high school and college, Casey Sylvestro spent three years in New York pursuing theater and teaching pilates at Equinox. In August of 2011, she decided to “throw her life up in the air and see where the pieces fell." With her best friend Karis LeBlanc, she set off to South East Asia for four months of travel. Her blog, “Running To Not Running From” follows the two women by cable car, careening vans, motorbike, tuktuk, and elephant into the Forbidden City in Hong Kong, the mountain country of Sapa, the rice paddies of Cambodia, the rivers of Laos, the jungles of Thailand, the beaches of Indonesia, and market after market after market…Casey now teaches pilates at Black Rock Pilates in Black Rock and is Assistant Store Manager for Lululemon Athletica in Westport.
Laurie Stone is a writer with a mixed bag of interests – fiction, essays, blogging, and travel writing. She started as a local reporter but the siren call of novels and short stories became too strong. Several years ago she won an award for her short story, “Just One More Thing.” Her essays have appeared in the Connecticut Post, Connecticut Muse Magazine, Westport News, and County Kids Magazine. She’s also in the process of writing and editing two novels. Recently Laurie began blogging and loves sending her newest entries to family, friends, and colleagues. Travel writing is a recent passion and her seven-part blog, “A Peek at Provence” ran weekly on the website, “In the Know Traveler.” Laurie lives in Easton, CT with her husband and two sons.
Eliza Twichell is an artist, writer, and Therapeutic Touch practitioner and teacher. She lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico but sneaks off to the Adirondack mountains for three months in the summer to get her fix of water and family. Fascinated with where the subtle becomes physical, Eliza is always exploring that frontier in terms of well being and being well. She is increasingly comfortable with how much she doesn’t know.
Lynne Openshaw wrote her first book, Circle Dance, with her sister Valerie. Circle Dance was a legacy of love fueled by the desire to pass on to their children the traditions and experiences unique to them as second generation Greek Americans. Lynne was raised in a close-knit family surrounded by extended family and “adopted” family through the Greek community. Both she and her sister wanted to leave a legacy for their children and future generations of a bygone era. A native of Baltimore, Maryland, Lynne relocated to the New York area with her husband and children. In addition to her writing, she is active in her church and local community. She serves on the board of her town’s Women’s League – a philanthropic organization dedicated to helping women and children. She is passionate about education, reading, health, and wellness. She enjoys traveling, spending time on the beach and taking walks with her family and their adorable golden retriever. She has written for magazines and journals but her true passion is fiction and currently, she is working on her next book, a thriller.