Trading Places: Becoming My Mother’s Mother is a memoir. It’s my first book. After spending several years caring for my aging mother, I realized how much I wanted to read about other caregivers’ experiences, hoping they would help me deal with the challenges I faced caring for my mother. There was very little to choose from. So I decided to share my experiences, hoping that others could learn and benefit from them.
What do you find most challenging about the writing process, and how do you deal with it?
The most challenging aspect I encountered while writing this book was portraying the depth of the emotions in the various vignettes included in the book. You want to capture the angst, the joy, etc., without being melodramatic or flip.
When and where do you do your writing?
I seem to write more effectively if I am somewhere where I can see the outside world. If it wasn’t so hard to see my screen when I am outside I would probably write outside.
What have you learned about promoting your books?
Be focused and determined. It’s a full time job for a while, whether you are trying to get reviews or determining how best to promote your book via the many websites, blogs, and advertising opportunities. One of the best outcomes I had when searching for affordable advertising space in regional city-based magazines was that several were willing to feature my book in a book review. It’s basically free advertising, plus it is gratifying to know that a magazine editor thinks your book is good enough to use as a feature. Don’t be afraid to ask for alternatives to paid advertising.
What are you most proud of as a writer?
The fact that many of the reviews the book has received, as well as all of the emails I’ve received from readers reflect my goal to help others by sharing my stories.
If you could have dinner with any writer, living or dead, who would it be and what would you talk about?
Hands down, Tim Cahill. Tin Cahill was a founding editor of Outside Magazine. His books are focused on travel adventures and journalistic adventures. Back when I only bought paper books, I passed on books after I read them to friends. Not my Tim Cahill books. They are priceless. I think he can say “been there, done that” to almost any adventure you can come up with. And his writing makes you feel like you are sitting there with him, enjoying a nice cold beer while he’s telling you the story. I would love to hear about his favorite travel destinations and scariest travel incidents.
Sandra Bullock Smith is a retired human resources executive who currently lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico, with her husband, Mike, and their mongrel pups. She grew up in Florida, and then spent 20+ years in the colorful gumbo of south Louisiana. A world traveler, angler, adventure junkie, and storyteller, she also works as a crew chief for several endurance running and cycling athletes.
One of her greatest challenges in life was the ten-year period during which she and her siblings cared for their aging mother. This experience led her to pen her first book, Trading Places: Becoming My Mother's Mother. She hopes it offers insight and encouragement to anyone involved in a similar labor of love.
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