How do you promote this book? Right now simply by giving it to people, to letting people know it exists. I think word of mouth is powerful. I will continue to do speaking engagements mainly for women who are looking to move on with their lives after losing a partner any number of ways– through outgrowing, separation, divorce, or death.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? We do have the ability to meet live halfway meaning that the outcome or our satisfaction or sense of well being depends upon our not allowing ourselves to be victims of circumstance but rather full players in the dance of life. And we must learn to dance with what is dealt.
Who is your favorite author and why? I adore Barbara Kingsolver and Ann Patchett.
Their use of words, their uncanny ability to infuse their relational, relationship stories with biology, political and succulent observation of human and environmental nature and the interplay of the two.
What are your current writing projects now? There are a few- one is a sequel to the Virgin Widow about the challenges of the chapter of life following the “gulch of grief.” It’s got a lot of momentum and raises many universal issue of a professional single woman making her way in midlife.
Non-fiction-wise and professionally I’m writing a coaching curriculum for the Institute of Lucid Learning entitled-“ For People Who Work With People”- it’s about understanding individual differences for people who work with people in the fields of education, health or personal sales.
Are you reading any interesting books at the moment? Quite a few as is my way.
Self Godin- Your Life As A Work of Art
Barbara Kingsolver – Flight Behavior
Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina
What are some of the best tools available today for writers, especially those just starting out? There are so many on line seminars- sign up for one and you’ll be barraged with hundreds of choices and you never need to leave home.
Personally, I still enjoy the occasional isolated writer’s workshops in a beautiful place, away from my life where I can muse and concentrate on my own creativity outside the usual distractions.
What contributes to making a writer successful? Coming up with a winning formula proved by popular response and running with it.
Do you have any advice for writers? Get support for yourself in the form of a group or if you an afford it, an editor.
What do you do to unwind and relax? Stare into the garden and silently watch nature doing her thing. Especially birds. I find them hypnotic.
What dreams have been realized as a result of your writing? None quite yet— I’ve just begun. On second thought- finishing something is very satisfying.
Do you have any upcoming appearances that you would like to share with us? I know I need to create some. But none yet.
If you could leave your readers with one bit of wisdom, what would you want it to be? Trust yourself to know what you need. Tune in to it, write to yourself about it. Re-read it a while later and take yourself seriously. You are the one who really knows what would help actualize your life and realize your potential This is what we all want, at basis. To have our intuition validated and our talents well utilized.
When you wish to end your career, stop writing, and look back on your life, what thoughts would you like to have? I have lived fully, colorfully and lovingly. I have been of service to others, and an inspiration as well. But PS, I never will stop writing. If I can’t hold a pen, I’ll dictate….
The Virgin Widow is a memoir– a self-help/personal growth book for individuals who have recently lost a partner, written for those who are aware that lifelong partnership is never guaranteed. When the reality of partner loss is thrust upon us, we are most often unprepared. The grief that accompanies the loss is typically overwhelming, as painful as picking one’s way through rubble after an earthquake.
Not only do we acutely mourn the specific comforts and familiarity of the beloved– we are forced into a new, unwelcome, and radically shifted world-picture that eerily enough contains many of the same objects, people and places, in a different light. “Virgin Widows” are innocent, first-time widows and widowers who have an unexplored base of experience upon which to draw the wisdom, philosophy and behavior necessary to find a way through the myriad, intricate and immobilizing situations demanding their attention.
The book provides guidance on how to navigate this kaleidoscopic and confusing time — opening up a variety of ‘windows’ on the process of moving through this altered life landscape, and consciously working with change and transition.
The Virgin Widow traces the compelling and universal journey of the author, Dr. Andrea Gould, a successful psychologist, through the spectral phases of her own widowhood. Follow the author’s personal journals, the reader will study the healing journey — replete with all of its uncertainties, challenges and triumphs — of a trustworthy and sensitive sister. Like millions of women, Andrea became a “virgin widow” overnight, thoughtfully willing herself to survive the challenge with grace.
As a psychologist she is almost by definition, sensitive to the nuanced shades of psychic change, and so as she mourned, her journal entries became a repository of conscious reflection on the process of adjusting to change and transition itself. These notes from the ‘front’ are meant to guide others on their own healing path, just as a field guide’s penciled drawings of blue jay sightings and deer tracks assist fellow voyagers in the natural world. Intended ultimately as an interactive tool, experiencing The Virgin Widow will help readers learn about what quotidian pitfalls lay ahead, receive solace, and encourage thinking and reflection about how to cope with change and sudden loss.
In fact, The Virgin Widow presents a larger philosophy about change and transformation through the structures of its format, and the presentation of its distilled wisdom. The Virgin Widow models a process of conscious choice within the upheaval, and embraces the vicissitudes of interior monologues. It frankly acknowledges just how difficult it is to manage these internal voices, shifting from one world-outlook to another.
Finding her way through the grieving process, the author relied heavily on her practices of meditation, internal self-talk and journal-keeping attempting to make sense of her new and tenuous life as a widow. What emerges is a pattern of evolution, and a distillation of how coping tools can work for the average person. Making transparent the experience of loss and transformation helps readers know that they are not alone– that the healing cycle has a dynamic rather than a static, stepped rhythm helps mourners as well as caretakers relate to the unfolding of healing from personal crisis.
The Virgin Widow is a special book because it addresses difficult matters with a light and humble touch. Existential problems around the “ordinary” arise, and these issues are treated with humor and anecdote throughout. Moreover, The Virgin Widow provides a high degree of wisdom and objectivity about these matters through its psychological commentary. The memoir is thereby lifted into another realm of educating readers about how to develop creative competence for adjusting to change.
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Genre – NonFiction
Rating – G
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