In your own words, please describe your book.
I Will Never Forget is the almost unbelievable, were it not absolutely true, story of my mother’s accomplished life and incredible albeit humorous journey through dementia. Through superb stories from my childhood, including the controversy swirling about my name, tales of smoking’ dragons and my ugly, feisty teenage years, my mom Betty Ward’s wonderful character is revealed.
The Life is Good years continued for decades until Mom reached her 80’s when our relationship evolved and a new paradigm formed. My mother started to exhibit goofy actions, uncharacteristic verbal assaults and bizarre thinking. Although clearly mystified by Mom’s irrational behaviors, I did not appreciate the extent of her mental decline. Her amazing ability to mask the truth clouded my vision and prolonged my denial until one cataclysmic explosion of reality over an innocuous drapery rod launched a waterfall of destructive events.
As my mother’s brilliant mind was steadily destroyed by Dementia’s insatiable appetite for brain cells, I accompanied her on her journey. I witnessed her fascinating visions of her own mother, masterful Houdini-like disappearances and finally a stunning rally to take control of her own destiny.
I Will Never Forget is a heartwarming, humorous, honest and deeply moving story pertinent to everyone touched by the insidious effects of Dementia. Learn from my unwitting mistakes in order to capture insightful and effective intervention strategies.
What genre/genres does your book fall under?
Non-fiction, Aging, Personal Memoir
Is this book part of a series? No.
What was the inspiration behind your book? What led you into writing? Was it a lifelong ambition, or the result of some type of turning point in your life?
Writing a book was never on my bucket list! But my mother’s was a story that needed to be told and inspired by many casual but genuine remarks such as “You should write a book,” I did.
Mom was a kind, brilliant and talented woman all of my life, until Dementia took hold, distorting her persona and leaving an agitated, bewildered and compromised woman in its wake.
In the shadows of WWII, during an era when very few women attended college, my trailblazing mother earned her Bachelor’s Degree in chemistry and later on acquired a Master’s in Education.
Many years later, though, after experiencing a decade of unspeakable tragedies, Mom began to exhibit uncharacteristic and disconcerting changes in her personality. Episodes of irrational behaviors, paranoia, flashes of hostility and illogical thinking, replaced her formally patient, bright, organized and articulate essence.
In what would be her final months, as my mother continued her rapid descent into Dementia’s clutches, her once strong voice faded away. Our quiet visits together afforded me the opportunity to reflect on the vivacious life that defined her. I was determined that she would not be remembered as a withering mumbling older woman but as the strong, courageous and gifted lady who was my mom.
I am humbled and honored to have been able to give back to the woman who gave so much and blessed to have many great friends and family who supported me in my endeavor to write I Will Never Forget.
So far, what has been the greatest moment in your writing career?
My memoir probably began as a cathartic expression of grief while my mother rapidly descended into Alzheimer’s clutches. Part of it was written in her final months after dementia quieted her once vivacious voice. As the writer of course, I read, reread, edited, added and deleted; moved words, sentences and paragraphs around; pitched and rewrote!
When the manuscript was finished I thought it was a great work worthy of being read by others, but I had absolutely no idea what an independent editor, knowledgeable in the industry, would think.
When the 26 page, detailed assessment arrived in my in-box, I virtually disintegrated reading a remarkable, unbiased and thorough endorsement! I was thrilled, humbled, overwhelmed, and ecstatic. Those emotions were topped off when I opened the package with the first copy, first edition of my book seeing in “living color” and a lot of black and white text, the culmination of a powerful true story and an incredible journey.
Are you self-published or published through a small-press? Can you tell our readers what led up to that and your publishing experience?
I Will Never Forget is self published. A few months before my manuscript was finished, I started investigating my options for getting it published. A lawyer friend of mine, with several publishing industry contacts, sent out feelers in my behalf, but to no avail. Then she suggested self-publishing.
Self-publishing? What’s self-publishing? I literally visualized cranking out page after page on some out dated copier in my kitchen. Hmmm, maybe that’s not what she meant. A Google search quickly revealed a lengthy list of self-publishing companies. Several emails, a few phone conversations and a glass of wine later, I discovered that one of the few books I had read in recent years, Still Alice, was published by iUniverse. Good enough for me, I figured, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Self publishing was the easy part; self marketing however has proven to be overwhelming, exhaustive, frustrating and expensive.
What are you working on now? A Book Deal!!! As I donate to Alzheimer’s research via book sales, my goal is to recoup my ghastly out-of-pocket expenses with a book deal.
On a regular basis, however, I write for the Alzheimer’s Reading Room, Endear for Alzheimer’s and Maria Shriver.com to help advance Alzheimer’s awareness.
In your own words, please tell us about yourself.
I’m an Occupational Therapist who has worked decades mostly in pediatrics but also adult rehab. Now I work tirelessly promoting Alzheimer’s awareness in part by helping to dispel the myths, donating to research and writing for on-line sites.
I like projects: sewing, gardening, flowers, and Pinterest worthy DIY crafting. My husband says I have 2 speeds: fast and off. He’s right. I go like the energizer bunny most of the day until the batteries wear out and I curl up on the couch in the evening with the cat.
I’m traveled out after decades of frequent trips to Germany where my daughter, son-in-law and three grandkids lived. They relocated to the states last June and now are within a 25” drive. I’m thrilled.
What are some of your likes and dislikes?
Likes: Golf, baking, gardening, movies, dinners out, sunrises, chocolate, all cats and most dogs, the Little Dipper.
Dislikes: Dusting, cooked spinach, stop and go traffic, senseless tragedies.
How can readers connect with you?
email@example.com I welcome all correspondence.
Tell us one thing about yourself that we wouldn’t know?
I’m a TV junkie, especially The Good Wife, Scandal and mystery, cop series.
If there was one thing you could tell your readers, what would it be?
I would like my readers to know how much I sincerely appreciate their time and interest in my memoir I Will Never Forget. It reads more like a novel, several reviewers have written, which I take as a compliment, rather than a biographical style book. My mother’s story should resonate with anyone who has lived the Alzheimer’s journey, either intimately or on the periphery, and if you’ve “been there” you are not alone!