Tag Archives: autobiography

10 QUESTIONS FOR…memoirist Cindy Kershaw

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 Author interview with Cindy Kershawbookcover2authorphoto1

My name is Cindy Kershaw. I live on a beautiful lake in Ct. I am the mother of 5
children, all grown, and 5 grandchildren. I’ve been divorced once and widowed
twice, so I’ve spent a good part of my life as a single parent. I’ve always
written, but My Good Grief is my first published book. I am very involved with my church, and spend a couple of days a week at a volunteer job. I have a very full and interesting life!

Tell us about your latest book

My book, titled, My Good Grief, is about my experiences with grief and loss, told through my stories and my poetry. It’s a book about the amazing way joy and sorrow are intertwined in this life. It demonstrates our ability to be alright no matter what life deals us. I tell about the death of two husbands and a younger brother, and my
unswerving faith in the way life unfolds. My experiences with cancer,
alcoholism and AIDS are related in the book, along with a triumph over my
sorrows, and a return to joy. 

How did you get started as a writer?

I’ve been writing since I was 14 years old. I feel that I’ve always been a writer
because I just love to write! Hundreds of journals and notebooks are a
testament to that. After the death of my husband, I met a friend from my past
who asked what I’d written. I was writing about my husband’s death at the time,
and he encouraged me to publish. He thought I should publish my poems, but
instead I wrote about the stories that surrounded and prompted the poetry.

What does a typical day look like for you?

A typical day starts with a cup of coffee, a journal and pen in hand, and then,
weather permitting, I go outside by the water (I live on a lake) or out in my
canoe, and write!  I’m a seamstress, although retired, so my day often has a sewing project. Two days a
week I go off to a very fulfilling volunteer job. I’m always knitting or
crocheting there, something I do everywhere, including outside on the deck, or
inside in the evening. I also love to visit friends or family, so when I’m out,
I include that in my day. I usually take a walk in the afternoon when I’m home.
I love to sit outside on my deck in the nice weather, until dark. Even then,
when the sky is filled with stars, I often linger longer.

Describe your desk/workspace.

My computer is on an old desk in a small room. The room has shelves and bureaus,
filled with the supplies for my many creative endeavors. The walls and shelves
contain favorite photos of my children, grandchildren, other pictures, and
memorabilia. An old braided rug, made by my mother-in-law, graces the floor. A
solitary window, with sheer flowered curtains I made, faces south and lights up
the room. I still love to sit outside with a pen and large yellow lined pad,
and see my words spill out on paper, but later I go to my little room and
transfer them to my computer to store.

Favorite books

The Invitation, The Dance and The Call, by Oriah Mountain Dreamer

Writing from the Heart, by Nancy Slonim Arione

Traveling Mercies, by Anne Lamott

Your Heart’s Desire, by Sonia Choquette

Tell us 3 Interesting/crazy things about you

One of my very favorite things to do is to walk the sandbars at the shore, because it
always clears my head and reminds me of how small I am in relation to the
Universe. I’ve done this all my life. I have changed some with the years, but
it remains constant, always the same.

I love to go out in my canoe, and sit in the middle of the lake, at night when the
full moon is out, lighting up the whole sky!

At 67 years old, I still clap my hands with glee and jump in the air when I’m
extremely happy!

Favorite quote

“I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the
company you keep in the empty moments”.

– Oriah Mountain Dreamer, The Invitation

Best and worst part of being a writer

The best part about being a writer is that writing all the time and getting your
thoughts out of your head and down on paper, keeps you from ever having an
ulcer or being stressed!

The worst part about being a writer is the editing process, and getting rid of
words you’ve written. It’s often painful to part with them but must be done to
make your work interesting and readable to others!

Advice for other writers

Don’t worry about context or progression of passages of writing when you’re creating.
Just write without a thought about what it will eventually become or look like
as a finished product. Correct and edit later!

Tell us a story about your writing experience.

My hope in publishing my book was that it would be an inspiration to others who
were going through the grieving process. The very first e-mail I got proved to
me that I had done that. A man who had just lost his wife was given my book by
a friend who knew my son. The man wrote the friend and said if he ever met the
woman who wrote the book, to tell her it had been invaluable to him and that he
thought she was an amazing woman. The friend told my son, who forwarded the
e-mail to me. The uncanny part was that the man had worked for my son, and
didn’t know that I was his mother. My son wrote and told him so, saying also
that, “Yes, I was an amazing woman.” The man was astounded, told my
son he’d always thought he was a great person, and added that he hoped his
children thought as highly of him when they grew up.

My book is available on my website, www.cindyannek.com

Cindy Kershaw

http://www.cindyannek.com

http://www.cindyannek.blogspot.com

 

10 QUESTIONS FOR…Fred Wendorf, a memoirist who sold movie rights

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Author interview with Fred Wendorfwendorf-book-coverwendorf-photo

Fred Wendorf is a retired Professor of Archeology from Southern Methodist University currently living in Dallas, Texas. Fred has promoted and advanced the field of archeology through his work as a college professor, field archeologist and noted author in his field. He spends his time between Taos, New Mexico and Dallas with his wife Cindy, six children and seven grandchildren. The movie rights to Fred’s autobiography have been purchased.

1. Tell us about your latest book.

 My recent book, “Desert Days, My Life as a Field Archaeologist,” published by SMU Press, follows my life from my early years in Terrell, TX, my enlistment in the army (September 1942) shortly after my 18th birthday (July 31, 1924), and my life as a prehistorian, at first in the American Southwest, but after 1962 in Northeast Africa, in Sudan, Egypt, and Ethiopia. My book is full of humor, and some archaeology stories. I think I succeeded in my goal of writing a book that would be of interest to any intelligent reader. There are about 40+ pages about my army life as 20-year-old Second Lieutenant fighting in northern Italy until I was wounded on March 3, 1945. I spent two years in an army hospital. My right arm was paralyzed, and still is. I went back to the University of Arizona in Tucson, then to Harvard for my MA and PhD. Through luck, and the support of several senior prehistorian friends, I became involved in the effort to save the archaeological sites being destroyed by pipelines, highways, and river basins. As a pioneer in this effort my professional career was greatly enhanced. Over the years I received many awards, two of which are my election to the U. S. National Academy of Sciences, and the Lucy Wharton Medal given once every five years. I was elected President of each of the three major American archaeological societies, and President Regan appointed me to the Secretary of Interior’s Advisory Board for the National Park Service.

I have written, assembled, or edited more than 30 books, and more than a hundred articles in professional journals. All of these are technical descriptive reports and records of archeological history.

 2. How did you get started as a writer?

My first book was written while still an undergraduate after returning from the army 6 months earlier. It is a report on the excavation of a small pueblo and 15 underlying pithouses located at a place called Point of Pines, in east central Arizona. The book was published by University of Arizona Press.

3. What does a typical day look like for you?

I have just finished a two and half year writing project about my life, and now I am becoming involved in giving talks about the book and holding book signings. Three more signing events are scheduled, two in Dallas and a third in Atlanta.

4. Describe your desk/workspace.

 I have two workspaces, my home office and my office at SMU. The top of both desks are covered with letters, manuscripts, dictionaries, and sticky notes of various colors. My walls in both offices are covered with photos taken in the field and of my six children. My home office also has one wall covered with my awards and appointments, ie. National Academy of Sciences, etc.

5. Favorite books (especially for writers).

I read murder and spy novels and the Economist.

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you.

I am a hard worker. I like people. I spent forty-four field seasons, each 8 to 10 weeks long, in Egypt and Sudan, mostly in the Western Sahara.

7. Favorite quote.

None

8. Best and worst part of being a writer.

It is hard work, but produces great pleasure when my book or my article is published and I read the publication for the first time.

9. Advice for other writers.

Stay with it IF you enjoy it and like the results!

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience.  

My recent book “Desert Days: My Life as a Field Archaeologist” has the wrong dates for the deaths of both my mother and my father. I will correct this goof if we have a second printing.

 

Where can people buy your book?

Copies are available through Amazon, http://www.amazon.com/Desert-Days-Life-Field-Archaeologist/dp/0870745247/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1233954915&sr=1-1

 

 Barnes & Noble, http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Desert-Days/Fred-Wendorf/e/9780870745249/?itm=4

 

Borders, http://www.borders.com/online/store/TitleDetail?sku=0870745247

 

10 QUESTIONS FOR…Robert Prondzinski, who writes about 45 years living as a quadriplegic

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Author interview with Robert Prondzinski, author ofprondzinski_backcoverphotofinal9780967029122

Another Fine Mess You’ve Gotten Us Into: The Life and Adventures of a Quad 

 

1. Tell us about your latest book.

 

Besides the many bizarre and strange stories about the situations I managed to get my friends into, Another Fine Mess You’ve Gotten Us Into: The Life and Adventures of a Quad is about my 45 years living as a quadriplegic after a severe spinal cord injury at the age of 17. The book is serious, humorous, informational and, many say, inspirational. I take the reader behind the scenes as I describe what it physically and emotionally feels like to be quadriplegic, and navigating my way through rehab, school (I have two masters degrees), living independently, dating, marriage, my professional career, and retirement.

2. How did you get started as a writer?

I was pressured to do so by many of my friends who told me I should write down many of the crazy situations I got them into over the years.  As a very active quadriplegic who never learned his limitations, I frequently manage to get my friends into weird situations that an able-bodied person could not even comprehend.  Hence the title of my book:  Another fine mess you’ve gotten us into.

3. What does a typical day look like for you?

When not traveling around the country in my 32’ RV (which is more than half the year), I am enjoying my model electric train hobby at home and the many great restaurants in the Chicago and Milwaukee area, where many of the stories in the book took place.

4. Describe your desk/workspace.

My workspace is a bit unusual.  I do all my computer work and writing from my bed while I’m lying on my back. There is a computer screen mounted and positioned above me.  I use a voice-recognition software package called Dragon NaturallySpeaking to talk to my computer and have it perform anything that can be done by a keyboard or mouse.  As a retired computer professional I am able to create my own NaturallySpeaking commands to accommodate any software I install on my computer.

5. Favorite books (especially for writers)

J.R.R. Tolkien (Author): Lord of the Rings

Frank Herbert (Author): Dune

Orson Scott Card (Author): Ender’s Game, Ender’s Shadow, Shadow of the Hegemon

David Eddings (Author): The Belgariad Series

Robert Jordan (Author): Wheel of Time Series

6. Tell us 3 interesting/crazy things about you

1.     My buddy and I once went to a boat show just to see what was there. By the time we left, we owned a 28-foot pontoon boat and leased a slip on a local chain of lakes. The only hitch was that when we both got home we would have to tell our respective wives what we had done. Needless to say, we will never be doing that again without their consultation. We did manage to keep the boat, but never heard the end of it.

2.     After a year or so of watching others pilot the 28-foot pontoon boat, I decided it was time for me to try, even though I do not have the use of my hands or legs. As I steered the boat with one wrist and controlled the throttle with the other wrist, my body lurched forward, shoving the throttle to maximum speed. As the boat shot forward uncontrollably and swung into the marsh I found myself and my wheelchair lying on the floor of the boat, which was now landlocked 15 feet into the marsh. When we finally got the boat back into the water seven hours later, and with a lot of help from others, I decided that from that day forward I should probably let others pilot the boat.

3.     While I was laid up for awhile due to medical reasons, a friend of mine convinced my wife and I that it would probably be a nice hobby to have a small model train layout while I was recuperating. We decided to build a small 3×6-foot layout and each of us purchase one steam engine and one diesel engine along with a few freight cars and a few passenger cars. Unfortunately, this little hobby became an obsession, which resulted in turning my office into a massive train layout with an inventory of more than 250 train engines and thousands of freight and passenger cars. Currently the layouts have taken over three rooms of our house and the entire patio. My wife is cursing the day my friend talked us into this new endeavor.

7. Favorite quote

“God does not roll dice.” Albert Einstein

I believe Einstein’s actual quote was, “God does not play dice with the universe.”

8. Best and worst part of being a writer

The best part of being a writer is that I leave a legacy of some part of myself in the world after I am gone.  Having no children to carry on my family name this is of greater importance than one might think.  Because this book is an autobiography of sorts it also lets my audience know that a person named Robert Prondzinski lived and enjoyed life to the fullest.

The worst part of being a writer is that, as you all know, it can be a slow process for a book to reach a broad audience. This is extremely discouraging for me because I feel this book can help people who are afflicted with a serious injury, as well as their families and loved ones. However, the feedback I get from others who have read this book does express how it helped them cope and provided hope for their futures.

9. Advice for other writers

I have found that writing down many of my experiences was very cathartic in its own right.  No matter who you are or what you are writing about just keep writing.  Every word, sentence, or idea you write down is a creation from your mind and is something that is uniquely part of you.  You create the stories and ideas that others will remember throughout their lives.  To create something tangible from pure/conscious thought is remarkable.  No other species living on this planet can do so.

10. Tell us a story about your writing experience. 

As mentioned above, I felt pressured into writing this book.  I thought that writing down a couple of the crazy stories I told at gatherings with my friends would put their harebrained thoughts about my writing a book to rest once and for all.  Little did I know that, after the first two stories, they would ask for more.  Two stories turned into 27.  Then the 27 stories needed some “before and after” context so, by the time I was done, I had pretty much written a 272-page autobiography.  I guess I hoisted myself onto my own petard, but now I would not trade that experience for the world.  Life is stranger than fiction.

Where can people buy your book?  Another Fine Mess You’ve Gotten Us Into: The Life and Adventures of a Quad is available in select bookstores, on Amazon and from my www.FineMessAdventure.com  website, where you can download free sample chapters.