A Chat with Author, Michele Young-Stone
Carrie: What inspired you to write THE HANDBOOK FOR LIGHTNING STRIKE SURVIVORS?
Michele: I set out to write a novel about a girl’s affection toward an unresponsive dad—and the consequences of that relationship. But, a fellow writer reminded me that there were a million books just like that. He asked, “What will set your book apart from the pack?” It hit me: When I was eleven, I was struck by lightning. I’ve always liked magical realism, especially when it’s grounded more so in the realism—when we’re reminded that not everything can be explained by science, so I thought, “This is my hook.” The lightning makes the main character think that she has magical powers. What little girl doesn’t naturally think she possesses some degree of magic—with our without lightning?
Carrie: In general, how does an idea for a book come to you ~ Does it perk slowly in your mind or does it come in a flash?
Michele: Actually, my novel ideas start with a scene either observed or imagined, like a girl holding onto homemade wings, climbing onto a bus (from my most recent work-in-progress). From there, the characters take over and I allow the story to unfold. Sometimes it’s a mad rush where I’ve been known to write 1,000 pages to get to 100 pages.
Carrie: Give us an idea of the plot of THE HANDBOOK FOR LIGHTNING STRIKE SURVIVORS without giving too much away.
Michele: Oh boy! Two strangers, seemingly with nothing in common, are brought together by the electric force of lightning. Becca, brought up in academic affluence, and Buckley, brought up in poverty, are connected throughout their lives by the folks they meet and by this uncontrollable element—lightning—that causes him to write The Handbook for Lightning Strike Survivors, a handbook Becca purchases.
Carrie: What is the primary message you’d like your readers to take away from THE HANDBOOK FOR LIGHTNING STRIKE SURVIVORS?
Michele: Have hope. Have faith. No matter how bleak our circumstances, there is possibility. There are things in life we can’t control, but we can control our response to those things. No one has to go with the flow. We can turn things around.
Carrie: What was the most difficult scene to write? Why?
Michele: There were multiple scenes that were difficult to write, but ultimately, it was the final scene because it was pivotal to the book’s success, and more important than word choice and pacing (elements I struggled with in other difficult chapters), I wanted a “satisfying” ending, the right ending, and for the longest time, I wasn’t sure how the book should end. I had to wait for the characters to tell me their thoughts.
Carrie: Which character do you identify with the most in THE HANDBOOK FOR LIGHTNING STRIKE SURVIVORS? How much of yourself did you put into these characters and did you realize you showed up in the book?
Beautifully written by her husband Art Ortenberg, Liz Claiborne: The Legend, The Woman is the story of Liz Claiborne–the building of her iconic company, her vast talents in clothing the emerging market of women entering the work force, her years of adventure after leaving the company, the conservation work she did for decades, and the nobility and dignity of her battle with cancer. It is also a powerful and poignant love story.
In 1976 Liz Claiborne and Art Ortenberg created Liz Claiborne, Inc., one of the most well-known fashion companies in the world and the first Fortune 500 Company headed by a woman. Liz had anticipated and responded to a lasting economic and cultural change…
HOW TO RULE THE WORLD FROM YOUR COUCH Laura Day
In her new book, HOW TO RULE THE WORLD FROM YOUR COUCH, Laura Day teaches you or your company how to create success in any area by using your brain in unique and compel-ling ways so that your innate intuition can propel you ahead to successful solutions. Laura’s work has helped demystify intuition and demonstrate its practical, verifiable uses in the fields of business, science, medicine, and personal growth. Her list of clients and students includes doctors, financial investors, scientists, engineers, and celebrities. Day has shown that 98% of success is planning and that you, therefore, have the power to transform your life.
Carrie’s Chat with Laura
Carrie: What inspired you to write HOW TO RULE THE WORLD FROM YOUR COUCH?
Laura: Intuition is non-linear, out-of-the-blue, accurate insight. It has given me the means to have a successful life or save my hide, in my particularly self destructive phases, a thousand times. It is an ability that everyone has and accessing it can be taught easily. My students have been begging me for years to write a linear guide to the various intuitive abilities. I compromised. The beginning of every chapter gives the reader/student the true intuitive experience and then I make the text linear for the rest of the chapter. I also wanted a book that teachers, company’s and institutions could apply to their goals and projects without me. Here it is.
If you’re searching for the next best book, why not enter to win FOUR?!
Our friends at Hachette Book Group are offering the following four books. Enter to win, simply by leaving a comment below sharing your favorite book of all time, why it’s your favorite, and how it touched your life. We want to hear from you!
- How to Be a Hepburn in a Hilton World: The Art of Living with Style, Class, and Grace By Jordan Christy
- The Love Revolution By Joyce Meyer
- Role of a Lifetime: Reflections on Faith, Family, and Significant Living By James Brown , Nathan Whitaker , Tony Dungy
- Loved: Stories of Forgiveness By Rebecca St. James
- Deadline-October15th, 2009, midnight, EDT
- Canada & US Residents Only: No P.O. Boxes please
- Make sure you’re subscribed to the Words To Mouth newsletter to receive winner announcement (not posted on website)
“Fascinating insights into the ways that successful people have not only overcome adversity but made a friend and ally out of it. This book offers readers a great opportunity to consider how they will emerge from the major challenges we face individually and as a society. Griswell and Jennings have a deep understanding of the experiences of success arising from adversity, and their observations are unique and encouraging to us all.” David J. Skorton, President, Cornell University
“As Griswell and Jennings point out, there really is no substitute for hard work. We have to build endurance of character the same way we build endurance of speed or strength, and it always pays off.” Wayne Gretzky, NHL Hall of Fame Player, Businessman, and Coach
Carrie: How did you become interested in writing a book on dealing with adversity?
Bob: A little context is in order to give you the full answer. Barry and I come from extremely different backgrounds. Barry is from Atlanta and I am from Des Moines. He comes from a really tough background where money was extremely tight; I’m from a middle-class family. He received his undergrad from Berry College in Rome, GA and his master’s from Stetson University in Florida. I have an engineering degree from Iowa State and received my master’s from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. Out of college he went into financial services, I went into construction sales.
Over a number of years we each moved our families numerous times, Barry in the south and eastern US and me to South America, Texas, and the West Coast. We first crossed paths about 18 years ago when we relocated to Des Moines while pursuing our careers. We, along with our spouses, became close friends socially and playing competitive tennis together, but there was no real business connection other than we were each leading and growing sales organizations for world-class companies—Barry for Principal Financial Group and me for EFCO, companies we both would eventually lead. From time to time we would compare notes, things like compensation and benefits, employee training, and sales methods.
Given that we were each growing sales organizations there became one area that was extremely important to us and that was employee and agent recruitment, selection and retention. We talked about this on a number of occasions, and we noticed an interesting thing: if there was one marker that we felt would predict a person’s ability to be successful in our organizations, it was a demonstrated ability to overcome adversity. Our own backgrounds and career experiences, different as they were, supported our observation. Even though Barry and I would not compare notes again on this subject for more than ten years, we each employed it in our respective company’s methods for locating and bringing along those with this all-important identification marker.
Now fast forward to the year 2003, when my co-author was inducted into the Horatio Alger Association, which recognizes and honors people who’ve come from humble beginnings and gone on to great success. The Association inducts ten new members a year and includes the likes of Buzz Aldrin, Craig Barrett of Intel, George Foreman, Bob Hope, Wayne Huizenga, Colin Powell, President Ronald Reagan, Howard Schultz of Starbucks, and Oprah Winfrey. The marker of overcoming adversity was once again in front of us, and we heard some very incredible stories.
Now, having so much affirmation of what we had thought and felt for many years, we decided to research and document in a book how the experiential learning gained from overcoming life’s worst experiences could catapult an individual to incredible success.
I interviewed Dr. Shoshana Bennett, Ph.D. longer ago than I’d like to admit. To be honest, I ran into some editing issues with the sound quality and some phone interference, so I put it on the back burner. After revisiting the interview and all the excellent info Dr. Shosh offers, I inquired some moms on their interest in the content. Many moms were interested in hearing about Postpartum Depression and the treatment. Though it’s still not perfect, I re-edited the file and finally posted it. It was a bit of a pain, but I really think the information Dr. Shosh offers is priceless. I realize it won’t be of interest to every Words To Mouth listener, but let’s face it, we’re all either parents at some time in our lives or know someone who is, so if you don’t listen, just be mindful of people around you who may find this interview useful. Be aware the sound levels were a bit off, so you will hear some white noise and possibly a few phone key blurts–Hey, I tried.
Description on Postpartum for Dummies from Dummies Website:
It’s a great blessing when a new mom with postpartum depression (PPD) is fortunate enough to be diagnosed early by a knowledgeable medical practitioner or therapist. But without guidance, it isn’t always clear where the boundary between normal baby blues and PPD lies. As with any other illness, the quicker that PPD is identified and treated, the faster the woman will recover. Postpartum Depression For Dummies can help you begin the process of determining what’s going on with you and give you a better idea of where you fall so that you can get yourself into proper treatment right away. The book covers all aspects of PPD, from its history and its origins to its effects on women and their families to the wide variety of treatments available—including conventional Western medicine, psychological therapy, alternative medical treatments, and self-care measures.
Postpartum Depression For Dummies reveals:
- Why some doctors may be hush-hush about PPD
- How to distinguish between pregnancy hormone changes, “baby blues,” and PPD
- The difficulties of getting a proper diagnosis
- The role and importance of a therapist
- The benefits of medication for depression
- Alternative treatments with a successful track record
- How to find the right balance of psychological, medical, and alternative treatment
- Ways you can help foster recovery
- The nutrition you need to care for yourself properly
- How to help your partner help you
YOU’D BE SO PRETTY IF…Teaching Our Daughters to Love Their Bodies–Even When We Don’t Love Our Own, Dara Chadwick
A Conversation with Dara Chadwick,
Author of YOU’D BE SO PRETTY IF…
Carrie: Why did you decide to write YOU’D BE SO PRETTY IF…?
Dara: I learned so much about my body—and about myself—during my year as Shape’s Weight-Loss Diary columnist. But watching the effect that the experience had on my daughter, just at the time when she was beginning to think about her own body, really opened my eyes to the effect that my words and behavior have on her. That led to many conversations between us about why I was doing the column, what I thought about my body and what I hoped to get out of the experience. I wanted her to know that it was all about being healthy for me (my own mom died young) and about becoming the best me I could be. When I talked to some of my friends about their mothers’ influence and their body feelings, I realized this was a universal topic among women and I wanted to really explore it.
Carrie: What will readers take away from YOU’D BE SO PRETTY IF…?
Dara: I want readers to close this book and say, “Wow. I don’t need to be a supermodel or be perfect to help my daughter feel good about her body.” The practical advice and collective wisdom in this book—my story, and the stories of the women and girls I interviewed—will give readers the tools and encouragement they need to change the body image legacy that they pass on to their daughters.
Carrie: There are a lot of body image books out there. How is YOU’D BE SO PRETTY IF…different?
Dara: It’s different because it touches on all facets of a mother’s influence on her daughter’s feelings about her body. The mother/daughter relationship is so complex and the bond is so strong, girls can’t help but absorb everything we say and do and, to some degree, feel—whether it’s good or bad. And while the book will touch on examples of moms who tell their daughters that they’re getting fat or try to rigidly control them, it also tackles more subtle scenarios, such as how moms talk about themselves in front of their girls and how that talk affects their daughters.
Carrie: What do you mean by that?
Dara: For example, if the family decides to go out for ice cream and mom just orders a Diet Coke every time, what does that say to her daughter? Or when the family heads to the beach or pool for a day of swimming and mom refuses to remove her cover-up? My mom was a huge fan of self-deprecating jokes; one of her favorites was, “The first rich blind man through the door is mine.” She also liked to choose clothes that she said, “hid a multitude of sins.” Those words and behaviors aren’t lost on girls. You’re planting a seed with each comment and when her body starts to look like yours, guess what? She remembers, and applies that criticism to herself. The good news, though, is that the stories shared by the women and girls in this book will help readers see that subtle changes can have big effects.
Carrie: As a mom, how can I encourage my daughter to eat healthy without contributing to the development of an eating disorder?
Dara: As Shape’s Weight-Loss Diary columnist, I spent a year working with a dietitian who taught me that healthy eating doesn’t mean deprivation. My daughter watched me lose 26 pounds, but she also saw me eat ice cream and other foods that I love. She saw me eat in restaurants and cook healthy meals at home. Being healthy isn’t about extremes or rigidity, and there’s a place for the foods you love. It’s all about balance.
Carrie: Girls today want to look like their favorite celebrities, many of whom are stick thin. What can moms do to counteract that?
Dara: These are tough waters for moms, and I’ll be the first to admit that. At 13, it’s all about fitting in with your peers and figuring out who you are. These are tough concepts for an adolescent to grasp, but don’t underestimate your own influence. To her, you’re a role model, just like the celebrity she adores. If you take care of yourself and focus on being the best you you can be, you’re teaching your daughter to make the most of who she is—to be the best her she can be. I try to remember that, too, when I’m tempted to brush off a compliment. If my daughter tells me I look pretty, I’ve learned to say, “thanks,” instead of brushing it off. When I accept her compliment without making a self-deprecating comment (this old thing? My hair’s a mess, my arms are too big, etc.), I’m showing her that I can feel good about myself the way I am — and she can, too.
Carrie: What about media images? How can moms contend with the media’s portrayal of women and our daughters’ aspirations to look like those women?
Dara: I know it seems overwhelming sometimes, but you can help your daughter learn to look at media critically. I wish every girl could experience what my daughter experienced watching me go through the Shape program. She’s been to multiple professional photo shoots and she’s seen how much make-up, time, lighting, styling and posing go into creating an image of “perfection.” We also poke around on Web sites like the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty site, which features things like videos that show the transformation of a natural-looking model into a cover model. When you’re talking with adolescent girls about celebrity and media images, it’s so important to help them understand that what they see on the page isn’t real. I’ve got a friend who says she never compares herself to celebrities—they’ve got nannies, housekeepers, stylists, trainers, assistants, etc. It’s just not a fair comparison, she says. I think that’s a great attitude.
Carrie: What’s one thing you learned while writing YOU’D BE SO PRETTY IF…that really surprised you?
Out of the Mouths of Babes
Parenting from a Child’s Perspective
Out of the Mouths of Babes offers a unique parenting approach tailored to working with the personalities of individual children, ultimately educating parents on how to observe and appreciate every experience through the eyes of their child. Eybergen’s book highlights eight main areas:
Bedtime and Sleeping through the Night
Sibling Rivalry and Conflict Resolution
Through each chapter, Eybergen uses her background as a nurse as well as a parent, and shares stories of her own misadventures and triumphs. Eybergen cleverly uses humorous quotations from children and situations of her own that parallel her children’s experiences to help parents develop an understanding from their child’s perspective. Once parents have this understanding, they are able to provide more effective parenting techniques for any behavioral challenge.
Out of the Mouths of Babes ~ Parenting from a Child’s Perspective (Chapter 7, Discipline) Excerpt:
On Christmas Eve day, when our two older children were six and four years of age, I ran upstairs to answer the door, leaving the two of them alone in the basement. It was my best friend, dropping off some gifts. About five minutes after letting her into the house, we heard the sound of breaking glass coming from downstairs. I quickly responded to the noise and found my two boys standing near the TV entertainment unit with golf clubs in their hands. A golf ball had gone through the glass of the cabinet, and it had shattered beneath their feet. Thinking they were in big trouble, they instantly began blaming each other for what had happened, and it was obvious that I was not going to get to the truth of the matter. Frazzled, I couldn’t think fast enough to do anything, except remove the boys from harm’s way and tell them I would need time to think about what I was going to do. They retreated to their rooms, indubitably shaking in their boots, and I continued to visit with my friend.
Chat with Dyan and Carrie
For many parents, following text book strategies for childrearing can often lead to frustration or feelings of failure. Bringing over a decade of experience handling behavioral problems in kids—as well as raising her own three boys—pediatric psychiatric nurse, Dyan Eybergen, provides the roadmap to parenting children according to their unique personality in her book, Out of the Mouths of Babes. Based on attachment theory, Eybergen shows parents how to trust their intuition and eliminate the one-size-fits-all approach to parenting, providing clarity and humor to the journey of parenting.
Carrie: What inspired you to write Out of the Mouths of Babes?
Dyan: I worked as a child and adolescent psychiatric nurse for more than eight years–there wasn’t a behavioral situation that I wasn’t trained to handle. When I began having my own children I thought I was more than adequately prepared for motherhood. I learned very quickly that all my education and clinical experience taught me nothing about being a mother and the emotional ties that bind. Children are unique and cannot be parented from a one-size-fits-all paradigm.
Carrie: Tell us a bit about Out of the Mouths of Babes.
Dyan: Out of the Mouths of Babes is a collection of stories and anecdotes based on the lives of my three boys and the experiences my husband and I have had raising them. It is a humorous and candid look at parenting from the child’s perspective. I do not promise any quick fix solutions to any parenting dilemma; Out of the Mouths of Babes offers guidance to parents who may feel they have been undermined somehow by contemporary approaches and are wanting to relate to their children in a more instinctive way. It encourages parents to work within the context of relationship and parent their children in a way that compliments their individual child’s needs and personality.
Across Carrie’s Desk
Show No Fear, Perri O’Shaughnessy – A woman falls to her death from Bixby Creek Bridge at Big Sur. Is it an accident? A suicide? Nina’s suspicious, and launches her own painful investigation into the truth. For the first time, she meets homicide detective Paul van Wagoner and attorney, Jack McIntyre, both men who will play an intimate role in her future. They do what they can to help her, but relationships are tangled, loyalties are tenuous. It will come down to Nina to confront a killer, and work her way toward some form of justice. For More…
The Problem With Women…is Men, by Charles J. Orlando – The Problem with Women… is Men: The Evolution of a Man’s Man to a Man of Higher Consciousness is an in-depth look into stereotypic men today and the challenges women have surviving with them and/or finding one that’s good enough to keep. Written entirely from a man’s point-of-view and experience—based on 10 years of real-world research and hundreds of interviews—The Problem with Women… is Men offers a humorous, blunt, tell-all examination of men, their issues, their refusal to change and how women can “train” them into men that are more sensitive, knowledgeable, loving and dare I say… evolved. For More…
Last Chance Rescue – A savvy and accomplished advertising executive, Brad Sievers’ life is forever altered the night he runs into Jessie Van Dyke at his high school reunion. In his new role as a search-and-rescue team member in the Colorado Rockies he comes face-to-face with the precariousness of human life and his ability to affect it. He finds himself challenged by — and drawn to — Jessie. But Jessie has a dark past of her own — a past that threatens their friendship when they rescue an Iraq war veteran. When Brad nearly dies in a senseless accident and Jessie’s beloved horse rescue ranch is threatened, he learns what it means to be a true friend — and to have a true friend. But it’s not until Jessie goes missing one night that he realizes where his heart truly lies. Will he be able to overcome his fears and save Jessie from hers? For More…
Win the “Across Carrie’s Desk” Book Package
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Deadline for entry – April 15th, 2009 midnight, EST
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This book appeals to me…well, because I need all the help I can get with surviving my daughters’ teen-age years. AGONY is a perfect word some days and I bet if you asked them (I’ve got two) they’d say that same word is spot-on for dealing with “Mom.”
the AGONY and the AGONY is a practical guide offering sympathy, advice, and a few laughs to get parents through the seemingly impossible adolescent-rearing years. Betty Londergan provides sound strategies to common conflicts between parents and teens: a) How to talk to teenagers about issues, especially what NOT to say; b) Teen privacy—when it’s okay to snoop; and c) The different strategies for parenting “emotional” girls and “rebellious and withdrawn” boys.
To win a copy of the AGONY and the AGONY:
- One Ballot: Subscribe to my e-newsletter (this is how I announce winners) ~ I promise I won’t bombard you with correspondence, trust me 😉
- Two Ballots: Leave a Comment below sharing your biggest teenager challenge or maybe how challenging you were as a teenager (Beg for forgiveness from your parents 😉
- Three Ballots: Call 206–309–7318 and share in your own voice
- FOUR Ballots: Leave a review for Words To Mouth on iTunes
Interview with Betty Londergan
Carrie: What inspired you to write the AGONY and the AGONY?
Betty: My adorable, agonizing teenagers.
Carrie:Tell us about the AGONY and the AGONY.
Betty: My focus is on what a parent goes through in a child’s adolescence – namely a process of bewilderment and loss. So I’ve borrowed the famous five stages of grief to describe the parents’ journey: through Denial (12-13), Anger (14-15), Depression (12-18), Bargaining (16 -17) and Acceptance (18 up, I hope).
Carrie: What is the primary message you’d like your readers to take away from the AGONY and the AGONY?
Betty: That you will live through this, that it’s normal to feel enraged/insane for a good part of your kid’s adolescence, that your kid probably will grow up to be just fine, and will eventually even like you again.