Any Color but Beige: Living Life in Color is a memoir that chronicles my journey from a colorful childhood in Cleveland, Ohio and a predictable but secure suburban marriage – in other words a beige existence – to a crucial turning point when I initiated some major life changes in my quest to live my life in color.
Tell us something about yourself.
I grew up in Cleveland and trained to be a journalist. After college, I worked for many years in marketing communications for ad agencies and large N. American corporations. I used to write “commercially,” i.e. press releases, articles, speeches, strategies. And then 15 years ago I switched to sales to try something a little different. I began selling color for a living or rather color merchandising materials, i.e. paint chips and fan decks, to paint companies around the world. As a result I live a very colorful life, meeting interesting people and having amazing experiences, all of which is good material for my book or blog. So essentially I’ve come full circle but in a more creative way. I currently live in the cosmopolitan city of Montreal. That’s added a little French twist to my life.
What inspired you to write this book?
A dangerously handsome Italian man broke my heart during a brief sojourn in Italy. I started writing to gain perspective and clarify my thoughts. The thoughts became a blog that resonated with readers. After all, heartbreak is universal. The blog expanded into other areas of my life: dating, traveling, and learning new things by pushing the envelope and going outside my comfort zone. All of this eventually became the basis for my book.
How did you choose the title?
The title chose me. When I finished writing the book, I reflected on the story and I thought, “Well, my girl, your life has been anything but beige.” And that’s how I came up with the title.
What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?
I published the book myself. I wasn’t about to wait for someone to give me permission or acknowledge my efforts. The book is good. I know it and so I invested in it and by extension in myself.
How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?
A favorite aunt bought me my first typewriter, a used Underwood, when I was ten years old. It was her thoughtful gift and a few encouraging words that first put the idea in my head that I might want to be a writer. I started by writing poetry.
Do you have any writing rituals?
I listen to movie scores; anything by the great Ennio Morricone puts me in “the zone” and lets me write without knowing I’m writing.
How do you come up with the names for your characters?
This is a memoir so I thought it was best to change the names but I did pick names that I liked and were evocative of each character’s nature.
What types of books do you like to read?
I love all kinds of books. I’m inspired by historical fiction and biographies. I escape reading good novels. I like popular science books because I never took much science in school. I read books on philosophy as means of understanding myself and others. I rely on friends’ recommendations when it comes to choosing books because like the T-shirt says, “So many books, so little time.”
Who are your favorite authors?
He covers it all: comedy, tragedy, love stories, history. His plots are riveting, his characters are complex and his turn of a phrase is exquisite. “Oh God that I could be bounded in a nutshell and count myself king of infinite space were it not that I have bad dreams.” (Hamlet) No matter what my state of mind, I can always relate to one of his stories.
Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
Yes. Most people collect souvenirs when they travel, I collect other people stories The next book will be a collection of other people’s stories from around the world.
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
If you can show up to work every day, you can show up and write every day. Pick a start time and an end time, sit down and write. There’s no way around it and alphabetizing your DVD collection is just another means of resistance. Butt in chair…hands on key board. Write.
Who is the perfect reader for your book?
Most people have two lives, the life they live and the life they want to live. This book is for those people. The book is like a map in the metro, “You are here” with a big red X. Now where to you want to go? This is book is for people who want to add a little or a lot of color to their lives. In the end, how they do it is up to them. We all chose our own path.
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?
Readers can learn more about my day to day adventures on my blog: The Café Girl Chronicles.
And they can purchase the book online at Amazon.com or their favorite local bookstore.