Tell us something about yourself.
A recovering Californian, I currently reside in the Pacific Northwest with my husband, our four sons, and one hopelessly amiable yellow Lab, Eve. I’ve been a child prodigy for more than 50 years and am trying to decide what I want to be when I grow up. I enjoy reading, hiking, camping (except for the tent part), fishing (except for the fish part), swimming (except for the water part), and am a sucker for MacEddies, Andrea Bocelli and raspberry white chocolate cheesecake. I do not like oysters.
What inspired you to write this book?
The imminent arrival of “the big five-oh.”
How did you choose the title?
It was more like the title found me…
How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?
I knew I wanted to be a writer after earning my first “A” in Mrs. Margie Flickinger’s Creative Writing class. I was in the seventh grade. She encouraged me to keep writing and practicing. I continued writing into high school, where my strongest class was honors English. Teachers Beverly Lane and Dani Barton cheered me on; Ms. Barton gave me a shot at being a contributing editor to my high school’s literary magazine. Combined with this early encouragement and my “residential rooting section” (Mom and Dad), I took off and never looked back.
Do you have any writing rituals?
Like most writers, I’m also a voracious reader. I usually have two or three books going at once, sometimes more. My ‘home-away-from-home” is the local library. Reading is a lifelong endeavor that began when Mom read to me about a little monkey and a man in the yellow hat. If “reading to write” is a “ritual,” count me in!
Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?
Carpe diem! Life is too short to sweat the small stuff. Find the humor in every day life. If you can’t find something to chuckle about, make something up.
If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?
Begin younger, laugh louder and longer and stock up on more chocolate.
What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors?
Whoa! That’s like asking a mom which kid is her favorite! But since you asked, here’s the short list:
Contemporary: Frederick Buechner, Virginia Lee Burton, Isak Dinesen, John Eldredge, Elisabeth Elliot, Richard Paul Evans, Cornelia Funke, Phillip Gulley, Jan Karon, C.S. Lewis, Max Lucado, H.A Rey, Charles Swindoll, Corrie ten Boom, and the incomparable O. Henry. (I confess I tried thrice but never got the hang of War and Peace. I watched the movie instead. Same thing with Faulkner’s Sound and Fury. At the risk of raising the ire of high school English teachers everywhere, Sound is essentially one giant run-on sentence “told by an idiot.”)
Classic: Jane Austen, Charlotte Bronte, Charles Dickens, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Alexandre Dumas, George Elliot.
My literary “heroes” are the man in the yellow hat, Mike Mulligan and Maryanne and Reepicheep (don’t tell anyone).
Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
Writing is second nature to me, so I’ve always got something “on the stove.” Right now I’m stirring up a literary commentary on the Gospel of Luke called Buy the Book, a children’s fantasy, The Story Slayer, and A Likely Story, a novella about spiritual abuse (real topic, fictional characters and plot). I’m also wrapping up a non-fiction book titled Forgiveness: What It Is, What It Isn’t, And Why It Matters and a memoir, The Mountain and Me, which revolves around Mount Rainier National Park.
Just the other day I unearthed an unpublished manuscript from a deceased uncle, the guy who introduced my Mom and Dad to each other. His title is: Life With an Italian Father, Mother, and Uncles. Fascinating stuff dating back to 1890. It was buried in my files for years. So I’m also readying that for publication.
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
My advice to beginning authors is: revise, revise, revise. Keep practicing. Keep growing and looking for ways to sharpen your skills. Don’t let rejections get you down. Learn from them and come back stronger the next time.
Also, whether or not your book hits “best seller” status isn’t that important. What matters is what you think of your work. Hopefully others like it too, but be true to yourself and your story, first and foremost. Also, eat lots of chocolate and keep the following quote from Patrick F. McManus in mind:
“Laughter is the best revenge, although being rich and famous and outliving all your enemies are good ones, too.”
Who is the perfect reader for your book?
How i got to be 50 is a light-hearted, yet insightful romp through my three most important areas in life: Family, Friends, and Faith. The ‘perfect reader’ is anyone who’s approaching middle-age, is well past it, or is convinced it could never happen to them
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?