Looks Easy Enough: A Joyful Memoir of Overcoming Disease, Divorce, and Disaster is my first and only book . . . but hopefully not the last.
LOOKS EASY ENOUGH is a memoir covering a four-year period of my life where after working as an architect for twenty-five years, I married for the first time at the age of forty-six, retired, and moved with my bride to a small mountain town to build our dream home and to live the simple life. But things don’t always go as planned.
Instead, I found myself supporting my wife through breast cancer – she had a mastectomy and then abandoned conventional protocol in favor of organic foods, natural medicines, meditation, and psychotherapy. And helping my sister through a divorce from an angry, abusive husband who proceeded to drag her through a grueling four years of court hearings, attorney meetings, and therapy sessions. In between trying to do what I could to help my wife and my sister, I managed to squeeze in a few days a week of construction on our mountain home; we were building it ourselves. After three long years, my wife and I finally moved into our dream home only to watch, from our rear deck, the flames of the largest forest fire in California’s history race through our small community, turning our home into six inches of ash. And, oh yeah, somewhere along the line, I transferred our retirement money from a more conservative investment fund to the volatile NASDAQ, only to painfully witness our retirement money circle the drain in the largest market crash since the Great Depression
I know it all sounds pretty depressing, doesn’t it? But it’s not! The book is an inspirational tale about overcoming life’s challenges with a grown up love story running through its core. Eventually through it all – cancer, divorce, a forest fire, and financial hardship – I ultimately see what I call the big picture view of life –THE MAGIC and come out with a smile.
The book is intended as an empowering affirmation to inspire readers with the confidence that they, too, can tackle even the most disheartening of life’s challenges and land on their feet.
Tell us something about yourself.
I live with my wife Susan and our two feisty young tabbies, Little Ray and Joey, in the small mountain town of Julian, just north of San Diego, California. My future plans include carving a totem pole recounting the story of how Susan and I met. I also enjoy tennis and hope to be the oldest person (over 60) to obtain an ATP tennis ranking.
The book LOOKS EASY ENOUGH is based on my personal experiences and on a lifetime of asking questions, keeping my eyes and ears open, and trying to figure out what makes this funny world of ours go round.
What inspired you to write this book?
The book actually started off as a love letter to my wife Susan. We were relaxing on our back deck in lounge chairs, with cold drinks in our hands, watching the sunset, when out of nowhere I told Susan that I was going to write her a love letter. I had never written anything in my life, but the mood was there and it seemed like a good idea at the time, so what the heck. Over the next few days, I hoped Susan would forget that I had mentioned it, but she didn’t. When I finally sat down to write what I thought was going to be a quick half-page, it turned into a few hundred pages; I couldn’t stop writing. Ultimately the love letter turned into a book – LOOKS EASY ENOUGH.
Readers have called the book an adventure story, a love story, a comedy, a do-it-yourself book on how to build a house, and all have called it an inspirational story of overcoming adversity. And the book is all those things . . . but to me it will always be a love letter to my wife.
How did you choose the title?
The title of the book, LOOKS EASY ENOUGH, is the way I try to look at life. It used to be that when I was faced with a tough job – like how to operate a new computer program or how to drive a bulldozer for the first time – my first thoughts were always “Man, this looks hard!” But inevitably after jumping in – reading the instructions of the computer program or climbing into the seat of the bulldozer and pushing a few levers – the once tough jobs seemed easy enough. So now when faced with a tough challenge, I try to skip over the part about how hard it looks and go straight to looks easy enough!
I called the book LOOKS EASY ENOUGH as a reminder to me, and hopefully to the readers, to not give up, to keep pushing forward, because eventually it will be easy enough.
How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?
The fact is that I didn’t know that I wanted to be a writer. As I mentioned above, during a moment of weakness, for some unknown reason I blurted out to my wife that I was going to write her a love letter, and she wouldn’t let me off the hook. So being more or less forced to follow through with my promise, I jumped in and found the writer in me. I had no idea that I was going to write a book. I just got into the act of writing and couldn’t stop.
And to tell you the truth, at first I really had no idea what I was doing. Finding the right words and punctuation, let alone expressing myself in writing, had always been a mystery to me and never my favorite thing to do. When my mother first read the book she said, “Scott, if my memory serves me right, wasn’t English Language your worst subject in school? Didn’t your report cards come home with mostly C’s and D’s? I can’t believe you actually wrote a book . . . especially one this good. I loved it.”
Quite a few of the readers have commented that reading the book is like talking to an old friend while sitting in an easy chair sipping tea – or something along those lines. The reason for this I think is because I really don’t have any professional training in writing. I write pretty much the way I talk. And I talk slow and use small, easily understandable words (I don’t know many large words).
And the thing is, once I wrote the book I kind of got addicted to writing. It has become a form of release – a way to express my feelings, my emotions, my experiences – the good, the bad, and the ugly of it all. And best of all, each time I write I learn a little something more about writing and a little something more about myself. I’m hooked.
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
Writing the book was actually the easy part, the fun part, the exciting part, the rewarding part. But once the book is complete, the real work starts. Whether you self- publish or go through a publisher, if you want sales, it will be up to you to make it happen. There are many avenues you can take to sell your book – far too many for me to go into or to know which is best for you. But the important thing is, and this is my advice, don’t give up. If you are confident in your writing and confident that there is a market for your writing, then don’t give up. There are all types of people (agents, publishers, bloggers, authors, and even friends) who are going to tell you how difficult it is to make inroads into the book selling trade. And it is. But don’t get bogged down with what people are saying. Do your research, learn as much as you can from whatever resources you can find, and keep taking the next step. I can guarantee that if you keep moving forward and don’t give up, you will sell books.
Who is the perfect reader for your book?
The two biggest groups of people that will enjoy my book are:
Group 1: People losing sleep and worrying themselves sick over a diagnosis of cancer (or experiencing another life threatening illness), people wondering where their next mortgage payment is coming from (experiencing a tough time in the current economy), people trying to protect their family from the next natural disaster (earthquake, hurricane, forest fire, or flood), people going through the tribulations of a punishing divorce . . . and people who want to come out better for having had any these experiences.
Group 2: People who want to laugh. People who want to be inspired. And people who are looking for a true life, grown-up love story and are tired of sappy stories where the characters are as deep as the page they’re written on.
This may seem like a contradiction – people who are going through adversity and people who want a good laugh. They’re not! As one reader said, “The author has a way of making serious subjects seem not so serious.”
Where can readers lean more about you and your book?
The easiest way to obtain a more intimate understanding of the book LOOKS EASY ENOUGH, A Joyful Memoir of Overcoming Disease, Divorce, and Disaster by myself, Scott Stevenson, is to check out: www.lookseasyenough.com.
I have been fortunate to receive several awards for LOOKS EASY ENOUGH including: Reader’s Favorite Award, Pinnacle Book Achievement Award, and Book Bundlz – Book Pick of the Year Award.
The book can be purchased at Amazon.com, and barnes&noble.com.