Our Guest this week has made a real splash with her debut novel which has gone on to win the prestigious Best Non-Fiction in the NB Book Awards.
I’ve had the opportunity to read Martha’s fine book and I enjoyed it tremendously.
The Scribbler is pleased to have Martha as our guest this week.
Read on, my friends.
Martha: I grew up in a rural community in Quebec, along the Ottawa River. I was surrounded by nature and a wonderful mélange of Quebecois and Celtic culture. A retired speech-language pathologist, I now live beside the St. John River, with my husband and a household of rescued dogs and cats. I devote much of my time to writing and gardening. I’m currently working on a second memoir, a collection of poetry, and I have a novel on the back burner, next to the stew pot.
Title of my first book: Senior Management: Parenting My Parents (published in April 2021 by Nevermore Press, Lunenburg, NS)
Synopsis: This is the story of how, at the age of fifty-five, I became a parent for the first time. My charges were reckless, accident-prone, pig-headed, out-of-control, over eighty years old, and bigger than me. In my book I chronicle the roughly seven years I spent trying to ensure the safety and well-being of my father and stepmother, as they both slipped into dementia. The story takes the reader on a journey from a chaotic Christmas, to the shenanigans of an addled father who insisted on driving long after he had lost his license, and to a high-priced care facility that lost track of my stepmother.
The Story Behind the Story: My parents lived in Quebec, over a thousand kilometres from our home in New Brunswick, so I wore a rut in Highway 7 and the Trans-Canada going back and forth to deal with one crisis after another. The phone calls and text messages from my parents were constant and they always resulted in a need for me to spring into action. One of my coping strategies was to write about these events and post them on social media. My friends would respond with concern and support, but more importantly, with laughter. Apparently, my tales of woe came across as humourous. I discovered that I loved to write and share my stories, and I loved to elicit an emotional response, particularly laughter, in the folks reading my posts. In the course of those seven stressful and chaotic years, a number of people told me I should write a book. My husband, Bill, strongly endorsed the idea. Then I met Author Gerard Collins at a writing retreat he hosted not far from our home, and I presented the idea to him. He thought it had merit and, fortunately for me, became my mentor and a dear friend.
A question for you before you go, Martha:
What is your favorite part of writing and the part you enjoy the least?
As strange as this might seem to some people, my favourite part is editing and revising. That’s the stage when you already have the blueprint for the story. What’s left for the writer to do is to whittle, refine, and polish. I love reading a paragraph and thinking, “I know how to make that better.”
The part I enjoy the least – hmm. I enjoy the whole process, so it’s hard for me to answer this. I think my lowest moment was when I had the actual book in my hand and found two typos in it that we had all missed, despite the many pairs of eyes that had looked at the final version before it was sent to the printer.
Thank you for being our guest this week, Martha. Congratulations on your award. Wishing you continued success.
Thanks to my visitors and readers. Please leave a comment.