Could You Tell Us About Yourself ?
I have had a love for reading and writing since I was a little girl. I am never without a book close at hand, and I feel that I express myself best through the written word. A Speech-Language Pathologist for over 28 years, I have worked with students of all ages and developmental levels teaching them to communicate and use words functionally in the world around them. In 2015, I became foster Mom to a 4 month old boy who clearly had very special needs. By age 1, I realized that he was not developing as he should and began a journey of doctors, therapists, tests and all that came with it to help this child grow and function in the world around him. I adopted him in November, 2016 and our journey continued. Soon after, I began to lose myself because he was so needy. It wasn’t until returning to work after COVID that I realized just how lost I was. That was when my journey to find myself while taking care of my child really began.
What made you write a book (s) ?
I started a blog of the same name (momsplace4grace.com) so that I could share my story with others in the hopes that my story would help them. I know so many parents of needy children and they all have similar stories. Taking care of themselves just wasn’t as important as taking care of their child. I have always dreamed of writing a book so when it was suggested by some of the readers of my blog, I jumped at the chance.
What is the first book you remember reading ?
I know I read books before this but my first actual memory of a book I read by myself is The Hidden Staircase- by Carolyn Keene (A Nancy Drew Mystery) I remember going to the bookstore with my Aunt and picking out the book. They didn’t have #1 in the series so we settled for #2.
What’s your favourite book ?
Honestly, my favorite book is The HOLY BIBLE – it’s timeless and provides comfort to me when needed. There is always wisdom to be found their when I am struggling.
Who is your favourite author and why?
I love light mysteries which don’t require too much thinking and I love serial books. I would say in that genre, Janet Evanovich is my favorite. She writes truly laugh-out-loud stories which provide a wonderful escape from everyday life.
How many hours a day do you write?
When I am working on a project, 3 hours a day. When I’m working on a blog post – about an hour but it really depends. Writing is a second job for me at this point and I still have to care for my son and my elderly Mom and Aunt so free time is fleeting. Summers are wonderful because that’s when I have the most time.
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
For me, getting started is always a challenge. Sometimes that is just because I am on the computer often throughout the day for work. Once I start, though, it usually just flows.
What do you need in your writing space to help you stay focused?
I actually do best working in chaos. I often write with music or tv on but I do need to be by myself. I don’t like writing when others are around.
What’s your favorite writing snack or drink?
I’m a water and coffee girl, so I am never without that at my fingertips. Ice cream is my go to for getting the creative juices flowing.
How do you celebrate when you finish your book?
A glass of DiSaronno and a toast to whatever was to follow.
Do you listen to music while you wrote your book (s) ?
Usually I listen to Christian music. Michael W. Smith is a favorite.
Where do you get your idea (s) for your book (s) ?
The ideas for my book are based in real life. Currently, all of my writing is non-fiction and I use the events from my life to illustrate the points I want to share.
What is / was your writing process like?
I created a mindmap first so that I would be able to organize my chapters into something that made sense to the reader. I want each chapter to stand alone so that someone could look up a chapter on Growth and just read it without having to read the entire book. Sometimes Moms of special kiddos don’t have time for an entire book but a quick chapter will give them what the need to keep going.
Do you try more to be original or rather give readers what they want?
I would say it’s a combination of these. I want to send readers my message in a way that also gives them what they want but I don’t shy away from the tough questions and I don’t pretend that I have it all figured out.
What part of the book was the most fun to write?
My least favorite part was waiting on the editing and the formatting. I don’t like waiting.
How did you come up with the title for your book (s) ?
I wanted to keep the same title as my blog because my blog will continue. That said, the title for my blog literally came to me while in prayer.
What is a significant way your book has changed since the first draft?
The only major change from the first draft is that I added a reflection question or activity at the end of each chapter.
How would you describe your book’s ideal reader?
The target audience is moms of special needs children however, educators, Dads, Grandparents and even parents of neurotypical children can get something out of the book.
How long did it take for you to write a book ?
From the first written word to the last 3 months.
What do you hope your readers take away from your book (s) ?
There are 2 major messages to take away: 1. You are not alone. 2. Self-care is not selfish, it’s a form of self-preservation.
What was the hardest part of writing your book (s) ?
Reflecting upon the painful times and sharing them. Making myself vulnerable.
Did you get some negative feedback on your book ? and if so how do you deal with that ?
I did – mostly from family members who just don’t get it or don’t want to get it. I just accept that their particular opinion just doesn’t matter.
How did you feel when you first published your book (s) ? Scared ? Excited ? Nervous ?
I was truly very excited but scared because this is a huge step out of my comfort zone. People I know are reading this book, people who I don’t know are reading it. Colleagues, friends, parents of students. It’s so scary to just put it all out there.
Where can people who are interested in your book, buy your book ?
My book is available on Amazon in both kindle and paperback forms.
Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with your readers about?
I am hoping to have a youtube channel launched very soon.
My blog has regular entries. I am also developing the mind map for my next book which will be about Gratitude.
After writing your book (s) what is your advice to people who want to become writers?
Just do it. If you have something to say, people will want to read.
What are common traps for aspiring writers and have you faced any of them ?
Don’t be in a rush. Take whatever time you need to get it right.
Barbara Ann-Marie Vorel Media Links