Meet The Author

Meet The Author: Interview with Abbigail Rosewood

Abbigail N. Rosewood was born in Vietnam, where she lived until the age of twelve. She holds an MFA in creative writing from Columbia University. An excerpt from her first novel won first place in the Writers Workshop of Asheville Literary Fiction Contest. She lives in New York City. Visit her on the web at https://www.abbigailrosewood.com/. Connect with her

Q & A with Abbigail Rosewood

A&RBC: If I Had Two Lives tells the story of a young girl who has to confront issues of identity, alienation, abandonment as she tries to make a life in a new country. What inspired you to write this story?

AR: I don’t think I was so much inspired as I was possessed⎯I was at a point when I was finally ready to use words as a means to construct emotional truths, difficult truths. The novel, as challenging as it was to write, is to me like a wish: a coherent, metaphorically consistent, emotionally logical narrative with a beginning, middle, and ending. A wish because life isn’t so neatly packaged and perhaps more metaphorically messy. In writing it, I was able to reframe the story from a young girl perspective even though everything that swirls around her is less than the ideal girlhood, dark, violent, disorienting. The perspective of a girl, especially one unnamed, is often dismissed. Here, everything is filtered through her eyes. The second half of the novel is set in New York, where she ends up. This part was also exciting for me to write because I knew most Americans associate Vietnam with the Vietnam war, and I wanted to offer something different. Vietnam and Vietnamese people have lives and experiences that go beyond a single historical event. It was important for me to break out of this predetermined framework. 

A&RBC: Where did you get the idea for this novel?

AR: It would be dishonest for me to pinpoint exactly where my ideas come as the creative process can be elusive and hard to describe. Other artists have done it better than I ever could, but I think my taste is my guidance. One of my favorite movies is Pan’s Labyrinth, which follows a young girl’s perspective, or really, her imagination, as she navigates a landscape full of human horror, war, violence, child abuse, the loss of a parent, etc. Through her the viewer witnesses the unfolding of a dark fairy tale. I think children who have lived through violence, in many ways have never had the luxury of being children, but they also can’t help but be children. Their imagination helps them cope and is also a way for them to reclaim the narrative, to make sense of all the terrible and nonsensical things in the adult world.  

A&RBC: Are any of the experiences of the main character pulled from your own life?

AR: My novel is an amalgamation of factually accurate information, the unreliability of my own memory, creative freedom, a good amount of psychosis, and that magical elixir that transforms madness into art. 

A&RBC: What kind of research did you have to do for this novel?

AR: The short answer is none. The long one is everything I’ve read, loved, hated, have contributed to who I’ve become as a writer. 

A&RBC: Your book focuses on a number of different female relationships, including a complicated mother/daughter relationship and female friendships. Why was it important to showcase those relationships in your novel?

AR: I’m fascinated by female relationships, their mythic quality, complexity, and the fact that most of them involved unresolved grief. I think the best literary male friendships are also very feminine. In my novel, I was also interested in exploring the juxtaposition between what is typically deemed as masculine⎯a military compound, soldiers, etc. and the more feminine energy⎯a girl going bra-fitting, her first masturbation, etc. These opposing forces sharing the same space create a delightful effect that could potentially subvert expectations. 

A&RBC: One of the themes in your book is grappling with the past. Why do you feel it’s important for people to confront their memories and history?

AR: I actually think so much of the world’s problems originate from our inability to acknowledge our shadow, our darkness, our refusal to reflect. So many of the world leaders, past and present, have created havoc for humanity because they need to prove their self-worth by accumulating wealth and power. If we don’t grapple with our memories and our history and try to understand our own darkness, then our shadow will end up taking precedence. Free-will is not doing whatever we like or having knee-jerk reactions. Free-will is knowing precisely why we act the way we do. 

A&RBC: Ultimately, what do you hope readers take away from your novel?

AR: I hope for my novel to challenge, entertain, delight. But perhaps more than anything, I would feel successful if someone somewhere reads a line and feels its truth whether or not they can relate to it. 

A&RBC: How and where can readers purchase If I Had Two Lives?

AR: Everywhere books are sold. I recommend supporting your local independent bookstores. 

A&RBC: What else are you working on now?

AR: I’m editing the last draft of my second novel and starting my next project. 

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ABOUT THE BOOK

This luminous debut novel, which has earned impressive early reviews from media including The New Yorker, The Los Angeles Review of Books and Foreword Reviews, follows a young woman from her childhood in Vietnam to her life as an immigrant in the United States – and her necessary return to her homeland.

As a child, isolated from the world in a secretive military encampment with her distant mother, she turns to a sympathetic soldier for affection and to the only other girl in the camp, forming two friendships that will shape the rest of her life.

As a young adult in New York, cut off from her native country and haunted by the scars of her youth, she is still in search of a home. She falls in love with a married woman who is the image of her childhood friend, and follows strangers because they remind her of her soldier. When tragedy arises, she must return to Vietnam to confront the memories of her youth – and recover her identity.

An inspiring meditation on love, loss, and the presence of a past that never dies, the novel explores the ancient question: Do we value the people in our lives because of who they are, or because of what we need them to be?

Book Details:

Publisher: Europa Editions

Release Date: April 9, 2019

Format: Paperback

ISBN-13: 9781609455217

Amazon/ B&N/ Books-A-Million/ Indiebound/ Powell’s/ Indigo Canada

Meet The Author

Meet The Author: Interview with Terri Bolds

Terri Bolds is a Licensed Therapist, Author, member of Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc, Public Speaker and the Creator of Bold Visions Consulting; a business created to educate the community on mental health, emphasizing on self-esteem and self-empowerment.

Receiving a BA in Psychology and Masters in 2006 from Wright State University; she worked as a therapist for a short period of time before taking positions as an Associate Professor, Mental Health Specialist and substitute teacher over the years.

In 2015, Terri founded her business Bold Visions Consulting focusing on esteem, and empowerment as if she were addressing her younger self. With Bold Visions, Terri has been able to conduct and facilitate workshops, speak and educate on mental health in schools and churches with youth participants; and have been featured in printed publications.

Having a passion for writing, Terri released her first self-published booked “Bold Love-A Letter To My Young Sister in 2016, and Bold Choices-They Say Im Bad to follow summer of 2017 and Bold Me I AM Worthy in 2018

In partnership with Cincinnati Public Schools, businesses, churches, etc, she is helping implement the importance of mental wellness and practices of anti- bullying, not only by teaching and literature but also using visuals, interactive activities and experiences.

With more to come, Terri will continue to empower and encourage by traveling and speaking to the masses about the importance of mental health and wellness.

Get to Know the Author:

What inspires you?
Life. I am inspired by life and everything it encompasses.
Where did the idea come from for this book?
My life experiences and just over time I wanted to expand my brand and after releasing my children’s books, and felt it was time to speak to a different audience.
How long have you been writing?
I have been writing since I was a child.
How do you use your books with your business?
My books are an extension or bonus to what I speak about.
Do you plan on writing more books?
Yes, definitely.
What will be your next literary release?
My goal is to release a fiction book for middle school.
How do you want to be remembered?
A child of God living a life to serve and assist others.

Bold Self-Reflection; Know Thyself will take the reader on a journey down a path of uncovering hard truths. The pages are filled with creative and realistic ways to help the reader uncover the deceptions they subconsciously and consciously live with and learn how they have affected their lives. Through the journey of self-exploration, the reader will also begin to lay down a foundation of truth-telling that will begin to shift their path on a direction of freedom from of unwanted baggage.

 

Read the Excerpt Now: 

 

Many times, people walk around, living their lives, not knowing why or how they ended up the way they are. Have you ever met someone whose complaining is endless, whose unhappiness for others is never-ending, who’s in constant failed relationships, or just can’t seem to get it right? There is a reason behind that person’s behaviors and attitudes. When we see a person, we see the physical shell, but don’t consider that we are also meeting their past, hurts, trauma, ups, downs, joys, and pains. As a therapist, I look beyond the shell. My focus is from a cognitive-behavioral approach. I want people to understand how their thoughts, feelings, behaviors, and outcomes are all connected.

Meet The Author

Meet The Author: Interview with Okeoma Moronu Schreiner

Okeoma Moronu Schreiner is an attorney, wife, mother, and host of the nationally recognized, Happy Lawyer Project podcast. Now as an author, her goal is to guide parents in helping their children navigate the seemingly stressful wide world of money. The inspiration for her new children’s series, Money Monsters, stems from her own experience as a struggling young lawyer who had seen first-hand the difficult situations created by financial problems. Schreiner is an advocate for early education of finances and wants parents to instill comfort and confidence in their children regarding money issues.

What inspired you to write a book series for children to help them
understand the concept of money?

I developed an interest in personal finance while paying off multiple six-figures of student loans and during that time I also had the pleasure of becoming a mother twice over. Like most mothers, I suppose I wanted to find a way to share my interests with my little ones and quickly learned there aren’t a ton of age-appropriate picture books that tackle modern money concepts. It’s, of course, important to just learn the basics of earning or saving money, but I wanted books that were set in a more modern context with banking apps, credit cards and online banks. Basically, I wanted to create a book that would help children understand the concept of money in a way that reflected the world in which they would be growing up.

The books are beautifully illustrated. Why was it important for this to be a picture book?

As a mother of two little ones, ages 3 and 5, there is nothing more precious and impactful than those moments spent together lost in the pages of beautifully illustrated picture book. I firmly believe that it is never too early to start introducing these basic money concepts but I wanted to do it in a way that would engage and capture little imaginations.

How did financial literacy for young people become a passion of
yours?

Before I was a personal finance junkie, I was an elementary school teacher. I
guess you could say that I’ve always had a passion for translating seemingly
complex concepts into fun, educational content.

What advice do you have for parents interested in starting these financial
discussions with their children?

Do it early and often.

Why is it important to start these money talks with your children at a young
age?

The earlier you start these conversations the more comfortable you’ll be having them throughout the many seasons of parenthood. Truth is that the
conversations will only get tougher and tougher as your children get older so you want to develop the language and comfort before it’s too late. Your children are internalizing “stories” and beliefs about money that may not be true and have the potential of impacting their financial lives forever. If we, as parents, don’t help shape those stories and beliefs, our children will create their own.

What are some concrete steps parents can take while their children are young to start their children out on the right financial path?

Take the time to involve them in your everyday money decisions. Whether it’s choosing between two products at the grocery store or choosing not to spend on something in order to save for a bigger goal, children will benefit from understanding how money decisions are made in everyday situations.
Speak to them about in values, not figures. In our house, our kids know that the environment is very important to us so we’ll pay more for a product that is
more sustainable and/or eco-friendly. Help your little ones understand your family’s values and how your money supports and reflects those values. Teach them contentment. This is a hard lesson that can take a lifetime to learn. In order to get your little one off on the right foot you can lead by example, help your children practice gratitude and teach them the value of giving.

What are some of the financial terms that you encourage parents to teach
their children?

The first five basic terms that little ones should understand are:
• Earn – Discuss that money is earned through an exchange of goods and services. Sometimes when we’re out and about we’ll play a game called “who
is at work?”, where my children try to point out people who are “at work” and try to guess how they earn their money.
• Save – Explain why it is important to save towards larger goals instead of spending money as quickly as it comes in. I would recommend using a clear money jar so little ones can see a visual representation of their money growing.
• Spend – Spending wisely means not just spending within your means but spending in alignment with your values. Teaching your kids about spending
is a lesson in understanding what matters and making intentional decisions.
• Give – Help your little one develop a charitable heart and discourage a scarcity mindset. It’s also crucial to teach your little one how to let go and
get rid of things they no longer need or value.
• Invest –This is the one most people struggle with the most but little ones should be introduced to the idea that there are things you can do with your
money that can put more money back in your pocket!

How do you think being confident with money at a young age helps children
as they grow into adulthood?

For me confidence doesn’t mean knowing all the answers. Confidence means believing that you can tackle any challenges that come along the way. By
instilling in your child a sense of confidence around money topics, your little one will grow up to be someone who will explore money topics with a confidence that they are able to learn what they need to know to build a financial abundant future.

The book also highlights a diverse group of characters. Why was that an
important focus for you as well?

We all know there is still a lack of diversity in children’s literature. As a woman of color raising biracial children, I wanted to create characters that reflected their reality. All children and families deserve to have access to books in which they are represented. It is also an opportunity for all children regardless of race to see examples of people of color managing money and doing it well. There was no way that I could write a book without this being a priority!

Ultimately, what do you hope parents and children take away from the Money
Monsters series?

That money conversations don’t have to be scary!

Social link: Author’s Instagram: @finkidlit

ABOUT THE BOOK

The Missing Money is the first picture book in a new series aimed at inspiring young children to learn basic financial terms in a fun and age-appropriate way. The book follows Kai, a young boy on his way to the bank to deposit his newly earned money. While at the bank, a big scary ATM machine eats all of his money! Kai struggles to understand where his money went and creates an elaborate plan to get it back.

Just before attempting to break his money out, his parents sit him down to explain this confusing turn of events and help put his mind at ease. He
discovers the basics of modern saving, such as how money goes from dollar bills to numbers on a banking app. Finances can be a difficult task
to navigate, even as an adult, so these books are meant to aid young children through the puzzling world of money.

The series, all first three of which are set to publish within the year, emphasizes the idea that you are never too young to tackle your money fears head on!

Purchase  at Amazon.com  

Meet The Author

Meet The Authors: Interview with Clark Rich & Leah Dee Burbidge

 

Clark and Leah live in the high mountain valleys of the Rockies where they enjoy their ever-expanding blended family of ten children and six grandchildren. They enjoy travel, hiking, road and mountain biking, and serving in their community and church. Clark received a BS in Finance from the University of Utah and an MBA from the University of Southern California and spent 35 years traveling the world as an investment banker, banker, and Chief Financial Officer. Leah earned an Associate Degree from Ricks College and what arguably could be considered a doctoral-level experience in blended families. Clark and Leah treasure their blended wild ride of 14 years together, firmly believing that any challenge is manageable when you have someone you love to walk beside.Clark and Leah live in the high mountain valleys of the Rockies where they enjoy their ever-expanding blended family of ten children and six grandchildren. They enjoy travel, hiking, road and mountain biking, and serving in their community and church. Clark received a BS in Finance from the University of Utah and an MBA from the University of Southern California and spent 35 years traveling the world as an investment banker, banker, and Chief Financial Officer. Leah earned an Associate Degree from Ricks College and what arguably could be considered a doctoral-level experience in blended families. Clark and Leah treasure their blended wild ride of 14 years together, firmly believing that any challenge is manageable when you have someone you love to walk beside.

Q & A with the Burbidges

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? Or what first inspired you to write?

Leah: I never really intended to write a book. But over the years of Clark’s writing I became familiar with the process. We discussed many times the lack of practical ‘How To’ instruction for Blended Families. These discussions evolved into a ‘Let’s write a book on the subject’ decision. So, we kind of fell into this book together out of a desire to pass on our insights and learning. We worked on the stories, examples and the principles extensively and reviewed and edited in general. Although most of the actual writing was done by Clark the development, review and editing were definitely a team effort.

Clark: I have always been a storyteller and enjoyed making up stories, poems and tall tales for my children growing up. I especially liked the bedtime stories I’d make up on the fly because it really challenged me to produce something that would keep a child’s attention. I had different ones for each child. I thought a lot about various stories for years and always had ideas. But it wasn’t until 2010 when I was in between jobs that I decided to try my hand at getting something published. The first year I completed a non-fiction book for 20 and 30 somethings and a Christmas/Holiday book. I also had a fictional fantasy short story prepared that has since become a three-book trilogy. One never knows when you step on the path, as Bilbo Baggins once said, where that will lead. I have had a wonderful experience writing and have loved doing a book together with my sweetheart, Leah. Our collaborative effort turned out to be way beyond our expectations. We are so excited to have this book available for blended families, those thinking about jumping into the blender and single parents. Even though it is focused on these types of families, every family will benefit from attempting to apply the principles we included in our book. This book with Leah marks my 9th book and the last 8 have all been Gold Medal award winners as best in their category.

Where/When do you best like to write?

Leah: If something is important you make time to get it done. Being a parent doesn’t really get easier or less time consuming just because your children are adults, out of the house or married. The questions and dilemmas change but the demands and responsibility do not.

Clark: I have a schedule where I rise early in the morning and prefer to write from about 7:00 am to about 10:00 am. But writing can happen at any time during the day or night when a thought, a new plot twist or idea strikes. Many nights I will sit up in bed knowing that sleep will not come again until I get it recorded. Writers see the world differently than other people. The wonder of a moment or a particular picture painted before your eyes by nature or humankind unexpectedly captures your imagination. One entire trilogy came from a moment when I walked into the house of one of our sons and his little family while they unboxed a tree-topper ornament and put it on the tree. I knew immediately it was a vision that would take me places I’d never been before…and so it did in the award winning StarPassage trilogy.

Do you have any interesting writing habits or superstitions?

Leah: Not for me, that would be a question for someone who has written a number of books.

Clark: Not really habits or superstitions but more of style. I do not prepare an extensive outline or flow for the book and there is no formula. I enjoy climbing into the story with the characters much like my readers do. I have no idea where the story is going to go next and get ideas along the way. I may round a corner and discover a new character. I need to determine if it is friend or foe and where that new character will move the story to next. Then I often discover the character’s back story and need to go back and write it in and deal with the impact it has on the story almost like real life. This means that I get as excited about getting back to writing after a break as a reader does when reading the story.

What do you think makes a good story?

Leah: Something that engages and is interesting. That varies with each reader. I especially enjoy reading about real people and their life experiences.

Clark: The same things that makes any good story or movie. There is too much emphasis on special effects and wiz-bang flashiness in both. Readers are engaged by a good story, the development of solid, relatable characters and the interaction of characters, motives, paths and process as the story develops. This has been forgotten by much of the industry. The roller-coaster ride of adventure and danger must be present but cannot be all there is. This does not engage as well as having relatable characters, development and a great story. Then the reader is pulled in and stops reading but has an experience walking with the characters. Every reader deserves to be rewarded by such an experience. This is why gratuitous effects, violence, language, immorality, etc. are so negative for movies and books. These words, scenes and sights rip the reader or viewer out of the experience they are having by distracting them from the story and character development that is captivating them and taking them on a journey. Anything that makes you sit back and mentally say, what was that, pulls you out of the movie or book and detracts from the experience. Another thing is something I learned from reading Tolkien. It is that he had mastered the art of getting the reader to turn the page or jump into the next chapter. This is what I try to do especially with my teen and young adult fiction writing.

What inspired your story?

Leah: Our children and our real-life experiences. We recognized that there wasn’t a lot of information out there to help Blended Families and felt a need to provide a practical guide to fill the void.

Clark: This story is a true one which was forged in the furnace of experience over our combined 68 years of Blended Family experiences and especially our 14 years together. When we started this process, we found a near absence of hands-on experience that provided practical ‘How To’ advice for regular people. The souls of individuals and entire families are dying out there every day because they can’t find simple answers and guidance. Many of the family train wrecks we see break our hearts because they are so easily avoided by consistently applying a few simple standards and rules. If implemented from the beginning it works. But if delayed the burdens can spin quickly out of control into serious individual and family strife that tear at the seams of what might have been an otherwise beautiful story. Our burning desire to help others find peace, joy and true love in blended family life and our own experience with such beauty in the midst of a messy world both inspired and motivated us to write this combination autobiographical and ‘How To’ guide.

Is there a message/theme in your book that you want readers to grasp?

Leah & Clark: Absolutely. It is that single parents, blended families and any family are good enough to be successful. You have the knowledge and skills if you choose to use them. Anybody can create a happy and fulfilling environment of love, selflessness and compassion. Of course, it takes work and an absence of selfish pursuits, it takes firm commitment as a couple, standards and values and a consistent example to prove that what you are teaching your children works for everyone. You can do it. You really can.

What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?

Leah & Clark: Interwoven in our ten principles is the dramatic need of the children involved. One great learning that we were reminded of is that we need to start from where each child is. Parents cannot start from where a child is supposed to be or expected to be or even where they were before the dislocating events swept them up and brought about single parenthood or blended family life. If you try to start where your children are not, then every day is a disappointment or failure. When you start from where your children actually are, then every day can be a step forward…a success. Children, both minors and adults, desperately need to feel success once again in their lives and they will glow and blossom as that experience becomes regular. Our book is about allowing each individual to become their best self…even when we feel we have fallen short.

Social media handles:

Blended family issues impact the vast majority of Americans. Yet, even so, society often sidesteps the topic, while literature leaves a bleak landscape nearly void of practical advice from those who have lived in the trenches.

With over 68 combined years of direct blended family experience, including 14 years with their own family of 10 children, authors Clark and Leah Burbidge are uniquely qualified to fill this void. Their combined ‘Autobiographical/How-To’ guidebook weaves a humorous, tender, uplifting, and critically insightful fabric of 10 foundational principles upon which any family may confidently build. Every blended family can have happier, more fulfilling lives where disruption, disorientation, and contention are replaced by teamwork, progress, and overcoming-oriented achievement.

Living in the Family Blender provides practical guidance upon which any family may build better relationships and a life filled with joy and purpose. Join them on their personal journey and discover glorious possibilities in your own family.

Buy links:

Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Living-Family-Blender-Principles-Successful/dp/1632695057/ref=tmm_pap_swatch_0?_encoding=UTF8&qid=1562010654&sr=8-1

 

B&N:https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/living-in-the-family-blender-clark-rich-burbidge/1130393301?ean=9781632695055