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Author Q&A: Here are my most frequently asked questions. Please feel free to send in your questions and I will be happy to respond. Thanks for reading!
The book is so personal in nature, what motivated you to write it? I always wanted to write my mom’s story, because it is simply incredible – such a roller coaster of a life. It melded into my sister’s story and mine. You will discover why I felt compelled to write it by reading the “note from the author” at the end of the book. I tried to make my intention clear in that section.
While you were writing, did you always intend to include the therapy sessions? One of the reasons I included the sessions is so people can see the process of my healing. I simply could not include every one of them, but the bits and pieces are the core of all my sessions. The feedback from men and women around the country has been tremendous—thanking me for encouraging them finally to get the help they needed. Truly, the most gratifying feeling is knowing I am helping others in some way.
Have you found any personal unexpected benefits from writing the book? Absolutely! Complete joy that people are sharing their personal stories and getting the help they need to get past personal demons; not letting what robbed them of their past rob them of their future. One of the best gifts for me is that my sister is getting all the adoration she deserves from everyone she knows. I felt she went through the worst since she was older. I truly feel blessed that I accomplished my dream of publishing a book about our story, people are enjoying the read and finding it moving.
This must have been cathartic to write?
This story was not cathartic for me to to write--it was emotionally very difficult. It is cathartic to see it in bookstores and get positive feedback from readers. It confirms for me that it was a story needing to be told and worth sharing.
Did your siblings require any convincing to allow the book to be published? Were parts changed or left out over siblings objections? My brother didn’t want me to include much about his time in Vegas, and I completely respected that. (I also changed everyone’s name in the book except mine). He only lived with us in Vegas for two years and finds it difficult to hear what happened to us, but he is incredibly supportive. My sister was happy to share our story in an effort to help others who may have suffered the same.
What happened Paul Jr? What happened with Tommy?
Paul Jr: When we moved into our new home in Sierra Vista, he did not move with us. He went off to college and we only saw him at Christmas time. Frankly, knowing now what he did to my sister, I don't care what happened to him. He was as sick as his father. He had no impact on my life or the story, so didn't write about him more than I had to.
Tommy: He left my mother alone after she said she had to move on. It seems so unrealistic, but it was just like that. He seemed to love my mother, but he had a bevy of woman in line for his attentions.
Did mom require any convincing to allow the book to be published? I'm assuming that at her age, she doesn't give a hoot anymore, but at some point she probably would have felt vulnerable. My mom completely supported me. She had to share all her stories for the book. She is 75, and so proud of me. She can’t be bothered with people judging—who cares anymore about what people think at that age? What she is getting is hugs and people praising her children. What more can a parent ask for? We all turned out okay—maybe she would feel differently if we hadn’t, but she has so much to be proud of and we are all fiercely protective of her.
It's crazy to me that you know so many intimate details about your mom's sex life! It was not easy to get that information from her. It took nearly four years! I put on my interviewer’s hat, and it felt as though she was telling me someone else’s story. I wanted and needed every detail for the story . . . and if you must know, Tommy’s portions were edited down to a PG-13 rating.
As a father, I couldn't fathom not being involved in my child's life. I would never sit in my room and wait for her visit to be over, and I would never tolerate a stepmom that didn't love her like her own. Those concepts just seem so foreign to me. Do you ever end up having a meaningful relationship with your dad? My birth father was incapable of anything beyond small talk with us kids. His father ignored him, so I don’t think he knew how to relate to his own kids. Although, that is part of what my story is about; changing your path from where you started. I never had a relationship with my father. He didn’t make an effort, and when my sister and I did see him, it was only because my mom forced it upon him. He passed away a couple years ago and my sister, brother and I went to clean out his apartment. I am completing a memoir that revolves around that weekend, which will definitely be "lighter" and provide insight into our relationship with our father. It will be released as an eBook in Summer 2018, titled, "The One Good Thing, a memoir".
Speaking of your siblings, I love how “normal” you turned out to be, but what about them? They are amazing, successful people with beautiful families of their own. No one would ever know or sense our past from who we are today. It is the moral of the story, “bad things happen to good people, but a positive, even wonderful life can emerge nonetheless.”
I hope that none of my questions were offensive to you, I'm just fascinated that you had the guts to put this all out there so generously and beautifully. I am happy to answer any questions. I am so at peace with it all. I certainly could not have written the book and put it out there if I was not.