Latest Posts

Debut author Julie Carrick dalton talks about WAITING FOR THE NIGHT SONG, the environment, how THE TRUTH WILL ALWAYS RISE–even the parts we don’t want to remember, the magic of childhood, her spry late grandmother

By Leslie Lindsay 

Sweeping novel of epic portions about friendship, the environment, migrant workers, and secrets.

WFTNS-Cover-1

~WEEKEND READING|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~

WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS

Cadie Kessler has spent years–decades–keeping secrets. A moment, really, from her past. That’s what I think the title, WAITING FOR THE NIGHT SONG (Forge, January 12 2021) seems to convey in this coming-of-age story set in New England about a two estranged adult friends, ‘that summer,’ and the truth they tried to keep hidden.

Daniela Garcia calls her friend, Cadie Kessler– now a forestry researcher/entomologist in an urgent plea to return home.
Told in an alternating style, between the ‘now’ and ‘that summer,’ we get a sense of the friendship forged between Cadie and Daniela, the secret, and those nostalgic summer days, a warm balm in the middle of winter. The language is lush and thoughtful, with many details of the natural world: blueberries on the vine, creeks, books and boats and piers, too. WAITING FOR THE NIGHT SONG is a complex tale of friendship, ecology, hidden truths, climate change, racism, immigration, and so much more.

WAITING FOR NIGHT SONG is a striking debut with lots to admire. I loved reading about nature and trees and found the natural elements particularly astute.  Book clubs will find a good deal of discussion points as well  timely, topical pieces that will resonate with a variety of readers.

Please join me in welcoming Julie Carrick Dalton to the author interview series.

Leslie Lindsay:

Julie, welcome! I am so pleased to chat with you about your debut. I understand this book has been in your heart for many years. And you were partially inspired by your late grandmother. Can you talk about what haunted you into writing WAITING FOR NIGHT SONG?

Julie Carrick Dalton:

This story came to me thirteen years ago with the image of two young girls in a boat picking blueberries, an image that carries a lot of meaning for me. I used to take my own four kids blueberry picking by canoe on a lake in New Hampshire. Although my book is set in New England, I also drew on my own childhood memories of picking berries at my grandparents’ farm in the Appalachian corner of western Maryland. There’s a lot of my family history woven into the story, mostly in ways that only my own family members will recognize. WAITING FOR NIGHT SONG is also very loosely based on the children’s book Blueberries for Sal by Robert McCloskey, which my mother read to me and I read to my children.

Leslie Lindsay:

I love this dedication page. Here, you speak to the memory of your grandmother, a copper-haired coal-miner’s daughter from Appalachia and I totally resonate with that. I’m not a redhead, but my daughters are, and we actually have roots in Tennessee and Kentucky. So here’s where I think some of the magic happens on these publishing journeys. Can you talk a bit about that ‘magic’ and also, what was the path of publication like for you?

Julie Carrick Dalton:

My grandmother Althea Carrick, who I dedicated the book to, passed away two weeks before I sold my book. She would have been so proud to see my book in print. At 103, she was the sharpest, spunkiest woman you could meet. I gave my main character Cadie my grandmother’s fire-red hair, and I named Cadie’s boss, Thea, after my grandmother. My grandmother loved being the center of attention, so it didn’t surprise me that the night before my book launch I leaned over a gas stove burner and caught the ends of my own long red hair on fire. (Don’t worry, I’m fine.) You asked about the ‘magic.’ I’m pretty sure that my hair-on-fire moment was my fire-haired grandmother’s way of reminding me not to forget where I came from. I wish she could have seen my book in print. It took thirteen years to write and publish WAITING FOR THE NIGHT SONG. During those years, I also built a farm from scratch and raised four kids. It was a long, bumpy journey, with a lot of late nights, rejection, and doubt — but I wouldn’t change a thing.

Leslie Lindsay:

As I read, I couldn’t help but think of a simpler time. It was anything but for Cadie and Daniela, but we often yearn for those ‘old days’ in which we perceive things were ‘better.’ Which of course, makes me think now, the pandemic. How are you adapting and do you really think the past was all that ideal? Why do we tend to romanticize the past?

Julie Carrick Dalton:

I have to admit, I had a pretty idyllic childhood. My friends and I would take off on our bikes in the morning and come home for dinner. We played in the woods, climbed trees, swam, and concocted ridiculous adventures. I do believe we romanticize the past and often blur over the difficult parts. But for me, my childhood memories are still golden. I wish my own kids had grown up with the kind of freedom and security I had. My kids are grown now, the youngest is fifteen and the oldest is twenty-seven. During the pandemic I’ve struggled as a parent because my kids are scattered across the country. I wish I could gather them all at home and protect them with the kind of fearlessness invincibility I felt as a child. One of my kids was sick with COVID in March, early in the pandemic. I consider myself lucky she recovered, and I recognize that so many other families weren’t so lucky. I look at my teenage son and know that one out of every fifteen days of his life has been defined by this pandemic. It makes me wonder how our kids will look back on their childhood. What kinds of stories will the next generation write when they reflect on their early days. Will they romanticize this complicated moment? I think it’s human nature hold onto the good and bury the difficult things. But, as Cadie discovered in WAITING FOR THE NIGHT SONG, truth will always rise, even the parts we don’t want to remember.


“A killer, gorgeous debut that tackles love, racism and even climate change. Waiting for the
Night Song will break your heart, leave you breathless and wanting more.”

—Rachel Barenbaum, author of A Bend in the Stars


Leslie Lindsay:

What I really loved about WAITING FOR THE NIGHT SONG was the fact that the girls left books on the pier for the little boy as a type of offering. Sort of like a Little Free Library. I did something very similar today, leaving books on my front steps for book club friends. Books are a sort of love language, I think. Can you expand on this, please?

Julie Carrick Dalton:

I loved writing this subplot. In early drafts, instead of one summer, the childhood scenes were spread out over three summers. I made up a list of about forty books I wanted Cadie and Daniela to deliver to the mysterious boy who they refer to as The Summer Kid. I collapsed the time frame into one summer, so only about eight books made it into the story. Cadie, who love books, sees the them as a way to communicate with the boy, to share ideas, to fill him up with the stories that she loved. I put the books I loved most at her age into Cadie’s hands — from Swiss Family Robinson to Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret. There is a language that exists between people who have read the same books. I’ll give you an example from my own life. On election night, I was watching the results come in and it wasn’t looking good for Biden, who I had voted for. My fifteen year-old-son tried to reassure me by saying: “Remember when Odysseus had to win back his home by shooting an arrow through a bunch of narrow targets, and no one thought it was possible, but he did it? That’s what Biden needs to do.” I understood exactly what my son meant because we shared the story of The Odyssey in common. With just two sentences, he conveyed the high stakes, the drama, and a gave me a reason to hope. When two people know the characters and world of a book, it can be a shorthand way of sharing ideas and communicating context, desires, and meaning. As I wrote the scenes involving the clandestine book deliveries, I had this idea that the books my characters shared could become a common language between them, in the same way The Odyssey was for my son and I.

Leslie Lindsay:

What is your hope for readers of WAITING FOR THE NIGHT SONG? What messages do you hope to impart and what residue do you think will linger?

Julie Carrick Dalton:

I hope my book conjures a feeling that we are all connected. That tiny song bird (referenced in the title) disappearing in New Hampshire, is linked to deforestation in the Caribbean. US intervention in Central America in the eighties is linked to the region’s climate disasters and climate migration today. Killing one spider could change the world in ways we cannot imagine. Our actions, no matter how small, can have consequence we may never know about. We are all responsible for each other and for how we treat this planet. Although the setting is distinctly New Hampshire, I did not model the fictional town of Maple Crest on any real towns. I want it to feel small and insular, that it could be any small town. But at the same time, it is connected in unexpected ways to far-flung places and people around the world.

Leslie Lindsay:

What gets you out of bed in the morning?

Julie Carrick Dalton:

The literal answer to that is my dogs, Quito and Ganzy, who are up and ready for me to walk them every morning. My energy is divided between three main focal points: My family, my farm, and my writing. Which one gets my attention depends on a variety of factors. For example, during the pandemic, three of my four kids where at home with my husband and I, which was a big change from only having our son home for the past two years, so my attention shifted to spending more time with my family, planning meals, negotiating who did what, making sure we were all safe and healthy. During the summer, my attention usually shifts to my farm, where I grow a variety of fruits and vegetables, mostly without any help. It’s tiring, physical work, but I love it. And at any time during the year, depending on my deadlines and how the muses are treating me, writing takes over and I can spend the whole days or weeks, doing nothing but writing. All three of those things – family, the farm, and my writing – matter a great deal to me. My struggle is how to balance them. I haven’t figured that out yet, but I never lack motivation to get me out of bed in the morning. One of them is always calling me.

Leslie Lindsay:

Julie, thank you for this! What question should I have asked, but maybe forgot? Perhaps there’s something you’d like to ask me…?

Julie Carrick Dalton:

I know you read a LOT of books. I’m curious what makes a character memorable for you? When I write, I live with my characters. I think about them all day. I even dream about them. I’m now working on a second novel called The Last Beekeeper, which will be released in 2022. I have a whole new cast of characters, but I still find myself thinking about Cadie and Daniela and wondering how they might handle situations in my new book (which is completely unrelated to Waiting for the Night Song.) As a reader, what types of characters come alive for you and stick with you long after you put a book down?

Leslie Lindsay:

This is such a good question and one with a very intangible answer, I’m afraid. For me, it’s a visceral reaction, a resonance that is a combination of my personal experiences, my personal lens for which I see the world, and isn’t exactly something an author would have any knowledge of. For a deep connection to a character, their flaws must be organic, something that is haunting them, but also propelling them forward (so good backstory and a relatively fast forward momentum), plus a sharp sense of interiority. I also want to feel invested in their complexity, a mystery even they are trying to parse. A good use of imagery/description helps, too, so the character’s use of all senses and transferring those to the page. Those qualities, however vague, truly leave a lasting residue. 

IMG_4981

Artistic image of cover designed and photographed by me, Leslie Lindsay. Join me on Instagram @leslielindsay1 #bookstagrammer #bookreviews #authorinterviews #literaryfiction #alwayswithabook.

For more information, to connect with Julie Carrick Dalton via social media, or to purchase a copy of WAITING FOR THE NIGHT SONG, please visit: 

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram 

ORDER LINKS: 

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | BAM! | Bookshop.org

BOOK CONCIERGE: 

WAITING FOR THE NIGHT SONG may appeal to readers of GOODNIGHT STRANGER (Miciah Bay Gault) meets WINTER LOON (Susan Bernhard) with a touch of WHERE THE CRAWDAD SINGS (Delia Owens) meets the work of Rene Denfeld and Mindy Mejia (LEAVE NO TRACE)

JulieCarrickDalton_credit Sharona JacobsABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Julie Carrick Dalton’s journalism has been published in such places as The Boston Globe and BusinessWeek, and she workshopped the novel in GrubStreet’s Novel Incubator, a yearlong, MFA-level novel intensive. She has won several awards including the 2017 William Faulkner Literary Competition. Dalton has been invited to speak at literary conferences, schools, and universities on the intersection of fiction and climate. In her non-writing time, Dalton operates a 100-acre organic farm in rural New Hampshire, the backdrop for Waiting for the Night Song, her debut. Her second novel, THE LAST BEEKEEPER, will be released in 2022. Learn more at or follow her on Twitter at: @juliecardalt

image1-5ABOUT YOUR HOST: 

Leslie Lindsay is the creator and host of the award-winning author interview series,“Always with a Book.” Since 2013, Leslie, named “one of the most influential book reviewers” by Jane Friedman, ranks in the top 1% of all GoodReads reviewers and has conducted over 700 warm, inquisitive conversations with authors as wide-ranging as Robert Kolker and Mary Kubica to Helen Phillips and Mary Beth Keane, making her website a go-to for book lovers world-wide. Her writing & photography have appeared in various print journals and online. She is the award-winning author of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA: A Parents’ Guide to Childhood Apraxia of Speech. A former psychiatric R.N. at the Mayo Clinic, Leslie’s memoir, MODEL HOME: Motherhood, Madness, & Memory, is currently on submission with Catalyst Literary Management. Leslie resides in the Chicago area with her family.

Instagram|Facebook|Twitter|Bookshop.org

f361308f-8e47-46bd-ab06-5662fe502b14image003-3apraxiacover-01 (1)SNClogodownload (5)

LOVE IT? SHARE IT!

#alwayswithabook #fiction #ecofiction #environment #childhood #magic #nature #friendship #summer

IMG_4981 

[Cover and author image courtesy of BookSparks and used with permission. Artistic image of cover designed and photographed by me, Leslie Lindsay. Join me on Instagram @leslielindsay1]

WHAT IF YOU WERE DRIVEN BY REVENGE but also trauma? ANDROMEDA ROMANO-lax talks about this, the early days of psychoanalysis, & so much more in a genre-bending new book, ANNIE AND THE WOLVES

By Leslie Lindsay

A modern-day historian finds herself enmeshed with the life of Annie Oakley, in a dual-timeline novel exploring the concept of revenge and changing one’s past/path.

Soho.Feb 2.2021.Annie and the Wolves RomanoLax

~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~

“2020 Best & Most Anticipated Historical Fiction” Oprah Magazine

“Most Anticipated Books of 2021” by Buzzfeed 

Several years ago, I read and loved Andromeda Romano-Lax’s BEHAVE, about Behaviorist John Watson and his wife, Rosalie Raynor Watson, their inhumane ‘experiments’ on children and parenting, done in what they believed was what was ‘best’ for the children (withholding affection, etc.). When I discovered her forthcoming ANNIE AND THE WOLVES (Soho Press, Feb 2, 2021), I knew I had to get my hands on it.

Ruth McClintock is a historian in her early thirties and completely obsessed with Annie Oakley. For nearly a decade, she has been studying the show-stopping sharpshooter, convinced a tragic past is what elevated her status as one of the best shots in the land. But Ruth sort of loses it all–her book deal, her finance, her dissertation because her own mental health gets in the way. There’s a dark personal history she is wrestling with, a mystery of her younger sister’s last few days/months, and more. She ties both her past and her sister’s experiences together in a narrative that also links in Annie Oakley.

Plus, Ruth has managed to
 track down an elusive journal of Annie’s that suggests she was receiving psychoanalysis overseas, in Vienna, at the time Freud was working. Could this be patient notes penned by Freud himself? She’s not sure, but she wants to find out. In this journal (and subsequent found letters), Ruth discovers Annie was likely sexually (and physically) abused by the farm families she was ‘rented out’ to as a young girl between the ages of 9-11 years. Annie refers to these people only as ‘the wolves’ and no names are actually mentioned. That won’t stop Ruth from trying to find justice.

ANNIE AND THE WOLVES is an ambitious novel combining genres;
it’s not wholly historic fiction, but a bifurcated narrative told in dual timelines, with elements of suspended belief, thriller, mystery, and more. It also has a strong #metoo theme about the plight of women trying to move beyond their dark pasts and into brighter futures. It might have the ring of a Jodi Picoult book meets Fiona Davis.

I absolutely loved the infusion of history with psychology, the Viennese psychoanalysts,
and following along with Ruth as she pieced together these historical aspects of Annie’s life. Family history, memory, and dysfunction are a fascination and so this piece particularly intrigued.

ANNIE AND THE WOLVES is a complexly structured narrative, about revenge and justice, human fragility, and more. Romano-Lax’s research is to be commended.

Please join me in welcoming the lovely and talented Andromeda Romano-Lax back to the author interview series:

Leslie Lindsay:

Andromeda! Welcome back. I am so thrilled to chat again. I understand ANNIE AND THE WOLVES was your most difficult book to date. I can see why. It’s ambitious but also touches on some personal history. Can you talk about your inspirations?

Andromeda Romano-Lax:

I had twin inspirations for the book, and I wouldn’t have started writing if these two events hadn’t happened at nearly the same time. First, I received an unexpected message from relatives that my father was dying, in Mexico, where he’d retired. We hadn’t been in touch since I was fourteen, when I cut off contact, having found out he sexually abused my two older sisters. Hearing he was dying, one of my sisters said she was thinking about paying him a visit—perhaps with a gun. She changed her mind later, but not before I had time to start imagining what it would mean if she—or anyone—actually sought revenge for what he’d done.

At the same time, completely by chance, I stumbled upon some mention of the abuse Annie Oakley had received as a girl at the hands of a couple she called “The Wolves.” I started imagining a story in which she would become obsessed with the idea of vengeance, much as my sister and I briefly were.

IMG_5160 (1)

Leslie Lindsay:

I think that for any piece of writing to come across as authentic, it must have personal meaning, passion. You were just as obsessed about Annie Oakley as Ruth McClintock, your character. Can you walk us through some of your research?

Andromeda Romano-Lax:

Like Ruth, who has her own personal reasons for becoming obsessed with a story about an American icon who experienced abuse and was shaped by it, I became not only preoccupied with Annie but also with the idea of a modern woman sublimating her own personal anxieties into the process of research.

As for me, I love research—both when I’m trying to avoid some other duty or worry, and when I’m not! Having said that, this book was actually less research-intensive than my others, for two reasons. First, much more is known about Annie Oakley than about Rosalie Rayner Watson, the main character of BEHAVE. Whereas Rosalie was cut out of the historical record, Annie’s myth has been added to for over a century, not only by authors but also by Hollywood and Broadway. Second, I never intended this to be straight historical fiction. That would have been an easier book to write. I actually had to be careful not to let the historical Annie take over the book. She is only one of about five main characters, and while half of the story I tell about her is based in fact, the other half is completely invented—and fantastical. 

In the case of Rosalie, I had to work for every detail—for example, getting access to her Baltimore home, visiting Vassar to better imagine her college life, communicating with scientists to get fresh insight. In the case of Annie, it was more a sculpting process—paring away some common and mistaken ideas about Annie Oakley, avoiding being misled over and over by inaccuracies, and choosing not to write scenes from her life that would be too familiar to those who read biographies of her. (The best one is by Glenda Riley.)

Aside from reading about Annie, my research led me in search of everything from Holocaust records to how one does or doesn’t put down a lame horse properly. But I didn’t let myself rely too heavily on notes or continue digging beyond a certain point. I wanted to focus on a few events and contexts, and I had to remember that I was creating a fictional character. I also made use of serendipity. I never expected to discover, for example, that Annie Oakley’s 1901 train accident happened on the same day that Leon Czolgosz, the black-sheep ancestor of another of my characters, was electrocuted for his assassination of President McKinley.

stack of thick books on table

Photo by Jess Bailey Designs on Pexels.com

Leslie Lindsay:

I’m pretty sure I saw a live outdoor summer performance of ‘Annie Get Your Gun’ growing up. This ANNIE AND THE WOLVES is a very different book than that 1946 play. Can you talk about those differences, please?

Andromeda Romano-Lax:

I just can’t make myself interested in the screen and stage version of Annie Oakley (sorry, fans of those musicals!) but I recently had to review some storyline details from the various iterations, beginning with a 1935 movie starring Barbara Stanwyck, then continuing with the 1946 Broadway musical and then the movie made from it, in 1950. Seeing how all three handle the issue of the famous cute-meet between Annie and her husband Frank Butler (even if he’s called by another name) says more about each era than about Annie herself. In that way, a comparison is fascinating.

In real life, Annie and Frank first met as competitors in a shooting match, and Annie—possibly only 15 at the time—won. Frank didn’t mind. He even gave her family tickets to his upcoming show and started slyly courting Annie by sending her letters signed by his poodle, “George.” Later, recognizing she was the greater talent, Frank set aside his own career in order to help manage hers.

In the movie and musical versions, Annie either throws the match to ensure “Toby” (based on Frank) doesn’t lose his job—a nod to 1930s anxiety about unemployment. Or, in the ‘40s-‘50s versions, Annie wins—but Frank is a sore loser—a “big swollen-headed stiff”—who shows little interest in her at first. She joins the Wild West show out of love for bratty Frank, not because she is dedicated to her sport and career.

People have fond memories of those musicals, I understand. But if, because of the backwardness of the 1950s, we allow them to be the only thing we know about Oakley—a clever businesswoman who married a man who fully supported her and actually stepped out of the spotlight to let her shine—then I think we’re losing nearly everything that matters.

close up of wheat plant during sunset

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Leslie Lindsay:

I was particularly drawn to your research into Annie’s old journal, the psychoanalysis, and the Viennese psychology. I wanted to know more! Like, was it Freud? Who is Herr Breuer?

Andromeda Romano-Lax:

I hope I’m not giving too much away by saying that it’s not Freud, but close. Josef Breuer (1842-1925), a real person, was Freud’s mentor and the doctor who treated Bertha Pappenheim, a.k.a. “Anna O.,” in what is now considered the first of “talk therapy” and the foundation for psychoanalysis. Breuer didn’t share Freud’s insistence on tracing mental illness to early sexual conflicts. His thoughts about trauma were more varied and subtle. Freud smeared Breuer’s reputation later, unfortunately, and most of us don’t recall the mentor who was eclipsed by his protegee. I knew little about Breuer before writing this novel.

As for how I created the journals and letters, which are fictional, I did consider everything from Annie Oakley’s real handwriting, level of education, and likely mental state. But I used plenty of dramatic license in terms of what I had her (and her analyst) reveal.

textured surface of old torn paper sheet with handwritten text

Photo by Maria Orlova on Pexels.com

Leslie Lindsay:

There’s another piece of ANNIE AND THE WOLVES that speaks of recent events: that of NRA gun-toting folks. There’s even a museum in Springfield, MO (that’s my birthplace, by-the-way!), and also this passage from the book about civility being in short supply these days…school shootings, and gosh…tragically the event at the U.S. Capitol. Can you talk about that a bit, please? And how might Annie have responded to these times?

Andromeda Romano-Lax:

Thank you so much for bringing up the subject of guns and violence, which is a major theme of the book, though it may not be apparent in the first chapters. Annie Oakley started hunting as a way to feed her impoverished family, especially after the death of her father. She made the most of her skill because it was the only thing she knew how to do, and as a performer, she focused on honesty (no use of illusion), professionalism, civility, and kindness to others—which is how she ended up becoming a friend of Chief Sitting Bull. She continued to champion training other women to shoot, as self-defense, and she even believed women should serve in the army and volunteered to train them, personally. (The president didn’t accept her offer.) But the values Annie Oakley stood for most were self-control, discipline, truth and justice—even when it had to be slow. As you know from the novel, she took William Randolph Hearst to court 55 times over six years, winning all but once—and she did so because she refused to stomach his tabloids’ “fake news” stories about her. (Strangely relevant to today, don’t you think?) She would have been horrified by the Jan. 6 insurrection and by the very idea of school shootings. Her abhorrence of senseless violence is the very reason she would have been so bothered by her own suppressed anger or desire for “rough justice. 

pink abstract painting

Photo by Nick Collins on Pexels.com

Leslie Lindsay:

Andromeda, this is so fascinating and I could ask questions all day. In the end, I think ANNIE AND THE WOLVES is about revenge and justice, trauma and resilience, but also reshaping the course of history. Do you see that as the overall message?

Andromeda Romano-Lax:

I agree that it’s about all those things—thank you, Leslie!—especially trauma and resilience, and the power of the present moment. If I can add one other theme, it’s also about public history versus private history, and how the first can be easier to study and contemplate than the second. And yet they’re connected. What is done to women, children and anyone without power has always been done. What we refuse to see and face in our houses and our communities today will continue to shape the world tomorrow. Only by being honestly engaged with the dark sides of our public and private histories can we deal with the predators and bullies who exist in every generation.

Leslie Lindsay:

Is there anything I should have asked, but may have forgotten…or anything you’d like to ask me?

Andromeda Romano-Lax:

I love books that play with genre and include mysterious or unreliable documents, in the form of old diaries and letters. I also love looking over the shoulders of historians. My hope for this novel is that it will appeal to readers of A.S. Byatt (Possession), Margaret Atwood (The Blind Assassin) and Erika Swyler (The Book of Speculation).

And speaking of Erika Swyler, she and I are doing a virtual event on Feb 8 at Magic City Books. I’d love to “visit” with some of your readers there, if they’d like to drop by!

image0 (4)

Artistic photo of book cover designed and photographed by me, Leslie Lindsay. Let’s be social! Join me on Instagram for more like this @leslielindsay #alwayswithabook #bookstagram

For more information, to connect with Andromeda Romano-Lax, or to purchase a copy of ANNIE AND THE WOLVES, please visit: 

Website|Facebook|Twitter|Instagram 

Order Links: 

Amazon | Bookshop | IndieBound

~BOOK CONCIERGE~

I was reminded, in part, of Amy Shearn’s UNSEEN CITY (Red Hen Press, September 2020) in terms of female historian/mystery meets the work of Fiona Davis , along with elements of Christina Baker Kline (particularly her ORPHAN TRAIN book and also A PIECE OF THE WORLD). But also, the work of Erika Swyler in both THE BOOK OF SPECULATION and A LIGHT FROM OTHER STARS.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Born in Chicago and now a resident of Vancouver Island, Canada, Andromeda Romano-Lax worked as a freelance journalist and travel writer before turning to fiction. Her first novel, The Spanish Bow, was translated into eleven languages and was chosen as a New York Times Editors’ Choice, BookSense pick, and one of Library Journal’s Best Books of the Year. Her next three novels, The DetourBehave (an Amazon Book of the Month), and Plum Rains (winner of the Sunburst Award) reflect her diverse interest in the arts, history, science and technology, as well as her love of travel and her time spent living abroad. ​She currently lives with her family in British Columbia.

ABOUT YOUR HOST: Leslie Lindsay is the creator and host of the award-winning author interview series,“Always with a Book.” Since 2013, Leslie, named “one of the most influential book reviewers” by Jane Friedman, ranks in the top 1% of all GoodReads reviewers and has conducted over 700 warm, inquisitive conversations with authors as wide-ranging as Robert Kolker and Mary Kubica to Helen Phillips and Mary Beth Keane, making her website a go-to for book lovers world-wide. Her writing & photography have appeared in various print journals and online. She is the award-winning author of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA: A Parents’ Guide to Childhood Apraxia of Speech. A former psychiatric R.N. at the Mayo Clinic, Leslie’s memoir, MODEL HOME: Motherhood, Madness, & Memory, is currently on submission with Catalyst Literary Management. Leslie resides in the Chicago area with her family.

Instagram|Facebook|Twitter|Bookshop.org

f361308f-8e47-46bd-ab06-5662fe502b14image003-3apraxiacover-01 (1)SNClogo

LOVE IT? SHARE IT!
#alwayswithabook #amreading #historicalfiction #dualtimeline #dualnarrative #AnnieOakley #guns #history #psychology

image0 (4)

[Cover and author image courtesy of Soho Press and the author and used with permission. Artistic photo of book cover designed and photographed by me, Leslie Lindsay. Image of Annie Oakley flatlay from Rock Island Auction Catalog from L.Lindsay’s personal archives 1.18.21. Let’s be social! Join me on Instagram for more like this @leslielindsay #alwayswithabook #bookstagram]

NYT bestselling author Bob Kolker talks about his oprah book club pick HIDDEN VALLEY ROAD, the history–and future–of schizophrenia, family trauma, resillience, & so much more

By Leslie Lindsay 

A razor-sharp tale of one American family ravaged by the devastating effects of mental illness, schizophrenia, in particular.

HVR Cover low-res

~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~

WEDNSDAYS WITH WRITERS

OPRAH’S BOOK CLUB PICK

#1 NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER 

ONE OF THE NEW YORK TIMES TOP TEN BOOKS OF THE YEAR

ONE OF THE WALL STREET JOURNAL TOP TEN BOOKS OF THE YEAR

PEOPLE’S #1 BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR 

Named a BEST BOOK OF THE YEAR by The New York TimesThe Washington Post, NPR, TIMESlateSmithsonian, The New York Post, and Amazon 

Meet the Galvins. They are your all-American family living in Colorado in the 1950s-70s, except they have one big secret, and one big family: half of the dozen children are afflicted with mental illness. Welcome home to HIDDEN VALLEY ROAD: Inside the Mind of an American Family (Doubleday, April 2020) and meet Don and Mimi, their ten good-looking boys, and equally stunning daughters.

After WWII, Don’s work with the Air Force brings them to Colorado, where the baby-making doesn’t seem to cease. But not to worry, Mimi has it all under control. She’s calm and has a system to making breakfast, getting the children dressed and schooled, to piano lessons, hockey, chess, and her twice weekly trips to the grocery store where each time she picks up ten half-gallons of milk and four loaves of bread. On the weekends, she and Don are glamming it up with various fund-raisers and balls, ballets, and more. Here, the Galvin’s are the picture-perfect family raising a very big, boisterous family.

What happens behind closed doors is another story: sudden shocking violence and aggression, breakdowns, violence, sexual abuse, and more. But the mid-1970s, six of the ten Galvin boys are diagnosed with schizophrenia. The other six children standby, helpless, terrified, and most of all: will it happen to them, too?

At the heart of HIDDEN VALLEY ROAD is sacrifice. It’s also about how one family can shatter and rebuild. Sure, it sounds simple and easy; it’s anything but. The tone of HIDDEN VALLEY ROAD is infused with sympathy and hope. Kolker does a remarkable job of taking a very large amount of data–hospital records, interviews, phone calls, scientific research, historical research, medicine, and more and funnels it into a gorgeous, cohesive whole. This is a compassionate story, one in which there is a desperate cry for understanding, an openness (by most) to see help for this horrific turn of events. Sure, it’s challenging. It’s devastating. But there’s marvel and awe in these pages, too.


Hidden Valley Road contains everything: scientific intrigue, meticulous reporting, startling revelations, and, most of all, a profound sense of humanity. It is that rare book that can be read again and again.”

David Grann, author of Killers of the Flower Moon


Slowly, we are introduced to each family member, beginning with the parents, Don and Mimi, a bit about their backgrounds, and then we dive into each child as he (and then she) is born. At the beginning of each chapter, readers are provided a list of which family member we are investing in…and which birth order they fall. I found this helpful in keeping everyone ‘straight.’

While HIDDEN VALLEY ROAD is mostly a case study, we do get a good dose of science and genetics, which I loved, but could become tedious and cumbersome to readers who are not as intrigued with science. Kolker does a fabulous job of distilling the science, of making it read like a story, each researcher being like a character in a novel. HIDDEN VALLEY ROAD is gorgeous reportage, a journalistic feat of epic proportions.

HIDDEN VALLEY ROAD is a captivating and moving account of mental illness, not just an isolated case, but a broader, more expansive view that certainly will inject hope and resilience.

Please join me in welcoming Robert Kolker back to the author interview series.

Leslie Lindsay:

Bob, wow. This book! I am blown away. We last chatted in 2017 after LOST GIRLS released in paperback. You told me you were working on HIDDEN VALLEY ROAD and I was so taken with the glimmer of this book even then. What initially piqued your interest in the Galvin family?

Bob Kolker:

First of all, thank you, Leslie, for going out of your way to feature this book. I’m very happy to talk about it. To answer your question: In the spring of 2016, a friend introduced me to two sisters from Colorado, Margaret Galvin Johnson and Lindsay Galvin Rauch, now both in their fifties, who were the youngest siblings in the family. The more I learned about the Galvin family, the more I couldn’t believe their story. It was horrifying. I wondered how such a family could even pretend to stay together under such horrible circumstances — why these sisters wouldn’t have run away the first chance they got, never to come back. But the sisters, when I spoke with them, showed that they still had a reservoir of hope. They told me how each of them found a way through their traumatic childhoods. And they told me that their family has a scientific legacy.

Leslie Lindsay:

I understand your mother is a former psychiatric counselor at a hospital on the east coast. I am sure in some ways, that influenced your interest in mental health? Or maybe not? Can you talk about that, please?

Bob Kolker:

I have written a few stories about mental health and medicine and science, but when I first met the Galvin family, my most relevant qualification was a career writing about vulnerable people, sometimes entire families, experiencing crises. That would include my first book, LOST GIRLS, which aside from being about an unsolved murder case was, at its heart, a nonfiction portrait of five families in crisis. I believe that my interest in families and my desire to understand the rationale of everyone inside a family system comes directly from my mom. She was not a theoretician — we didn’t have long conversations about Freud and Jung or anything like that — but she was a great listener, a very neutral presence with enough warmth that people felt comfortable opening up around her. When I’m doing my job well, I feel like I’m emulating her.

Leslie Lindsay:

My own mother struggled with severe mental illness, a traumatic childhood, drug use, more. At one time, her medical records indicate bipolar disorder, others say schizoaffective. From my perspective, her devolve came half-way between my tenth year. I related to Margaret Galvin as her sister was stripped away from home. There was a sense of abandonment, but in actuality, my mother was terrifying to be around. Like the remaining Galvin children, I worried: will the same fate happen to me? This is a big theme in HIDDEN VALLEY ROAD. You share a ton of research on that; without going into specifics, do you think the remaining, non-affected Galvin children came to terms with the fact that they were not schizophrenic? Do they still worry?

Bob Kolker:

I think the six non-diagnosed Galvin siblings are all leading fully functional lives, with jobs and marriages and families. If you struck up a conversation at the supermarket with any of them, nothing would register as unusual about any of them (and they’re all very likable too). So they certainly have come to terms with it in a day-to-day way. But if you got to know them all better you’d probably notice a certain amount of hyper-vigilance that they share — a sense of walking on eggshells. Perhaps that’s something you’ve felt about yourself, too? I don’t think it’s possible to have a traumatic childhood and not still be vulnerable to moments of worry, at least in some small way.

close up photo of eggs

Photo by Polina Tankilevitch on Pexels.com

Leslie Lindsay:

Let’s shift over to the cause of schizophrenia. There’s no real answer, I realize. One theory is the schizophrenogenic mother. That is, the mother figure is cold and manipulative, a schedule, etc. But Mimi Galvin, bless her, had twelve children to raise. I think this would make any mother rigid. There must be some organization to a household of that size. Can you talk about this theory a bit?

Bob Kolker:

The theory that bad mothers caused schizophrenia is one of the greatest mistakes of 20th century psychiatry. It’s completely debunked now. But it was at its most powerful when Mimi was a mother, and because her parenting style was so intense she was a sitting duck. She had doctors telling her point-blank that she drove her own children crazy. That’s part of the family’s tragedy.

What interested me most about the schizophrenogenic mother theory is that it came from a place of good intentions. The therapists who believed it were doing battle with other experts who barely acknowledged the humanity of psychiatrically disturbed people at all—they advocated lobotomies and eugenics. So it was a case of everyone being wrong. Which happens from time to time.

cute family picture

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Leslie Lindsay:

Here’s what I really love about the Galvins: they weren’t afraid to ask for help. They didn’t fear addressing bigger issues. In my (late) mother’s family, at nearly the same time as some of the Galvin children, my mother was defying her parents, setting fires, torturing animals. My grandfather once told me, “We knew something was wrong, just not what—or how to help. No one did.” I think many families fall into this camp. Or, they fear what a professional might say—where the blame may lay. Thoughts?

Bob Kolker:

That’s such a beautiful and heartbreaking sentiment. I tried to get across in HIDDEN VALLEY ROAD just how trapped and helpless the family felt. For example, when the first son got sick, the family had the following choices: (1) Send him to a private facility like the Menninger Clinic, that was too expensive and therefore not an option at all; (2) send him to a state hospital that was for hopeless cases, and essentially give up on him; and (3) send him to a hospital that favored a psychoanalytic approach, or the schizophrenogenic mother, and get blamed themselves for the illness.

It wasn’t just that they disliked all of these options. It was they had no earthly idea of what the right decision was. This was not a mental health care system, really. It was like standing in one huge supermarket, forced to choose from options you aren’t equipped to assess, and knowing full well that across the street there was a whole other supermarket selling completely different stuff, and you had know way of knowing which supermarket was better. (And that’s not even counting a third supermarket across town with entirely different stuff from the other two….)

close up of wheat plant during sunset

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Leslie Lindsay:

Bob, I could probably ask questions all day, alas we both have things we need to do. Before we go, I am curious if you had any idea HIDDEN VALLEY ROAD would make such a splash? I mean, Oprah! A #1 NYT bestseller! What do you think this might do for the future of mental illness?

Bob Kolker:

From Oprah forward, I’ve been completely blown away by the book’s reception — and especially moved by email from families touched by schizophrenia. I have to admit that before the book came out, I spent so much energy wrestling control of the narrative and making sure it was clear and understandable — and scientifically accurate — that I didn’t have time to dwell on how many people out there might identify with it so strongly. So that’s been a wonderful and very moving surprise.

I really think that in our lifetime, many psychiatric conditions have been greatly destigmatized. I’m talking about bipolar disorder, anxiety, and depression, for starters. We talk about these conditions now without the judgment and secrecy and shame we used to have. I believe schizophrenia is long overdue for the same shift. And I’d love for this book to be a part of that effort.

rough frozen surface under old stone

Photo by Dids on Pexels.com

Leslie Lindsay:

Bob, thank you, thank you! This was such a treat. Is there anything I should have asked, but may have forgotten? 

Bob Kolker:

I’m just thrilled that you want to talk about this book, and I hope others connect with it. I have this to say about that: Even if your family has not been touched my severe mental health challenges, I think the story of this family is meaningful, especially in difficult situations. I actually believe the Galvin family’s story has a lot to teach us about dealing with challenges, and weathering tragedy. Hidden Valley Road is about people who find themselves traumatized and find ways to work through it. It’s about finding the humanity in tragedy. It’s about refusing to shut down. It’s about refusing to turn inward. And despite all the terrible things that the people in this family went through, I really do think it’s about hope.IMG_5006

Artistic image of book cover designed and photographed by Leslie Lindsay. Join me on Instagram for more like this @leslielindsay1 #alwayswithabook #amreading #bookstagrammer #bookrecommendations

For more information, to connect with Robert Kolker via social media, or to purchase a copy of HIDDEN VALLEY ROAD, please visit: 

ORDER LINKS: 

~BOOK CONCIERGE~

I was reminded of so many fabulous books I’ve read on the topic of mental illness and memoir–nearly too many to count. Please be sure to visit other pages on this website, especially Mental Illness where I list titles that might be of further interest. In terms of fiction, I found some overlap between HIDDEN VALLEY ROAD and the science themes in THE IMMORTALISTS (Chloe Benjamin) meets Yaa Gyasi’s TRANSCENDENT KINGDOM (which also ties in depression and anxiety). 

Kolker author photo low-resABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Robert Kolker is the author of HIDDEN VALLEY ROAD, an instant #1 New York Times best-seller and selection of Oprah’s Book Club that was named a Top Ten Book of the Year by the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Wall Street Journal, and Slate; one of the year’s best by NPR, the Boston Globe, the New York Post, and Amazon;  the #1 book of the year by People; and one of President Barack Obama’s favorite books of 2020. His previous work includes Lost Girls, also a New York Times best-seller and New York Times’s Notable Book, and one of Slate’s best nonfiction books of the quarter century. He is a National Magazine Award finalist whose journalism has appeared in New York magazine, the New York Times Magazine, Bloomberg Businessweek, Wired, O, the Oprah Magazine, and The Marshall Project.

image1-5ABOUT YOUR HOST: 

Leslie Lindsay is the creator and host of the award-winning author interview series,“Always with a Book.” Since 2013, Leslie, named “one of the most influential book reviewers” by Jane Friedman, ranks in the top 1% of all GoodReads reviewers and has conducted over 700 warm, inquisitive conversations with authors as wide-ranging as Robert Kolker and Mary Kubica to Helen Phillips and Mary Beth Keane, making her website a go-to for book lovers world-wide. Her writing & photography have appeared in various print journals and online. She is the award-winning author of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA: A Parents’ Guide to Childhood Apraxia of Speech. A former psychiatric R.N. at the Mayo Clinic, Leslie’s memoir, MODEL HOME: Motherhood, Madness, & Memory, is currently on submission with Catalyst Literary Management. Leslie resides in the Chicago area with her family.

Instagram|Facebook|Twitter|Bookshop.org

f361308f-8e47-46bd-ab06-5662fe502b14image003-3apraxiacover-01 (1)SNClogodownload (5)

LOVE IT? SHARE IT!

#alwayswithabook #amreading #nonfiction #casestudy #psychiatry #psychology #Oprahsbookclub #familyhistory #schizophrenia

[Cover and author image courtesy of author and used with permission. Author photo credit: Jeff Zorabedian. Artistic image of book cover designed and photographed by Leslie Lindsay. Join me on Instagram for more like this @leslielindsay1 #alwayswithabook #amreading #bookstagrammer #bookrecommendations]

KATHERINE MAY’S NYT BESTSELLER: WINTERING & HOW IT RELATES TO A PERIOD OF TIME IN MY LIFE

By Leslie Lindsay

How does one care for and repair ourselves when we find ourselves slipping through the cracks?

a1p6ln9xldl_custom-7c62a7748ef0107b0117a2da161b3f1cef524d91-s600-c85

~NONFICTION SPOTLIGHT|ALWAYS WITH BOOK~

NEW YORK TIMES BESTSELLER

A meditation in what it means to winter, this intimate, part-memoir, part exploration, part essay, WINTERING by Katherine May (Riverhead, November 2020) explores all the ways winter is a lesson in self-care, healing, and rejuvenation. I once believed I could live in the northern climate of Minnesota. My mother scoffed, “It’s one of the coldest places we have in the U.S. Why would you want to go there?” 

Simple: I had a job at the Mayo Clinic. I also wanted to get away from my wildly unstable, mentally ill mother. Still, her warning, her motherly instinct to shelter me from the harsh realities of a 6-8 month long winter, was somewhat…comforting. As children had been doing for eons, I defied her. I moved to Minnesota. Encapsulated in the snowy drifts and what I am sure was my first real blizzard, I hunkered down. I sat in the bay window of my apartment, where my desk was situated and pounded out what would–in nearly twenty years time–become a memoir about my relationship with my mentally ill mother and the ‘winter’ she put me–plus my dad and younger sister, and countless others–through. After I finished writing for the day, I’d gather my notes into piles, click off the computer and don the parka I wore to the bus stop where I caught an intra-clinic bus to the Mayo Clinic. There, I worked as a staff nurse in the child/adolescent psychiatric ward. 

And I hated it. Not the work per se, but the place. Not the Mayo Clinic, but the state. The snow. The cold. The dark.

photography of road during winter season

Photo by Postmans on Pexels.com

Eventually, the frozen crust of earth began to thaw. The courtyard outside the unit where I worked bloomed in white and pink and the sky blistered blue. Honey suckle and lilacs emerged. Birds tweeted and the caressing breezes of Minnesota summer tickled my face. My mother, she shifted into a dull, debilitating depression punctuated with anger and sharp barbs to one of silence and then mania. As with the seasons, mental illness cycles. Relationships, too. 

In WINTERING, Katherine May shares, with deep insight and perception, her lessons of ‘wintering’: her husband falls ill, her son stops attending school, her own medical issues; plus she delves into other, cathartic experiences such as visiting Stonehenge during the winter solstice, swimming in icy waters, sailing arctic seas, and more. It’s about embracing winter, rather than shunning it. I found the language both stark and warm, a cocoon of rest and retreat. It made me feel cozy. I particularly enjoyed May’s connections to the natural world, how rows and rows of apple trees can be healing, wooden crates, long grass, skeletal trees, the lack of snow, the sheer volume of snow. She takes into into the depths of the house, both literally and figuratively. We examine Plath and libraries and jars and so much more. There’s mythology and hygge, literature, friendship, and tea. Here, we discover how one most endure the hardships before they are gifted the bounty of a new season. 

What we below could not see, Winter pass.” 

Edward Thomas, “Thaw”

As for me and my time in Minnesota, it culminated in the birth of two beautiful redheaded baby girls, and a move, no more south than Chicago, but still. I was a mother myself, miles and miles from mine, in a new season. The sun began to shine. 

IMG_3891

For more information, to connect with Katherine May via social media, or to purchase a copy of WINTERING, please visit: 

ORDER LINKS:

v-dhhHPg_400x400ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Katherine May is a New York Times bestselling author, whose titles include Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times and The Electricity of Every Living Thing, her memoir of being autistic. Her fiction includes The Whitstable High Tide Swimming Club and Burning Out. She is also the editor of The Best, Most Awful Job, an anthology of essays about motherhood. Her journalism and essays have appeared in a range of publications including The New York Times, The Observer and Aeon.

Previously the Programme Director for Creative Writing at Canterbury Christ Church University, Katherine has worked as a literary scout freelance editor for organisations including Faber Academy and Audible.

She lives in Whitstable, UK with her husband, son, three cats and a dog.

Katherine’s agent is Madeleine Milburn at Madeleine Milburn Literary, TV & Film Agency.

1B6B942E-E2D9-4517-9773-73A6A5162188ABOUT YOUR HOST: 

Leslie Lindsay is the award-winning author of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA (Woodbine House, 2012) and former Mayo Clinic child/adolescent psychiatric R.N. She is at work on a memoir, about growing up with a mentally ill interior decorator mother and her devolve into psychosis. Leslie’s writing & prose poetry has been published in Psychology Today, Pithead ChapelCommon Ground ReviewCleaver Magazine (craft and CNF), The Awakenings Review, The Nervous Breakdown, Ruminate’s The WakingBrave Voices Literary MagazineManifest-StationCoffin Bell Journal, and others. Her cover art was featured on Up the Staircase Quarterly in May 2020, other photography in Another Chicago Magazine (ACM) and Brushfire Literature & Arts Journal; CNF in Semicolon Literary Magazine; the 2nd edition of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA will be available late this summer. Leslie has been awarded one of the top 1% reviewers on GoodReads and recognized by Jane Friedman as one of the most influential book reviewers. Since 2013, Leslie has interviewed over 700 bestselling and debut authors on her author interview series. Follow her bookstagram posts @leslielindsay1.

 2nd edition of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA now available.apraxiacover-01 (1)

on submssion/Catalyst Literary Management MODEL HOME: Motherhood, Madness & Memory

f361308f-8e47-46bd-ab06-5662fe502b14

 

LOVE IT? SHARE IT!

#alwayswithabook #amreading #bookrecommendations #Wintering #hibernation #selfcare #winter #seasons #rest #renewal 

IMG_3891

[Cover and author image retrieved from author’s website. Artistic image of book cover designed and photographed by me, Leslie Lindsay. Follow in Instagram @leslielindsay1 #alwayswithabook #bookstagrammer #bookrecommendations]

THE LOVELY & TALENTED ESTELI MEZA on natural disasters, homelessness, rebuilding; how children need to process feelings & be supported by loving, caring friends/adults + her artisic process

By Leslie Lindsay 

Kind words, good cheer, and yet…Conejo is sad, restless, and just wants to find ‘home’ in this illustrated children’s picture book.

Finding Home_Cover

~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~

CHILDREN’S LITERATURE 

Kind words, good cheer, and yet…Conejo is sad, restless, and just wants to find ‘home’ in this illustrated children’s picture book.

Children’s author-illustrators are my heart. I think it’s because as a child reader, this is what shaped me, made me want to write. Here, in FINDING HOME (forthcoming from Scholastic, Jan 5 2021), Esteli Meza poetically and lyrically tells the story of Conejo, a little rabbit whose home blows away in fall storms. Off he goes seeking a new home. At each turn, he is met with a group of kind, caring friends–all forest animals–who offer insight and distraction…maybe they have a picnic or reminisce, play music, have a cup of tea. All of this is lovely and wonderful, but Conejo is not satisfied. Still, no home.

Eventually, the story ends with Conejo in a new home, one which he has filled with recent memories of kindness and compassion, a photo, a book, lovely gifts from his friends who helped him along his journey.

FINDING HOME was inspired by the author-illustrator’s personal experience of losing
her Mexico City home during the 2017 earthquake, but also Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico, ravaging homes and tearing families apart. The need–and the feeling–for a home is universal. It’s part of the immigrant experience, and displacement, too–as a result of natural disaster, but also, perhaps personal and familial disaster as well. And maybe not even disaster at all, but great for children who have moved to a new home, school, city, state, or country.

Here, we find that we might all be on a search for self-awareness, a journey of going inward, to finding our strengths and weaknesses, our passions. It’s about courage during adversity.

As a children’s picture book, I don’t think children will exactly grasp this concept,
though depending on their ages and insight, various questions can be posed to get them thinking about what a home really means. Here, too, children are exposed to (a few) Spanish words.

STORY SUMMARY:

When Conejo’s house blows away in a storm, his friends and neighbors take turns helping him look for it. Though they do not find his house, they each send him on his way with good cheer and small gifts. Conejo is grateful for their support, but still finds himself sitting with sadness for some time. When the rain clears, Conejo finds the courage to rebuild. He fills his new home with the memories, love, and support he collected from his friends along the way.

cheerful asian children having breakfast

Photo by Alex Green on Pexels.com

Please join me in welcoming the lovely and talented Esteli Meza to the author interview series:

Leslie Lindsay:

Esteli, I am so grateful to have the opportunity to chat. I usually ask about inspiration first—but I understand you were inspired to write FINDING HOME after the loss of your Mexico City home during the 2017 earthquake and also Hurricane Maria, which ravaged Puerto Rico around the same time. Did you start with the narrative, or the accompanying art?

Esteli Meza:

No, luckily I didn´t lose my home, but many people did. I lived the earthquake and it was very scary. A couple of  blocks away from my home, buildings fell down. Those were horrible times.

I live in Mexico City, it is a seismic area and we are used to it, but the 2017 earthquake was very intense. I remember that a couple of days before I watched on the news what was happening in Puerto Rico and I was impressed by the pictures, and shortly after the earthquake occurred in Mexico. I felt very fragile before the force of nature.

The strangest thing is that on that very morning the whole city practiced an earthquake drill because 35 years before, in 1985, another devastating earthquake occurred on that very date. Every year we do so, the seismic alert goes off (it is a loudspeaker system that is set throughout the city, when it is activated it allows people to find a safe place or to leave the buildings before the earthquake starts). That morning everyone participated in the drill and hours later, the earthquake occurred on the same day. It was a horrible coincidence!

Those were very complicated days and I was reflecting about loss. That’s where my inspiration was born. In the book I talk about the loss of a home, but there are many types of losses.

I started this book with the art. I always start by drawing. When I started drawing, the first thing that came out was a sad rabbit, and then the idea that this rabbit was sad because he had lost his home came to me. I developed all the graphics and then the words. The text is the hardest part of my process. Choosing the right words to match with the drawing is a great challenge.

rippling water of river on autumn day

Photo by Marta Wave on Pexels.com

Leslie Lindsay:

Like you, I find houses and homes—the idea of permanence—alluring. I think there’s a universal desire to ‘put down roots.’ Can you talk about that, please?

Esteli Meza:

I believe that we all need a place of ours, where we feel protected, comfortable, confident. A place where we can relate to the environment and make it our own, and just like a tree: to take root and grow. Conejo is searching for his home. And of course, he wants to find his place so he can grow.

Leslie Lindsay:

I love how Conejo is searching, seeking for comfort and respite, and also friendship. He struggles. So many times in children’s literature, characters don’t. I like how Conejo ‘sits with his feelings.’ Can you talk about why this is important—for both adults and children?

Esteli Meza:

It is important for children and adults to be able to name what happens to them because it is all part of life. Sometimes we don’t want to talk about feelings that are uncomfortable (sadness, anger), but when you can name and express them, you can have a better understanding of yourself and move on. I love the idea that sometimes we need to sit with these feelings and explore them, and then move on. Conejo fights and has the fortune of being surrounded by friends who make him company and support him. 

close up of teenage girl

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Leslie Lindsay:

Do you think FINDING HOME is ultimately about mindfulness?

Esteli Meza:

I had not seen it that way, but they share some aspects because in the end, through literature you get know yourself, as it happens with meditation. Something that fascinates me about books is that each reader can have a different interpretation and ultimately it enriches the story.

Leslie Lindsay:

I love how you end the author’s note with these words: “You are loved. You are strong. When you are ready, you will find your way.” Oh, my heart! Can you expand on this a bit?

Esteli Meza:

I think we all need words of encouragement and to know that we are capable of dealing with problems. It is important for me that the readers think of the book as a friend, with whom they will feel accompanied in good and not so good times. Conejo goes out looking for his house, but on that journey he lives some adventures and finds important things about his life that he was not looking for, such as great friends who cheer him up.

person walking in road

Photo by Marcin Jozwiak on Pexels.com

Leslie Lindsay:

Esteli, this has been wonderful. Thank you for taking the time. Is there anything I should have asked, but may have forgotten? Next projects, what you’re looking forward to in 2021? Anything else?

Esteli Meza:

Thank you very much. I loved your questions, they are really deep. I had a great time. A couple of details about the story is that the names of the characters are the names of the animals in Spanish, Conejo (Rabbit), Perezoso (Sloth), Buhíta (Little Owl) and Lobo Lobito (Wolf Little Wolf). The flower that Perezoso gives to Conejo is a dahlia, it is the national flower of Mexico. The story is universal but I wanted to put this little detail from my country.

There will be a bilingual English-Spanish version of the book. What I wish the most for 2021 is for the pandemic to end, that vaccines can work and that we can embrace each other again. About new projects, I am already thinking of a new book, a new story and I hope to share it with you soon.

IMG_3586

Artistic image of book cover designed and photographed by me, Leslie Lindsay. Find me on Instagram @leslielindsay1 #bookstagrammer #alwayswithabook.

TO LEARN MORE ABOUT FINDING HOME, TO CONNECT WITH ESTELI MEZA VIA SOCIAL MEDIA, or to PURCHASE A COPY OF FINDING HOME, PLEASE VISIT:

ORDER LINKS: 

~BOOK CONCIERGE~

I was reminded of A HOME FOR A BUNNY by Margaret Wise Brown meets
WINNIE THE POOH
 and perhaps THE ADVENTURES OF FROG AND TOAD.

 ~2nd edition of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA now available~

apraxiacover-01 (1)

Estelí Meza (by Estelí Meza)ABOUT THE AUTHOR: 

Estelí Meza was born in Mexico City. She studied  Design and Visual Communication  in FAD and a Master Degree in Visual Arts at UNAM in Mexico. In 2018, she was awarded  A la Orilla del Viento “Picture Book” Contest Award sponsored by Fondo de Cultura Económica with the book El Príncipe Valiente tiene miedo. In 2013, Estelí was awarded the FILIJ XVIII “Picture Book”  International Award for her book Angustia. In 2017 she received an Honorific Mention in Sharjah´s Illustration Catalog (United Arab Emirates) and in 2016 she received an Honorific Mention in the National Poster Contest “Invitemos a Leer” in Mexico. She has published books in Mexico, Spain, the United Arab Emirates and the United States. Currently she works for different publishers and magazines.

IMG_1175ABOUT YOUR HOST: 

Leslie Lindsay is the award-winning author of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA (Woodbine House, 2012) and former Mayo Clinic child/adolescent psychiatric R.N. She is at work on a memoir, about growing up with a mentally ill interior decorator mother and her devolve into psychosis. Leslie’s writing & prose poetry has been published in Pithead ChapelCommon Ground ReviewCleaver Magazine (craft and CNF), The Awakenings Review, The Nervous Breakdown, Ruminate’s The WakingBrave Voices Literary MagazineManifest-StationCoffin Bell Journal, and others. Her cover art was featured on Up the Staircase Quarterly in May 2020, other photography in Another Chicago Magazine (ACM) and Brushfire Literature & Arts Journal; CNF in Semicolon Literary Magazine; the 2nd edition of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA will be available late this summer. Leslie has been awarded one of the top 1% reviewers on GoodReads and recognized by Jane Friedman as one of the most influential book reviewers. Since 2013, Leslie has interviewed over 700 bestselling and debut authors on her author interview series. Follow her bookstagram posts @leslielindsay1.

 2nd edition of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA now available.apraxiacover-01 (1)

on submssion/Catalyst Literary Management MODEL HOME: Motherhood, Madness & Memory

f361308f-8e47-46bd-ab06-5662fe502b14

 

LOVE IT? SHARE IT!

#childrensliterature #home #social #kidslit #storm #earthquake #friends #forestfriends #Mexico #feelings #emotions #support #homelessness #mentalhealth #depression 

IMG_3586

[Cover and author image courtesy of Scholastic and used with permission. Artistic image of book cover designed and photographed by me, Leslie Lindsay. Find me on Instagram @leslielindsay1 #bookstagrammer #alwayswithabook]

 

Debut author Ashley audrain talks about her ravishingly dark and twisted THE PUSH, about motherhood, the postpartum period, intergenerational trauma, family legacy + reading list, more

By Leslie Lindsay 

Deliciously dark and juicy psychological drama–a DEBUT–you’ll be talking about long after you turn the last page, the issues and concerns surrounding motherhood, family history, genetics, and more. 

9781984881663

~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~

THE PUSH (forthcoming from Pamela Dorman Books/PRH January 5, 2021) is one of those buzzy–OMG–books you’ll devour in one sitting. Is it a conversation-started? You bet. Will have it have you puzzling out your own maternal history–going back generations? Yes, that too. Here, we meet Blythe Connor, a woman whose experience of motherhood is not at all what she imagine. Blythe is determined to be the warm, caring, generous mother she herself never had. Still, she can’t let go of the disturbing, nagging thought that her daughter, Violet is not like other children. Is something ‘off?’ She’s distant, defiant, stubborn, antisocial, angry. Is she dangerous? Is Blythe just exhausted? Is it because Blythe doesn’t have much of a mother figure and her childhood was distorted? And her mother’s childhood, too? Maybe.

Here we examine motherhood in the most jarring, unsetting way, in this propulsive read. And then: the unthinkable. THE PUSH is about nature versus nurture, it’s about outrunning our past, healing our scars. I was completely swept away with this story, but also the implications. Because I have such a soft-spot for psychology, THE PUSH, truly made me think and puzzle through human behavior. The writing might be a little different than expected–it’s told in second-person ‘you,’ which I think heightens the suspense and paranoia, but see for yourself. Overall, the prose is raw and visceral, razor-sharp, literary, and powerful. 

Please join me in welcoming the lovely and talented Ashley Audrain to the author interview series:  

Leslie Lindsay:

THE PUSH is a searing look at motherhood—both the raw, personal experience and the societal expectations and cultural pressures that surround it. Why did you want to tackle this topic?

Ashley Audrain:

I have long been fascinated with motherhood—how society perceives mothers, how they perceive themselves, how motherhood changes women, why women want to be mothers in the first place—and so I always felt this would be the focus of my novel. So many things about motherhood are softened when we talk or write about them. When I became a mother myself, this especially stood out to me in writing and in film—the washed over birth scenes and the idyllic children, the tired but fulfilled mother. I wanted to write from a darker place of motherhood, because it can be very ugly and terrifying at times, even if you are privileged to be raising children in the best of circumstances.

blue and red galaxy artwork

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

Leslie Lindsay:

I always want to know story origins: where did the idea of THE PUSH come from?

Ashley Audrain:

I started writing the novel when my son was six months old—he had some health challenges and we were in and out of the hospital for a while. The experiencing of dealing with that made me think a lot about the expectations of motherhood: how it will be, how we are meant to feel, who our child will be, what life will look like. While thankfully my experience was nothing like that of my main character, those are the seeds of thinking that grew into THE PUSH. There is a lot of fear in motherhood, despite it being something we’re taught is the most natural role there is. As a writer, I find a lot of satisfaction in exploring our common fears, perhaps as a way of understanding them better in myself. I think a lot of us have flashes of nightmarish thoughts cross our mind as we’re expecting children or raising children, no matter the circumstance, and I found it fascinating to let my mind wander further down that path, considering the “what if” scenarios in the lives of these characters.

narrow footpath through snowy winter forest

Photo by Oleg Podlesnykh on Pexels.com

Leslie Lindsay:

The narrative of Blythe’s experience is interwoven with memories of her own childhood, and her mother’s childhood. Why did you decide to explore her family history in this manner, and how did you land on the style, which I love, by-the-way.

Ashley Audrain:

It’s hard to understand Blythe without understanding her past, and I wanted to explore the idea of how we learn to mother and what we carry from the women we come from, consciously or not. I experimented quite a bit with the best way to weave this into the narrative—the story of Blythe’s grandmother Etta and her mother Cecilia stands on its own in a way, but I wanted to draw parallels in the experience of all three women as daughters and mothers. I also wanted there to be some ambiguity about how much of her past Blythe knows for sure, how much she was told by her father, and how much she has puzzled together herself—I think this is true of how we all understand our family histories. When we landed on the final format for the backstory of Etta and Cecilia, one of my editors suggested it read like a dark fairytale against Blythe’s present-day narrative; I hope it resonates that way with readers.

afterglow art backlit birds

Photo by luizclas on Pexels.com

Leslie Lindsay:

As with any story about children behaving badly, THE PUSH touches on the idea of nature vs. nurture – how our personalities are formed and what we owe to each other. What do you think of this age-old question, and how THE PUSH addresses it?

Ashley Audrain:

The degree to which both nature and nurture shape a person is something that fascinates me. What makes a person with a loving, positive upbringing behave unconscionably? How does a person with a particularly traumatic childhood completely break the cycle of certain behaviors with their own families? When I hear or read about a person who has committed a serious crime, I always think about their parents: what did they know about their children?

I think the evolving science of inherited trauma is particularly interesting, the way a severe emotional experience can physically alter the cells and behavior of that person’s own children. And of course, raising children now with my partner, the idea of nature and nurture is often on my mind as we see who they’re becoming and how they behave. It’s incredibly interesting to observe. In THE PUSH, we as readers, alongside Blythe, examine how she was inevitably shaped as a mother, and how Violet is being shaped by Blythe—the answers to these questions aren’t clear cut, of course, which I think contributes to the ambiguity in the novel along the way.

Leslie Lindsay:

Blythe’s expectations of parenthood turn out to be very different from her actual experience. Becoming a mother is not what she thought it would be, and her child is not who she imagined her to be. Though Blythe’s experience is very specific, do you think this is common among parents?

Ashley Audrain:

A friend once told me that one of her friends confessed she didn’t like her own child very much—not just because of a particularly tough phase, but because she genuinely didn’t like who she was. I had never heard such a candid feeling expressed by a mother before. There is more and more room in discourse among women to share our feelings more honestly about the failed expectations of motherhood, but there are still taboo truths that few women will share, like regretting the decision to have a child, or not feeling the love they thought they would. I have never met a mother who has said the experience of motherhood was exactly what she expected (or that her children were exactly who she envisioned them to be), and yet motherhood is often discussed in clichés and themes of commonality that we are taught to expect when we have children: “The most important job in the world,” or “The days are long, but the years are short.” What if it feels like the worst job in the world? What if the years feel like decades? Those opinions aren’t a part of the mainstream language around motherhood, but I think a lot of mothers can relate to them.

young mother with toddler child in rural interior house

Photo by Tatiana Syrikova on Pexels.com

Leslie Lindsay:

THE PUSH is also the story of a marriage, and the pressure that parenthood can place on partners. Can you speak a little bit about Blythe and Fox’s relationship in the book, and how it breaks down over time?

Ashley Audrain:

When Blythe and Fox begin their relationship as young adults, they each find something specific in one another that fills a need—but with that comes lifelong expectations of each other that neither can uphold for long. Blythe can’t deliver on being the perfect mother who pretends they have a perfect family life, and Fox can’t accept that about her. The resentment that grows in their relationship becomes too much for either of them to bear, arguably before they begin to drown in two very different experiences of heartbreaking grief.

I think an interesting debate about Fox is whether or not he’s a good parent: did he sacrifice his relationship in defense of his daughter? Which role—parent or partner—should be the priority in a family unit? I think balancing those two roles is something a lot of parents in a marriage can relate to, especially after experiencing the ways parenthood inevitably changes a relationship.


“Written with  a courage that borders on audacity, and with uncanny emotional and psychological precision,  Ashley Audrain’s THE PUSH is a taut, tour-de-force literary thriller that draws you in from the very first pages and plunges you into the most harrowing of journeys: parenthood.”


— Bill Clegg, New York Times bestselling author of Did You Ever Have A Family


Leslie Lindsay:

Did you do any specific research for THE PUSH, and were there any important takeaways? For example, your epigraph, I completely adore. And now I have to read that book about mothers and rhythm. Can you talk about that, please? 

Ashley Audrain:

I did most of my research in the later revision stages, when I was conscious of ensuring certain things made sense from a psychological perspective. And at one point I asked a psychologist to read the novel through a lens of mental health sensitivity. I did come across some really interesting papers though, in particular one from 1975 in The American Academy of Child Psychiatry titled “Ghosts in the Nursey”I think that’s such a compelling metaphor for the relationship between a parent’s own early childhood experience and the treatment of their children. And I found a wonderful quote that became the epigraph in the novel while I was reading about theories on matrilineal relationships. It’s from a book called When the Drummers Were Women: A Spiritual History of Rhythm by Layne Redmond, about how a woman who is pregnant with a daughter carries the egg cells of her grandchildren inside of her. I love the way this quote represents the foundation of the novel.

adult book boring face

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Leslie Lindsay:

There are many moments in the book when Blythe feels like she’s lost her mind, like she’s the only one who can see the truth. Yet to the reader, she never feels like one of those unreliable narrators we’re now so used to seeing in psychological thrillers. How did you manage this delicate balance?

Ashley Audrain:

To be honest, I’m not sure! Perhaps it’s because the novel is written as a memoir of sorts in Blythe’s voice, and she addresses the intended reader—her husband—as “you” throughout. This is her side of their story. As readers, this feels quite personal, and we get the sense that she really believes this version of the events—there is nothing disingenuous about her intention, although there is certainly doubt along the way as to what is fact and what is fiction. I also thought it was important that we have a substantial amount of empathy for Blythe and that we relate to her deeply—I didn’t want her to be another trope of a bad mother who can’t be redeemed. I hope readers can see parts of themselves in her along the way.

Leslie Lindsay:

THE PUSH might be particularly relevant for mothers, but it’s also about all the fears and anxieties that weigh on women in general – and what happens when they aren’t heard or believed. Can you speak to this a little bit, and how it connects to our current moment?

Ashley Audrain:

Well, on a broader level, we’re still living in a time when women’s voices are often devalued, ignored, or questioned without merit. We’ve seen this over and over in the way society treats women who speak out publicly, and how issues affecting minority groups of women are often dismissed, rationalized, or underfunded. We are, of course, seeing positive change happening in this respect, but there’s no question this broader societal attitude has an impact on an individual level in the domestic lives of women, in particular minority women, when it might feel like speaking out will be met on deaf ears, or worse.

Being ignored, not believed, or even gaslighted, can be a form of trauma. This idea of the “crazy woman” or the “hysterical mother” has existed for a long time, and it creates fear and silences women, particularly where there is a power imbalance. In THE PUSH, Blythe experiences a form of this from everyone around her: what she believes is inconvenient, unsettling, and has difficult consequences, so the people around her shut her down. They make it her problem, not theirs. There are, of course, impacts on her own mental health because of this, and she is pushed to a place that is hard to come back from.

purple abstract art

Photo by Anni Roenkae on Pexels.com

Leslie Lindsay:

You’re a former book publicist. What’s it like being on the other side of the desk as a first-time author?

Ashley Audrain:

Working in publishing gave me such valuable insight into the publishing process—and has also helped to manage my expectations! I know from being on the other side that it’s a mix of art and science that makes a book work in the market. There’s often huge unpredictability in the publishing industry, which is part of what makes it so exciting. My experience has also given me insight into just how many people it takes to get a novel into the hands of readers—it’s incredible how many efforts have to come together, from copyeditors to book designers to marketing assistants to sales reps in the field, not to mention the editors you work with so closely to shape the book into the best thing it can be. There is so much passion behind the scenes in publishing, and I can really feel that now on the receiving end as an author. Publicists have a particularly exciting role in the process, and it’s hugely satisfying when a well-crafted plan works…but it’s also a tough job as the media landscape changes, and the expectations of everyone involved can be very hard to manage. Especially now. I am grateful for every little bit of publicity for THE PUSH because I know there’s a tireless effort on the other end.

Leslie Lindsay:

THE PUSH is the ultimate page-turner, easy to devour in one sitting. What are your tips and tricks for cultivating suspense? Are there writers or stories in the thriller genre that you particularly admire?

Ashley Audrain:

Thank you. The pace and intensity of the novel is likely influenced by the way in which I wrote and revised: in short blocks of time, often racing against the clock for when I had to get back to my kids. I like to read stories that have short but powerful chapters, ones that make me pause for a moment before I turn to the next page—I think that’s reflected in the structure of THE PUSH. I also did a lot—a lot!—of revising and chopping (at one point, I rewrote about three-quarters of the novel entirely) and this let me focus layer by layer on each character and thread of the story.

I’ve always gravitated towards darker, more psychological stories that explore the contemporary lives of women, especially mothers (which won’t be a surprise!). I was completely rapt as a teenager by then-popular books like White Oleander by Janet Fitch and The Deep End of the Ocean by Jacquelyn Mitchard, more so than traditional thrillers or mysteries. As a reader, I’ve always loved a book that I can’t put down because I want to uncover the “why” of what’s happened, but I also want the writing to be so compelling that I savor each sentence at the same time. Now, there are so many brilliant writers perfecting this kind of suspenseful read: Leila Slimani’s The Perfect Nanny, Celeste Ng’s Little Fires Everywhere, Helen Phillip’s The Need, Marjorie Celonas’ How A Woman Becomes A Lake, and Elizabeth Kay’s Seven Lies are some recent favorites…but I could go on!

pile of books on wooden stool

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

Leslie Lindsay:

What do you hope readers take away from THE PUSH?

Ashley Audrain:

I hope THE PUSH is a novel that readers can’t put down, a book they read late into the night—that’s the kind of book I love to discover. I also hope for THE PUSH to be relatable in a way that creates conversation among readers. About the expectations of motherhood, about what we owe our children, about the weight of parenthood on a marriage, and about what happens when we don’t believe women’s truths.

IMG_3088

Artistic photo of book cover designed and photographed by me, Leslie Lindsay. Join me on Instagram @leslielindsay1 #bookstagrammer #alwayswithabook

For more information, to connect with Ashley Audrain via social media, or to purchase a copy of THE PUSH, please visit:

ORDER LINKS:

Ashley-Audrain-Credit-Barbara-Stoneham-for-websiteABOUT THE AUTHOR:

ASHLEY AUDRAIN previously worked as the publicity director of Penguin Books Canada. Prior to Penguin, she worked in public relations. She lives in Toronto, where she and her partner are raising their two young children. The Push is her first novel.

1B6B942E-E2D9-4517-9773-73A6A5162188ABOUT YOUR HOST:

Leslie Lindsay is the award-winning author of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA (Woodbine House, 2012). Her work has been published in Semicolon Literary Journal: Fall 2020, Pithead Chapel, Family Narrative Project, Common Ground Review, Cleaver Magazine (craft and CNF), The Awakenings Review, The Nervous Breakdown, Ruminate’s The Waking, Brave Voices Literary Magazine, Manifest-Station, among others. Cover art featured in Up the Staircase Quarterly May 2020; other photography featured in Another Chicago Magazine(ACM) and Brushfire Arts & Literature summer 2020, works of photography short-listed in Manhattan Review; poetry in Coffin Bell Journal in July 2020; the 2nd edition of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA available from Woodbine House later in 2020. Leslie has been awarded as one of the top 1% reviewers on GoodReads and recognized by Jane Friedman as one of the most influential book reviewers. Since 2013, Leslie has interviewed over 700 bestselling and debut authors on her author interview series. Her “Reader’s Response” was published in the September 2019 issue of Poets & Writers. Leslie is a former child/adolescent psychiatric R.N. at the Mayo Clinic and has attended writing classes at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Northwestern University. She resides in the Chicago area.

~UPDATED, 2nd edition of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA now available from Woodbine House~

MODEL HOME: Motherhood & Madness: on-submission  

LOVE IT? SHARE IT!

#alwaywithabook #domesticsuspense #mothers #daughters #biology #postpartum #psychology #parenting #grief 

IMG_3088

[Cover and author image courtesy of Penguin/Random House/Pamela Dorman Books and used with permission. Artistic photo of book cover designed and photographed by me, Leslie Lindsay. Join me on Instagram @leslielindsay1 #bookstagrammer #alwayswithabook]

MALCOLM MITCHELL’S FABULOUS CHILDREN’S BOOK–MY VERY FAVORITE BOOK IN THE WHOLE WIDE WORLD, plus reading struggles, being a literacy crusader, more

By Leslie Lindsay 

Have you ever struggled to find the perfect book? I know I have! And I’m a ‘reader.’ How about a child in your life? I’m betting so. This darling children’s book–with bold, bright illustrations–by football champion Malcolm Mitchell is sure to delight. 

My Very Favorite Book in the Whole World_Cover

~BOOKS ON MONDAY|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~

CHILDREN’S LITERACY 

Henley hates to read.

When Henley is supposed to be reading before bed, he builds a castle with his sheets.

Henley hates reading so much, he took a wagon full of books to the town swimming pool to find out how well they could swim.

MY VERY FAVORITE BOOK IN THE WORLD (Scholastic, December 29) is super-adorable–the words, the illustrations–all of it, is so heartfelt and moving. It’s about being a kid who hates to read, but all of his classmates seem to thrive with a book in hand. It’s based on the real-life experience of football star Malcolm Mitchell, who says, “When I was a kid, reading was my biggest challenge. It was the thing that scared me most, because it was such a struggle […] nothing felt lonlier than being the kid in class who couldn’t read well. Deep inside, I knew I was as smart as everyone else, and I liked the stories…so what was the problem?” 

When the daunting task of finding his favorite book is assigned at school, Henley is at a loss. He goes to the library and the bookstore. He looks at so many books of all shapes and sizes, but none of them have made Henley excited enough to read more.


“To Succeed, You Must Read


After a fruitless search, Henley returns home, but defeat quickly turns to triumph with one exciting discovery: his mother kept all the books that he wrote when he was younger. That is when Henley gets an idea.

At school the next day, Henley is just as excited as his classmates. And he shares the new book he wrote, The Book Boy. Because there is a book for everyone, even if you have to write it.

EXTENSION ACTITIVITY:

You might try ‘making’ a book with your child. I did this as a kid and still have many of them, which is such a treasure. It doesn’t have to be anything fancy, just some folded pieces of paper, secured with a staple, illustrated with markers or whatever you have around the house. Your child might need a little prompting–maybe try looking at old photos of things you did together and generating a new story from that. If you have a collection of books as home, take a peek and re-ignite your interest and passion. You might even consider doing a book swap with neighbors or friends. If your child is largely non-verbal, you can still glean much from his or her drawings. Maybe she or he could ‘act it out’ and you can do the writing, or label the drawing based on what you might know from context. Most of all–have fun!

FOR MORE INFORMATION, TO CONNECT WITH MALCOLM MITCHELL via Social media, or to purchase a copy of MY VERY FAVORITE BOOK IN THE WHOLE WORLD, please visit: 

ORDER LINKS: 

~UPDATED, 2nd EDITION OF SPEAKING OF APRAXIA available from WOODBINE HOUSE!~

125901488_4725395040865158_598597866727871778_o

Artistic image of book cover designed and photographed by me, Leslie Lindsay. Follow on Instagram for  more like this @leslielindsay1 #alwayswithabook #bookstagrammer.

malcolmmitchell_myveryfavoritebookABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Malcolm Mitchell is the rookie who helped the New England Patriots win Super Bowl LI. He’s also the founder of an initiative called Read with Malcolm, which introduces book ownership to students, and works to improve literacy in schools. Malcolm’s Share the Magic Foundation promotes the benefits of reading to kids in underserved communities. As the New England Patriots Summer Reading Ambassador, he encourages summer reading. He lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

 

 

 

IMG_1175ABOUT YOUR HOST: 

Leslie Lindsay is the award-winning author of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA (Woodbine House, 2012) and former Mayo Clinic child/adolescent psychiatric R.N. She is at work on a memoir. Her writing has been published in Pithead ChapelCommon Ground ReviewCleaver Magazine (craft and CNF), The Awakenings Review, The Nervous Breakdown, Ruminate’s The WakingBrave Voices Literary MagazineManifest-Station, and forthcoming in The Family Narrative Project (FNP) and Semicolon. Her photography was featured on the cover of Up the Staircase Quarterly in May 2020, other photography in Another Chicago Magazine (ACM) and Brushfire Literature & Arts Journal; poetry in the Coffin Bell Journal. The 2nd edition of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA will be available this fall. Leslie has been awarded one of the top 1% reviewers on GoodReads and recognized by Jane Friedman as one of the most influential book reviewers. Since 2013, Leslie has interviewed over 700 bestselling and debut authors on her author interview series. Follow her bookstagram posts @leslielindsay1.

~UPDATED, 2nd EDITION OF SPEAKING OF APRAXIA available from WOODBINE HOUSE!~

represented by Catalyst Literary Management: MODEL HOME: Motherhood, Madness & Memory

LOVE IT? SHARE IT!

#alwayswithabook #kitlit #childrensliteracy #childrenslit #reading #readingwithkids #writing #students #readingstruggles #strugglingreaders #listening #teachers #educators #school 

125901488_4725395040865158_598597866727871778_o

[Cover and author image courtesy of Scholastic and used with permission. Artistic image of book cover designed and photographed by me, Leslie Lindsay. Follow on Instagram for more like this @leslielindsay1 #alwayswithabook #bookstagrammer.]

Fun & FAB YOuTUBE DAD, WARREN NASH TALKS ABOUT HIS LEGO PASSION, CREATING WITH KIDS, PROBLEM-SOLVING & CRITCAL THINKING, plus, parent-child bonding in his new book, LEGO DAD

By Leslie Lindsay 

A fabulous resource for anyone–not just dads–who love LEGOs, the little people in their life, and time together inventing and being creative.

LegoswithDad-fullcover.indd

~APRAXIA MONDAY|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~

Child’s Play + Book 

It’s time to break out the bricks–the LEGO bricks, that is! LEGO WITH DAD: Creatively Awesome Brick Projects
for Parents and Kids to Build Together
by Warren Nash (October 2020, Rocky Nook) is a gorgeous, glossy, all-color guide to creating with LEGOs. It’s jam-packed with fabulous fun ideas, hints, tips, and ideas that will have you digging up all of those misplaced LEGOs you have around the house. Seriously, some cool stuff. Nash says you don’t need to run out and purchase sets and build them exactly as the directions say–you can create your own fun designs with just a few basic pieces you may already have at home.

For years, LEGO has been an endless source of imagination and joy for kids of all ages–and for many of us, that goes back our own childhood, too. LEGO WITH DAD is a the ultimate guide for maximizing your existing LEGO supplies to build fun, creative new projects with detailed instructions–from basic and classic builds to more innovative, creative and advanced ones. This guide is great for all ages and can be referenced again and again. For example, maybe your child is just the right age for ABCs created from LEGOs, or maybe she has an older brother who would dig building a wind turbine. Maybe mom wants to try the mini-maze/obstacle course. It’s all right here.

Plus, Nash discusses the value of creative, open-ended play, reinvention, the power and thrill of creativity, using one’s imagination and the power of intuitive reasoning. It’s not a parenting book per se, but it most definitely launches into some of those skills of planning ahead and preparing for the inevitable (packing a small bag/box of bricks for waiting rooms, the car, picnics). Plus, he has several ‘family spotlights’ throughout the text featuring families who love LEGO…their favorite project, what they enjoy most when it comes to watching and working with their child(ren) on LEGO-based projects, whether they keep creations in-tact, or break them apart, and dream projects, bringing family into focus, which I think makes it feel more wholesome and inclusive.

So gather the kiddos around (who am I kidding–it’s for the grownups, too), and get creating!

But first, join me in conversation with the fun, creative Warren Nash.

Leslie Lindsay:

Warren! Welcome. Gosh, I love this book. I am blown away with the creativity here—plus, I think it’s highly educational. I know all of this started from your love of LEGOs, but also YouTube videos. Can you talk a little about how this idea was born?

Warren Nash:

You’re right, as you say I love Lego and it has been a huge part of my life – I can’t think of a time I didn’t have Lego in my life.  I have had a YouTube channel for about 8 years now which primarily focused around food.  As my audience grew and my interests developed, I started to produce DIY videos too.  Then, two and a half years ago we were graced with our first child, Charlie, and it was from that moment I started producing content around fatherhood and things to do with the kids.  On the fatherhood theme, I naturally went back to my love for Lego and produced a few videos around things to build with your Kids.  Lego saw these videos and shortly after they asked me to produce a series for their YouTube channel, The Lego Family Channel.  The great guys at Rocky Nook saw the content I was producing on YouTube and proposed putting a book together around building with Lego. And the rest is history!

boy in white crew neck shirt with face paint

Photo by cottonbro on Pexels.com

Leslie Lindsay:

One thing I really love about LEGO WITH DAD is that you encourage families to ‘use what you have.’ I am constantly saying this at our house. We live in a society of plenty. Maybe even ‘too much.’ It’s great, when we can reinvent ideas without being subject to commercialism. Can you talk about that, please?

Warren Nash:

In my opinion, this is what makes Lego such a great toy.  You don’t need to keep buying more.  A Lego brick is a Lego brick – It always will be and it’ll never change!  It’s your imagination and the thrive to reinvent what you can do with it that keeps you wanting to play with it from childhood to adulthood.  At this point I should say I feel you’re NEVER too old to play with Lego!  We’ve probably all been there when we’ve been stuck for something to build – as you say, it’s all about reinvention – why not build an animal, a lion perhaps?  What about a crocodile?  Or even better, a “crocolion”!?  It really goes to show, it doesn’t matter how many or few bricks you have, you really can build anything and it can be as crazy as you like.

Leslie Lindsay:

But we do need a few things. You talk a bit about some LEGO basics. Can you share that here?

Warren Nash:

There are some really useful techniques and favorite bricks I mention in the introduction of my book.  These aren’t essential to construct the various builds in my book – After all you can always improvise with other bricks.  However, they’re some bricks that open up loads of possibilities.  So if you can get your hands on a large base plate, roof tile bricks, knob bricks, and of course 2×4 bricks, they’ll take you a long way!

pexels-photo-168866

Leslie Lindsay:

I love how this guide sort of ‘grows with your child.’ You mention that as your child grows physically, her imagination develops. There’s so much truth to that! We learn to think more critically, cause-and-effect…we might want to experiment with pulleys and levers, gears, that kind of thing. Can you expand on this, please?

Warren Nash:

As you progress through the chapters in my book, the later builds are more advanced.  Building creations that move in some way have always been my favorite things to build.  That’s why later on in my book I have builds that use a Lego motor and include gears and pulleys.  When your kids are a little bit older, these are great as they’ll hold their attention and they’ll get fully immersed in getting their creation to work how they want it to.  Lego builds that include mechanics can honestly occupy a kid for an entire day, whilst enhancing their problem-solving skills.

Leslie Lindsay:

One feature of LEGO WITH DAD that I love is the family spotlight. It brings the human touch to the book. So to ask one your questions: what’s been your favorite LEGO project? What’s a dream build?

Warren Nash:

My all-time favorite build is the Lego cable car in the final chapter of my book. After returning home from visiting my Grandad in Cape Town, South Africa as a kid, my Dad and I decided to build the cable car that travels up Table Mountain.  I remember spending all day building it and we had such a memorable time doing it. I even submitted a photo of it to the Lego Club (but I unfortunately didn’t make it into their monthly magazine)!  I find the Lego builds that stick with you are the ones that relate to an experience you’ve had in your life, just like this one with me.

pexels-photo-1427370

Leslie Lindsay:

I could probably ask questions all day. But since my focus tends to be on speech-language development, I really connected with the ABC build. Can you talk about how you see LEGO as being a key toy for children who might have challenges with speech?

Warren Nash:

I started playing with Lego with my son from a very young age and we have used it on so many occasions as a communication tool as well.  A fond memory is when I was trying to explain how at Christmas Santa comes down the chimney to deliver presents under the tree (to no avail)!  However, we busted out the Lego and built a Lego chimney and tree.  We played with it, dropping a Santa mini-figure down the chimney to deliver presents.  Within minutes he understood how Santa does his thing and it was so much fun at the same time.

Leslie Lindsay:

Warren, this has been so wonderful. Thank you! Is there anything I should have asked, but may have forgotten?

Warren Nash:

As I said before, you’re NEVER too old to play with Lego!  Thank you so much for allowing me to share my personal experiences of Lego and to talk to you about my book, LEGO WITH DAD.

IMG_3426

Artistic image of book cover designed and photographed by me, Leslie Lindsay. Join me on Instagram @leslielindsay1 for more like this #alwayswithabook #bookstagrammer.

For more information, to connect with Warren Nash via social media, or to purchase a copy of LEGO WITH DAD, please visit: 

Order Links:

2ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Warren Nash started out as a YouTuber,
creating content on DIY and food. Since
the launch of his channel, Warren has
achieved more than 10 million views with
a huge following across the globe. Now a
father, Nash has also seen success with his
content based around fatherhood and
activities to do with your kids, including
arts and crafts, and of course, LEGO®. He
has been passionate about LEGO® all his
life and has played with it from a young
age. With so many building possibilities, Nash credits LEGO® with constantly keeping his imagination alive and his creativity going. For more about him, visit YouTube.com/c/WarrenNash. 

IMG_1175ABOUT YOUR HOST: 

Leslie Lindsay is the award-winning author of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA (Woodbine House, 2012) and former Mayo Clinic child/adolescent psychiatric R.N. She is at work on a memoir. Her writing has been published in Pithead ChapelCommon Ground ReviewCleaver Magazine (craft and CNF), The Awakenings Review, The Nervous Breakdown, Ruminate’s The WakingBrave Voices Literary MagazineManifest-Station, and others. Her cover art was featured on Up the Staircase Quarterly in May 2020, other photography in Another Chicago Magazine (ACM) and Brushfire Literature & Arts Journal; poetry in the Coffin Bell Journal, and CNF in Semicolon Literary Magazine and The Family Narrative Project; the 2nd edition of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA will be available this fall. Leslie has been awarded one of the top 1% reviewers on GoodReads and recognized by Jane Friedman as one of the most influential book reviewers. Since 2013, Leslie has interviewed over 700 bestselling and debut authors on her author interview series. Follow her bookstagram posts @leslielindsay1.

 

apraxiacover-01 (1)

~UPDATED, 2nd Edition of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA available from WOODBINE HOUSE!~

On submission with Catalyst Literary Management: MODEL HOME: Motherhood, Madness & Memory

f361308f-8e47-46bd-ab06-5662fe502b14

LOVE IT? SHARE IT!

#toys #play #creativeplay #alwayswithabook #books #parenting #kids #imagation #creativity #LEGO #Legowithdad #YouTube #LegoFamily #WarrenNash #authorinterview #speechdevelopment #childdevelopment 

IMG_3426

[Cover and author image courtesy of K.Sokmen and used with permission. Artistic image of book cover designed and photographed by me, Leslie Lindsay. Join me on Instagram @leslielindsay1 for more like this #alwayswithabook #bookstagrammer. Other images not otherwise specified retrieved from pexels free images on 12.11.20]

A ROUND OF 20 QUESTIONS WITH your author interview host, LESLIE LINDSAY

By Leslie Lindsay

A quick take on the woman behind the author interviews.

black vintage typewriter

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

~WEDNESDAYS WITH WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~

ALL ABOUT YOUR HOST: LESLIE LINDSAY

Each week, at least once a week, I share books and authors with a fabulous community of readers and writers. I’ve been doing this for almost eight years now. Eight (and over 700 interviews)! And I am so grateful. That’s enough time for two college degrees, one MD and a residency and board-certification, or a PhD and a post-doc, eight children, one each year. I don’t have any of that. But thought maybe you’d like to know a bit about the gal behind the interviews.

1. WHY DID YOU START DOING THIS? 

Leslie Lindsay:

It started…<whispers> as fan mail. I’ve always been a reader and so when I came across a book I really, really loved, I wanted to know more. Maybe it was the writing or a theme, or something, but I was absolutely enamored with a book and so I reached out to the author to gush. And she responded! And I was like, wow…I can ask authors questions all day! And then GoodReads made it so easy to review books. I thought if I could combine my love for reading and writing, why not share it with others?

2. WHAT BOOK WAS IT? 

Leslie Lindsay:

I knew you’d ask. And I have no real memory. That sounds terrible. But I have an inkling it was Lisa Unger or Caroline Leavitt, both of whom I love and admire, though they write very different things, but always with a psychological undercurrent. [Wait–how long have you been doing this? GoodReads? Since maybe 2011. Interviewing authors since 2013]

3. DO YOU HAVE A FAVORITE BOOK OR AUTHOR? 

Leslie Lindsay:

What the heck! I can’t answer that! It’s like asking if you have a favorite kid. I do not have one of those, either. Though on some days, I will tell you that my youngest is my favorite because she brought her laundry to the laundry room without being asked. Another day, my oldest daughter is my favorite because she de-gunked the hair from the bathroom drain. As for books and authors, those vary, too. My tastes evolve. My mood fluctuates. I might be able to tell you my favorite historical fiction, my favorite memoir, my favorite thriller, but I won’t. Because that’s not fair, either. And it will change. Because next week, or next month, or next year, so will I.

4. WHAT’S THE ONE BOOK THAT CHANGED YOUR LIFE? 

Leslie Lindsay:

You are tenacious, aren’t you? Well, let’s back up. Way up. I have this super-old giant red book comprised of stories  given to my for my first Christmas. I can’t tell you how I love that book. The spine is cracked, the pages are brittle. Some of the stories aren’t very ‘pc.’ But they are ingrained in my storytelling mind. When I was a little kid, my parents enrolled me in this mail-order book club, way before Amazon or anything ‘fun’ ever came in the mail. When those books arrived, I hugged them to my chest and ran into the house; I couldn’t wait for Dad to get home from work to read them to me. Dad did better voices than Mom. And then the Berenstain Bears books became my heart and I thought I’d be a children’s author/illustrator and focus on emotional/psychological wellbeing of children and life lessons. But then I moved into Beverly Cleary titles and Judy Blume. And also A WRINKLE IN TIME totally got the speculative fiction vibe going for me. THE BABYSITTERS CLUB came around and yep–I read nearly all of them, going weekly to the B.Dalton at my local mall to pony up the $2.50 they cost back then, and waiting impatiently for the Super-Special, which I would devour in a matter of hours? Days? Then there was a phase where I couldn’t read Joan Lowry Nixon and Lois Duncan fast enough. In high school, I fell hard for medical/crime dramas like THE HOT ZONE and Patricia Cornwall. And another phase where I didn’t read much more than an anatomy and microbiology textbook because, nursing school. When I was in the midst of final exams, I somehow managed to read Wally Lamb’s I KNOW THIS MUCH IS TRUE. Maybe that book changed my life? Maybe that’s when I thought–hummm–I could write. Maybe. Anne Lamont’s BIRD BY BIRD changes me every time I read it. I loved Anita Shreve and still wish I could write like her. And to mention any others at this point, would be unfair. See question 3 above.

pile of books

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

5. WHERE’S YOUR FAVORITE PLACE ON EARTH? 

Leslie Lindsay:

I mean, I haven’t been everywhere. And who’s to say that my favorite place isn’t right here? Right now? Why strive for the past or the future? Places I’ve been that I love: Italy. Especially Tuscany. Austria. Especially Salzburg. I felt a particular connection to the place in London where my hostel was located (years and years ago) and nearly felt a muscle memory type reaction, like I knew exactly where it was, though never to my knowledge had I been there. When I was in Ireland, I could sense dark histories that made my head and chest hurt, which was also quite magical. And in Greece, I felt a kinship with the ancient earth.

6. WHO’S THE ONE PERSON WHO CHANGED YOUR LIFE? 

Leslie Lindsay:

Well, that’s a tough one. My mother had a major psychotic episode when I was ten. That changed my life. In many ways. I had to grow up awfully quick. I had always been mature and preceptive, but this shattered me, my home, my family. She made my life nearly impossible. She was narcissistic and emotionally unstable and we became estranged. I overcame a lot. And maybe I’m stronger because of it, because of her. My dad. He had to step up (though he always did a lot of the parenting, even before my mother’s mental illness). Without Dad to ease the corners of that transition, I might not be the person I am today. But then, there’s my husband and my daughters–they’ve changed my life, too.

7. WHAT’S MOST IMPORTANT FOR YOUR MENTAL HEALTH? 

Leslie Lindsay:

Exercise. Fresh air. Natural things, like nature. Being in it. Creating. Art, photography, writing.

8. WHAT’S ONE THING YOU WORRY ABOUT? 

Leslie Lindsay:

It used to be, ‘will I be crazy like my mom?’ I guess I still worry about that, to a certain degree. But now, I know there are ways to support myself. And never have I experienced anything to the magnitude as to what my mother did. Also, the shame and stigma is lifting. Also, I worry about when I must stop writing to make dinner, if my 15 year old will pass her driving test, if I’m doing enough.

9. IF YOU COULD SEND A NOTE TO YOURSELF in 2030, what would it say? 

Leslie Lindsay:

Does any of this really matter? Just be you.

10. IF YOU COULD SEND A NOTE TO SOMEONE WHO PASSED AWAY, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY? 

Leslie Lindsay:

I love you. You are important. You did your best. It did not go unnoticed.

shallow focus of letter paper

Photo by Suzy Hazelwood on Pexels.com

11. WHAT’S YOUR WORST HABIT?

Leslie Lindsay:

That depends. Who is judging? My husband will say cracking my elbows is my worst habit. I mean, they get stiff while I am writing (long-hand or typing). My kids will say I be a little bossy. My dog thinks I move too much and don’t create enough ‘lap’ for her to sit on.

12. IF YOU COULD CHOOSE A MAGICAL POWER, WHAT WOULD IT BE? 

Leslie Lindsay:

To make everyone kind. Read a book and be kind.

13. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT WHEN YOU’RE NOT WRITING OR READING? 

Leslie Lindsay:

Shouldn’t I be reading or writing?! [That’s the thought] Maybe I’m creating something else? In that sense, I am thinking: color, pattern, design. I am absorbing story in some other form: a song, a television show or movie. Maybe I am thinking about Def Leppard and how I secretly want to be a rockstar.

14. DO YOU ALWAYS HAVE A PROJECT GOING?

Leslie Lindsay:

Yep. Always. But it might not always be a writing project. One must vary projects to keep ideas fresh and flowing.

15. WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU PUT YOUR FEET UP? 

Leslie Lindsay:

What is this thing you speak up? Feet up? Okay, okay…yesterday? But it was Sunday. And gloomy. And I read half a novel. Does that count?

crop man reading book on grass in sunshine

Photo by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels.com

16. WHAT HOUSEHOLD CHORE DO YOU LOVE? WHICH ONE DO YOU DETEST? 

Leslie Lindsay:

When my hubby goes back to the office after this COVID-19 work-from-home is done, I am going to miss his dishwasher unloading skills. I love running the vacuum. So satisfying to hear the crinkle and suck of particles, don’t ya think? Also, ironing is stupid. I wish I didn’t love cotton so much.

17. DO YOU LIKE COOKING? 

Leslie Lindsay:

Not particularly, though I can do it well. To me, it’s just another chore.

18. WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE FOOD? 

Leslie Lindsay:

I mean, ice cream! And anything thick and warm from the oven. Fresh bread. Cookies. Cake. Sweets. That’s my favorite.

19. HOW DO YOU DEFINE SOUL-MATE? 

Leslie Lindsay:

Carbs. Ice cream. See answer 18 above. In reality? Someone who would always be there for you. A similar way of looking at the world. A shared sense of being on the same journey. Again, carbs.

20. WHAT DO YOU HOPE TO LEAVE BEHIND? 

Leslie Lindsay:

Kindness.

white printer paper with be kind text on plants

Photo by Lisa Fotios on Pexels.com

FOR MORE INFORMATION, OR TO CONNECT WITH LESLIE LINDSAY VIA SOCIAL MEDIA, PLEASE SEE: 

IMG_1175ABOUT YOUR HOST:

Leslie Lindsay is the award-winning author of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA (Woodbine House, 2012) and former Mayo Clinic child/adolescent psychiatric R.N. She is at work on a memoir. Her writing has been published in Pithead ChapelCommon Ground ReviewCleaver Magazine (craft and CNF), The Awakenings Review, The Nervous Breakdown, Ruminate’s The WakingBrave Voices Literary MagazineManifest-Station, and others. Her cover art was featured on Up the Staircase Quarterly in May 2020, other photography in Another Chicago Magazine (ACM) and Brushfire Literature & Arts Journal; poetry in the Coffin Bell Journal, and CNF in Semicolon Literary Magazine and The Family Narrative Project; the 2nd edition of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA will be available this fall. Leslie has been awarded one of the top 1% reviewers on GoodReads and recognized by Jane Friedman as one of the most influential book reviewers. Since 2013, Leslie has interviewed over 700 bestselling and debut authors on her author interview series. Follow her bookstagram posts @leslielindsay1.

apraxiacover-01 (1)

~UPDATED, 2nd Edition of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA available from WOODBINE HOUSE!~

Represented by Catalyst Literary Management: MODEL HOME: Motherhood, Madness & Memory

f361308f-8e47-46bd-ab06-5662fe502b14

LOVE IT? SHARE IT!

#alwayswithabook #amreading #aboutyourhost #LeslieLindsay #writinglife #childhoodbooks #mothers #mentalillness #bookreviewer #lifegoals 

books

Photo by Emily on Pexels.com

LESLIE LINDSAY, AUTHOR OF SPEAKING OF APRAXIA, talks with her 15-year-old daughter about what it’s like to be a teen with resolved CAS 2/2

By Leslie Lindsay 

Leslie Lindsay, author of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA (Woodbine House, 2020) interviews her 15-year old daughter, Kate, about growing up with childhood apraxia of speech (CAS). 

apraxiacover-01 (1)

~APRAXIA MONDAY|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~

A Mother-Daughter Conversation about CAS

Part 2 of 2

Now available in an updated, second edition, SPEAKING OF APRAXIA: A Parents’ Guide to Childhood Apraxia of Speech (Woodbine House, December 2020), is an award-winning resource on Childhood Apraxia of Speech (CAS). Eight years ago, when Leslie Lindsay, former Child & Adolescent Psychiatric R.N., and mother to a daughter with CAS—now resolved—couldn’t find any parent-friendly books to help her child and family with CAS, she wrote one. This updated, well-researched, and comprehensive work provides readers the benefit of her experience and perspective.

It covers:

  • introduction to speech, language & listening
  • explanation of CAS
  • what to do when you suspect your child has CAS
  • getting a speech evaluation
  • meeting with a speech-language pathologist
  • getting the CAS diagnosis
  • possible causes
  • diagnoses related to CAS
  • speech therapy best suited for CAS
  • complementary & alternative approaches
  • activities & materials to support therapy at home
  • creating a language-rich environment for speech
  • coping with CAS as a family
  • understanding & tending to your child’s feelings
  • networking, advocating & resources
  • when CAS resolves, what’s next?

Supportive and encouraging, SPEAKING OF APRAXIA gives readers the detailed information they need to get working on all aspects of their child’s CAS diagnosis. Additional helpful content includes resources, a glossary, and appendices about possible co-occurring conditions, health insurance, camp and enrichment programs, and speech and language milestones.

If you missed the first half of this conversation, which previously ‘aired’ on 12/7/20, click here.  

Please join us in conversation. 

Leslie Lindsay:

Kate, so many thanks for chatting with me about this. Since the 2nd edition of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA goes into a little more detail on older kids with apraxia, I wondered if you could tell us how you’re doing now? You’re fifteen, a sophomore in high school. What kinds of things are you into…

Kate Lindsay:

Creating…keeping busy. I love tennis, exercising and movement. I’m an Irish dancer and during the pandemic, we haven’t had classes, but that didn’t stop me. I dance in the basement and make up my own dances. I don’t always know what I am doing, but that’s okay; I’m still moving. 

top view photo of boy drawing on white paper

Photo by Julia M Cameron on Pexels.com

Leslie Lindsay:

Those dances are pretty tough. There’s a lot of gross-and-fine motor coordination going on…kind of like speech in that sense. How do you remember the sequences to the dances, the moves to make? Is it hard? 

Kate Lindsay: 

Not really. I use a lot of…what do they call that…where you make up little sayings to go with something hard to learn? 

Leslie Lindsay: 

Mnemonics?

Kate Lindsay: 

Yeah, that. I know what I want my feet to do…in Irish dance, they might call it something fancy but in my head, I call it foot-wiggle-thing-y. It works…maybe because I am in motion?

Leslie Lindsay:

I think that’s a really good point. When you were in speech therapy, we often added in occupational therapy (OT), there was a lot of movement, crawling through tunnels, climbing ropes and nets, tumbling, bouncing balls…you adored this. While you were doing this, your speech-language therapist (SLP) often worked with you on target words and phrases. The words were easier then. They explained this to me as working your vestibular system…which controls balance and motion and might very well be connected to the language centers of the brain. That’s why children on a playground are anything but quiet; the movement stimulates verbalizations. 

53239_1419262612415_5362233_o


“The tone is friendly, the voice confident and authoritative, and perhaps the best part, readers really get the chance to know Leslie Lindsay as both a mom and medical expert.”

-Foreword Reviews


Kate Lindsay: 

That’s pretty interesting and makes a lot of sense. Because I like moving. 

Leslie Lindsay: 

Do you think–now that you’re 15–apraxia holds you back? 

Kate Lindsay: 

Not anymore. But when I was younger, it did. I had a hard time making friends because I was quiet. But then it got better. Friends understood. The ones who didn’t…I didn’t want to be their friend anyway. When I was in 4th and 5th grade, I was out of speech therapy, but I still had an IEP. It was embarrassing. I hated when that special teacher came to get me. She was nice and I liked her, but I worried what everyone else was thinking about me, like maybe I was dumb.

Leslie Lindsay:

That must have been hard.  

Kate Lindsay:

It was. And my 4th grade teacher, she kept talking and talking, I don’t think she ever noticed the time. I would be like, “[Mrs. T] is waiting for me and it would draw more attention to my…problem.

Leslie Lindsay:

So what advice would you give teachers? And maybe parents about that?

Kate Lindsay:

Be aware and discreet. Know that these kids are a little embarrassed and don’t want to be ‘different.’ If a child in your classroom has to leave for some reason, let it be a natural part of the classroom…like, if the other kids are going to reading circle, or whatever, the child who needs to go to the special teacher slips out then. Don’t call attention to it. 

teacher_positioning_classroom

Leslie Lindsay: 

I think that’s good advice. What about as you got older? Into junior high and now in high school?

Kate Lindsay: 

Well, honors biology sucked. I mean, I used to love science, but not this. It was very abstract. Nothing was hands-on and you’d think it would be, being biology. But it was all packets and big words. I couldn’t think about what the teacher was trying to teach because the words were huge and I couldn’t say them in my head, or out-loud, and it was miserable. I think kids–teenagers–with CAS need more hands-on class work. Also, math. Not a fan. Oh! And Spanish. That was really hard. I mean, I can barely speak English half the time, trying to read, speak, listen to another language–and they move really fast–was just not for me. 

Leslie Lindsay: 

I get it. I know I spoke with both of those teachers at high school and told them about your history with apraxia. They were sympathetic, but they still had a curriculum to teach and you had to get through it because both of those classes were a graduation requirement. How did you do it? 

Kate Lindsay: 

Well, I asked for extra help. I went to a tutor. I sat up front. I practiced the words. I did not get As in those classes; they were still really hard for me and I am glad to be done with them. 

HS_ScienceStudents

Leslie Lindsay: 

Do you remember going to speech as a kiddo? 

Kate Lindsay: 

Yep! It wasn’t really a big deal. As I got older and they [SLPs, OTs] learned my personality more, they incorporated things I liked. I remember looking at a Titanic book they got from the library and practicing words from that book. We even danced. I taught the lady [SLP] some Irish dance steps! I’m pretty sure they were the ones who taught me to whistle. Maybe it was some exercise for another speech-related thing, but now I can whistle because of that. 

Leslie Lindsay:

What advice would you give kids–and their parents/caregivers–about going to speech therapy? 

Kate Lindsay: 

I mean, just go. It might be annoying, but you will be glad you did in the long run. Also, check out the place first. If it doesn’t have a jungle gym, don’t go. I mean, that’s really important–make sure it’s fun and you feel comfortable there. 

OD+Gym

Leslie Lindsay: 

That’s a good idea to check it out first. What else might you suggest?

Kate Lindsay: 

Well, don’t give up. Think of [going to speech therapy] like a game. You can collect points! Say, every time you go, you get 100 points. Have your mom or dad keep track. When you get, a thousand–boom–a treat of some kind. Hey…that’s a good idea [light-bulb goes off]. 

Leslie Lindsay: 

One last bit of advice for the road? 

Kate Lindsay: 

We all face problems. Some of us a little younger than others. When you do, you understand other people’s problems better. Like, when you see someone with another kind of disability, you’re more understanding. 

Leslie Lindsay:

[Oh, my heart!]

124265724_3500357063378605_4208469507282961145_n

Artistic image designed and photographed by me, Leslie Lindsay. Follow on Instagram for more like this @leslielindsay1 #bookstagrammer #alwayswithabook #SpeakingofApraxia. Other images retrieved from various sites, and credited at bottom of page.

For more information, to connect with Leslie Lindsay, via social media, or to purchase a copy of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA, please visit: 

Order Links: 

Missed the first half of this interview? Click here

Listen to the podcast: leslieinsta

IMG_1175ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Leslie A. Lindsay, R.N., B.S.N. is the award-winning author of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA, originally published in 2012. Leslie’s writing and photography have appeared in various literary journals; she has been recognized as one of the most influential book reviewers, interviewing hundreds of bestselling and debut authors at her website. Leslie is a former Child & Adolescent Psychiatric R.N. at the Mayo Clinic and at work on a memoir. She resides in suburban Chicago. Visit her on Insta/Twitter @leslielindsay1 and the Speaking of Apraxia Facebook Page.  

~UPDATED, 2nd Edition of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA available from Woodbine House~

IMG_2677ABOUT YOUR HOST: 

Kate Lindsay is Leslie’s oldest daughter. She is currently a sophomore in high school and a Varsity tennis player, a climber, a do-er, and overall awesome kid. She enjoys all forms of artistic expression, including Irish dance, sewing, drawing, cardmaking, more. She was diagnosed with CAS when she was just shy of her third birthday. Now, at fifteen-and-a-half, she won’t stop talking. She lives in the Chicago suburbs with her mom, dad, sister, and basset hound, Betsy Mae. 

LOVE IT? SHARE IT!

#alwayswithabook #amreading #authorinterview #apraxia #apraxiaofspeech #secondedition #chidhoodapraxia #speech #speechdisorders #CAS #speechtherapy #resolvedapraxia #occupationalthrapy #resolvingapraxia #childdevelpment #therapy #SpeakingofApraxia 

apraxiacover-01 (1)

[Cover and author image courtesy of author. Image of teacher in classroom retrieved from; students in science lab from; therapy gym from all retrieved on 12.6.20]