All posts tagged: family

Joyce Maynard talks about estrangement, love and loss, how COUNT THE WAYS is personal, but not a ‘thinly veiled memoir,’ and so much more

By Leslie Lindsay WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK Leslie Lindsay & Joyce Maynard in conversation Joyce Maynard is the author of eighteen books, including the New York Times bestselling novel, Labor Day and To Die For (both adapted for film), Under the Influence and the memoirs, At Home in the World and The Best of Us. ABOUT COUNT THE WAYS: After falling in love in the last years of the 1970s, Eleanor and Cam set out to follow their dream to raise three children on a New Hampshire farm, a parcel of land she has purchased with her hard-earned children’s book royalties. Their life is pretty idyllic, if only Cam would step-up and be a bit more of a provider–overall, there’s love and heart and good things happening in this quiet, secluded life of art and merrymaking. But there’s a tragic accident that brings a chasm between Cam and Eleanor, changing the family forever. There’s grief and blame, resentment, and more, but they will manage. But they don’t. Cam has an affair with the babysitter, the marriage …

Mckenzie Cassidy talks about his debut coming-of-age, Here Lies a Father, a fabulous 1970s playlist featuring songs about dads, the hero’s journey, upstate NY as a character, the catharsis of writing about family secrets, more

By Leslie Lindsay A coming-of-age tale featuring a young man dealing with the death of his father, the secrets he attempted to hide, truth, reconstruction, and more WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS ALWAYS WITH A BOOK Leslie Lindsay & Mckenzie Cassidy in Conversation Writer, professor, Floridian, and Dad, Mckenzie Cassidy delves into dark secrets and a sorted past to discover who–and what–shapes us in his debut coming-of-age, loosely based on a true story. About HERE LIES A FATHER: This an astute and poignant debut from McKenzie Cassidy (Akashic Books, Jan 2021), about fathers and sons, uncles and nephews, and the universal odyssey of family secrets, lies, and revelations. Ian Daly is fifteen when his wayward father dies; they are a bit estranged, he and his mother having recently returned to New York state after a stint in Florida. The parents are separated and leaning toward divorce. Ian has an older sister, Catherine, who is at college. HERE LIES A FATHER opens at the man’s funeral and backtracks through the somber, dysfunctional realms of his life, peeling back layers while juxtaposing …

Written by a nurse, illustrated by a 15-year old, and sung by a quartet of musicians, THE TEENSY WEENSY VIRUS is a fun, hands-on way to talk with children about the pandemic

By Leslie Lindsay  Embracing the latest science, The Teensy Weensy Virus pairs simple, kid-friendly explanations with bright, colorful illustrations. ~BOOKS ON MONDAY | ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Children‘s literature COVID-19 is a big deal—but with all that adults have to worry about, it’s easy to overlook the pandemic’s impact on children. This book provides a great way for parents and caregivers to introduce and reinforce the importance of safety measures to children, while giving kids the opportunity to ask questions and share their feelings. Written and designed by a pediatric nurse practitioner with expertise on the other end of the spectrum: palliative care, Sherri Rose is well-versed in health, medicine, and children. Plus, what I really love is how THE TEENSY WEENSY VIRUS offers additional resources for adults and an informative song. This helps lighten the mood as families engage with this serious topic. I love the bright, bold illustrations, the sing-song-y lilt of this story, plus the playful nature and child-adult bonding that’s sure to happen. For all of those reasons, THE TEENSY WEENSY VIRUS …

Claire Phillips talks about A ROOM WITH A DARKER VIEW, her mother’s struggle with paranoid schizophrenia, how sharing your darkest moment might bring light and hope to yourself–and others, more

By Leslie Lindsay  What if your mother were blisteringly intelligent and ambitious and yet…she devolved into a stew of paranoia, delusions, and more? ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Memoir Monday: Mental Health & Motherhood This unflinching, insightful, and troubled memoir A ROOM WITH A DARKER VIEW: Chronicles of My Mother and Schizophrenia by Claire Phillips is ambitiously and intelligently told. Claire’s mother, Joy is an Oxford-trained lawyer diagnosed in midlife with paranoid schizophrenia. Here, the author takes a feminist lens and tells her story, recollecting her childhood–and her mother’s–an elegant, non-linear manner, arriving at the dark, and inevitable conclusion. We get a striking glimpse of Claire’s mother from her younger days, the stress of being one of the only practicing female attorneys at time when it was primarily men, her father’s aspirations and career as a scientist, more. Phillips leads us through dark hallways where portraits of delusional thinking and paranoia hang, like a specter. But it’s more than that: A ROOM WITH A DARKER VIEW touches on the broken mental health system, adult children as a caregivers, mental health homelessness, shame, and the universal worry: …

Hugely moving and tragic memoir, EVERYTHING’S FINE about mothers, sons, & brothers…one with severe mental illness, a horrific tragedy, healing, more–Vince Granata and I chat about this and more

By Leslie Lindsay An extraordinarily moving memoir about a family ripped from balance at the hands of a severally mentally ill individual, EVERYTHING IS FINE (Atria, April 2021) is about grief, mental illness, mothers and sons, and so much more.  ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS |ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Memoir Monday: Mental Health Awareness Month An extraordinarily moving memoir about a family ripped from balance at the hands of a severally mentally ill individual, EVERYTHING IS FINE (Atria, April 2021) is about grief, mental illness, mothers and sons, and so much more.  I finished this book last night and I am so moved and yet, simultaneously disturbed. It’s one of the most gut-wrenching, heart-breaking, authentic memoirs I’ve read in a long time. This family will stay with me. Vince Granata recalls standing in front of his suburban home, chalk in hand, as he greeted his mother and father and three siblings (triplets) home from the hospital. The family had just doubled in size. He was ecstatic; finally: playmates, siblings. But twenty-three years later, one of those siblings–Tim–will develop severe mental illness–likely schizophrenia. He’s plagued by paranoid delusions, …

Are we a work-in-progress? Absolutely! Liese O’Halloran Schwarz talks about this, how success is elusive, her childhood in Thailand, the healing power of connection, and more in WHAT COULD BE SAVED

By Leslie Lindsay Enthralling family drama set in two distinct time periods–and places–about the bonds of siblings, a mystery, and more. ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ APRIL SPOTLIGHT: SIBLINGS A January 2021 Indie Next Pick People Book of the Week Real Simple Best Books of 2021 Starred Publishers Weekly Review…and more Is it possible to be a good person even when you’ve done something reprehensible? This is the overarching question of WHAT COULD BE SAVED (Atria Books, January 12, 2021) by Liese O’Halloran Schwarz. This is an ambitious novel both in scope and length, combining dual-timelines of 1972 and 2019, a large cast of characters, a mystery, a drama, societal class, plus it takes place alternatively in Washington, D.C., and Bangkok. It’s a lot. Laura Preston is a reclusive artist/painter in 2019 who finds herself at odds with her older sister, Bea. Their mother, Genevieve is slowing devolving into dementia. When a stranger connects with Laura via email, saying he’s their long-lost brother, she’s quick to believe it. She ignores Bea’s warnings and travels to Bangkok to learn the truth. …

Laird Hunt talks about how ZORRIE was inspired by his grandmother, her ties to Indiana, plus memory, being a literary citizen, the transformative, multifaceted aspects of the color green, more

By Leslie Lindsay  Gorgeously and sparsely told tale of one woman’s life from her hardscrabble days on an Indiana farm and everything in-between. ~Writers Interiewing Writers|Always with a Book~ March Spotlight: Historical Fiction O Magazine’s Most Anticipated Historical Fiction Novels of 2021   This stunning and luminously told story is so affecting, and transformative, too. Set against the harsh, quintessential Midwestern landscape, ZORRIE (Bloomsbury, Feb 9, 2021) is at once a historical fiction of a one woman’s life, but also a study in Americana, grit, and the transformative events of the 20th century. Zorrie is an orphaned child who goes to live with her aunt on a farm in Indiana. She’s twenty-one when she decides to set off on her own, and it just so happens to be in the midst of the Great Depression. She ends up in Illinois working odd jobs and then at the radium plant, sleeping in abandoned barns and under the stars. At the end of the day, the girls from the factory glowed from the radioactive material. Here she meets several young women who become friends–those …

Sylvia True talks about her astonishing novel-based-on-a-true story, WHERE MADNESS LIES, combining elements of historical fiction, medicine, mental illness, motherhood, secrets, more

By Leslie Lindsay Such a beautifully tragic and heart-wrenching tale of hope and redemption, a lesser-known slice of WWII, combining intergenerational trauma, mental illness, secrets, more. ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Spotlight: Women’s Historical Fiction I was absolutely struck by the themes and ideas—and writing—in WHERE MADNESS LIES (Top Hat Books, February 1 2021) by Sylvia True, which is a gorgeous and devastating voyage into the madness of madness, tracing the Nazis’ view of the morally disgusting idea of racial hygiene, but also eradicating ‘any life not worth living,’ such as those deemed feebleminded, mentally ill, sexually degenerate, more. Alternating between the 1980s Massachusetts, and 1930s Germany, with a brief stint in Switzerland, WHERE MADNESS LIES is so beautifully rendered. I was in awe at the breadth of this book–in terms of historical accuracy, emotional intelligence, compelling voice/characters, how it’s based on a true story, and so much more. This story is hauntingly compelling, devastating, and horrifying, yet there’s a glimmer of hope dangling from a pearl. WHERE MADNESS LIES is achingly honest and masterful, a page-turner with fully developed characters and timelines, each …

Naima Coster is back with a bold and moving tale of legacy, family, displacement, and rootedness in WHAT’S MINE AND YOURS, plus tips on writing character, developing setting, more

By Leslie Lindsay  Extraordinary tale of gentrification, equality, race, and legacy that begs the question: what are you leaving behind? ~WRITERS INTERVIEWING WRITERS|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Spotlight on family legacy, race, history Several years ago, I read and loved Naima Coster’s debut, HALSEY STREET, and fell in love with her voice and writing. Her sophomore book is so daring, so beautifully told, but also bold and passionate, exploring comforting companionship, siblings, home, parent and child, and so much more. Set in the foothills of North Carolina, WHAT’S MINE AND YOURS (Grand Central, March 2 2021) is beautifully written, in elegant and moving prose, but also rife with deep, perceptive description from a poet’s heart. There’s the “Black side” of town and the “White side,” school integration, and the resistance of residents. For Gee and Noelle, this integration sets off a chain reaction bonding the two together for at least the next twenty years. Families are split–in their desire to integrate, how they see it benefitting each family and race/culture. But there’s also mixed-race Latina individuals …

Apraxia Monday: TALK YOGA creators Amy Roberts & Kim Hughes, both speech-language pathologists and certified yoga intructors talk about the value of kids, speech, & yoga

By Leslie Lindsay  Yoga + Kids + Speech = some of my very favorite things.  ~APRAXIA MONDAY|ALWAYS WITH A BOOK~ Spotlight: TALK YOGA  I am so delighted to introduce you to two fabulous speech-language pathologists, Kim Hughes and Amy Roberts, both certified yoga instructors and pediatric SLPs. Their practice, TalkYoga is mentioned in the updated, 2nd edition of SPEAKING OF APRAXIA (Woodbine House, 2020) and with good reason—I love yoga! For years, I have practiced, but it wasn’t until the last five years or so that I really became a yogi. Before that, my daughter, Kate, now 15 with resolving CAS, participated in yoga-like poses during her combined ST/OT sessions. Kate is what we might call a ‘sensory seeker’ and so the movement—and the dedication—yoga provided important feedback and stimulation. Here, I ask Kim and Amy a few questions about how yoga practice can help kids with speech development. Please join us! Leslie Lindsay: Kim and Amy—welcome! I am so pumped about your yoga for kids, TalkYoga program. Can you tell us a bit about …