January 21, 2011

Colorado Book Club Answers

Thanks to all that attended the Colorado book club for Depression Cookies. What a night! So many great questions and wonderful discussion. I truly felt honored.

There were several questions the attendees wanted the co-author's point of view on, so here goes. I've also answered for other blog readers who couldn't attend.

Keep questions coming. We love answering them!

1) What part would you change?

Angela: I don't think there is anything I would change about the book.

Tia: I would fix the errors that slipped by us (which we will do!). I'd say I'd give a better perspective on Bob, but I don't think a 13 year old would have been capable of it.

2) What was the most difficult part to write?

Angela: The ending, after Al's death, with Abby and Nadine.

Tia: The scene with the inappropriate babysitter. Even reading it now, it sends chills up my spine, and yet I wish I could have put more feeling behind it to get across to readers the NEED to trust your instincts and inner voice and RUN in similar situations.

3) How did you come up with the story and preserve its continuity between mother and daughter's points of view?

Angela: Tia came to me initially with the topic of a young girl being victimized by peers and her wanting it to be told, along with other life stories, from the perspective of a mother and daughter.

Tia: What Mom said! Plus, I wanted moms out there to see both points of view so we could remember what it was like. I liken it to trying to have empathy for a fellow mother with one child when you have two, three, four... it's hard to remember. I didn't want to forget the emotions I had at 13 as I'm raising my three daughters (and I have one that turns 11 in May, so I'm fast approaching these years!).

4) How much is fiction versus fact? Why didn't you call it a biography/memoir?

Angela: I can only answer for my part of the book, but Abby is a fictional character. I never saw myself as Abby, but I shared some common interests, insecurities and inadequacies with her. I would have to say Bob's humor was inspired by my husband, Dallas. The rest of the lineup of characters were mainly figments of my imagination. Therefore, I couldn't call it a biography/memoir. I don't know half the people in the book.

Tia: Krista is truly MY teenage voice. I felt to be authentic, it had to be. Yet, I certainly embellished and exaggerated for sake of story. Most of the people in the book are based in reality and further formed in imagination. There's a protective barrier in telling a lot of one's story through the facade of fiction as well. It protects the guilty, shall we say, as well as the innocent. Plus it allowed us the legal tagline about all characters being fictional.

This question has been asked several times, so we've added it to our FAQs. See further thought there.

5) How did you pick the time period you focus on?

Angela: We went back to a time period when Tia was a teenager and just took that move as a foundation for the book. Plus there were some historical events that happened during that timeframe that, I hope, added some interest for the readers.

Tia: How could I provide an authentic teenage voice without the essential pieces of my teenage life? It just made life easier to be an 80's teenager with all that entails than try to be one from any other time.

6) Why did you choose to self-publish?

Angela: We counseled with our initial Editor over this dilemna. And bottom line... it was purely economics and time. With the economy of our country being so unstable, book publishers were only going after "proven" authors. If we had pursued getting picked up by a publisher, it might have taken years. Well, quite frankly, we had already spent ten years on the project, and I think we were done with it. Saying that, I don't mean we rushed into it... no, not at all. We went in with our eyes wide open, knowing we would have to do a lot of marketing and campaigning for the book ourselves.

Tia: We were intially accepted by Blue Moon Press, a small press. The owner there gave us a lot of encouragement we needed. Sadly, he died of a massive heart attack just before publication. We put a special thank you to him in our book. He was a great editor and friend and loved our novel. After he died, we were so ready to roll. We haven't given up on a wider-spread publication via a bigger publishing house, but we also wanted to get it into the hands of readers. After all, I had been talking about this book for 10 years!!

7) Your stories (Abby and Krista's) often don't exactly match, was this intentional for voice, narration and/or perspective purposes?

Angela: It's life. A mother and a daughter sitting in the same room, hearing the same conversation and observing the same scenario will concur less than 80%. I learned that in a "How to Live with a Teenager" class I took back in 1985.

Tia: I agree with Mom, again! Trust me, agreeing with her didn't start happening until my late 20's when I had my first daughter. But, seriously, what I hope readers get from this story (outside of entertainment and a chuckle or two) is the importance of understanding the difference in the mother and teenage daughter points of view. It's so easy to shrug off what a 13 year old is feeling, but it won't help parent that 13 year old if you can't empathize and remember.

8) What is the history of the depression cookies recipe?

Angela & Tia: See the FAQs tab.

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