About the book
Make available a collection of your written memories for current loved ones and beyond to cherish! 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing removes the fear and apprehension of starting a memoir preservation project by providing: -Step-by-step guidance in jump-starting a life writing adventure -Assistance in capturing the life stories of loved ones as well as your own -Tips and hints that alleviate the “overwhelmed” feeling inherent in tackling a memoir project -A comprehensive list of questions for interviewing relatives or for formulating your own story -The Mini-Memoir, a fill-in-the-blank form that offers a glimpse into the life of an individual -A list of additional memoir writing resources -Select sample stories by memoir writing workshop attendees Preserve your stories before they are no longer obtainable. Children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and future generations will be thankful to have in their possession the stories that you choose to write today!
7 Easy Steps Q & A
1-Why do you have such a passion for the topic of memoir writing?
My husband and I were touring Pearl Harbor a few years ago, and it was like a lightning bolt struck me in the head. I remembered that my own dad was at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 during the bombing and had survived. I tried to recall anything that he had ever told me about that day, but there were no details that came to mind. It was too late to ask him, as he had passed away about five years before my Hawaiian visit. I was so upset with myself for never having taken the time and effort to obtain his stories while it was possible. It ignited a fire in my heart to inspire others to preserve their stories and to capture the memories of their loved ones before it is too late.
2-How did you prepare for teaching memoir writing? Did you have a background in teaching
I had always enjoyed writing for family and friends, and I had written my first novel, Eyelash. My education was actually in accounting, paralegal studies and employee benefits. I researched memoirs and personal history and found Denis Ledoux at the Soleil Lifestory Network (www.turningmemories.com) in Maine. Although I was already overcommitted between work, family and volunteer work, I couldn’t wait to begin his program to certify as a life writing instructor.
This program involved tele-conference classes with other students from all over the country plus a five day intensive writing class at his Maine location. Mr. Ledoux has been teaching memoir writing since 1988, so he really knows what works and what doesn’t. This was an excellent training program and a great experience. His book, Turning Memories Into Memoirs, is a valuable resource.
3-How did you actually get started teaching workshops?
Just about the time I finished the certification program, my husband and I relocated from the Albany, New York area to Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, where we knew exactly two people in the entire area.
Once again, I spent a great deal of time researching potential opportunities and found the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Coastal Carolina University. I met with Linda Ketron, Director, and proposed a workshop series for the following semester. She was extremely receptive and enthusiastic. I incorporated the basics that I had learned from Denis LeDoux, continued to conduct extensive research on the subject and formulated my own workshop series that would be exactly what people would need to jump-start their memoir projects. I teach through OLLI at CCU as well as independently.
4-Your workshop series is only two sessions. Is that really sufficient?
Absolutely. After the two sessions, the tool kit has been unloaded and they have everything they need to continue independently at their own pace. I couldn’t see bringing people back week after week when I can provide the tools in two sessions.
5-What prompted you to write a book about capturing memories?
Through my teaching, I could see a need to present the topic in an uncomplicated manner. I felt that the important goal is to simplify the process into easy steps for people to realize that preserving their stories does not have to be overwhelming. Using the step-by-step method in my book might not produce a Pulitzer Prize winning story, but it will get significant life stories and some family history into the hands of loved ones, and that is my primary goal and passion.
6-What is next on your agenda now that 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing is finished and out there for everyone to read?
I only hope that marketing the book will help raise awareness about the importance of preserving our stories to pass along to future generations. It is the only way they will know what we’d really like for them to know about our history. I would also like to do more speaking engagements on the subject, and I do have more publications to release when they are finalized. My second novel, Never Say Perfect, was
released in 2012. I also have two nonfiction books in process—10 Easy Steps to Writing the Life Story of Your Treasured Pet and 3 Easy Steps to Writing Your Christian Spiritual Journey Story. Some day there will be more books in the “Never Say” series—Never Say Hopeless and Never Say Final. Believe me, I could work at my computer 24/7, but I have to remind myself to take a break sometimes!
7-How will 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing benefit the reader?
This book is a compact publication containing a powerful message and program. Following the seven steps will guide the reader on a successful journey of memoir writing. It offers additional tips and hints that help to alleviate the overwhelmed feeling inherent in tackling a memoir project. It provides a comprehensive list of questions for interviewing relatives or for formulating your own story, a list of additional resources and select sample stories by my amazing memoir writing workshop students.
The reader will discover that preserving our stories, before they are no longer obtainable, can actually be an enjoyable experience! Children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and future generations will be thankful to have in their possession the stories that we choose to write today! It is the only way they will really know us.
8-How do I buy 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing?
At Amazon, Nook & Kindle. Visit www.awriterspresence.com for direct links to online purchase
Telephone: (843) 215-4676
Mary Anne Benedetto is the owner of A Writer’s Presence, LLC, a speaker, ghostwriter, blogger, Certified Lifewriting Instructor, affiliate teacher with the Soleil Lifestory Network and author. She teaches “7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing” independently and through OLLI at Costal Carolina University. Author of two Christian fiction novels (Eyelash and Never Say Perfect), the nonfiction work of 7 EasySteps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time, and contributor to Remembering Our Parents by Stuart Gustafson, Mary Anne is an enthusiastic speaker offering beneficial tips, hints and critical steps in memoir writing in order to remove the “overwhelmed” factor that often arises. Her presentations are engaging because she believes in actively involving the audience.