About Me

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I started this blog as I entered my 40th year, and now firmly in my 40s, I continue to learn so much about life. I'm learning that life rarely goes according to plan and that there's something new to learn every single day, be it a subtle nudge or a smack in the face.... This is my blog about muddling through my 40s-working hard, writing a book, being an ammateur photographer, trying to exercise and eat well, endeavouring to be the world's best aunt, as well as having fun and laughing out loud every single day.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

#7 The Next Big Thing

In the lead up to the A-Z challenge, I have been tagged in The Next Big Thing Blog Hop.  This is a chance for writers around the world to tell you what they’re working on. The author answers 10 questions about their next big thing, and then tags another 3 writers to do the same.

Happily, I was tagged by Bonnie Ditlevson, editor of Penduline Press: Literary Magazine. Read Bonnie's Interview here:   Bonnie Ditlevsen - The Next Big Thing Interview.  Thanks Bonnie!

I must confess that when Bonnie first asked me if I would mind if she tagged me in The Next Big Thing, I actually thought she meant AS The Next Big Thing.  Haha - how is that from someone who doesn't even think they can call themself a writer yet?! 

What is your working title of your book?
A Hole in My Genes:  A Psychologist's Memoir About  Life, Love and Breast Cancer.

Where did the idea come from for the book?
In 2010, I was diagnosed with breast cancer at the age of 37.  In my work as a psychologist I had a lot of experience working in the field of oncology, my area of interest, and have received a lot of training in the psychology of cancer.  As I have devoured billions of books on the topic, I found myself able to draw on that knowledge throughout my own treatment.

Once through treatment, and with enough distance from the experience, I began to ponder the usefulness of sharing my experiences and coping strategies with others who may find themselves in difficult situations.

I maintained a journal of letters written to my Nana throughout the journey and am using those to form the basis of my book.

What genre does your book fall under?
I would definitely say Autobiography and Memoir, but who knows, there could be other genres that may describe what I am doing here.  For example, Health, Mind and Body.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
I LOVE this question.  Okay - John Goodman would play my Dad.  Everyone always says I look like SJP, but I'd probably prefer a young Julia Roberts.  Kathy Bates could play my mum.  And Nan could be played by Dame Judy Dench.  The surgeon could be Henry Winkler.  The oncologist - Jodie Foster.  There are so many characters to fill and I can just see all of my friends reading this and asking "what about who will play me?".  Suggestions are welcome!

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A psychologist's memoir about coping through the end of a marriage and her firsthand foray into the world of breast cancer, infertility, genetic counselling and family dysfunction.  

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?
I would like to think there will be an agent or publisher interested in my book.  If not, I think self publishing is a feasible way to go.  But, I've said before, writing this book is more about telling the story so that I can leave it behind me and go on to write the stories that are waiting to flow out of me once this one is done.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I kept a journal over the year of treatment and am now in my third writing class in the Literary Kitchen with Ariel Gore.  By the end of the class, I will have a completed first draft - I hope.

Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Many people inspired this book.  Mainly, the many psycho-oncology clients who shared their experiences with me through my work.  Once I experienced cancer myself, I could truly appreciate the psychological struggle that cancer presents and I wanted to ease the burden of others in a similar situation through sharing my story and strategies. 

Writing letters to my grandmother who died four years before I was diagnosed, throughout my year with cancer, was the most beneficial thing I did.  So in many ways, Nan inspired me to complete this book.

I have been fortunate to know several young women who have through their own deaths, taught me how to live.  It goes without saying, that they have inspired this book.

What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
I believe the letters to my Nan will be a point of interest to readers as I have had very positive feedback about them in the Literary Kitchen.  As I have previously mentioned, I am a psychologist with experience in psycho-oncology who has now had a firsthand experience with cancer which provides the book with a somewhat unique perspective.  This book also deals with the end of a marriage, infertility, childlessness, genetics, family dysfunction and a psychological therapy called Acceptance and Commitment Therapy (ACT).  It's sort of like an incidental self-help book as well as being real and accessible.

It's now my job to tag three other writers to do this interview too.  While I'm figuring that out, here is a link to my fellow writer Rocky Hartley's Next Big Thing Interview.


  1. yes to SJP and Henry Winkler! Cannot wait to read it

    1. Thanks H. Are you doing the A-Z challenge?

  2. Great interview, Jodie!!! Now how in the Dickens you get those wonderful bits on the right side of the page? Your Blog List, all of the things to check out before checking out?

  3. Thanks Rocky! In the layout section of your dashboard you can "add gadget" - I just scrolled through and pulled out the ones I wanted. Then you can move them around. I think the list ones are called "list" and the blogs I follow is under "blogs" etc. Have fun!


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