Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Interview with memoirist Lorraine Ash

My special guest today is memoirist Lorraine Ash. Her newest memoir, Self and Soul: On Creating a Meaningful Life is the topic of conversation.

Book synopsis:
Are you living a life of quiet desperation? Questioning what it means to succeed? Wondering if your efforts matter? In this uplifting memoir, Lorraine Ash uses her own life experiences to explore inner landscapes where the seeds of divine healing and insight reside. These are the landscapes on which we create our own meaning and find the resiliency to thrive in a changing and challenging world.

Lorraine Ash, M.A., is a New Jersey author, award-winning journalist, essayist, book editor, and writing teacher. Self and Soul: On Creating a Meaningful Life is her second book. In her leisure hours, she enjoys cooking, reading, philosophy, and the state of Maine. She lives with her husband, Bill, a jazz trumpeter.

Welcome, Lorraine. Please tell us about your current release.
Self and Soul: On Creating a Meaningful Life is a spiritual memoir that explores the decade after Victoria Helen, my daughter and only child, died at her birth from a Group B Strep infection that threatened my life as well. During that decade I also entered midlife so the story traces my shifts in consciousness concerning loss and mortality, faith and eternity, success and meaning. Though the text takes the reader to interesting places—a caving expedition, an ashram, Fallingwater, and Sedona—it’s mostly a book about interior landscapes. It shows that the quality of our lives is in direct relationship to the quality of our consciousness.

What inspired you to write this book?
I wanted to find meaning among the disparate and sometimes tragic experiences I’d had and inspire others to do the same. My first book, Life Touches Life: A Mother’s Story of Stillbirth and Healing, sparked great conversations and connections with bereaved parents across the globe. I got used to that level of interesting and sincere discourse and wanted to keep it going with my readers.

The first chapter of the book, “The Paradox of Loss,” can be read here, http://lorraineash.com/selfsoul_chap1.htm

What exciting story are you working on next?
I’m contemplating which story to choose but haven’t decided yet. One must choose carefully. Writing a book is a satisfying but long journey.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
My defining moment came in sixth grade on the day Sister Maureen, my sixth-grade teacher, said a poem I’d written about an angel was very good — so good that she walked me to the eighth-grade English teacher, just to show it to her and brag about it.

Do you write full-time? If so, what's your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
I write full time as a journalist and I write memoir and the occasional short story part time. I edit quite a bit, too. None of it feels like work. Words always have been my way of processing the world.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I inherited an ability to focus for crazy long periods of time from my father, a lawyer who used to prepare for cases and write legal briefs for days on end. When I’m immersed in a topic, I can write for ten hours at a clip without looking up. It’s a habit I try mightily to break because it isn’t good for the eyes or muscles.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be either a psychologist or a writer, though I think both were really about an interest in the same thing—understanding people. 

Anything else you'd like the readers to know?
Self and Soul: On Creating a Meaningful Life will be available on August 15, 2014 as a digital audiobook. Find it at Audible.com and Amazon.com as well as in the iTunes store.     


Thanks, Lorraine!


Renee Roberson said...

Lisa, thank you so much for hosting Lorraine as part of her tour today! Lorraine, I wish I had the ability to write for ten hours at a time--I would be so much more productive that way!

Lorraine Ash said...

It's what I've done a couple of times this week already, so I'm late in posting! I, too, thank you, Lisa, for being part of the Self and Soul tour.