Friday, June 15, 2018

Interview with writer Maureen Paraventi

Writer Maureen Paraventi joins me today and we’re chatting about her new self-help book, The New Old Maid: Satisfied Single Women.

Maureen Paraventi has worked as a morning radio personality, an assistant to a famous movie star, a website developer, a journalist, and as a social media manager and web content editor. She has written in many genres: fiction (Palm Tree Pipe Dreams), screen plays, stage plays and songwriting, and non-fiction, with her new book The New Old Maid: Satisfied Single Women. Maureen also acts with local theatre companies and performs as a singer/songwriter/musician in McLaughlin’s Alley, a pop-rock band she co-founded.

Welcome, Maureen. Please tell us about your current release.
The New Old Maid examines what it’s like to be a single woman in a society that relentlessly promotes marriage as the normal and only desirable way for adults to live. In stories that will strike a chord with any woman striving for independence, real-life women discuss their lives, experiences and hopes with unflinching honesty and wry self-awareness. The women in the book share the paths they took to overcome barriers and frustrations along with the exhilarating freedom that goes with being single.

The New Old Maid also takes a look at how depictions of fictional old maids in books, movies, stage plays and TV shows have evolved over time – and explains why such portrayals matter. Another section discusses well-known successful single women, from Diane Keaton and Darryl Hannah to Clara Barton and Oprah Winfrey.

The book speaks to a topic that’s trending and a demographic that is growing. The percentage of never-married women in the U.S. has been on the rise for decades, with more women identifying as single and eager to discuss what that means, especially in blogs.

What inspired you to write this book?
I am a single woman living what I think is an interesting and fulfilling life, but many people I meet can’t get past my unmarried status – and feel free to ask me to explain my choices in life. I decided to seek out other single women over 40 and find out how they feel about their lives; about relationships, intimacy, careers, loneliness, financial security, friendships, having children and more.

Excerpt from The New Old Maid: Satisfied Single Women:

Another single woman who has crafted a life that is ideal for her is Marcy, a ski bum in her late 50s. Actually, I’m being ironic. The word “bum” is hardly applicable; the hard-working Colorado resident is a five feet tall bundle of energy who talks as fast as she moves. Marcy teaches skiing every winter and works at a golf course every summer, doing a physically demanding job usually performed by teenagers. If that weren’t enough, she is also a server for a catering company, which she calls, “lots of fun.” (I did catering jobs when I was young, and “fun” wasn’t the word I would have used to describe them.)
In the spring and fall, Marcy travels, to Hawaii; Reno, Nevada; Mexico and to special events like Austin City Limits in Austin, Texas.
In spite of all the time she spends in the sun, Marcy is fair-skinned, with blue eyes, dark brown hair and what friends describe as a “force of nature” personality. “If you go skiing with her,” says one, “you have to be prepared for her to call out all of the way up the lift to all of the people she knows who are skiing below her!”
“I love to work,” Marcy says. “I couldn’t ski every day of my life. I like teaching and having free ski days, but I don’t think I could just ever not work. I love my life and I live in a beautiful place.”
When she was young, she thought she’d be the first one in her family to get married.
“So I started traveling and doing other things because I thought when I settled down and had kids and had a family, I wasn’t going to have time to do that. I think it was a little bit selfish on my part but I wanted to travel. Then I ended up never finding the right person. And I’m happy with me, just being me. I don’t need another part. I don’t want or need to get married, because I’m so independent that I think I’m selfish, in a way. I like to be able – at the drop of a hat – to travel, to do things I want to do. I love my life.”

What exciting story are you working on next?
A friend suggested an intriguing topic to me and I’m exploring it: single motherhood by choice. (I’m exploring writing about it, not doing it!) My friend reached a certain age and hadn’t met Mr. Right, so she decided to contact a sperm bank. She became pregnant and has given birth to a beautiful baby boy. There is, apparently, a large number of women who become single mothers by choice, for a variety of reasons.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I wrote and published a neighborhood newspaper when I was about ten years old. (It only lasted a few issues!) In college my writing efforts became more serious and focused. I wrote for the university newspaper and worked as a paid stringer for several local papers and magazines. At the same time, I was writing short stories and screenplays. Stage plays came much later. They have the advantage of allowing you to see people experience your work live.

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?
Like a lot of writers, I have a “day job,” but I do manage to squeeze in as much writing time as I can. There’s no set schedule. I work out a lot of story ideas and plot points when I’m swimming, which I do for exercise. Spending time in a hot tub also seems helps move my writing along in my head.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I bring a lot of humor to my writing. It’s a natural part of my personality.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
I wanted to be an actress on Broadway and a spy.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Thank you for reading this! I hope you’ll check out my book. I’ve gotten a lot of positive feedback on it. Single women enjoy having their perspective represented, and married women find it interesting to see a different lifestyle.


Thank you for being here today, Maureen!

1 comment:

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