Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Interview with memoirist Jo Ann Simon

Writer Jo Ann Simon is here today and we’re chatting about her memoir, Rose Colored Glasses: A Memoir of Love, Loss, and Hope.

Jo Ann Simon, a corporate executive, is a lifelong nutmegger, living in various locations in the Nutmeg state of Connecticut. She is a constant traveler, exploring the world including her favorite country, Italy. When she is not traveling, Jo Ann loves spending time with her family, friends and her seven grandchildren. Her day job running a company, painting fine art, gardening and writing fill in the blanks of her life. Palm trees are essential in her personal landscape with beaches to match.

Welcome, Jo Ann. Please tell us about your current release.
Here is the book summary:

Dear Tom, 
I'm back on Anna Maria Island... missing you.
But walking down these beautiful beaches reminds me of us and makes
me feel a little less far away from you. And that encourages me as I am writing our story.
Hopefully this will help other people who are feeling our pain too.
I love and miss you every day, darling.

When he first saw me, Tom said that he would spend the rest of his life with me. To my surprise, he actually did. He was the love of my life. We shared a story that felt like a dream. Every moment was an adventure... and then Tom became ill. As his mysterious symptoms persisted we were hurtled through a maze of fear, tests, doubts and sorrow. But while doctors toyed with diagnoses- Lyme disease, ALS- we filled each day with joy, hope, good food, wine, music and travel. Even when death came to crush our storybook romance, we found that the human spirit is greater than the frailties of the body, greater than suffering and grief.

From the fateful tick bite on Block Island to central nervous system failure, to healing my grief and loss, I stayed afloat, upbeat, and connected to Tom through devotion, true love, and by donning my own special pair of rose-colored glasses.

What inspired you to write this book?
I started writing to not forget the short incredibly wonderful time that I had with my husband Tom. I had no intentions to publish a book initially, but once I started writing, it helped me tremendously to finally take the time to try to make sense of it all, which I could not do at the time. Losing the Love of your Life too early is something that some people never recover from. My writing helped me and I realized that it could help others as well, so that when I decided to try to publish Rose Colored Glasses.

Excerpt from Rose Colored Glasses:
Excerpt Chapter 29 The Doubt
            Instead of painting, I chose to write, to document everything that happened in our lives, so that I would never ever lose any part of our love and our life together. This idea gave me a glimmer of hope for saving myself from an empty life. It felt like the right thing to do.

            Remembering was easier than I thought it would be. The memories flow easily, with time to think about what happened and to analyze it all. It was hard to remember the tough times, and the pain and anguish we both had at different times throughout it all. But the memories are wrapped with care, tied with a double know bow for safekeeping. They are a stunning gift of the good and the best times we shared together before and during Tom’s illness.

            I do know that I will paint again with the confidence I had, and maybe with more confidence for better work. I sincerely hope so. I do look forward to it someday.

What exciting story are you working on next?
I have decided to write a fiction that will be loosely based on my life. It will be about a widow who lost her husband 3 years ago and has not found or wanted to find another love, but she has a yearning to have someone else in her life again. It’s time to open herself up. It’s really scary though, to want to love someone, be loved, make love and have a commitment to someone else, because she could lose that person again and go through everything that she went through before. It’s terrifying, the most terrifying thing to do.

So, the book will go to Italy, enjoying the food and people and will have some dalliances. It will have some sex scenes and will make her feel like she could possibly love again. It will make her feel like a person who can be alive again, be wanted and cherished again. It will be a bumpy and funny road. There will be times that silly funny things will happen with men, because she is rusty at this. She might be very demanding because of her now high standards of what is expected from a man, that could turn everything to be impossible, but that’s the story of it all and that’s the story of not wanting something, but then it happens and the unbelievable happens with you even knowing it. It sneaks up on you and it grabs you. It never ever let’s go, that’s the thing called true love.

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I was shy about it at first. I didn’t feel like I could label myself as a writer until I received some positive feedback. I attended writing conferences, read everything I could about writing and the publishing industry, but wasn’t sure that my round peg fit into that world. Then I joined a writing group. I enjoyed listening to other writers, reading their work and hearing their critiques of each other and me. They were also interested in my feedback. This started feeling like being a writer and being part of a community. I still debated if I should continue down this road to try to publish my book.

One particular writing group meeting made the difference for me. The reading and critiques started around the room, with me the last to read. This particular day of feedback seemed to be rough and tough on each and every writer for some reason. I debated on just leaving to save myself from their scrutiny of my work, but decided to tough it out. Do or die! When my turn came, I stood up and read the 10 pages, not lifting my head to connect with anyone’s eyes. When I reached the end, I held my breath and looked up, and a split second later the entire group clapped for me and gave accolades for my work. Wow! That was the day I considered myself a writer.

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 work full time and travel often for my job. Writing is sporadic for me, but I make time to accomplish what needs to get done. It can be in the evening, on the weekend, or early morning. I find that my mind is best first thing in the morning or in the evening. The rest of the time is devoted to work, family and friends. I enjoy the pleasure of writing and look forward to getting back to a writing schedule for my next book as soon as I can after the launch of Rose Colored Glasses.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
I love to visualize a story before I start to write. I see it in full color. I think that comes from my artist background. I would imagine how a painting should be and what would make it special and capture the essence of the message that I would paint. Now I dwell on the scenes and rhythm of the ideas the same way with my writing.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
My Catholic upbringing caused me to want to be a nun, until I turned 10 and realized that boys were more fun. Then I wanted to be a Horticulturist. My grandfather was a farmer and I always helped him in the gardens when I was young. I was the only one that was allowed to harvest asparagus with him because I respected the plants. I became fascinated with plants and wanted to be with them. Then the reality of life created a need for a job and my Dad suggested that I learn how to type because I could always get a job doing that. I laugh every time I think about that. Life has a way of taking your dreams and weaving them into something special. I am happy to report, that I do still garden, but I am an Executive with a Manufacturing firm, and enjoy the business life, as well as being an author and artist.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Thank you for having me on your blog. I look forward to feedback from your readers.

Remember to Be Positive every day with Rose Colored Glasses!

Thank you for joining me today, Jo Ann. Happy writing!

To learn more about Jo Ann, feel free to visit any of her other blog tour stops:

Monday, July 23rd @ The Muffin
Author Interview and Giveaway

Tuesday, July 24th @ JoAnn Simon
Crystal Casavant-Otto reviews "Rose Colored Glasses" by JoAnn Simon - don't miss this opportunity to learn more about JoAnn's touching memoir.

Wednesday, July 25th @ Bring on Lemons with Michelle DelPonte
Wisconsin mother, wife, and autism advocate Michelle DelPonte reviews "Rose Colored Glasses" by JoAnn Simon and shares her thoughts with readers at Bring on Lemons. This is an unforgettable memoir!

Thursday, July 26th @ Beverley Baird
Beverley Baird reviews "Rose Colored Glasses" by JoAnn Simon. This touching memoir is one readers won't soon forget! You'll want to add this one to your #TBRPile today!

Friday, July 27th @ Choices
The readers at Madeline Sharples blog, Choices, are in for a special treat today as JoAnn Simon pens the guest post "Seeing Art Through the Artist's Eye". Readers can enjoy this post while also learning about Simon's memoir "Rose Colored Glasses" recently published by WiDO Publishing.

Monday, July 30th @ Selling Books with Cathy Stucker
Cathy Stucker interview JoAnn Simon about her recently published memoir "Rose Colored Glasses"

Tuesday, July 31st @ World of My Imagination
Nicole Pyles reviews "Rose Colored Glasses" by JoAnn Simon and shares her thoughts with readers at World of My Imagination. Don't miss a chance to learn about this memoir of love and loss.

Thursday, August 2nd @ Memoir Writer's Journey
Today's post at Memoir Writer's Journey includes a guest post titled "Simplicity in Life" written by JoAnn Simon. There is also a link to Kathleen Pooler's review of Simon's recently published memoir "Rose Colored Glasses". Readers won't want to miss this opportunity to learn more about Simon and her lovely memoir.

Tuesday, August 7th @ Bring on Lemons
Today's author spotlight at Bring on Lemons is JoAnn Simon featuring her recently published memoir "Rose Colored Glasses". Don't miss a chance to learn about Simon and check out Crystal's review of this touching memoir.

Wednesday, August 8th @ Margo Dill
Today's guest author is JoAnn Simon of "Rose Colored Glasses" - and today's topic is "A Positive Attitude". Don't miss this blog stop!

Monday, August 13th @ Write Happy
Catherine Brown reviews "Rose Colored Glasses" a touching memoir by JoAnn Simon.

Monday, August 13th @ Coffee with Lacey
Lacey reviews "Rose Colored Glasses" by JoAnn Simon. Don't miss the opportunity to learn more about this inspirational memoir about love, loss, and hope!

Thursday, August 16th @ Ellen Valladares
Fellow author Ellen Valladares reviews "Rose Colored Glasses" by JoAnn Simon.

Wednesday, August 22nd @ Linda Appleman Shapiro
Fellow memoirist Linda Appleman Shapiro shares her thoughts after reading "Rose Colored Glasses" by JoAnn Simon.

Thursday, August 23rd @ Bring on Lemons with Cathy Hansen
Wisconsin educator, mother, and business owner Cathy Hansen reviews the memoir "Rose Colored Glasses" by JoAnn Simon.

No comments: