Nesie’s Place welcomes author Abbie Johnson Taylor to the blog today!
Thanks for visiting with us today, Abbie. Tell us, where are you from?
Thanks for having me! I currently live in Sheridan, Wyoming, but I was born in New York City in 1961. Since then, my family has lived in Boulder, Colorado, and Tucson, Arizona, before settling here in Sheridan in 1973. I went away to school in the 1980’s but returned and have lived here ever since.
Married with children, pets, or annoying roommates?
I was married in September of 2005. Three months later, my husband suffered the first of two strokes that paralyzed his left side. I cared for him at home until he passed in 2012. My memoir, My Ideal Partner: How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds, tells our story.
Are you self-published, traditional, or hybrid?
Most of my books are self-published, but That’s Life: New and Selected Poems was published by Finishing Line Press.
How long have you been a writer?
I started in 2000, so I’ve been at it for eighteen years.
Did you plan to become a writer?
Not originally. After graduating from college in the 1980’s, I studied music therapy, completing two years of coursework which included nine hours of practicum followed by a six-month internship before becoming registered. I worked with senior citizens in nursing homes and other facilities before taking an interest in writing.
What inspires or motivates you?
I’m inspired by anything from current events to life events. After reading a newspaper article about a protest against the war with Iraq in 2003 and having an interesting encounter with a police officer, I started writing We Shall Overcome. The Red Dress, my novel in progress, was inspired by a story I heard during a memoir writing workshop.
How long did it take you to write your first book?
It took me two years to write We Shall Overcome and another two years to publish it. My wedding and subsequent care-giving took center stage for a couple of years.
Pantser or Plotter?
I’m a little of both. I won’t start a story unless I know how it’s going to end, but I let the plot and characters take me where they will.
Have you ever taken the NaNoWriMo Challenge?
No, and I probably won’t. I don’t like the pressure of writing so many words in thirty days. I want to take my time.
What’s your favorite genre to write or do you only write in one genre?
I don’t have a favorite genre. I enjoy writing fiction, poetry, and memoirs.
What’s your favorite genre to read?
I like memoirs, romance, and some general and historical fiction if it doesn’t contain too many descriptions of violence or sex.
What hobbies do you enjoy when not writing?
I sing in a women’s choral group and participate in water exercise classes at the YMCA. I also work out at home with the help of audio exercise programs.
Where do you get the most writing done?
I do most of my writing at home in my office, but occasionally, I sit in my recliner in the living room or at my kitchen table or in my back yard during the spring, summer, and fall months when the weather is favorable.
Totally addicted to social media or could you live without it?
I use Facebook and have a blog, but that’s it. The rest I could and do live without.
What’s the inspiration behind your latest release, and please share an excerpt with us.
My Ideal Partner is the story of how I met and married my husband, then cared for him after he suffered two strokes until he passed.
In September of 2005, Abbie Johnson married Bill Taylor. She was in her mid-forties, and he was nineteen years older. Three months later, Bill suffered the first of two strokes that paralyzed his left side and confined him to a wheelchair. Abbie Johnson Taylor, once a registered music therapist, uses prose and poetry to tell the story of how she met and married her husband, then cared for him for six years despite her visual impairment. At first, there was a glimmer of hope that Bill would walk again, but when therapists gave up on him seven months after his second stroke, Taylor resigned herself to being a permanent family caregiver.
She discusses learning to dress him and transfer him from one place to another, sitting up with him at night when he couldn’t urinate or move his bowels, and dealing with doctors and bureaucrats to obtain necessary equipment and services. There were happy times like when she played the piano or guitar and sang his favorite songs, or when they went out to eat or to a concert. She also explains how she purchased a wheelchair accessible van and found people to drive it so they wouldn’t always depend on the local para-transit service’s limited hours. In the end, she describes the painful decision she and Bill made to move him to a nursing home when he became too weak for her to care for him in September of 2012. He seemed to give up on life and passed away a month later.
What’s your next project or release?
As I said earlier, I am working on a novel entitled The Red Dress. It’s the story of how such a garment affects three generations of women.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
Do a lot of reading, especially in the genre you wish to write. Try to write every day, even if it’s just a journal entry or email message. Hone your craft by attending workshops, joining writing groups, and reading books and magazines on writing.
Many thanks to Abbie for spending time with us today here on the blog. Check out her book, My Ideal Partner—How I Met, Married, and Cared for the Man I Loved Despite Debilitating Odds, available on Amazon.
Also by Abbie Johnson Taylor
How to Build a Better Mousetrap: Recollections and Reflections of a Family Caregiver
We Shall Overcome (Paperback)
Follow Abbie on Social Media!