Doreen "Dody" Cox has taken time out from her busy schedule of helping adult students achieve their academic potential to visit this little site, and answer a few questions about her novel, which is free until Midnight Thursday 22 November.
Welcome Dody, and let's crack on!
What is the title of your book, and where did the idea come from for the book?
Adventures in Mother-Sitting
I was a full-time Care Bear to my mom; she had dementia. Just after she died, I found a cache of all the letters that I had written to her, beginning with my college years. She had often badgered me to write a book and, after rereading those letters, a tingle of excitement came on me to grant her this wish. My niece-in-law, Jenni, read the journal that I had kept while caring for my mom and had already planted the seed for me to publish, at least for family and friends.
What genre does your book fall under?
Memoirs, family relationships, and true life stories.
Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
Shirley MacClaine would be a zesty, fun, independently-spirited Eva, though Shirley was born 10 yrs later than my mom. Kathy Bates, born in the same year as me, would certainly do justice to those meltdowns that I had. Both of these actors could really bring our experience to life!
What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Adventures in Mother-Sitting depicts not only the role changes that occur between a caregiver daughter and her dementia-addled mother but also, the compassionate relationship that the daughter gains with herself as she learns to walk more honestly and gently with her fears, worries and shortcomings.
How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
Six months, including a few times in which it was tossed into the garbage.
What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
I am drawn to read memoirs in which the authors write more than just good stories. It is the emotional journey that captures my attention; when my sense is that I, as a reader, have been given a ‘carte blanche’ invitation to ‘walk in their shoes,’ so to speak. My 3 current favourites are, Micki Peluso: And the Whippoorwill Sang; Madeline Sharples: Leaving the Hall Light On; Sonia Marsh: Freeways to Flip-Flops.
Who or What inspired you to write this book?
My mother has always been the wind beneath my wings, having literally thrown me out of the nest to make my way in the world. Even in death, it often feels as if her presence continues to cheer me to ‘stay my course.’ Of course, she’s enlisted the help of my sisters and friends; even some cyber folks who have graced my life with friendship.
What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
The messy details are in the memoir; the tough ones that occur in the daily care of an elder parent, especially one who has dementia. Even messier to me were the situations in which I, shockingly, lost it; fell into emotional meltdowns. The intellectual knowledge that I had re: grief helped me as grief took me deeply into its journey.
More poignant, however, are the shifts in my perception relating to my mother’s dementia. Even as her body approached the time of death, my mom continued to teach me, for her child-like brain always expressed joy at the simplest of things.
Thank you so much for dropping in Dody, and wish you all success with "Adventures in Mother-Sitting", I'm in awe of those who selflessly care for their loved ones, day in day out: It's obvious that you, your mother, and sisters were blessed with each other.