Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Author Spotlight with Charlene Ann Baumbich: An Exclusive Interview!

I had the opportunity to ask author Charlene Ann Baumbich, creator of "Don't Miss You Life" and the 'Dearest Dorothy' series, a few questions. She was gracious and kind, and I found her responses to be as delightful as she is!

Here's our exclusive interview:

1) You've mentioned in the book that 'don't miss your life' has been your message for most of YOUR life. Why is that?

From my earliest memories, my parents were always pointing at beauty and wonder. "Ain't that perty?" my dad used to say, more than ask, using a coined family phrase. (He did not actually speak this way.) Mom was the same way. We went on many spontaneous picnics, adventures, and enjoyed a great diversity of friends. The door was always open; my parents were always ready to help, to entertain and to laugh. Because of this, I grew up with an accute wakefulness and the perception and spirit that life is GOOD! Not always perfect, but overall good, for what was modeled to me was that in the end, yes, bad things happen, but we face them head on, and then move on--and almost always with the healing, perspective-slamming balm of laughter.

When I started writing, I did so from the old adage, "Write what you know." THANK YOU, MOM and DAD in heaven!

2) You are so candid in the stories you share about your own circumstances and experiences. What can you tell my readers about the need to be able to laugh with yourself?

If you can't laugh at yourself--really laugh at yourself--you can't laugh at much of anything. If you can't laugh at yourself, you are stuck only with your foibles, and not the good sense to file them where they belong: just another episode along life's trail.

3) This book overflows with joy. Some might think your life has been easy...has it?

In the course of my life (either first person or with a family and/or extended family member), I've dealt the loss of both my parents; divorce (my first marriage); mental illness (schizophrenia runs in my mom's side of the family); three miscarriages (mine); unemployment (my husband went through this, twice); CPR (on ME!); broken body parts; the death of dear friends; two uncles and an aunt with mental challenges (my dad's side); burn-out (I write about this in DMYL) ... And yet, there was, and continues to be, goodness and mercy, birth and silliness, new friendships made and beauty all around us. Through it ALL, and all that might one day come, God is, and will always be, sovereign. God is love and Jesus lives. The Holy Spirit lifts me up when I am down, and God is the rock I cling to--and hold my meltdowns in front of. :>) And so, I am blessed and get up again--and laugh again. No good comes from dwelling on the bad. In fact, God tells us not to do so, and this I know to be true: God knows best.

4) You mention a "memory portfolio"...can you explain that to my readers?

As described in the book, a Memory Portfolio is: "Your invisible, utterly personal, wholly accessible, always-ready-for-new-entries, combination diary and scrapbook of sensory-loaded captured moments. Properly honored, added to, mined, evaluated, sifted, and, sometimes even edited, gentle examination of said captured moments can become the key--the very path--to your success in not missing your life."

5) What other writing projects do you have in the works?

Stray Affections, the first book in my new 3-book fictional Snowglobe Connections series, release September 15th. Readers can learn about it by visiting the Books and More page on my website.

6) You have a newsletter...can you share with my readers what it's about and how to sign up?

The TwinkleGram is an occasional (maybe one per month or so, but usually not even that often) chatty and storyladen ("Today's Message") e-mail from me. It might contain Brilliant Thoughts, Horror Stories or Deep Rivers of Insight that flick into my brain, then find I simply MUST share. Why do I do this "sharing thing?" Because we get so busy running our lives that we often forget to enjoy, celebrate, ponder or honor them. TO THE RESCUE: TwinkleGrams!

If I have any new products releasing, TwinkleGrammers will be the first to know. I occasionally offer special book buying opportunities, maybe once a year or so. Sometimes I hold drawings for free books and/or fun stuff, and of course I love giving TwinkleGrammers the opportunity to weigh in on important survey topics like ... toilet paper. (You should have SEEN those results! Who knew we cared so much?!)

I do not share or sell your names or e-mail addresses with anyone. I hate SPAM. Of course you have complete control over your subscription. Wanna get out? Got a handy-dandy "unsubscribe" opportunity with every issue. What's to lose? Give it a try. If you'd like to first see what you're in for, check out the TwinkleGram archives

7) Where can my readers find you on the web? (website) (humor travel blog)

I Tweet on Twitter as @TwinkleChar

8) I know you just wrote a whole book about the topic, but if you had to boil it down to one short answer, what's the one sure-fire way to not miss your life?

To not CHOOSE to awaken to the freedom, laughter and grace that is so very abundant--YAY GOD! That's why one of my first chapters is called WAKE UP!

So, there you have it! Isn't she wonderful?? To win a copy of Charlene's newest book, "Don't Miss Your Life", click here.

Happy Reading!


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