I am delighted to welcome author and friend Rebecca Warner to the blog today. Rebecca is the author of the two-time award-winning thriller, Moral Infidelity, as well as Doubling Back To Love and He’s Just A Man. She has been a newspaper columnist and a blogger for HuffPost. As Health Care Surrogate for her parents, Rebecca navigated the caregiver and healthcare labyrinth for fourteen years. Her experiences inspired her to write My Dad My Dog. Rebecca and her husband Jason live in Asheville with their stumpy-tailed cattle dog, Chance.
Be sure to check out the blurb for My Dad My Dog below as well as buy links to major retailers.
It was fun to sit down and catch up with my friend, Rebecca Warner:
N: What inspired you to start writing?
R: In the 4th grade, the teacher put a picture up and asked us to write about it. I remember looking at the picture, and then my hand started moving, and the story just flowed out onto the page. She had the students get up and read what they had written. Mine was so different from theirs, so that when she pointed at me, I was terribly embarrassed I tried to hand it to someone else to read. She made me get up and read it, and after, I looked over at her, afraid of her reaction. She said, “We have a genius in our class.” Wow! That inspired me to write short stories and poetry throughout school.
N: How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
R: I’ve written four books, and my favorite is my first, Moral Infidelity.
N: What is the most surprising thing you discovered about yourself while writing your book(s)?
R: This may sound strange, but when I get in the zone, information seems to come to me that helps me write my story. In Moral Infidelity, I wrote about a Miami Mayor being investigated for having a very expensive home on a public servant’s salary. Two years later, that happened to the Mayor I had in mind when writing it.
N: Can you share with us something about My Dad My Dog that isn’t in the blurb? This is a story about caregiving for a beloved family, whether a relative or a pet.
R: The true sorrow in being a caregiver is, despite doing your best to give quality of life to your loved one, the outcome is inevitable, as it is with us all. But as a caregiver, who sees daily changes, you’re deeply, personally committed to staving off the inevitable. You may win some gratifying battles which keep you both going, but eventually, you must accept the unescapable, hopefully with grace.
N: What do you hope your readers take away from My Dad My Dog?
R: That we’re all capable of finding within ourselves the capacity to give loving care to those who mean the most to us. We can grow into the job (and it is a job!) and grow as a person as we adjust to each new challenge.
N: Do you write listening to music? If so, what music inspired or accompanied this current book?
R: No, I don’t listen to music when I write.
N: What were the key challenges you faced when writing My Dad My Dog?
R: Taking two real life characters, Joe (dad) and Nick (dog) and putting them into a fiction story, and creating a fictional setting and characters around them. It reads like a memoir, but my Dad never lived with me, and I was never his full-time caregiver. So I had to do a lot of research and talk to a lot of caregivers to lend authenticity to in-home caregiving.
N: What was your hardest scene to write in My Dad My Dog?
R: If you mean hardest in terms of emotion, it would be the scene where those who loved Joe came to spend time with him in his last days.
N: Does writing energize or exhaust you?
R: Both. And in cycles. A good day, when things flow, is energizing. Those times when I have to fight for every word are exhausting.
N: Are you working on anything at the present you would like to share with your readers about?
R: Yes, I’ve finished another book titled, Ballet Barres. A group of women who took ballet lessons from the same teacher over a 20-year-period come together as middle-aged women years later to save her from a life of virtual imprisonment by a dastardly relative in her own home, and a life-threatening situation that arises because of it.
N: What do you like to do when you are not writing?
R: Take walks and hikes with my husband and doggie, and read on average two books a week in the company of my husband, who also loves to read. We love to travel, most often to Europe or to California to see family. But since January, we haven’t been able to do any traveling due to Covid-19.
N: What did you want to be when you grew up?
R: A special-education teacher. As a teenager, I volunteered at a summer camp for special-needs children and found it very rewarding. But I switched to business education in college, then to business management, and became a banker instead!
N: Favorite book when you were a kid?
R: Not just one book, but the Childcraft set of books. I read every page of every book.
N: If you could choose three people, living or dead, to invite for a dinner party, who would they be and why?
R: Dorothy Parker for her brilliant repartee; George Clooney because he is down-to-earth and witty and intelligent, and he also serves as non-fattening dessert (eye candy); and Martin Luther King, Jr., because his words, ideals and commitment to dignity for all positively altered my perspectives.
A caregiver must help her Alzheimer’s-afflicted dad and elderly dog overcome their fears and build a trusting friendship that will unite them for the journey they’re destined to take together…
When she moves her Alzheimer’s-afflicted dad into the home she shares with her husband and elderly dog, Rachel Morgan expects some complications, but she never imagines the biggest one will occur on the first day, threatening her best-intentioned caregiving plans.
Her normally sweet-natured dad—a former mailman who experienced too many run-ins with biting dogs—is adamant about wanting nothing to do with her big black Labrador. But as Rachel tends to the escalating physical and emotional needs of each, she notices the striking similarities in their aging processes, and realizes these two souls whom she loves deeply are on the same journey.
With time working against her, Rachel must find a way to transform their uneasy truce into a trusting companionship. In doing so, she hopes to make their shared journey less lonely and frightening—and more bearable for those who must someday let them go.