28 March, 2019

Alzheimer's Trippin' with George By Susan Straley Book Tour and Interview! @SusanStraley

Alzheimer's Trippin' with George
By Susan Straley
Genre: Travel, memoir, Eldercare, Alzheimer's and Dementia, Bicycling

About the Book

What would you do if you learned that your spouse or partner has progressive dementia, possibly Alzheimer’s disease? 

This is the brutally honest journal of one spouse and reluctant caregiver that “ran for the hills.” Of course she took her husband George along. 

What challenges did Susan encounter?  How can she enjoy the present — a journey across the U.S.A. -  while worrying about the future?  How do she and George deal with his increasing dementia symptoms? 

And the biggest question of all, after 40 years together, can they remain married and loving through it all? 

Travel the U.S.A. along with George.  Don’t let the number of pages scare you, there are LOTS of pictures.  You will glide through the days as they did.  You will learn, you will laugh and maybe shed a tear as you too go Alzheimer’s Trippin’ with George.

Interview with the author:

What do you find most challenging about the writing process, and how do you deal with it?
Since my writing is usually from my journals I find the hardest part is editing out all the parts that are not pertinent to the story when it is time to turn it into a book.  
It is all my life to me, it is all important.  I have to keep the reader in mind and keep reminding myself that I still have a copy of the full-version to keep for me.  I also have to look at the story from a reader that doesn’t know me or us. I have to add into the story the details that will give character, history, and entertainment to the reader.  This isn’t hard, it just takes more than one or two run-throughs.
When and where do you do your writing?
Most of my writing is on my lap-top and that goes with me on trips.  Alzheimer’s Trippin’ with George was written as we traveled around the United States.  I kept a blog as a way to keep our friends and family informed about our trip. As we traveled we began to experience more dementia symptoms and I began to talk about what we were experiencing.  I began to get feedback from others who found themselves in the care-giver role. The readers of the blog were the ones that encouraged me to turn it into a book.
When I am home I prefer to write from my glassed in patio.  There is a lot of light. Outside my window I have planted milkweed that the monarch butterflies come to visit, lay their eggs, and then I watch the caterpillars grow as they devour the plant.  I love it.
What have you learned about promoting your books?
You have to ask for what you want.  You can’t just put the information out there on social media or even in conversations and hope for the best.  You have to ask people to share, you have to acknowledge when they share. You can’t just rely on social media, you have to call a few people.  And you can’t be afraid to give books away, sometimes the right person can be the best promotion tool you have. I am hoping to get a few fans that have lots of fans.  That is my goal right now.

What are you most proud of as a writer?
I am both proud and ashamed that I am doing it.  I am proud to have written and published a book and REALLY happy that people seem to LIKE what I have to say and how I said it.  It thrills me when someone says they couldn’t put the book down, zoomed through it, and can’t wait for the sequel. I love that!
There is also a little something in me that thinks, “who do I think I am that I have anything more to tell than anyone else?”   There are so many books out there, what makes me think that our story is any more worthy of a reader’s time and attention than the next guy? I have to tell that little something to shut-up or I would stop, which would be a silly thing to do when so many have told me they learned so much from the book and enjoyed it immensely.

If you could have dinner with any writer, living or dead, who would it be and what would you talk about?  
Oh my!  That’s tough.  Dinner with a writer… How about Michele Obama?  But I haven’t read her book yet. I have heard she talks matter of fact about how things were when she grew up, without judgement.  
I love how Haven Kimmel writes.  She wrote A Girl Named Zippy and it was so fun to read because she wrote it in the voice of the young girl of her childhood, doing silly stuff and getting into trouble and watching the adults around her in small town USA.  

Now, what would we talk about?  Memory and how to you take a foggy memory of something and make it come alive in full color.  

About the Author

Susan Straley started to journal at age 16. In 2016 she journaled online to provide a platform to bring her family and friends with them on their road trip across the U.S. As their trip progressed Susan began to share more about their other journey with her husband’s dementia symptoms. This journal is now being published into two books

Her first book, Alzheimer’s Trippin’ with GeorgeDiagnosis to Discovery in 10,000 Miles, shows her passion for openness, honesty, and sharing what she learns along the way.... from sex to incontinence.

Her second book, Alzheimer’s Trippin’ with George – The Journey ContinuesDementia Caregiving with Friend, Family and Community Support is scheduled for release in June 2019.
Susan resides in Inverness, Florida and still enjoys riding her tricycle with friends.

Twitter: @SusanStraley
George disappears at the Zoo: https://youtu.be/Rr3DQ4xBym0

EXCERPT FROM Chapter "Sex and the Demented"

"We will do that tomorrow morning then," George says.
I searched through my recent memory.  We had been silent, was there anything I had mentioned about tomorrow?  I had mentioned using the fitness room at the community center.  Was that it?  I had told him we were going to take the back roads to Carbondale, Colorado.  Was that it?
"What will we do tomorrow morning?" I ask George. 
"Have sex," he says.
I look at him, he hadn't said a thing during our whole walk other than to echo what I had said or agree with something I had said.  
We were getting close to our cabin and the end of our walk.  Maybe he came along on the walk because he had expectations?  
"Did you think we were going to have sex on this walk?"  I ask.
"No," he shakes his head and grins.  
I am puzzled.  This just came out of the blue, like he had been having a conversation in his head and thought I was listening in.  I shrug askance.  He mirrors my action.
"Are you just giving me a warning?"  I ask.
"Yes," he nods and he smiles at me.
"Ok then!  Thanks for the advance notice!" 

That conversation occurred at the end of this day, our last day in the condo near Rocky Mountain National Park...

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