We have another treat today at Top Down. Gifted writers Traci Hall and Rhonda Pollero have agreed to join us to talk about their non fiction book on adoption. I think you’re really going to enjoy these two. How about a rousing TopDown welcome, okay? There’s a book in it for some lucky poster.
Forget Thinking Outside the Box – Try a Completely Different Box
Times are tough everywhere and publishing is not immune. So what are two fiction writers to do? Well, how about giving non-fiction a go.
When Traci Hall and I met as new arrivals to Florida, we discovered we had something in common. Adoption. Traci as a birth mom and me (Rhonda) as an adoptive mom. We spent about two years threatening to write a book about adoption that wasn’t sugarcoated, or simplistic, or remotely like any of the gazillion books already on the market. We share a similar sense of humor and we really wanted people to see adoption from the inside of both sides of the process. We also decided that we wanted people to laugh, cry and feel the gauntlet of emotions that are all part of adoption. So that’s how Adoption is Forever was born.
Like the format of the book (which is available on Amazon.com and by special order at your local bookstore), we’re dividing up this post in a kind of she-said/ she-said fashion.
FROM Rhonda Pollero www.rhondapollero.com www.kelseyroberts.net
For me the whole idea of writing non-fiction was far outside my comfort zone. I’d written 30+ romantic suspense novels and was writing the second Finley Tanner novel when Traci and I decided to get serious. The only problem . . . neither one of us is overly serious, so we had to dig deep to find a format that would allow us to share intimate details of our lives while maintaining the one element we knew would make the book salable – incorporating humor. Until we wrote Adoption is Forever, every book on the subject was either a horror story written by an adoptee or birth mom or a sanitized, simplistic approach to building a family through adoption. My husband and I adopted a little girl from Russia. Russia sucks. It’s corrupt, run-down and has zero infrastructure. I have been telling Rhonda Goes to Russia stories since 2000. Yes, I was there on a very serious mission, but c’mon. I’m a pretty high-maintenance woman and they sent me to the nether regions (Kursk) where I ate vile meals and had no electricity and no dish soap. Oh, did I mention they share utensils and plates with their dogs and cats? I spent 18 days living like a heroin addict holding my lighter under ever spoon hoping to kill the cooties. I paid bribes to the Russian mafia – wait . . . I’m supposed to call those ‘gifts to my host country.’ I realized I had a dozens of stories about that experience and some of them were worthy of sharing.
FROM: Traci Hall www.tracihall.com
Hi!! I am so happy to be here! Thanks to all the girls at Riding With The Top Down. Okay – as Rhon mentioned, we have the adoption thing in common – but totally not. Rhon’s story is about a wonderful woman willing to travel the third world in search of motherhood – I didn’t have so noble a cause. Getting knocked up at eighteen isn’t exactly something to flaunt with pride. Yeah, yeah, I was old enough to know better – obviously that didn’t stop me. So writing a book about it…well.I’m forty plus. A professional writer – a mother, a wife. There was a part of me that didn’t want to stir up all those icky feelings. What would people think about me? I’ve grown up (although not too much, lol) since then. But the good the book could do was always on my mind. I would shove the idea down and tell myself “later”. Staying away from the adoption story was like keeping my tongue away from a cracked tooth. I had to tell the story. Back in the Dark Ages, mine was one of the few open adoptions in Spokane. I had to go to a lawyer – and I am still in touch with my birth son and his family. My kids grew up knowing they had an older brother – they played hockey together! We shared birthdays and holidays. I am very, very blessed. I feel that people need to know how to make adoption work – from the birth mom’s point of view.
Rhon and I decided that we will give a signed book to a lucky winner – our call on who has the most insightful comment or question. We encourage them all! This book came about because we each had something unique to talk about – our adoption stories – but common enough that the subject touched almost everyone.
Rhonda: That’s the thing about non-fiction. Almost everyone has something in his or her life worth sharing with the world. I think you have to have a particularly exemplary life to write a memoir, but each of us has some situation or event of interest. So, as you read the grim statistics coming out of the publishing world, consider trying your hand at non-fiction. No one can say yes if you don’t try.
Traci: Hmm. A memoir? Lol. I don’t think being a Guard Mom qualifies as sainthood worthy, but it should. You try being on a bus of horny high schoolers for twelve hours! I kept walking around with a flashlight saying, “Let me see your hands!” Now there’s a story… We all have something that is interesting about us, or that we are particularly good at – other than the fiction writing gig. If a book seems too big, think articles. Maybe you grow blue-ribbon tomatoes with your grandma’s secret for perfect soil – a gardening magazine might want to share that with readers. And pay you for it
I will be checking back in with you all as I fly across the states – Florida to Washington in nine hours but I will answer everyone, I promise!