Tuesday, June 22, 2021

Laurie James Interview - Sandwiched


Photo Content from Laurie James

Laurie James has successfully launched four daughters, has been the primary caretaker for her elderly parents, and is the founder of a unique program in Manhattan Beach, California, that helps women through pivotal transitions in life. An active community volunteer, she co-chairs a youth program for high school students, exposing them to a variety of career paths before they apply to college. Laurie graduated from Cal Poly Pomona with a BS in business and was a corporate recruiter before she stayed home to raise her four daughters. She lives in Manhattan Beach and enjoys yoga, hiking, skiing, sailing, and adventure travel. This is her first book.

      
  


Who or what has influenced your writing, and in what way?
My life experiences have influenced my writing, especially during a difficult period in my life. In many ways, my book not only found me, but it saved me when I was taken down a tumultuous path I didn’t see coming. The writing process was very cathartic and it helped me make sense of what was happening. It also gave me the opportunity to look inward, reflect on my growth during that time, and think about the things that were in my control.

There are many memoirists who have influenced my writing, including my writing coach and memoirist, Linda Joy Meyers. Other authors that have influenced me are, Tara Westover, Glennon Doyle, Dani Shapiro, Elizabeth Gilbert and Cheryl Strayed. I loved their stories and referred back to their books when I needed inspiration.

Where were you born and where do you call home?
I was born and raised in El Monte, a town just east of Los Angeles. My dad still lives there, but for the last thirty years I’ve lived in Manhattan Beach, California.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
My most rewarding experience has been all the warm positive feedback I’ve received from friends, family, fellow authors and acquaintances on my accomplishment. It’s been amazing.

When/how did you realize you had a creative dream or calling to fulfill?
Unlike many other author’s, my desire to write a book didn’t surface until my late forties. Growing up I didn’t write in a journal, and when my high school teacher gave me a blank page to write a creative story, my mind went blank too. While I was in my mid-forties, my mother suddenly fell ill. The tables quickly turned from her helping me with my teen and pre-teen daughters to my needing to oversee her care, the care of my dad, and hiring caregivers for both of them. Over the next several years, I’d laugh and cry with my friends and then husband about the antics my caregivers were pulling. They encouraged me to start writing down these stories, because I couldn’t have made these things up if I’d tried. It took me several more years to start, but after a few years, I realized my story was bigger. Not only was I caring for my parents and managing unruly caregivers, I was also raising four teenage daughters, and my marriage was crumbling. That’s when I changed the title to Sandwiched for the sandwich generation and expanded my story.

Can you tell us when you started SANDWICHED, how that came about?
It was in 2015 when I was at a yoga retreat. I was talking to a fellow yogi and writer who also encouraged me to start writing. Something shifted that weekend, and I wrote my first few pages. That was the beginning of learning how to become a writer and storyteller. Six months later, I signed up for a beginning memoir-writing course through UCLA extension. After taking a couple of courses with UCLA, a friend told me about a six-month memoir-writing program in the Bay Area. While in the six-month program, I found a wonderful coach and mentor who believed in me. The writing process became a form of meditation for me and it helped me make sense of what was happening and why. The process became a much-needed creative outlet. Five years later I finished my book.

What do you hope for readers to be thinking when they read your memoir?
I hope my readers see a part of themselves in me and recognize that we all have the ability to change the parts in our lives that are no longer working for us. If I can do it, they can do it too.

What was the most surprising thing you learned while writing SANDWICHED?
I learned that with perseverance, I can accomplish anything. And along the way I developed a lot more self-confidence.

What was the single worst distraction that kept you from writing this book?
I had two distractions—my phone and the snacks in my pantry. Whenever I started writing a hard scene or was stuck on certain words I check my phone or grab a snack.

What is something you think everyone should do at least once in their lives?
Everyone should do something that makes them uncomfortable or they are afraid of. That’s were growth happens.

Best date you've ever had?
The best most recent first date was this year. After a long phone conversation and learning we’d both been vaccinated, he asked me out to dinner. We both new the same people in common, so I let him pick me up at my house. He brought me a nice bottle of wine and a candle. We then went to dinner at a local Italian restaurant and the next three hours flew by. We talked about all the things we had in common, family, and travel. We both felt the chemistry and before we knew it, the restaurant was closing. He drove me home, walked me to my door, and gave me a sweet kiss on the lips. I was floating for days after that.

What was the greatest thing you learned at school?
I’d say college taught me how to be adult, expanded my horizons, and to stay curious.

Which incident in your life that totally changed the way you think today?
I’d say it’s the incidents I write about in my book. I believe the universe/God gives us little signs or nudges. When we don’t listen, they continue to get bigger until we have no other choice but to address them. Now I listen to the little signs that say, “No, not that…yes, this.” I’ve learned that when we listen to our inner guide, it will lead us towards our true path.

What are 4 things you never leave home without?
I never leave home without wearing clothes, sunglasses, shoes and my phone.

Where is the best place in the world you’ve been?
The most beautiful and unique place I’ve been are the Galapagos Islands. They are indescribably beautiful. It’s really like stepping back in time and seeing what Darwin saw.

First Heartbreak?
Scott Lefevbre in sixth grade.

Which would you choose, true love with a guarantee of a heartbreak or have never loved before?
True love with a guarantee of heartbreak. To never love would be a crime.

TEN REASONS TO READ SANDWICHED
  • 1. Because you won’t be able to put it down.
  • 2. Read it to find a piece of you in my story.
  • 3. Read it because you like a good story.
  • 4. Read it if you are a mother.
  • 5. Read it if you are a daughter.
  • 6. Read it if you are a parent.
  • 7. Read it if you are adopted.
  • 8. Read it if you know someone who’s ever had dementia.
  • 9. Read it if you like memoir.
  • 10. Read it if you like character development.
Your Favorite Quotes/Scenes from SANDWICHED
This is a reflection quote about my mother’s dementia. “I would have done anything to see her smiling face and bright eyes, and to feel her warmth when she hugged me. I was not in denial. I was sad because my strong vibrant mother was fading away like a fine fabric left in the sun too long, and there was nothing I could do to change that.”

This is a quote from a yoga retreat I went to. “I was a doer, always checking things off my list, but I had no list, and I was lost. I’d never allowed myself to have time to relax or just be.”


This is a quote towards the end of my book about a big life change I was faced with. “If I were ever going to find happiness, I needed to let go of everything I believed in and take a gigantic leap into the unknown. Alone.”


Laurie James spent most of her life wondering what it means to belong; loneliness dictated the choices she made. She rarely shared this secret with others, however; it was always hidden behind a carefree and can-do attitude.

When she’s in her mid-forties, Laurie’s mother has a heart attack and her husband’s lawyer delivers some shocking news. She suddenly finds herself sandwiched between caring for her parents, managing unruly caregivers, raising four teenage daughters, and trying to understand the choices of the husband she thought she knew.

Laurie’s story is about one woman’s struggle to “do it all” while facing the reality that the “ideal life” and “perfect family” she believed could save her was slowly crumbling beneath her. Laurie tries everything to keep her family together—seeks therapy, practices yoga, rediscovers nature, develops strong female friends, and begins writing—but as she explores the layers of her life and heals her past, she realizes that she’s the only one who can create the life she wants and deserves.

Sandwiched is a memoir about what it means to let go of the life you planned in order to find the life you belong to.

You can purchase Sandwiched at the following Retailers:
        

And now, The Giveaways.
Thank you LAURIE JAMES for making this giveaway possible.
1 Winner will receive a Copy of Sandwiched by Laurie James.
jbnpastinterviews

8 comments:

  1. Unconditional and above all else

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  2. I think everyone has to have their own definition of love based on their own experiences.

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  3. Love is being respectful for your sufficient other.

    ReplyDelete
  4. No, but I can tell you my favorite definition of love... Love is that condition in which the happiness of another is essential to your own. From Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert Heinlein

    ReplyDelete