Welcome to the Barn Door Book Loft, Marianne. I really enjoyed reading your book Blue Hydrangeas. What made you decide to write it? Is there a story behind your book Blue Hydrangeas?
One day at work as a hospital case manager, I met a fascinating couple who were in their 80’s. She was a lovely woman, so pretty, and had Alzheimer’s. I’d ask her a question and she’d try to answer, but then say, “Oh, I’m so mixed up,” and laugh, quite charming. Her husband was frail, an amiable sort of guy, and devoted to her. My job was to assist with the discharge plan, which was for her to go to a local nursing home for rehab (she’d broken her pelvis) the next day. I discussed the arrangements with her and her husband. Their son was also present, and he told me to make sure his parents didn’t leave the hospital without him; he planned to drive them to the nursing home and assist with the admissions process.
Later on, I couldn’t stop thinking about that couple, wondering what would happen if they left the hospital without their son. Where would they go? What would they do? Thus, the seeds of Blue Hydrangeas were sown, my wild writer’s imagination took off, and the story began to grow.
Question: Which character in your new release most interested you while you wrote? Why?
I love Jack. He’s the man I think every woman wishes she’d married. Loyal, considerate, loving, a stalwart member of the Greatest Generation, selfless and devoted. A dying breed.
Question: What started you on your writing journey?
I've always written, and dreamed of becoming a professional writer as a child, when I would staple together pieces of notepaper and write stories. My goal in high school was to become a journalist, and in college (UMass Boston) I worked on the student newspaper, eventually becoming editor-in-chief. After graduation, my attempts to find work as a reporter failed, so I eventually went into nursing to avoid poverty. I put away my typewriter and stifled my wild mind, which constantly fed me ideas for stories and articles I had no time to write. Years later a manager at the hospital I worked for started a newsletter for the nursing department. I volunteered my services and soon took over the whole project. This got me started writing articles for publication and soon I embarked on my first novel. I guess I've come full circle.
Question: What distracts you from writing the easiest?
My repetitive strain injuries. Unfortunately, typing causes me great pain, has since 2006, and curtails a lot of my activities. I told this story here. If you’re a writer, take any pain in your hand, wrists, arms, shoulders and neck very seriously. (Here’s the link if needed:)
Question: What kind of books do you enjoy reading?
Personal stories that are well done. I need to plug my #AlzAuthors friends here, all who have written excellent books on Alzheimer’s: Jean Lee, Alzheimer’s Daughter; Greg O’Brien, On Pluto – Inside the Mind of Alzheimer’s; Vicki Tapia, Somebody Stole My Iron – A Family Memoir of Dementia; and Shannon Wiersbitzky, What Flowers Remember. All of these books are great voices in the field of Alzheimer’s and dementia and shed light on what those living with it endure. You can learn about these books here. (Here’s the link if needed:)
Question: What is your favorite season of the year?
Summer, and most of my stories take place during summer, or part of it. I love the sunshine, heat, even the humidity doesn’t bother me. I love to go to the beach and swim in the ocean. I love wearing shirts, sleeveless tops, and sandals. The storms are beautiful, and so is the lush and colorful beauty of the landscape. I wish summer lasted six months out of the year. I could do without winter.
Question: What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
In 1983, while in college, I went to a U2 concert at Brown University and jumped on stage to dance with The Edge, the guitarist. I stayed up there for a couple of songs, hidden by this huge amplifier, but he knew I was there and smiled at me. They are my number one band.
Question: What is a favorite memory from your childhood?
My dad, a cabinetmaker, was a book lover and filled our home with books. We had a beautiful bookcase in our living room, built right into the wall, and he stocked it with all kinds of books, most of which I was too young to read. He made up for it by bringing me to the library every week and letting me check out as many books as they’d allow. This inspired me at an early age to someday write my own book.
Question: Are there things you put off doing because you dread them?
Housework. It’s never done
Me too! giggle.
Question: Where is your favorite place to travel/vacation in?
The seashore. I love to take my Jeep out on the beach and spend a lot of time on Cape Cod and Assateague Island National Shore. I’ve written of both of these places in my stories. I also love Florida, Bermuda and St. Thomas.
Question: When is your next book due out and can you tell us about it?
My current work-in-progress is Swim Season, the story of high school swim champion Aerin Keane, who is determined to leave her troubles behind as she starts twelfth grade in her third high school. Senior year is supposed to be fun, right? Friends. Parties. Boys. Ready to give up her dreams of a college swimming scholarship and a shot at the Olympics, Aerin decides she doesn't want to win anymore, she wants to swim for fun, it's her "therapy." But when her desire to be just one of the girls on the team collides with her desire to be the best this school has ever seen, will Aerin sacrifice her new friendships to challenge a long-standing school record attached to a $50,000 scholarship? Here’s a preview. I hope to publish in spring 2016. (Link to preview:)
Question: Are you working on any other exciting projects right now?
I’m so glad you asked! Throughout the month of November I’m collaborating with the four other authors of Alzheimer’s books mentioned above in #AlzAuthors – Ending the Isolation of Alzheimer’s. Our mission is to promote National Memory Screening Week (Nov. 1-7), National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, and National Caregivers Appreciation Month. We are sharing stories and information on all of these topics on our Facebook page and on Twitter, follow #AlzAuthors. We are also running a giveaway of a collection of all five books to one lucky winner. This would make a great Christmas gift or a perfect addition to a library (public, school, skilled nursing facility, home care agency, etc.) Please take a moment to enter. It’s easy.
Thanks again for joining us Marianne, and please come back and visit us when your next book is released.
Readers, you may purchase the book at:
Or have your local library order it in for you!
Marianne Sciucco is giving away a copy of Blue-Hydrangeas, an Alzheimer's love story. The giveaway is only available to U.S. addresses.
To be entered in the book giveaway, leave a comment along with your email address. You may enter the book giveaway twice--once on each spotlight post. (It's not too late to go back and leave a comment on the past few posts)