Why Write About Alzheimer’s

Someone recently asked me, “Why write about Alzheimer’s? Isn’t that depressing? What caused you to choose that kind of story?”

"The Unraveling of Reverend G"

“The Unraveling of Reverend G”

With the second novel in the Life of Cove Creek, “Intermission for Reverend G” soon to be released, I wanted to answer those questions.

Five million Americans live within the shadows of Alzheimer’s Disease. And with the progressive live-longer-and-fight-stronger attitude of the Baby Boomers, it is likely that many more BB’s will join that statistic.

Several nonfiction books deal with the subject, but why a novel and why write it in the first person, from the brain view and heart pulse of the main character?

Because it’s unique. My marketing research found one or two books about Alzheimer’s written from the third person – as outside observers of the destruction of a life.

But hopefully, my books are different. They invite my readers into the soul of this woman who struggles with the fear of losing memories and possibly losing contact with the God she loves more than anyone else.

This series reminds us that inside each person who sometimes forgets, there is still a soul and some type of thought process. Connections may be flawed, but communication is still possible.

These books needed to be written to remind caregivers to search for hope and believe that their incredibly difficult work has eternal significance.

Reverend G asked to have a voice so that all of us can look differently at Alzheimer’s victims, to appreciate the people they once were, to love the souls they still are.

Finally, these books are a legacy to all those people who so patiently care for those who forget. They are mirrors that reflect my family – my dad who died within the shadows of dementia, my mother who fades away daily within the plaque of Alzheimer’s.

But ultimately, I wrote this series because one day I woke up with a story in my head and characters who begged to escape.

I wrote these books for you, my readers – to enjoy, to learn from and to pass on so that the next generation never forgets.

©2014 RJ Thesman – “The Unraveling of Reverend G” – http://amzn.to/11QATC1

The Library Sale

Every few months, my local library has a Friends of the Library Book Sale. Although I really don’t NEED any more books, just try to keep me away from a sale where I can buy a book for 50 cents.

Recently, I joined other book worms at our local sale and soon filled my arms with several treasures: the biography of Kathleen Norris – one of my favorite writers, another copy of “Secrets of the Vine” – because I am always giving that one away, Nora Ephron’s “I Feel Bad About My Neck” – because I always wanted to read it and now that she has passed – I feel obligated to read it in her memory.

I also found another one of Lilian Jackson Braun’s Cat Who mysteries which are always fun. By the way, the cats always solve the mysteries. One of David Jeremiah’s books about grace because I’m still trying to wrap my heart around the whole concept of grace. And a couple of other books that just sounded interesting.books - lib sale

As I checked out, I told the elderly woman at the desk about my book. “I’m a writer, too,” I said, “so I read all the time. You know, we have to inhale in order to exhale.”

“Oh, yes,” she said, then asked about my book.

So I had another marketing opportunity, the chance to give her my card and tell her about Reverend G.

Who knows? Maybe this library sale will not only give me another wonderful stack of books but will become the impetus for someone else to read about Reverend G and the God she serves.

Maybe that lovely woman with a halo of white hair will check out my book and find hope.

©2013 RJ Thesman – “The Unraveling of Reverend G” – http://amzn.to/11QATC1

Promoting Our Words

As a published author, one of my duties includes marketing and promoting my book. I do this through social media, through speaking events and through this blog. I also work hard to find new outlets for my book and use every tool imaginable to market the words I write.3D Rev G cover

Sometimes it seems as if I’m trying to push myself on other people, just for the purpose of sales. I hate that. But the truth is…I worked hard to write my book, and I feel the words have meaning and purpose. I want the message about faith while dealing with Alzheimer’s to spread across the globe.

The main reason Christian authors work so hard is to promote the truth of the Gospel. Yes, of course, we want our books to sell as we continue to publish our words. Yes, of course, we want readers to ask for more. We long for agents, publishers and distributors to beg us for another book.

But the main purpose is the message. Always. We want more sales, because that means more and more people read about Jesus.

In our nonfiction, they find encouragement in their faith journey. In our fiction, they place themselves into the story and root for the hero or heroine, while waiting to see how faith impacts the outcome of the book.

In articles, poems, scripts – all sorts of genres, Christian writers become messengers of the Light as we hope and pray that somewhere in that vast configuration called the internet – someone reads the truth and finds peace.

As authors, we know that sometimes you tire of reading our promotional material. You skip over our Facebook posts because you’ve seen them before. We understand.

But we also hope that someone new sees the post for the first time. Maybe that person will buy our books, turn to a page that counsels her about God’s love and find the answer to her questions.

Whether our readers find us through books, blog posts or tweets, we thank God when we market His message and send it into the world.

Someday I hope to meet a soul in heaven who read my book and found it encouraging, helping him or her through the dark ravages of Alzheimer’s disease.

Someday I hope a reader sends me an email and says, “You helped me find my way back to God.” Someday I want to meet that great crowd of witnesses who cheered me on as I sat for hours in my cold office and typed out the words that burned in my heart.

This is why Christian writers promote our work. It’s because at the core of it all, we’re marketing Jesus Christ and his message of love.

We do it for Him, and we do it for you.

©2013 RJ Thesman

The Online Interview

Writers these days have to be half-creatives and half-marketers. Sometimes that’s a real stretch. After all, it involves the other side of the brain and includes spread sheets, cold calls for book signings and all types of extravert activities that drive us to eat large bowls of chocolate ice cream, looking for comfort.

One of the marketing tools that is becoming more common and effective is the online interview. We are, after all, an internet society now. Few of us can fly to a studio, sit through makeup and try to come up with witty chat until the commercials interrupt us.

But the online interview is simple. Just answer the questions and let the interviewer post a blog.

That happened for me. Several weeks ago, Dawn Alexander of Writer in Waiting contacted me and asked me several questions about my book and the writing process. I answered the questions and sent them to Dawn. This week, she posted the interview on her blog: http://chasingsomeday.blogspot.com/2012/08/rj-thesman.html

When I read the entire interview, I was amazed at how Dawn put my answers together to help me sound succinct and half-way sane. It was another marketing tool that we shared with my publisher, Facebook, Twitter and now here – on my blog.

So…writers take heart. It’s not that hard to answer a few questions, and you never know what might happen. Someone who reads the interview may buy your book and those words you penned so long ago will find a soul spot to land.

Thanks, Dawn. I appreciate your skills and your help.