Author Interview: Runaway Grandma Q&A

Q: Where did you get the idea for this novel?
A: Several years ago during a Christmas visit with some friends at a cozy log cabin in a country area of McKean County

Q: Are the characters in Runaway Grandma based on people you’ve known?
A: Not really, though perhaps a few composites of characters I’ve met through the years. It is obviously fiction but written in such a way as to make it seem true to life.

Q: Today in America, do you really believe financial elder abuse is a problem?
A: Yes, as was on the front page of the local paper on Oct. 5, 2007…it is NOT uncommon for adult children to want their inheritances while they are still young enough to enjoy it. Whether need or greed is the motivator, it’s wrong. What is NOT common are parents actually following through with pressing charges against their own children. What could be more humiliating than publicly acknowledging your own family has ripped you off? And talk about family riffs…they don’t get much nastier than money wars.

Somehow older people have become categorized by too many as a stagnated group waiting to ‘check out’, i.e. die. The boomer generation seniors will force us to change the way we view the elderly.

Fifty and sixty years ago, it was not uncommon for several generations to live in the same home; they often pulled their money to make ends meet. But then came upward mobility and families started to drift apart geographically, and in time emotionally, in search of better jobs, better lives, bigger cars, and bigger houses with fewer people living in them. 

There are all kinds of families. Some must talk to each other three times a day, while others feel it’s overkill to talk to their adult children more than once a month. Either situation can be symptoms of healthy or unhealthy family relationships. It all comes down to mutual respect between family members. (Respect is to hold each other in high regard.)

Q: In Runaway Grandma, most of the character’s adult children seem to be extremely self-centered and emotionally disconnected from their parents, are these common generational problems?

A: It’s typical for people in their 20’s and 30’s to be self absorbed as they try to find their way in life. The characters in Runaway Grandma are somewhat exaggerated to enhance the story. However there are cases where life is actually stranger than fiction! Just read your daily newspaper and be aware of the peculiar nonfiction stories that surface all too often.

Olivia Hampton, the 70 year old protagonist of your novel just drives off with her false identification papers and even drives to NYC periodically. Isn’t this a bit atypical?

A: Perhaps it is. But in my family, independent older women is the norm. I wanted to make Olivia 78 years old but my writing friends insisted she be no more than 70 to make Runaway Grandma believable!

The last time my mom drove to Texas by herself was 2 years ago at the age of 82. My dad was leaving a few days before she was ready to go. She said, “At least when I’m the driver I can stop and go to the bathroom as often as I want!”

Q: Where is RUNAWAY GRANDMA available?
A: Runaway Grandma is available online and can be ordered through any book store.

Q: Has the publishing world been easier to navigate since this is your second novel?
A: Yes and no. I still do not have an agent; I did hire a marketing firm, (Mellon & Co. of Ellicottville, NY) for Runaway Grandma.  I met my publisher, Madison Ave. Publishers at a writing conference in Scottsdale, AZ two years ago. She liked my book and decided to publish it. It’s a small independent publishing company with no marketing or distribution. At least I knew what I was getting into this time.


Q: Do you plan to write more books?
A: Yes, of course. I’m obsessed; it’s like a virus I can’t shake! I already have one completed and another half way there. I’m anxious to get back to work on the half finished one.

And of course, I still hope to someday find a good agent. In the meantime, I’ll represent myself.