Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Author Interview with Gail Bernice Holland




Today we're talking with Gail Bernice Holland, author of Love Each Day: Live Each Day So You Would Want to Live it Again


FQ: I really enjoyed the fact that many of the stories in your book were about enjoying the simple things in life, from a special event with a loved one to overcoming a particular fear or health issue. Why did you decide to go this route rather than write a book with more "earth-shattering" events?


Author Gail Bernice Holland
A few of the experiences described in my book are extraordinary, such as the day an astronaut walked on the moon, or a day couple visited the White House, but most of the days illustrate normal situations that could even happen in the reader’s own life. I asked each person I interviewed to describe one day in their regular routine at home or at work that gave them special pleasure – a day they might wish to live again. I stressed that I didn’t wish to write about a wedding day, birthday, or common noteworthy days because the goal of my book was to focus on different kinds of occasions. I felt the reader would gain more inspiration from my book Love Each Day if they read about authentic and realistic experiences that could change a person’s outlook on life. My intent was to help readers understand how crucial it is to treasure all types of days, all kinds of different experiences. I believe authentic true stories offer valuable lessons about how to spend time treasuring what really matters in life.


FQ: How did you find the people you included in your book and how/why did you pick these 40 over others you may have considered?


As a professional journalist and author I have developed many contacts. With the help of business colleagues and personal friends I was able to able to interview Nobel prize scientist Dr. Burton Richter, baseball player Huston Street, George Zimmer, the founder of the Men’s Wearhouse, plus a comedian, bus driver, teacher, police officer, college student, tugboat captain, musician, and many other men and women in different careers, with different lifestyles. I deliberately chose forty individuals from all walks of life. As I mentioned in the book’s introduction I believe that one of the best ways to learn about life is to discover how other people have lived, especially when they describe days that have been particularly meaningful to them. I would like to emphasize that as an author and journalist I also learn a great deal from these interviews. I consider the art of writing and journalism the quintessential art of learning about life.


FQ: Would you tell our readers a little about the process of committing to paper the stories included in your book? Did you travel to meet with people, converse via email or?


I initially contacted people by email to see if they would be willing to talk to me about their lives. Since Love Each Day includes stories about individuals from all over the United States, I then arranged a telephone interview with each person rather than traveling to meet them. I used a tape recorder during these telephone conversations and, of course, always told the individual they were being taped.


FQ: Have you stayed in contact with any of the people featured in your book?


I have remained in contact with some of the people featured in my book. For instance, Jason Jones, the police officer I interviewed, often sends me The Rap Sheet, the official newspaper of the Portland Police Association.


FQ: I was touched by the story of Kimberly Ball's desire to try out for the Dallas Cowboys cheerleader squad, ignoring the advice of her boyfriend. While reading, I remember thinking, "She better break up with that no-good...." She also had some of the best, most insightful quotes in the book. What in her background, do you think, made her such a remarkable person?


Clearly Kimberly Ball has a positive, strong personality. One of the reasons Ball’s life continues to be successful is her experience as a cheerleader. In my book she explains, “The whole experience as a cheerleader gave me such a sense of strength. I know from personal experience that you can do anything when you set your mind on a goal. It is essential to have a high level of expectation for yourself, and not accept other people’s opinion about you.”


FQ: I have to ask - the cow poop story - so funny and yet, like the others, so beautiful in its simplicity. Did you have a hard time deciding whether to include the story in your book?


I never know in advance what people are going to reveal during an interview. When Michael Dupee, Vice President of Corporate Social Responsibility for Green Mountain Coffee Roasters, told me how a cow pooped in front of him during a visit to a farm I was surprised. However, he then explained how this incident transformed his perspective on nature and life itself. For this reason I felt his story was inspiring.


FQ: While many of the stories were of every day events, you did include several such as walking on the moon and winning the Nobel Prize, that are quite extraordinary. Do you think the two types (simple and truly amazing) teach the same lessons?


In many ways all these stories teach us the same lesson. And that lesson is the subtitle of my book: Live each day so you would want to live it again. Whether a person is a Nobel Prize scientist or a bus driver, school teacher, or a polio survivor, we can all try to live our lives so we love our lives.


FQ: Have you heard from any of those featured in the book? Their thoughts about "going public" with their stories, how their friends have reacted and what they hope others will gain from their experiences?


I believe (and hope) that the people mentioned in my book are pleased that their stories have been included in Love Each Day. Tales about real life experiences can be inspirational.


To learn more about Love Each Day: Live Each Day So You Would Want to Live it Again please visit our website and read the review at: Feathered Quill Book Reviews.