I’m an avid reader of Shanna Groves’ blog Confessions of a Lip Reading Mom, so when I heard she was releasing her second book and going on a “blog book tour,” I jumped at the chance to interview her! I have an inadvertent theme of interviewing invisibly ill novelists, so I thought it would be good to roll with it! We interviewed Rosa Fontanna, who published the book The Directive about Crohn’s, and Morgan Rutledge, an aspiring novelist who has adult ADHD and Ulcerative Colitis.
Shanna brings a new type of invisible illness to the table here – yes, not all novelists have gut issues. Shanna has adult onset hearing loss, and this is her second book on the subject. The first was fiction, and this one is her own true story! I was excited to ask her a few questions, and not only raise some awareness, but educate myself on the topic as well. Be sure to check out her blog (linked above) to find out more!
What is your latest book about?
Confessions of a Lip Reading Mom is my second book. It is a memoir of being a hard of hearing mom to three small children. My progressive hearing loss was diagnosed two months after my oldest child was born. I was 27. The book explores the rollercoaster emotions I experienced as a young mom experiencing a progressive health issue. My worries included: Would I hear my babies cry? Would I hear the phone ring or the smoke alarm? How could I keep my kids safe if I couldn’t hear all of these sounds? Through trial and error, I learned to accept my hearing loss and even help others going through the same thing. I hope this book will inspire others to live their lives with passion, despite their health challenges. My publisher is CrossRiver Media, a small Christian publishing company, and more information about the book can be found at www.CrossRiverMedia.com, www.ShannaGroves.com, http://LipreadingMom.com, or www.Amazon.com. My first book, a novel about the Deaf culture titled Lip Reader, is available on Amazon.
What sort of unique challenges did being deaf pose to writing a book? Do you have any advice for writers in general?
Among the challenges with writing a book is taking care of a family while balancing work responsibilities. Would I make a writing deadline, when one of my children is sick and needs my attention? I learned to go with the flow and not worry about all the unpredictable things that come with being a work-from-home mom. My advice with writers is to find a project you are most passionate about and carve out 20 minutes of writing time a day, five days a week. Take two days off per week to recharge your creative energies. Get connected with a writing critique group, either online or locally. I participated in a critique group through the Heart of America Christian Writers Network at www.hacwn.org.
What does a “bad day” look like for you?
I once wrote a blog titled “I’m Having a Bad ‘Hear’ Day.” What this post consisted of was waking up on the wrong side of the bed. I didn’t hear the alarm, so I overslept. This caused the morning school routine with my kids to be rushed, so I forgot to put in my hearing aids prior to dropping everyone off at school. Conversations in the car with my children were stressful because I couldn’t hear them well…and I didn’t want to take my eyes off the road to lip read them. My youngest son, age 5, began screaming to get my attention, and this annoyed his oldest brother, who began screaming at his sibling. And on and on and on until everyone was safe at school. Then I went home to grab some ibuprofen.
Other than writing, what do you like to do?
When not writing, I am attempting to lip read three very chatty children! That is a job in itself, you know. 🙂 I also am involved in the local chapter of the Hearing Loss Association of America and my local church. I love going on date nights with my husband of almost 17 years. We like captioned movies, live music, and antiquing. (Okay, *I* like antiquing!)
So what’s next?
I hope you will encourage your blog readers to check out two projects with which I am involved:
– Stop Hearing Loss Bullying at http://LipreadingMom.com/Stop-Hearing-Loss-Bullying. This is a campaign to bring awareness and solutions to the troubling phenomenon of bullying among people who are hard of hearing or deaf. The Stop Hearing Loss Bullying video went live May 24, a Facebook page has been set up at www.Facebook.com/StopHearingLossBullying, and I’m asking everyone to tweet the following message on Twitter: “I support #StopHearingLossBullying. Learn more at http://LipreadingMom.com.”
– Show Me Your Ears at http://LipreadingMom.com/Show-Me-Your-Ears. More than 200 people around the world have submitted photos of their ears to promote deaf and hearing loss awareness. A person doesn’t have to have hearing loss to participate. All ear photos are welcome!
Be sure to check out “Confessions of a Lip Reading Mom,” and all of Shanna’s other exciting projects!