Sunday, January 22, 2012

FEATURED AUTHOR: "Growing Up & Liking It" - by Dolores Ayotte


GROWING UP & LIKING IT: 
13 STEPS TO A HAPPIER SELF
by Dolores Ayotte

About the Book
Review
Author Interview


 GROWING UP & LIKING IT

In her second book, author Dolores Ayotte continues to offer practical, down-to-earth, and easy-to-incorporate bits of wisdom into life's daily routine. Once again, Ayotte uses her unique sense of humor, quotes, and anecdotes, as well as her gift for storytelling to get across her well-thought out steps to a happier self. If you are going through a difficult time and are looking for suggestions and inspiration to get back on track, Growing Up and Liking It is the book for you!

REVIEW forGROWING UP & LIKING IT
by David Fritz

This is the second in a series of books written by Dolores Ayotte, her first book being "I'm Not Perfect & It's Okay". I haven't had the opportunity to read her first book, but was asked to review "Growing Up & Liking It". However, having read this book I definitely want to read her first book!

Growing Up & Liking It” is filled with humorous quips, anecdotes and quotes about life; and with her wonderful philosophy for living a happy, rewarding life, no matter the circumstances, this is the manner in which Dolores brings home the truth of the matter to the reader. Her thirteen steps to a happier self are expounded in chapters with intriguing titles such as "Shake It Off"; "Mister Sun and Mister Wind"; "The Happy Snipper"; "God's Wife" and "The Skunks".

The author draws on her decades of experience as wife, parent, grandmother,  gardener, storyteller, teacher and author, to present thirteen valuable life lessons in an easy-to-digest manner. As Josh Billings says: "Life consists not in holding good cards, but of playing those you hold well.", which is a truth this book is centered on.

She also makes liberal use of stories to demonstrate her points. Here's an excerpt to demonstrate her wisdom:
"Gratitude takes three forms: a feeling in the heart, an expression in words, and giving in return."

In all my years I have never had gratitude explained so concisely!

The book is a pleasant and easy read - all too easy to read in one sitting, but I suggest you read this book only one "bite" at a time so you can have time to savour the flavour and digest the lessons. It is a wonderful, motivational book that each one should have in their personal libraries. I highly recommend it!



READ more REVIEWS

“Growing Up & Liking It” by Dolores Ayotte has 5 reviews on GoodReads. Read it here – http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/10679960-growing-up-liking-it

MEET this week’s FEATURED AUTHOR



I am a wife, mother and grandmother. I have a Bachelor of Arts degree with a major in psychology as well as teacher certification in Canada. I also have taken courses in human relationships and effective communication. Although, my primary focus has always been that of wife, mother and now grandmother, I have held a variety of jobs.

 

I started off my working years as a student working part-time as a cashier in a local grocery store. Before attending university to become an elementary school teacher, I was also employed as a telephone operator. After I left teaching due to the health issues explained in my books, I became a bank employee for a number of years. I have enjoyed each of these jobs and how they have enhanced my life. I have also volunteered my time by teaching catechism to young children, singing in the church choir, as well as working on the women’s auxiliary at a local hospital. I was also on the Hospital Foundation Board in the small community where we live.

 

I am now retired and spend half the year with my husband in a retirement community in Arizona. For the remainder of the year, I enjoy our children and grandchildren.

 

In my early thirties, after two severe bouts of depression, I first attempted to write a self-help book. On looking back,  I now realize that I needed more experience in order to do so. My books are not fiction although I do incorporate quotes and anecdotes to add to the creative flavor of  my writing. Basically, my books are based on fact and my own personal healing journey.

 

The baker’s dozen (13 steps to a happier self) that I refer to in the subtitle of I’m Not Perfect And It’s Okay is based on the actual skills I developed along the way to better cope with my life. These steps are the best recipe I know to do just that because I have lived them and I know that they work. Both of my books are written in a more “do as I do” philosophy based on my own travels in trying to figure out how to better cope with life’s trials and tribulations.

 

Each step that I have recommended, I have actually incorporated into my life. When I have an off day, as we all do, I still browse through my own recommendations. They continue to revive my drooping spirits when necessary. My greatest desire has always been to share my ideas so that others may benefit as well, if only in part, as they choose the steps that may apply to their lives.

 

In life, I have been given so much. My first book, as well as my second, Growing Up & Liking ~ The Donut Holes (13 more steps to a happier self)  are my way of giving back in some small way. I sincerely hope that you enjoy reading them just as much as I have enjoyed writing them.


INTERVIEW with author DOLORES AYOTTE

Q: How did you come up with the title for “Growing Up & Liking It?

A: I came up with the title after doing a lot of personal reflection and introspection about what would best describe the process I was experiencing. I wanted to express this to my reading audience by choosing a title that would demonstrate that maturing is a growth process if we embrace the lessons we need to learn. Although it can be painful at times, in most instances the end result is well worth it because the “gift” of wisdom is usually attained by exposure to life’s lessons which can guide us when making future important decisions.

Q: How much of the book is realistic?

A: In my opinion, my entire book is realistic because it is non-fiction. It is very personal to me and incorporates so many aspects of my life as shown by the stories I shared and the lessons I learned. These all reflect my faith, morals, values, and philosophy on life.  My ultimate goal is to include these beliefs in my daily walk in order to lead an exemplary life so that others may want to follow in my footsteps.

Q: What was the hardest part of writing “Growing Up & Liking It”?

A: The hardest part about writing this second self-help book is the fact that I was so open and honest about my weaknesses. I was asked by a good friend of mine if I felt vulnerable after I wrote it. I would have to say that I definitely did and still do at times. There is always the risk that others might take advantage of our vulnerabilities.  By taking off my “mask”, it put me at an even great risk because it left me open to possible criticism. 

Q: Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

A: Mostly the experiences I write about are based on events in my own life. However, I do utilize many quotes and anecdotes to add to the theme and pleasure of my books.  In doing so, I think it enhances the creative element  and makes them a more enjoyable read.

Q: Did you learn anything from writing this book and what was it?

A: I learned that it is very therapeutic to put pen to paper. Although, my initial goal was to help others, writing my books has had many side benefits. It has been a positive experience not only for me but for my family as well.

Q: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in “Growing Up & Liking It?

A: At this point, I don’t think I would change anything. It is a very intimate book but I feel it gives others the opportunity to be more open and honest about their intimate feelings as well.  Several people have confided in me after reading “Growing Up & Liking It” because they see some of themselves in the events that I have shared. The content of my book is quite universal and this makes it easier for people to relate to what I have written. Although, people may not be able to identify with all of my experiences, more than likely some of what I share will also apply to situations and events in their own lives. There is usually a sense of comfort knowing that we are understood and our feelings are validated. At some level or at some time in life, most people usually search for the understanding and acceptance of others.

Q: Is there a message in this book that you want readers to grasp?

A: The main message I would like my readers to grasp is that they are a “work in progress”. It is not always easy to accept ourselves as we are and while my book may suggest ideas to better cope with life, the first suggestion I strongly recommend is to learn to love and accept ourselves. There may be parts of our personalities or genetic make-ups that we just cannot change…or people in our lives who cannot change to better suit us and our needs.  The “gift” of wisdom that I referred to in one of your earlier questions can come into play here where there may be a need to make better life choices based on recognizing if and when we can actually alter our circumstances.  We can in  many instances but not in all.

Q: What book are you reading now?

A: I just finished reading The Drop by Michael Connelly. It was an excellent book. Depending on the length of the book, I usually try to read one book every week or two. I read and enjoy a wide variety of genres.

Q: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?

A: I have recently read a book titled C Through Marriage by Jim Hughes. It has numerous suggestions on how to have a successful marriage. I very much enjoyed the practical advice offered.

Q: Do you ever experience writer's block and how do you deal with it?

A: Although, I go through periods when I don’t have the inspiration to write, I don’t consider it to be writer’s block. It seems that when I write, I am very inspired to do so and the words just seem to flow. Therefore, I just write when I’m inspired and read or do other things when I’m not. I tend to look at life more philosophically than most people I know. This attitude helps bring me more peace and contentment during the quieter times.

Q: What would your ideal career be, if you couldn't be an author?

A: I don’t quite consider being an author as my career. I consider writing to be one of my gifts. I have had several work experiences over the years, two of which I would classify as careers…elementary school teacher and bank employee. Becoming an author has been an unexpected bonus discovered later on in life after my retirement.  I am very grateful to have discovered this creative gene at this stage of my life.

Q: What are your current projects?

A: I am working on a third release titled “Up The ‘Down’ Ladder”. I hope to e-publish within the next few months.

Q: Can you share a little of your current work with us?

A: In this book, I deal specifically with simple ideas to overcome minor depression…not major or clinical depression.  After my major bouts with severe depression, I eventually healed enough to clear my head and the depression became more bearable. The ideas I refer to in this book are intended for the less severe cases of depression where some changes in life style may alleviate some of the symptoms.

Q: Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.

A:  This is a very tough question. Thirty years ago when I was so ill, talking about depression and finding the support I needed did not seem to happen. It was far more like a well kept secret. There was much more of a stigma when dealing with mental health issues in those days which I believe has improved over time. Rather than finding someone to be there for me, I would have to say that with the exception of my husband and my parents, we were pretty much on our own. I might add that this lack of support for people with mental health issues can add to the sufferer’s isolation and further add to the depression.  All those years ago, if it weren’t for my faith and the love of my husband I don’t know that I could have survived. It felt like a pretty bleak situation at the time.

Q: What is your favourite theme/genre to write about?

A: Self-help books are my specialty but I would like to investigate other options at a later date if so inspired.

Q: How long does it take you to write a book?

A: It takes me several months to write a book because I can’t write if I’m not inspired by a person or an event in my life. When I am, I have no problem writing….when I’m not; I learn to be more patient. I don’t fret about the lulls. To me, writing is all in the timing. I can’t force it.  I can only accept to ‘write’ when the timing is ‘right’. “There is one thing stronger than all the armies in the world, and that is an idea whose time has come.” ~ Victor Hugo

Q: Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?

A: I draw from my own personal experiences, from my observations, or from other writers and books that I read.

Q: Do you have any advice for other writers?

A: Yes…never give up on your creative abilities no matter what they are. We all have so many hidden talents that we have not tapped into yet. If writing is part of your dream, it can happen at any time in your life. There are no expiration dates when it comes to developing our talents if our health permits. It took me twenty-five years to become an author. That in itself is a testimony to never give up on your dreams. Now it seems that my being an author was always meant to be.  Believe in yourself!

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2 comments:

B. J. Robinson said...

You are so right. We're WIPs from birth to the grave :) Blessings for success, BJ Robinson

Dolores Ayotte said...

Thanks Barb...yes indeed! WIPs from birth to the grave. I appreciate your comments. Blessings to you and yours!