Wednesday, January 21, 2015

7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing-Author Interview

7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing
Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at  a Time!

Interview with Mary Anne Benedetto, Author

1-Why do you have such a passion for the topic of memoir writing?
My husband and I were touring Pearl Harbor a few years ago, and it was like a lightning bolt struck me in the head. I remembered that my own dad was at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 during the bombing and had survived. I tried to recall anything that he had ever told me about that day, but there were no details that came to mind. It was too late to ask him, as he had passed away about five years before my Hawaiian visit.

I was so upset with myself for never having taken the time and effort to obtain his stories while it was possible. It ignited a fire in my heart to inspire others to preserve their stories and to capture the memories of their loved ones before it is too late.

2-How did you prepare for teaching memoir writing? Did you have a background in teaching or writing?
I had always enjoyed writing for family and friends, and I had written my first novel, Eyelash. My education was actually in accounting, paralegal studies and employee benefits. I researched memoirs and personal history and found Denis Ledoux at what is now known as the Memoir Network ( in Maine. Although I was already over-committed between work, family and volunteer work, I couldn’t wait to begin this program to certify as a lifewriting instructor.

The program involved tele-conference classes with other students from all over the country plus a five day intensive writing class at his Maine location. Mr. Ledoux has been teaching memoir writing since 1988, so he really knows what works and what doesn’t. This was an excellent training program and a great experience. His book, Turning Memories Into Memoirs, is a valuable resource.

3-How did you actually get started teaching workshops?
Just about the time I finished the certification program, my husband and I relocated from the Albany, New York area to Murrells Inlet, South Carolina, where we knew exactly two people in the entire area.

Once again, I spent a great deal of time researching potential opportunities and found the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute at Coastal Carolina University. I met with Linda Ketron, Director, and proposed a workshop series for the following semester. She was extremely receptive and enthusiastic.

I incorporated the basics that I had learned from Denis LeDoux, continued to conduct extensive research on the subject and formulated my own workshop series that would be exactly what people would need to jump-start their memoir projects. I teach through OLLI at CCU as well as independently.

4-What prompted you to write a book about capturing memories?
Through teaching workshops, I could see a need to present the topic in an uncomplicated manner for senior citizens. I felt that the important goal is to simplify the process into easy steps for people to realize that preserving their stories does not have to be overwhelming. Using the step-by-step method in my book might not produce a Pulitzer Prize winning story, but it will get significant life stories and some family history into the hands of loved ones, and that is my primary goal and passion.

5-What is next on your agenda now that 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing is finished and out there for everyone to read?
I only hope that marketing the book will help raise awareness about the importance of preserving our stories to pass along to future generations. It is the only way they will know what we’d really like for them to know about our history.

Since publishing 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing, I also wrote and published my second inspirational novel, Never Say Perfect. Then along came a travel memoir about an unexpected trip to Italy entitled From Italy with Love & Limoncello. Additionally, I was helping people write their pet stories and produced Write Your Pet’s Life Story in 7 Easy Steps to enable pet owners  to capture those special stories at their leisure. I am currently working on the sequel to Never Say Perfect, and its title is Never Say Hopeless. I call myself a genre-hopper since I dash back and forth between fiction and nonfiction projects. I could work at my computer 24/7, but I have to remind myself to take a break sometimes!

6-How will 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing benefit the reader?
This book is a compact publication containing a powerful message and tool kit. Following the seven steps will guide the reader on a successful journey of memoir writing. It offers additional tips and hints that help to alleviate the overwhelmed feeling inherent in tackling a memoir project. It provides a comprehensive list of questions for interviewing relatives or for formulating your own story, a list of additional resources and select sample stories by my amazing memoir writing workshop students.

The reader will discover that preserving our stories, before they are no longer obtainable, can actually be an enjoyable experience! Children, grandchildren, nieces, nephews and future generations will be thankful to have in their possession the stories that we choose to write today! It is the only way they will really know who we were and how we lived.

7-How do I buy 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing?
It is available online at Amazon, Nook & Kindle. Visit for direct links to online purchase sites.

8-How can you be contacted?
              Telephone: (843) 215-4676

9-Brief Bio:

Mary Anne Benedetto is a speaker, blogger, Certified Lifewriting Instructor, ghostwriter and author of Eyelash, Never Say Perfect, 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time! , From Italy with Love & Limoncello and Write Your Pet’s Life Story in 7 Easy Steps! Her passions include helping people capture and preserve their memoirs, writing fiction, golf, family, world travel and walking the spectacular South Carolina beaches.

Monday, December 29, 2014

Begin the New Year with 7 Attributes That Can Make or Break You

Night of a Thousand Candles-Brookgreen Gardens-Murrells Inlet, SC
Christmas Day 2014 is history. The commercial buildup began in early October and culminated in a buying frenzy of last minute items and a To Do list that seemed never ending. In addition to the monumental task of shopping, a hectic schedule might have included baking, gift wrapping, entertaining, a Christmas card project, cooking, church services and travel. Is it any wonder that many people experience a post-Christmas letdown?

For anyone whose family is spread from one end of the country to the other, a choice of location for spending Christmas Day must be made and can be a heart-wrenching experience. We cannot be everywhere simultaneously.

Then we begin contemplating New Year’s resolutions. Exercise more often, eat a balanced diet, join a Bible study, consciously strive for an active and powerful prayer life, increase hospitality, volunteer, journal, begin a memoir project--the list is infinite. How can we begin on a path to encouragement and preparation for a brand new year?

I recently read a short book that can help produce some positive results as we flip the calendar from December 2014 to January 2015. 7 Attributes That Can Make or Break You by Jimi Akanbi is
a compact guide to help us evaluate the possibility of needing an attitude adjustment and trending toward more beneficial practices. A few of the topics covered are: jealousy, judging others, giving and wisdom. Reading the author’s text and supporting Scripture verses definitely gave me pause for soul-searching and considering my own actions and how I might apply these attributes to my life.

This book offers a glimpse of how to change bad habits into positive actions if one has aspirations to live a Divinely planned abundant Christian life. I particularly enjoyed the chapter entitled Living by Destiny, Not by Chance. It reminds me to perpetually (not just occasionally) seek a closer walk with God through His Word and to remember to ask for Divine wisdom in situations which arise, rather than leaving the outcome to chance or trying to forge my own path.

If you are looking for some new year inspiration, you may find that this little book will guide you in a positive, spiritually productive direction.

In The Words of the Author: 

"I am Jimi Akanbi. I am a Christian nonfiction author, who is sold out to God. I just do not write books as I feel; I write as I am inspired by God. I live in Atlanta, Georgia USA. I have an MBA in Finance from Mercer University-Atlanta, Georgia. I am currently an active member of the prayer and intercessory team at my church. I
Jimi Akanbi
have also served God as an usher and protocol officer at my previous church. I have undergone a formal ten week Bible training course. My interests include writing, counseling, ministry, movies, sports, music and more. I was miraculously called by God to be in the writing ministry, and I am acting in obedience.
This book discusses life inspiring and transforming details which are not found in any other Christian literature. The content is very instructive, thought provoking and succinct.

The message is to alert everyone that certain negative attributes can prevent one from getting the most out of life."

Jimi Akanbi, MBA
Author of: 
Uncommon Truths Leading To Success: Maximizing These Benefits of Christianity in Your Life
Taking Your Life To The Next Level: 7 keys To Living The God Kind of Life
7 Attributes That Can Make or Break You
Living a Fulfilled Life Daily
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Thank you all for stopping by today. For those in search of a memoir writing tip, consider this:

Don't allow the idea of memoir writing to terrorize or overwhelm you. Your story matters. Understand that this will be an ongoing project for a period of time--perhaps years. Plan to steadily devote blocks of time in order to progress. Each written story brings you closer to a completed project!
I wish everyone a new year filled with many blessings!

All the best,
Mary Anne Benedetto

Author of Eyelash, 7 Easy Steps to Memoir Writing: Build a Priceless Legacy One Story at a Time!, Never Say Perfect, From Italy with Love & Limoncello and Write Your Pet's Life Story in 7 Easy Steps!