Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Showcase: Rubber Band Girl by Jennifer Nielson

Rubber Band Girl is a heartwarming story of a mother and daughter who never give up on life or on each other.

Rubber Band Girl A Mother's Memoir: A Mother's MemoirMarfan Syndrome, or "Rubber Band Disease," as it is commonly called, has taken the lives of too many, too soon. A disease that attacks the ligaments of the body, it is associated with heart and vision problems, extreme flexibility of the joints, and, its most noticeable feature, excessive height.

In this inspiring memoir, Jennifer Nielson recounts her journey as the mother of Hadley, a beautiful young girl with Marfan Syndrome. Together, they climb the mountains of life-threatening health problems and endless doctor visits. Together, they travel through the deep valleys of sorrow and
loss. Together, they successfully manage Marfan's-and forge an unbreakable bond in the process.

Rubber Band Girl is a heartwarming story of a mother and daughter who never give up on life or on each other. Because of its honesty, positive tone, and happy ending, it will find an eager audience with any parent who has struggled with the health challenges of a child.

Where is Godzilla?” asked one of our neighbors. I stopped in my tracks. I was carrying a handful of treats to the table for our neighborhood picnic at the park, where we often gathered for potluck dinners and dessert. Now that she was a gregarious toddler, Hadley loved being with her friends—they would run and play for hours. As soon as we arrived she was off, scurrying away in her favorite red-and-white gingham dress with her little posse. 
“Excuse me?” I responded, certain that I must have misunderstood my neighbor’s inquiry.
She asked again, this time with a chuckle in her voice, “Where is Godzilla . . . you know, Hadley?” I could hardly believe my ears. And from an adult, no less.
“Godzilla?!” I said with disgust, summoning all my power to restrain the mother bear inside me from attacking. I walked away, stunned and speechless. With the blood boiling inside me, I sought out a bench away from everyone; this get-together had suddenly lost its allure.
As I sat alone, I heard the children giggling and screaming all around me. I heard a little voice shout, “Watch me, Mommy!” I turned in the direction of the voice and saw Hadley being pushed on a swing by her dad, enjoying herself without a care in the world.
“Hadley is going to be okay,” I reminded myself. Between her frequent visits to the doctor and unusual accidents, it was a mantra that I found myself reciting often.

Q.  What inspires your writing?
Personal experiences inspire my writing. 

Q.  What is your favorite thing about being an author?
My favorite thing about being an author is being able to share what I have learned from my own heartaches and experiences with others.  I love to find the humor and life lessons in the challenges I’m faced with.  First and foremost, I want to touch and inspire people!

Q.  What is the toughest part of being an author?
The toughest part of being an author is carving out the time to write.  With 5 children, that can definitely be challenging! 

Q.  If you could not be author, what would you do/be?
Being an author is only one of the many jobs I have……Of course, being a mom is my main job and priority.  Interior design and remodeling is another job I find very fulfilling.  I love the before and after process and using my creative juices so all of these jobs fit in quite nicely with that. 

Q.  What would the story of your life be entitled?
The story of my life would be entitled, “The Perfectly, Imperfect Life of Jennifer Nielson”

Q.  What is your favorite book of all time?
It is tough to narrow down my favorite book of all time.  I love historical fiction!  To be able learn something new while I’m reading is a bonus!  Since I’m obsessed with traveling I love books where I’m immersed in other cultures.  Kite Runner, Book Thief and The Other Bolyn Girl are a few books that come to mind.  Anything Jane Austen, too!

Q.  Which character from ANY book are you most like?
Since my book is a memoir, I am one of the characters!  While writing this book is was very introspective to see the growth I have made from being a young girl to the mother I am now. 

Q.  What is your favorite season?
My favorite season is Spring!  I love the sound of birds chirping, beautiful flowers and just the sense of renewal it brings!   I’m always happier when I’m surrounded by nature- trees, flowers, grass and water in any form (lakes, ponds, streams, beaches etc.)

Q.  What inspired your book cover(s)?  
The cover of the book has a story of its own.  I saw an amazing oil painting at Nordstroms that immediately drew me in.  My first thought was to use it as an inspirational piece for the cover but then I decided instead to contact the artist directly:  Claire B. Cotts.  She was gracious enough to take on the project.  She ended up doing a custom painting of my daughter, Hadley that completely captured the essence of the book.   Her figurative yet whimsical style was exactly what I was looking for.  I didn’t want a painting of a picture so to speak.  I wanted the cover to draw you in and she definitely accomplished that.  It far exceeded my expectations. 

Q.  Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book.
I’m very fresh in the promotional aspect of the book; it just came out in January.  I have had several touching encounters with people so far but one that stands out was at my first book signing.  My 6th grade Student Council teacher came and waited in line for her own personalized copy of the book.  What makes this even more special is that at 80 years old she is nearly blind, walks with a cane and had to be assisted by her daughter.  It was Christmas time and she doesn’t get out much but she wouldn’t miss the event.  I was very humbled by her love and support. 

Q.  Are you working on something new?
I am not currently working on anything new but I always have thoughts and ideas whirling around in my head.  I would love to tackle another book!

Q.  Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?
Since this sight is geared for mothers, I would tell them that there is something for all mothers, the young or not so young ladies, in Rubber Band Girl.  The intent of the book is to inspire and help others find joy in the journey, even when things don’t turn out the way we had envisioned.  Happiness is a choice!

JENNIFER BARNEY NIELSON has always considered writing therapeutic, which is demonstrated by a large collection of journals she still has dating back to kindergarten. She graduated Summa Cum Laude from Arizona State University with a degree in elementary education. A self-proclaimed "recovering" perfectionist, she has learned to fuse her creativity and energy to produce a successful home-based interior design business, teach music, travel the world, and raise a family. She and her husband, Talan, have five children and live in Gilbert, Arizona.


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