Monday, June 10, 2013

Interview With My Aunt

I recently had a chance to interview a new author about a book she recently released, titled Your Story Matters...Tell It. The fun part for me is that this isn't just a first-time author, it is my aunt. Linda Bunker has finally decided to tell her story of her long-term relationship with my Aunt Nancy. It's a wonderful book, and I highly recommend the read.

What is your book about?
This is a fifty-five years journey of a lesbian couple. In 1958, a girl of sixteen met woman of twenty-four. Against all odds and self-inflicted restraints, they selfishly allowed themselves to fall passionately in love. Fifty-five years later they find themselves still sharing their “secret” love. They have decided that now is the time to come “out of the closet.”

How long ago did you have the idea to write your story and what inspired you to do so?
When I was in the bridal business I always used to say, “When I retire I am going to write a book.” I naturally thought it would be about the bridal business. As one can imagine, there were plenty of stories that amassed over our thirty-four years of being in this highly tense business. I have always enjoyed writing—letters, business advertisements, commentary for fashion shows, even eulogies! My mother was a great writer and documented many pages—all family related. One day I got a letter from my niece saying her daughter was gay, had a partner, and they wanted to get married. My initial stupid thought was, “Does my niece think my ‘gay’ gene was passed down to her daughter?” In the first place, I did not think my nieces or nephew knew I was gay—I never told them and they never asked. Anyway, this news had quite an effect on me—I felt so bad. I didn't want this beautiful girl to be a lesbian.

Long story short, it brought back memories of my fifty-five years—the hurts, the difficulties....I decided I wanted to write everything down for my family. They always held me in high esteem and I wanted them to know the truth. I had no intention of publishing my story for sale, but it was required through self-publishing.

Tell me a little about your partner…
Do you have time?
Where do I start… in our younger years she was what I would call an Italian Matriarch, ruling those around her, especially me. However, outside of those she ruled, she was the life of the party—everyone's friend—always so generous, loving, helpful, and giving of herself. In her “golden years” she has given up her “throne” and opened all her goodness, letting everyone share in her light. Our relationship has never been as wonderful as it is now.

What did she think of the book?
Would you believe that she watched me write day after day, sometimes for hours, for over a year and
never asked to read anything? She did not read the book until after it was published. I was a nervous wreck...I thought I would be “ the moon…”, but she just said she was very proud and went out in our community to spread the word that my book was published. Am I happy? No words can express how wonderful I feel.

Is there a message in your writing?
I think now that the message I want to send is that it was our hard years of living the secret that has built an acknowledgment and acceptance of gays and lesbians today. It was all part of the process. We had to live it to advance it to where it is today. The biggest message is that a lesbian is born a lesbian....why would anyone ever choose to be one—there certainly are little or no benefits!

I hope my book also promotes the idea of real love and devotion. There is such a thing! I am the luckiest person to have been blessed with it.

What are you working on now?
I got all the “serious” stuff out of my system and now I am remembering the “funny” stuff and am taking the liberty of embellishing situations Nan and I have experienced—most of which have taken place in our golden years. The title is The Adventures of Claudia and Estelle, and I hope to use some illustrations of two old cartoon-like ladies. This is going to be fun for me; however, I don't know if it will be funny to readers who don't know us... oh well!

For you, what is the most difficult part of the writing process?
This is easy to answer. My “lover” is jealous of my computer. I have to write when she is playing golf, watering the garden, or sleeping late in the morning. I also find that after three o'clock in the afternoon my body and my brain shut down. This could be attributed to the fact that they know it is almost “martini” time!

Do you write for other publications?
Yes, I write a monthly column for our local newspaper, The Prospect Pages. It is called “Residing at Regency” and I have been doing this for the past three years. We live in such an active adult community that there is always something to write about.

I really write about anything I want to and because of my love of “quotations” I try to pick one and then relate it to something here.

What do you like to read?
I love to read, and read every night when I go to bed. I have just treated myself to a Kindle reader which I love. In the past when I would be holding a “real” book, sometimes I would doze off and wake with a start as the book fell on my head!

I prefer non-fiction books—bios, memoirs, etc. Current books I have enjoyed are No Ordinary Times, The Absolutist, and An Invisible Thread.

What writer influenced you the most?
Without a doubt it was my mother. Although she never published anything she was a beautiful writer, always interjecting comedy with the serious. I never tire of reading her stories, most of which are handwritten.

Do you have any advice for other writers?
I don't think I am qualified to give any advice other than follow your heart.

Where can people learn about your books?
The can order my books through Amazon. Outside of that, I guess they will have to get in touch with my niece, Narielle!