Our guest is Doreen McGettigan, who is a novelist and book coach. She’s the author of “A Stranger in My Recliner” and “Bristol Boyz Stomp.” Both are stories that were inspired by incidents that happened in her life.
Coming to you this time in a fabulous broadcast studio in a clothes closet in Cucamonga.
As a book coach, she works with many business professionals. One of her talks as a sought-after speaker is called, “Books are the new business card.” She encourages her business clients to write books to increase their credibility as experts in their fields. She helps them find agents and publishers, shows them how to self-publish and gives them marketing strategies. She also coaches authors of fiction and non-fiction books.
Doreen previously worked as a feature writer for newspapers and wrote on a variety of topics including entertainment and politics. However, even though she was an experienced writer, it wasn’t easy becoming a novelist.
“Bristol Boyz Stomp” is about the murder of her 26-year-old brother by a group of teenagers with road rage.
Doreen says road rage is an important topic to think about because people over the age of 50 are becoming the worst offenders.
Her brother was coming home from band practice with some of his band members. Someone in a car motioned him to pull over. Thinking they were fans, he pulled over. One of the teens punched him in the face. A fight ensued but after it was over her brother and his friends offered them tickets to their concert, got back in their car and sat there for a while, in disbelief that the fight had happened. Suddenly two cars blocked them in. 7 kids came out of their cars and beat her brother and friends with hammers and baseball bats. They knocked out her brother but his friends got away. Her brother died and the others were badly hurt.
“A Stranger in My Recliner” is the story of when her husband brought home an elderly homeless woman and she ended up living with them for two years. He went to a meeting on a cold October night in Philadelphia and it was starting to sleet. When he came out of the meeting an elderly woman who was carrying groceries fell down in front of him. He helped her up and insisted on taking her home. After riding around for a while, the woman (Sophie) finally admitted she was homeless and lived in the woods.
She had mental health issues and her family had disowned her. Doreen spoke with her family and describes them as disgusting. Sophie was 80 years old when she moved in with her and was a handful, but eventually, they fell in love with her. Doreen’s family and her neighbors were supportive and some helped care for Sophie when they were away.
Sophie hated to bathe, which was a challenge but Doreen had worked with hospice patients and eventually bribed her to take a bath by offering to take her to McDonald’s and Walmart. While Doreen was washing her, she felt a lump on her neck that turned out to be cancer. They took her to the doctor but Sophie refused treatment. They took care of her as long as they could until it got to her brain and she was too dangerous to have at the house.
Doreen tried the entire time to get Sophie help through agencies, politicians, etc., but got nowhere. According to the law, if a person is living in a home, they are no longer considered to be homeless. We discuss the plight of the homeless, the mentally impaired, and laws regarding them.
Doreen’s book coach tips for writers
- Most new writers sit down and try to write a story from beginning to end. But a story doesn’t always flow out of us like that. She says it’s better to start with an outline and then title your chapters. (knowing they can be changed later) Then you can work on various parts of the book when you’re inspired. Words flow out of you easier that way. It’s also a good way to get unstuck.
- The next best advice she has is to never give up.
- Always use a literary editor to check for content and typos.
She has a third book coming out that will be about writing tips, based on her blog’s “Writing Wednesday’s” posts.
You can read Doreen’s blog at www.doreenmcgettigan.com