Illinois Author Earns Next Generation Indie Book Award for Dementia Novel
Kathleen H. Wheeler’s poignant family drama Brought to Our Senses named a finalist in the First Novel category of the Next Generation Indie Book Awards.
Illinois author Kathleen H. Wheeler’s debut Brought to Our Senses has been named a finalist in the First Novel category of the 2017 Next Generation Indie Book Awards. Known as the ‘Sundance’ of the book publishing world, the international book award competition recognizes the most exceptional books published independent of the “Big Five” conglomerates through small presses, larger independent publishers, university presses, e-book publishers, and self-published authors. The Next Generation Indie Book Awards are judged by leaders of the indie book publishing industry, including many coming from long careers with major publishing houses, to identify cream-of-the-crop books worthy of support to reach a wider audience of readers.
“Hey, let’s go to Six Flags today,” my mother suggested one Saturday morning in early June of 1980 as she hovered over the shabby sofa on which I sprawled. “We shouldn’t waste such a gorgeous day, and you don’t have to work, right?”
“Huh?” I peered up from the juicy novel I’d planned to devour first over summer break.
“Come on, it’ll be fun!” In one swift move, Mom confiscated the paperback and hoisted me from my cozy nest. “You can read in the car on the way there and back, okay?”
“What about the twins?” I asked about my sisters. “They’ll be ticked to be left out.”
“Yeah, right, aren’t you funny! And besides, they’re working today. This is our special treat … on me.”
My older siblings had entered the “it’s-not-cool-to-hang-with-Mom” stage of adolescence. At fourteen, I was headed in that direction too, testing my independence with my first job at McDonald’s and spreading my wings with activities away from home. The mood-swing-inducing hormones that would distance me from my mother for the better part of the next decade were already running through my veins. Continue reading →
Alzheimer’s Speaks Radio Interview on Family Saga Novel Brought To Our Senses
Heads up so you can tune in and listen to my interview with the fantastic Lori La Bey of Alzheimer’s Speaks about my new dementia fiction saga Brought To Our Senses. You can hear our interview for the first time on Thursday, December 1, 2016 at 1 pm CST, or you can listen anytime afterwards right here. Lori and her panel have great perspectives on the topics of the novel and bring up some really good points. Let me know what you think about our discussion! Continue reading →
Hooray! It’s been a long journey to get to this day. I want to take a deep breath and enjoy this accomplishment. The November release of Brought To Our Senses is well timed because it’s National Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month and National Family Caregivers Month. This book will speak to those affected by dementia and those charged with the care of aging parents. Continue reading →
A powerful love song pays tribute to family and tackles Alzheimer’s disease
Sharing the album x by Ed Sheeran from her music library, my daughter recently reminded me of the incredible power of music. My husband and I were driving her back to begin her sophomore year of college, and she selected the soundtrack for our road trip.
My daughter has excellent taste in music, and like me she is really into it. Music in our family is not a luxury, but instead a basic necessity like indoor plumbing or electricity . . . or chocolate. I’m a fan of Ed Sheeran too, who isn’t? He’s talented, introspective and sensitive and all that, like another British musician who also makes the female population go weak in the knees. So I was content to hum and tap along to his tunes as the miles and cornfields rolled by.
When the song “Afire Love” started up my daughter announced, “This song is so sad, Mom. It’s about Alzheimer’s disease. Just listen to the lyrics.”
Because I’m a big fan of her memoir The Glass Castle, I thought it was time to read another one of her books. I enjoyed The Silver Star and the fresh perspective offered by its twelve-year-old protagonist Bean. She and her older sister Liz are left to fend for themselves thanks to their selfish mother Charlotte, whose only concerns seem to be her lack of a singing career and herself.
I chuckled many times at the juvenile logic and rash actions of feisty Bean, like when she decides how to handle her biggest adversary—the big baddie Maddox—by killing him. When she realizes the error of her judgment, she decides to slash his tires instead. Sounds just like how an adolescent girl would think.
Time and again the two sisters face difficulties and conflict while their mother is nowhere to be found, only to have her show up . . . too little, too late. Thank goodness for Uncle Tinsley, who takes his nieces in and helps them out after their mother goes missing in action. Tinsley really is the hero to Bean and Liz, and I would have liked for him to be a bigger part of the story. He remained a mystery in many ways: his own life, his relationship with his sister Charlotte, and his feelings for and interactions with his sister’s daughters.
Alzheimer’s Daughter by Jean Lee is a triple threat memoir with an unthinkable premise. One parent diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease is a crisis, two parents diagnosed with Alzheimer’s is a disaster. Dual diagnoses and decline at the exact same time is a tragedy of epic proportions.
Alzheimer’s Daughter follows adult sisters, Rosie and Annette, as they discover and manage the progressing cognitive impairments of their aging parents. Ed and Ibby Church are a loving couple in their eighties who’ve been married for over sixty years. Their two children are united in efforts acting as responsible caregivers to keep the parents they love safe through heartbreaking decisions, from the first telling hints of memory lapses through the inevitable end of life issues.
Brought To Our Senses, Chapter 2: screwed-up family relationships
“We haven’t even figured out where to start, and we’re already at each others’ throats,” said Tom, his voice trailing off as he looked out the window into the harbor.
Elizabeth ran her hands through her hair and leaned back in her chair. “You know, we’re not like these other families,” she said with a nod to the diners around them, “privileged and perfect in their blue blazers and obnoxious jewelry. And we’re never gonna sail off into the sunset.”
“Yeah, I know, I don’t expect a miracle. But we should be able to sit down and talk without someone going off, for crying out loud.”