Learning to be the person I never really knew after I retired was a process that defies age and inspires courage. Taking that first step to a “brand new you” allowed me to embrace uncertainty and grow as an individual.
Becky Kueker – 12 June 2019
The Back Flap
Becky Kueker thought she had it all, publishing a new book, Hiding in My Pajamas, three years ago, and launching a national speaking career traveling the country at 75. What more could you ask coming off a two year low after she retired struggling with the emotional stereotypes that deal with retirement and aging. It was not until a complicated surgery requiring six months in a wheelchair and endless rehab, turned her life in a new direction she could never have expected. Fighting fear, depression and the realization that she would once again have to start over, Becky shares her journey facing a new beginning discovering that it’s laughter that changes everything.
Meeting passionate people who inspired her, chapters are filled with poignant stories from women and men who have proven that aging does not have to define you and new beginnings are possible. Their stories are powerful and highlight the determination it takes to live your best life and what the passage of time means to how capable we are of embracing change.
Not being financially prepared for retirement has become a national epidemic. Her chapter, Learning to Live After Retirement, features stories from those who were not aware that not planning was just speculating and rolling the dice on what might be. The shock that their savings will not be sufficient to retain the lifestyle they lived before offers a glimpse of a generation not prepared.
Interviewing her husband and other men about retirement and aging highlights the unexpected marital turbulence that finds its way into very personal struggles that no one saw coming.
Finding humor every painful step of the way as she learns how to walk again, A Classic in Clown Shoes is a roller coaster ride of emotions resonating with honesty.
About the book
What is the book about?
In the fall of 2017 my life turned upside down when I learned I was going to have a complicated surgery that would leave me in a wheelchair for 6 months and endless rehab, as I learned to walk again. Fighting fear, depression, and the realization that I would have to start over, I began to write about my journey facing a new beginning at 75. The book is filled with powerful stories from people who inspired me, highlighting the determination it takes to live your best life. Although the stories are sometimes painful, what made it all worthwhile was discovering that laughter really does change everything.
When did you start writing the book?
I started writing my new book in the fall of 2016
How long did it take you to write it?
It took me about one and half years of very intense writing to complete.
Where did you get the idea from?
I wrote my first book, Hiding in my Pajamas in 2015. This book focused on the emotional side of aging that no one talks about. My struggle with stereotypes that deal with aging, and the marital turbulence I was not expecting, was of great interest to my readers. After hundreds of conversations and e-mails, readers asked for more about how I was coping, what had I learned, and how my marriage was doing. In essence, they wanted an update.
Were there any parts of the book where you struggled?
Yes, my chapter, “Depression Made Me Do It” was a personal struggle because for the first time I “came out”, if you will about being diagnosed with severe Clinical Depression after I retired. There is such a stigma attached to depression that it was hard to find the right voice to encourage and inspire.
What came easily?
Writing about my marriage and the issues we continue to have even since my first book was published. My husband still owns his own business and he is away a great deal, so his life is very different from mine and the chasm between us seems to grow wider. It took a lot for him to agree with what I wrote about our struggles in this book. But we both agreed that sharing might help others who found themselves in a similar situation.
Are your characters entirely fictitious or have you borrowed from real world people you know?
All of the characters in my book are real. Some let me use their names and other did not, but they are real people, dealing with the issues I write about.
We all know how important it is for writers to read. Are there any particular authors that have influenced how you write and, if so, how have they influenced you?
I loved the writing of Nora Ephron because she was so open and free about herself and her experiences about aging. What she wrote was hilarious and transcended many ages. I wanted to be able to find the courage to be honest in the same way about my feelings and how society impacts you as you age.
Do you have a target reader?
Yes, my target reader is between the ages of 45 and 65.
Do you have a writing process? If so can you please describe it?
My writing process has been pretty disciplined. I usually write early in the mornings for at least a couple of hours. But sometimes I wake up at night and write into the early morning.
Do you outline? If so, do you do so extensively or just chapter headings and a couple of sentences?
I only outline stories I want to share and expand upon them as I write. I do chapter headings to keep me focused.
Do you edit as you go or wait until you’ve finished?
I do some editing along the way but I find I am very critical about my work and have to be careful to not take good ideas and ruin them before they are really explored.
Did you hire a professional editor?
Absolutely I do hire a professional editor. Having a different perspective is imperative. I think it is a must, especially if self-publishing.
Do you listen to music while you write? If yes, what gets the fingers tapping?
No. I like quiet when I am writing. Mainly creative juices or ideas keep me excited and the words flowing.
Did you submit your work to Agents?’
No, I did not submit my work to any agents.
What made you decide to go Indie, whether self-publishing or with an indie publisher? Was it a particular event or a gradual process?
To save my sanity after I retired, I just sat down and started to write. I thought when I wrote my first book that no one would really be interested in what I had to say. When I let a former client read the first draft she said I should have it published and explore self-publishing. I started researching what I needed to do to publish a book and finally selected a publisher.
Did you get your book cover professionally done or did you do it yourself?
Yes, I had a custom cover designed by the publishing company.
Do you have a marketing plan for the book or are you just winging it?
I wrote a very specific marketing plan for this book. I did not for the first book because as I stated in a previous question, candidly I just wrote it to save my sanity. I thought I would purchase 100 copies to send to friends and family at Christmas. When it took off and I became a national speaker, I was floored. But this book I wanted to market differently to attract, hopefully, a younger audience.
Any advice that you would like to give to other newbies considering becoming Indie authors?
Do your homework about who you expect or want your audience to be, and will your words resonate with them. Work with a good publisher that has all the tools, as well as bells and whistles to choose from. I have learned so much from my first book about what not to do that there is, of course, much to share. Having a social media presence is so important. I did not take it at all seriously when I wrote my first book. But I have learned the hard way that having a presence on Kindle, Nook, Apple iPad, Google, etc. is absolutely imperative to getting your book to a national audience. Although I still love to hold a book and turn the pages, I understand the power of social media, and that there is a whole new generation that picks up their tablet and reads.
Where did you grow up?
I grew up in the San Francisco Bay area
Where do you live now?
What would you like readers to know about you?
Writing two books has allowed me to become a different person in so many ways I never thought possible. Learning to be the person I never really knew after I retired was a process that defies age and inspires courage. Taking that first step to a “brand new you” allowed me to embrace uncertainty and grow as an individual.
What are you working on now?
I am considering a novel for my next book based on the love affair my grandmother kept secret for more than twenty years.