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In Conversation With Barbara Bella Author of Mother-Daughter Days on Russian Hill: Tales of Love and Laughter.
From:
Norm Goldman --  bookpleasures.com Norm Goldman -- bookpleasures.com
For Immediate Release:
Dateline: Montreal , QC
Saturday, October 3, 2020

 

Bookpleasures.com welcomesas out guest Barbara Bella author of Mother-Daughter Days on RussianHill: Tales of Love and Laughter.

Barbara has been a workingmom and owner of a premier West Coast Publishers’ RepresentativeFirm which provides advertising sales management for magazine brandsin print and digital formats.  Employing over 150 professionalsin San Francisco and Los Angeles over the course of her career,Barbara has been both mentor and colleague. 

She has served on theBoard as Trustee of San Francisco University High School and is ChairEmerita of Golden Gate Philharmonic youth orchestra.  Barbarahas planned ten Mother-Daughter trips over a decade with anothermother-daughter duo where together they have traveled the world. She became a CASA last year and currently mentors a high school youthin San Francisco.  She resides on Russian Hill, San Franciscowith her husband, John Baccaglini.  One of her greatest joys isthe loving relationship she has with her daughter Bree, now 27.

Norm: Good day Barbara andwelcome to Bookpleasures.com

Norm: How did you decideyou were ready to write Mother-Daughter Days on Russian Hill: Talesof Love and Laughter?


Barbara:  I retiredthree years ago and had a vague notion of projects and activities Ithought could be fun to do to stay productive and active in thischapter of my life; some of these way off in the future. 

Writing the stories of thesheer fun and joy I had raising my daughter fell into the category ofa project for some undefined distant date.  I wanted to write itjust for her and I imagined she would someday read about herchildhood with her own child or children. 

But then the pandemichit.  This curtailed so many of my activities, so it seemednatural to move to something that required quiet and solitary time totackle.  

Norm: Did you write yourbook more by logic or intuition, or some combination of the two?Please summarize your writing process. 

Barbara: Both wereneeded.  Over the years, I have enjoyed casually writing funpoems for friends and colleagues to mark special occasions of bigbirthdays, or Holiday celebrations.  This process has alwaysbeen intuitive…and was always designed as a one-time read-aloud forthe recipients. 

My first draft of the booktook this loose approach to get the arch of the narrative down. From there, I needed to apply much more discipline and logic. Iwanted the readers to be able to visualize the full experience and doso with rhyming verse that offered both pleasurable sounds and propercadence, so that it would be lyrical and logical…and work foranyone reading this aloud.  

Also, because this wasdesigned to be an illustrated book, my words had to be thespringboard for the illustrator, so if I told the story well, itwould allow an artist to capture the feeling I was trying to create;the feeling of love and fun I experienced with my daughter over theyears. 

Norm:  What was oneof the most surprising things you learned in creating your book?

Barbara: Well, I honestlynever intended to pursue a broader audience.  But as I gotgoing, I found that the book resonated with other moms and theirdaughters.  There was a quality that was so universal that itled to mission creep.  Then when I found Amber Rae Malott, theyoung artist who so intuitively understood the emotion, and was ableto convey the spirit of my story I knew I had to promote the book asway of promoting her talent. 

While this was myretirement project, Amber is just starting out and I want her to gainexposure—all the illustrations are hand-drawn and painted…andthey all capture exactly the sweetness and poignancy of this story.  

Norm: How has your variousexperiences mentioned in your bio influenced the writing of yourbook?

Barbara:  I am notsure I really know, but my professional background is grounded in theprinciples of communication and empathy, so I imagine that this hasplayed a hand.  

Norm: What was yourrelationship with your mother when you were growing up? 

Barbara: In many ways itwas the opposite.  I was one of eight children, raised at a timewhen your mom said, “be home in time for dinner” or “be homebefore it gets dark”, and off you would go. 

Childhood companionshipwas with friends and siblings more so than with your parents. And at home, you always had someone to play with. 

My daughter was an onlychild, raised in a city during a period of play dates andsupervision.  I just could not raise an only child and leave herto have no one to play with in the home.  I had to figure outhow to be Bree’s parent, yet also provide her with companionshipwithin the home. 

It was a careful balancebecause your child always needs her or his parents to be theauthority figures, so they feel safe and secure.  

Norm: What were your goalsand intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achievedthem? 

Barbara:  Myintention was to commemorate the happiness and fun and love ofraising my child.  Because we happen to live in such an iconicneighborhood it lent the story an additional interesting character ina sense.  Finding Amber completed the vision.  My goal wasrealized when I presented the book to my daughter Bree and we sattogether while I read it aloud to her.  We were both burstingwith love and so I’d say I achieved my goal!! 

Norm: Prior to yourwriting of your book, had you read any books concerningmother-daughter relationships? If so, which ones and did they inspireyou to write your own book?

Barbara: I love readingand am always with a book. My home is bursting at the seams withbooks and magazines.  My career was spent with magazines. 

Yet I do not considermyself a writer in the literary tradition.  I am a mom who canspin a good rhyming verse to tell a story-- I have to believe thateverything I’ve ever read inspired me to commemorate for posteritythis singular love story for my daughter. 

Norm:  If you couldrelive a moment in your life with your daughter, which moment wouldyou choose and why?

Barbara: As I say in thebook, “There isn’t any one day I liked more than any other…eachtime that we’re together is just perfect for this mother!”

Norm: What do you thinkmost characterizes your writing?

Barbara:  I hope mywriting is characterized by good energy, fun and love!

Norm:  Did you thinkabout your reading public when you created your book? Did you imaginea specific reader when you wrote the book?

Barbara:  As Idescribed, my initial audience was Bree and my imagined futurechild(ren).   It was only later in the process that I thought ofthe broader audience and how any mother could find this story awindow to her own sweet reminisces and cherished memories.  

Norm: How did you workwith Amber Rae Malott, the illustrator of your book?

Barbara: I cannot extolenough my appreciation and affection for Amber.  We did the bookin three phases.  Amber lives in Florida, so I took pictures andvideos of the Russian Hill neighborhood and we talked about whatsites, landmarks, vendors, or even objects should be in each stanza. 

I sent her various photosof  Bree and myself over the years so she could get to know us a bit. She then drew a draft all the stanzas with her own creativeexpression.  Amber considered doing some of the buildings withdigital techniques, but then found that her hand-drawing offered afar superior complement. 

From there she began thereal work of drawing and painting each page.  She sent them tome so we could collaborate on any adjustments.  She was a truepartner and her patience and commitment made all the difference inproducing this gorgeous book.  

Norm: What did you did youfind most difficult in writing your book? Please explain.

Barbara:  Getting thecadence just right without sacrificing a well-chosen word, phrase orrhyme.  

Norm: Many people have theskills and drive to write a book, but failure to market and sell thebook the right way is probably what keep a lot of people from findingsuccess. Can you give us 2-3 strategies that have been effective foryou in promoting your book?

Barbara:  I’m atearly stages, but here’s what I suggest;

  • Try reaching out toorganizations that are organically symbiotic to see how you can worktogether.  For me, I am reaching out to mother-daughterassociations and organizations.  I am reaching out tobusinesses who are located or connected to Russian Hill, SanFrancisco.

  • Try reaching out toyour own network and hope it can be a multiplier.  For me, Iwill be announcing my book to all my family, friends and colleaguesvia email and social media and asking them to share with their ownnetworks.  

  • Try to get your bookreviewed in a variety of places.  For me, I thank you for thisinterview!

Norm: Where can ourreaders find out more about you and Mother-Daughter Days on RussianHill: Tales of Love and Laughter?

Barbara: They can visit my WEBSITE:   I invite readers to sendme their stories, and in rhyming verse if they wish, in hopes that Ican compile a collection of mother-daughter tales from across thecountry!  Readers can buy the book online at:

Norm: What is next forBarbara Bella?

Barbara:  Asreferenced above, on the last page of the book, I invite readers totell me their own tales by sending to barbara@motherdaughterdays.com,and in rhyming verse if they are so inclined). 

And meanwhile, I amworking with my friend on a sequel of sorts called Mother-DaughterDays Around the World: Tales of Fun and Adventure.  This bookwould tell the story of a mother-daughter duo who took 10 tripstogether around the world.  This one is based on trips takenwith Bree and me with my friend Carla and her daughter Serafina overa ten-year period from 8-18!  

Norm: As this interviewdraws to a close what one question would you have liked me to askyou? Please share your answer. 

Barbara:   I wouldsay that writing a book that you plan to self-publish requires a lotof patience because it involves so much more than just writing thebook.  It required a significant investment of time to figureout how to get it printed, distributed, promoted. And for illustratedbooks, it requires ability to collaborate with the visual artist toachieve a mutually satisfying experience and outcome.  I’m soglad I did this.  I learned a lot and I found the whole endeavorto be very satisfying.    

Norm: Thanks once againand good luck with your book.

Follow Here to Read Norm's Review of Mother-Daughter Days on Russian Hill: Tales of Love and Laughter .

 Norm Goldman of Bookpleasures.com

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Name: Norm Goldman
Group: bookpleasures.com
Dateline: Montreal, QC Canada
Direct Phone: 514-486-8018
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