I MET PAULA Riseley-Duchin several years ago at a local writers’ group through the West Des Moines library. Her first book , Hormonally Challenged "Meanie Pause", is a humorous look at mid life. Paula lives in West Des Moines with her husband, Steve, and son. She has three adult children and many grandchildren. Her loves are also her pets: Lacy, a Shih Tzu; Gidget, a Chihuahua; and Buddy, a three legged cat. She is an animal lover. According to Paula, “life is not defined by people, places or things", it is defined by talking to God and listening to what He has to say. A cancer survivor and granted another chance at life and she doesn't want to goof it up. It isn't about religion, it is spiritual, she feels there is a difference.
Mike: Thank you for joining me today, Paula. Tell me a little about your book, Hormonally Challenged "Meanie Pause," and how it came to be.
Paula: I searched diligently for a book that would help me go through my change in my life; I was young, and didn't fit the profile of menopause – I fit the profile of insanity. Yes I did keep doing the same thing over and over expecting a different result. How was that working for me? Not too well. I found books that talked to old people – over 50 (I am there now and it doesn't feel that old), but when I was going through the anxious nutties I didn't know what to do. I think most mothers fill their daughters in on this but my mom died of bone and breast cancer and she wasn't there for me to rely on. So I thought about my [high school] teacher, Mr. Galvin, and what he said. I couldn't find the book to help me so I wanted to write a book to help others; I was not the only person going through this, I just knew it. I felt the pages with pain, and a lot more things, and I discovered that humor and hormones helped and I also discovered that I was not crazy, I was just out of balance.
M: How did you come to deal with these matters in such a humorous way?
P: Oh what other way is there? I had already cried so humor was all there was left. I did funny things and I wanted other people to know how they look to others going through this stuff. I grew long hairs on my chin and it was not supposed to be this way!
M: How do you view humor?
P: Humor is the medicine that heals our soul. All the health care in the world can't compare with the free prescription of a big dose of humor that God writes for us daily.
M: You've chosen to self-publish, is there a particular reason?
P: I am a controller and I like to do things myself, plus I like to collect the money and it is alllllll mine! Actually, I just thought I would try it, there are some draw backs: finding a printer that wants to print 1000 books at a time. Today, in this economy many places have gone out of business.
M: Does that give you any marketing advantages?
P: I am blessed, there seems to be physicians that want to stock my books, you know I am cheaper than some of the alternatives: anti depressants, beta blockers, etc.; nail salons also do very well with the books, as do bowling establishments, specialty shops and word of mouth.
M: How is your book marketed?
P: Everywhere I go I share my book. All men need to read it, it gives some great insight to what to do with their wives during those times and some men experience it all the time. The wives need the book to enjoy and to learn what comes next in life, life is not over it has just started. My other books soon to come out will balance things: Man Oh Meanie Pause was a lot more fun to write I don't know why.
M: Can you tell us about the process you use to write? Do you write at certain times of the day, or do you have a certain amount of words or pages you do at a sitting?
P: I am a heartfelt writer, I do it better at night than any other time, I like to have a confused, stressful mind to vomit out words sometimes; and other times I need a clear thought process. I like to keep my chapters short; I call my book really good bathroom material: you actually can read an entire chapter at one setting. I also love to watch people and I write about what I see, there is so many funny things that take place in a day if you stop and look and listen. It is often my journal, if you listen when you read it you can hear me giggle, or even cry sometimes. I live in the pages of my books.
M: How did you get started writing?
P: I watched Oprah, one day she said "if you think you can do something then do it", so I went to the computer and did it. I didn't know I was writing my first book but hey, I did it!
M: I understand you have a second book, can you tell me something about it?
P: Man oh' Meanie Pause, and the (second edition of Hormonally Challenged Meanie Pause), both will be out soon you need to follow my blog. Man oh' Meanie Pause is my baby, it is about boys to men, and I love it because it was not about me. Men go through that time of the month and lady's you may not agree but sometimes men go through it all month long.
M: When will it be ready for sale?
P: I have hope that it will be out 2011, maybe before, if my blog generates enough interest we could bring it out sooner.
M: You've published some other materials dealing with cancer. Can you tell us what they are and how they came to be?
P: I am a cancer survivor, double mastectomies, reconstruction, and implants, it has been a hoot. I just wrote about the experience, my disappointments of not looking like Pamela Anderson, after all was said and done, and yet I am very pleased with how I feel and it was all worth it. I do look great, I look like me with great big ... blessings.
M: If anyone wants to contact you, how do they do so?
P: My e-mail is: Gapaula@aol.com, my blog: http://gapaula.blogspot.com/, and a profile: http://www.google.com/profiles/meaniepause#about. I want to thank you so much for inviting me to your blog and I will look forward to your mentoring others on their journey through the writers world as I feel you have with me and many others in our group. You have been an inspiration to me.
M: Thank you, Paula.