Author Takes on Alzheimer’s Disease in Debut Novel

Ellen_picI introduce to you Ellen Smith, debut author of Reluctant Cassandra. I had the opportunity for an advance read, and it is an intriguing story (and includes a cute dog!) that I thoroughly enjoyed. Ellen takes on big issues, drilling down to what they mean on a very personal level. Here’s more:

What is Reluctant Cassandra about?

Unwilling clairvoyant Arden McCrae must learn to stop avoiding her visions of the future and tackle life head-on. As her family and her town begin to fall apart, Arden discovers the strength she never knew she had.

Would you say this is a book about change, then, and how we handle change?

I would say so- in fact, I’d take it one step further. I think the book explores the conflict of when to move forward versus when to fight for what you had. Each of the characters explores that dilemma to some degree, and Arden most of all.

Does Arden use her clairvoyance as a crutch?

In some ways she does! Arden has visions of the future, but she also has the ability to sense the truth about the past. She runs the local antique store, and we see her depending on her ability to hear the stories behind her antiques in order to make sales. Arden is much more uncomfortable with her visions of the future, though!

Julianne Moore just won an Academy Award and a Golden Globe Award and several others for her role in Still Alice. What do you think surprises people the most about Alzheimer’s disease?

I think the most surprising thing is how different the effects of Alzheimer’s can be from one person to another. A number of people have said they were surprised by how quickly (or how slowly) their loved ones progressed through each stage. Others were very surprised by the personality changes their loved one went through while dealing with the confusion and frustration of living with Alzheimer’s.

What intrigued you about this disease that made you want to write about it?

When I first thought of Arden’s character, I wanted to see how she would react to a situation where she was moving forward but someone she loved was sliding back into the past. When I started doing research on Alzheimer’s disease and how it affected the patient and the whole family, the characters really started to develop.

Reluctant Cassandra will be available June, 2015. Visit Ellen Smith at http://ellensmithwrites.com/

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Man of Steel: Have All the Good Stories Already Been Told?

freedigitalphotos.net

freedigitalphotos.net

Last Thursday was my son’s birthday, and he wanted to go see a movie. In a theater, not in our house. I could only dig in my heels slightly when he said he wanted to see “Man of Steel.” After all… it was his birthday, so I had to be a good sport and push down my desire to use my last-resort trump card: no, because I said so. Instead, it was with gritted teeth and a grimace that I replied, “Yes, little darling… it is, after all, your day.” 

I was pleasantly surprised… I really enjoyed it. Tears, laughs, completely plugged in… who’d have thunk it? 

My initial gripe was that, here we go, Hollywood is regurgitating the same storyline over and over… and did I mention, over, again? In the name of all that’s creative, can’t they produce something fresh, new, original? Or have all the good stories already been told, and this is why we revisit the same thing, even if it is in new incarnations?

As I watched “Man of Steel,” I realized that all the good stories have already been told, and we will continue to see the same stories over and over. They will come as remakes of the same thing bringing a new twist and visual effects, or they will be those fresh, new, original stories we year for. All stories resonate with us because they share in common the same mythic structure: heroes and heroines, villains, mentors, challenges, tension, resolution.

All the good stories have been told and will continue to be told, packaged in the structure that makes them reach into our human psyche and touch our hearts.

What’s your take?