Interview with Rose Madeline Mula – Rose’s work reflects her refreshing views on aging, and every-day irritations that plague us all. Including collections of humorous essays, “If These Are Laugh Lines, I’m Having Way Too Much Fun” (Pelican Publishing, May 2006); “The Beautiful People and Other Aggravations”(Pelican Publishing, March 2010); and a book of nursery-type rhymes for seniors, “Grandmother Goose: Rhymes for a Second Childhood” (Mindstir Media, December 2012), and Confessions of a Domestically-Challenged Homemaker & Other Tall Tales (Mindstir Media, April 2015). She also writes a monthly humor column for www.seniorwomen.com.
A: I always enjoyed writing, even as a child. However, I grew up in an era when career choices for women were limited to being a secretary, teacher, or nurse. It never occurred to me that I could be “a writer.”
Q:How long does it take you to write a book?
A: I don’t write novels, historical non-fiction, biographies, etc. My books are collections of short (mostly humorous) essays, which I write and publish in various magazines, newspapers and web sites. When I have enough, I compile them into a book. So I really can’t say how long it takes me to write “a book.”
Q:What is your work schedule like when you’re writing?
A: I’m afraid I’m not very disciplined. I don’t really have a work schedule. When an idea for an essay strikes, I sit down and usually write until I finish a draft of it and then revise and refine it over the next few days. I usually find that once I have a first sentence, a mysterious invisible force takes over and guides my fingers over the keyboard of their own accord. Often when I read a piece I’ve finished, I don’t really recognize it as something I wrote. At the risk of sounding immodest, I think, “Gee, this is really cute/clever/funny…” I don’t even remember actually writing it. It’s a great feeling.
Q:What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
A: Unlike many writers, I absolutely cannot create with pen/pencil and paper. Because typing is second nature to me (thanks to my early secretarial background, I suppose), getting my thoughts from my head to the keyboard is effortless. If I have to stop to manually write them down, it derails the whole process.
Q:How do books get published?
A: With great difficulty. It took me decades to find my first publisher—Pelican Publishing in Gretna, LA. And the day I FEDEXed my manuscript (IF THESE ARE LAUGH LINES, I’M HAVING WAY TOO MUCH FUN) to them was the day that Hurricane Katrina struck. I was unable to contact them for weeks and feared they might have gone under (literally!). Fortunately, they survived, but they lost many of their staff who moved away because their homes were destroyed. Gradually they regrouped and published my book—and subsequently my second collection of humorous essays, THE BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE & OTHER AGGRAVATIONS. It was a long, slow process; and because I realized I wasn’t getting any younger, I decided to self-publish, through Mindstir Media, my next two books, GRANDMOTHER GOOSE – RHYMES FOR A SECOND CHILDHOOD (a collection of nursery-type poems targeted to senior citizens) and a third collection of humorous essays, CONFESSIONS OF A DOMESTICALLY-CHALLENGED HOMEMAKER & OTHER TALL TALES.
Q:What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
A: I enjoy travel, reading, movies and spending time with good friends.
Q:When did you write your first book and how old were you?
A: Much too old to want to admit how old I was!
Q:Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
A: Ideas bombard me from the minute I wake up to when I fall asleep at night—and probably in my dreams, though I don’t remember those.
Q:What does your family think of your writing?
A: They’re extremely supportive and proud of everything I do (“Oh, look! See how cleverly she inhales and exhales.”)
Q:What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
A: That I actually could do it.
Q:How many books have you written? Which is your favorite?
A: Four, and I don’t really have a favorite. It’s like asking a parent to choose a favorite child.
Q:Do you have any suggestions to help me become a better writer? If so, what are they?
A:Read, read, and then read some more. And don’t be stymied by wrter’s block. Yes, that will happen from time to time. Just realize it’s temporary and will pass if you keep at it.
Q:Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
A: I do get very flattering, encouraging emails from time to time from readers who compare me to Erma Bombeck (the highest compliment anyone could pay me—I loved her!), and one from a woman who said my humor helped her overcome a tragic incident in her life. It’s very humbling and gratifying.
Q:Do you like to create books for adults?
A: Yes, because I can identify with my readers.
Q:What do you think makes a good story?
A: I have no idea. I could never write a novel because I’m terrible at plotting. I did work well for a time with a friend who was very inventive and imaginative. He would outline a story, and I would write it. Unfortunately, neither one of us was good at marketing (the biggest challenge!); so none of our work was published, but writing together was fun.
Q:As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
A: As I said before, either a nurse, teacher, or secretary. I never thought I had a choice. Women today are so much luckier.
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About your book/s
I write about everyday situations that annoy us all—TV infomercials, the stranger in my mirrors (that old lady whom I don’t recognize), leaky bladders and creaky knees, crazy fashions (sky-high stilettos and torn/frayed jeans that are more expensive than those that look new), junk mail…and hundreds of other pet peeves. If laughter is the best medicine, you can throw away all your prescriptions. My books will replace them all!
Since reluctantly accepting the fact that she’s not getting any younger, Rose Mula has been trying to put a positive spin on aging. When a radio interviewer diplomatically described her as “seasoned” instead of old, she retorted, “You mean hot and spicy, right?” Her eclectic career included stints as an executive assistant to the president of a major corporation, a public relations specialist for a prominent hotel company, and a manager of a chain of six New England theaters. Since retiring, she has had more time to indulge in her favorite hobby — writing humorously about every-day irritations that plague us all — especially aging (see “positive spin” above). Her wry observations have appeared on You Tube and in over a hundred publications, including The Christian Science Monitor, The Reader’s Digest, The Philadelphia Inquirier, and frequently in The Saturday Evening Post. She also writes a monthly column for Seniorwomen.com.
GRANDMOTHER GOOSE: RHYMES FOR A SECOND CHILDHOOD is a collection of humorous, seniors-related poems which explore a range of subjects – including coping with the computer age, discrimination against older drivers, and changing fashions (“As hemlines rise and necklines dip, it really is a riddle – if this trend continues, will they meet in the middle?”) We all will grow old – if we’re lucky. If we’re luckier still, we’ll be able to laugh about it. GRANDMOTHER GOOSE helps us do just that.
In this collection of humorous essays, the author considers hitting the streets with a sign that says: Will Work for Botox. She also contemplates, along with many other burning issues of our time, the “joys” of staying in cramped home offices instead of a hotel when visiting friends. This is a delightful potpourri of rants, nostalgia, and just plain fun.
This collection of 45 short, humorous essays is for anyone who has ever been annoyed or amused by the modern world. From everyday frustrations like those in It was Here a Minute Ago about misplacing keys and favorite recipes, to more eccentric experiences like those in How I Found God in Limbo-Land, about sharing a Bermuda resort with evangelical square dancers, Rose Mula knows how to laugh at herself and the world she inhabits.
If you’ve ever looked into a mirror and wondered who that old fogey is who’s staring back at you, this book is for you. This collection of humorous essays will make you smile not only about the inevitability of aging but even about the unstable stock market, the frustrations of dealing with Voicemail menu choices, the interminable waits on “Hold,” the generation gap, the challenges of the computer age, and almost everything else that annoys or gratifies you, no matter how old or young you are. A delightful potpourri of rants, nostalgia, and just plain fun.