We continue with our interview series with The Man in the Red Suit and The Man with the White Beard‘s author Bruce Templeton today! Here’s another five questions Bruce recently answered that reveal some interesting facts (like why the book is the size and shape it is) and some great stories about how the books are changing lives.
- What is the core message you’re trying to send with this book?
My readers tell me that these books are not an easy read and they are emotional. Of course they are because the Intensive Care Unit of the Janeway on Christmas Eve is an emotional place. I’m asking the reader to reflect quietly of their very early memories of their own family’s seasonal memories. Do you truly remember any item you got under a tree? Most people can tell you about activities they did as a family and that’s what I am asking my readers to create and recreate. It’s your presence, not presents that counts.
- How are you achieving that goal?
People have come and told me some wonderful stories of how the little book has changed their activities. One family had booked two days in Disney World because two days was all a very busy CEO could fit in. She read the book in tears on the flight down to Florida. At 6pm on the second day when they had walked their children’s legs to their knees in a rush to get through it all her children said they couldn’t walk anymore. Then the mother remembered the book. She talked to her husband, called her office, cancelled the meetings for the following week, turned off the cell phone and got on the roller coaster. They all came home four extra days later. That is the message of the first book and the new book, as well.
- For those new to writing a book, what are some of the challenges you’ve faced throughout the process?
The writing of the chapters is relatively easy for all I’m doing is putting down is the memory of a real experience that’s in my head. I expect a novel or a history may be easier because its fiction or the people are dead. But this is a memoir, here and now, with real people and real places. Corporations naturally require prior consent. Government departments require parental consent and one has to show that there has been no violation of the privacy act. Some of the consents are local, others are national and others are international, but it is worth it and you just doggedly press on.
- What kind of thought process when into the actual look and size of the book?
The answer lies in the support of an amazing publisher who listened carefully and then worked with me to polish my lump of coal. I did want it to be portable. I also measured the magazines and books I thought might be common in a house or office and designed mine so that it was half an inch smaller so that when you are stacking up books, mine goes on top!
- Do you have a story or two that are favourites of yours, and why?
I enjoy all of the experiences when Santa and I visit. But I especially enjoy the tough visits that I know must be made. Every child deserves a visit no matter what the circumstance. I also enjoy large groups of children where there are never enough adults to supervise and where some children seem quite intent to uncover a fake, but of course, they never do. The senior’s homes are rewarding as well. There can be some lonely souls there.