Christine Adamec has written more than 40 books and hundreds of magazine, newspaper and Web articles, but our conversation with her today is about her book, Surviving Your Pet’s Death: Coping with Your Pain and and Helping Your Children
This book is for anyone who has loved and lost a pet and feels very sad about the loss. Many people don’t understand, and they will say, “It was only a dog/cat/horse/other pet.” Or worse, they may urge you to rush out and obtain a replacement animal. But you know it does matter and when you are actively grieving, no other animal can be a substitute. You may also think your feelings are weird or unusual. They’re not. Read this book and learn how others cope with the loss of their pets and ease their pain.
Writers-Editors Network: Chris, What inspired you to write this book?
Christine Adamec: I have loved and lost many pets. I have also seen the bereavement of the loss of a pet belittled by others. If you are very sad over the loss of your pet, you are not strange—many people feel this way.
Writers-Editors Network: I noticed you published this book through CreateSpace – what was your reason for going through CS instead of a traditional publisher?
Christine Adamec: I was considering self-publishing another book that was very important to me, so I decided to use this self-publishing experience as a test case.
Writers-Editors Network: How has your CreateSpace experience been? Any advice or cautions for other writers?
Christine Adamec: My CreateSpace experience was very positive. The people there were very helpful and answered all my questions quickly. The only caution I would give is that you must be careful to do an excellent job of copy editing yourself.
People hate reading books that are replete with typos and other errors. Yet errors easily creep in. So check and check again before you go final.
How she writes …
Christine Adamec: At home in my office. I have everything I need there: the computer, the phone, the fax machine, lots of paper and pens.
Writers-Editors Network: Should we assume you outlined your book first, before you started writing?
Christine Adamec: I had a chapter by chapter outline beforehand.
Writers-Editors Network: When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
Christine Adamec: About thirty years ago and it was the right decision!
Writers-Editors Network: Your career has covered the gamut — from articles to ghostwriting to your own books. If you were to start over, would you have done anything differently? Or concentrated sooner in any writing area?
Christine Adamec: No. I started with writing newspaper and then magazine articles and am glad I did. This work gave me a great deal of experience. It also allowed me to delve into areas that fascinated me. For example, I broke into McCall’s magazine by writing about children’s software. This was the era of the Commodore 64 and yet no one was writing about children’s programs — and there were so many wonderful ones. I enjoyed that experience a lot. Now I write books and I am happy with these larger projects. So I wouldn’t change anything.
Writers-Editors Network: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
Christine Adamec: As with many writers, I like to read! I also like to play with my cat Fluffy and my grandson Tyler, who lives with me.
Writers-Editors Network: Do you have any advice for writers who want to write nonfiction books?
Christine Adamec: Find out what people are curious about and check out other books on this topic. If there are very few and they are missing important information that you could provide, then proceed!
Writers-Editors Network: How would you advise writers to meet the challenges in today’s marketplace?
Christine Adamec: Tough question! Find your niche. For me, it is largely medical writing, with an emphasis on psychological and psychiatric topics. Not only must you find a niche that interests you, but it needs to be one for which there is a need.
If you find an area where you think you’d like to concentrate, consider if it is heavily covered by others. Even if it is, you may find a sub-topic that writers have largely ignored.
I would also recommend learning how to do research. I learned how to research in college and it has held me in good stead for all these years. Of course, there was no PubMed or Google back then! Also, find multiple sources for important facts. I have found that sometimes a “known fact” is only known because many people repeat it many times. In fact, it may not be true at all. For example, with my first book, There ARE Babies to Adopt, I knew the prevailing wisdom was that nobody could adopt a baby because there weren’t any. Yet I had developed my own strategy to adopt my son. So I wrote about it. Then I wrote many other\books about adoption.
So challenge the prevailing wisdom. It may be accurate and it may be completely wrong. This type of challenge requires research — not only in the form of reading journal articles, but also in talking to people who are experts in the field and who know what the reality is. With my first book, I talked to other people who had adopted children as well as to adoption agencies, attorneys and other experts.
A final tip from Christine Adamec …
Learn to listen. A writer needs to know how to be quiet and just listen — sometimes by inserting words such as “I see,” or “Oh?” or even saying nothing during part of an interview, whether it’s a phone interview or a personal interview. Listen to what is said and what is NOT said, so you can question further.
Listen to yourself as well, such as when you challenge something you have written because something nags at you. Sometimes you may be too self-critical, but other times there is an important piece of missing information that you need.