When LeeAndra Chergey is told that her son, Ryan, is no longer considered “normal,” she and her family are forced into a new way of handling the outside world. Together, Chergey’s family and a team of carefully chosen therapists put in years of hard work, and eventually teach Ryan to speak and express emotions. Through it all, Chergey follows her heart—and in the process, she learns that being “normal” is not nearly as important as providing your child with a life full of joy, love, and acceptance. Tender and candid, Make A Wish For Me is a story of accepting and tackling a disability stigmatized and misunderstood by society.
Hello book lovers! Today is a day where I will be writing another author spotlight for a well-accomplished author whose work I have loved. As you know book lovers I love learning about authors and the inspiration behind their work, it fascinates me and adds to the depth of the book because the reader will be able to better understand it. That is how the author spotlights were created because I soon discovered that you lovely readers ALSO love learning about author’s, so I am excited to tell you a little bit more about author LeeAndra Chergey whose book Make a Wish For Me moved me from beginning to end. I personally would recommend this book to all of those that love memoir’s/parenting books but really the book can be read by anybody as it is flawlessly written and highly enjoyable. With today’s author spotlight for LeeAndra, a biography of the author and an interview between me and LeeAndra will be shared, and I hope that you book lovers enjoy reading it! To kick this off here is an author bio about the wonderful LeeAndra!
Born in the mid-west, LeeAndra is now a “native transplant” of Southern California. Growing up in a pastoral area south of Los Angeles, she went on to achieve a Bachelor of Arts in English from Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. Married for twenty years to college sweetheart, Dan, they have two children Jenna, Ryan and a black lab, Ranger. Aside from raising the children in Simi Valley, California, LeeAndra runs her own home staging business. When she’s not writing, you can find her, running, knitting, or reading. You can read more about the background of this book at okaysothenisaid.com
Now, how wonderful does LeeAndra sound?! LeeAndra is a truly exceptional writer and I hope that you lovely readers have a read of LeeAndra’s work because you will not regret it! Please see below an interview between me and LeeAndra, I hope that you enjoy LeeAndra’s answers to my questions, they are incredible and provide some great advice too!
Could you please tell us readers about your book and what inspired you to write your book?
My book is a chronicle of the journey my family embarked on when my son was diagnosed with Autism. I had always wanted to write a book, and had many starts and fails. Until, I bought a book called “Book in a Month” and decided it was time. I did all the pre-writing exercises and had a story outlined about my mother, but when I sat down to write her story, the first chapter of this book just exploded out of me. I was more surprised than anyone. I showed the first chapter to my husband, hinging a lot on his response. He told me I needed to write it (I don’t think he knew how much that meant at the time) and I took that as a sign that I was meant to tell our story.
What would your advice be for aspiring writers?
Never give up. If you have the passion to write, then just do it and keep doing it, in what ever format inspires you. Starting a blog is the easiest thing to do and it’s free. You don’t have to even publicize it till your ready, but it’s a time stamp of your work and every time you hit “publish” it makes you feel accomplished.
In your opinion, what is the most important thing about a book?
That’s a hard question, on a purely superficial level, I think the cover is most important. You want to capture people’s attention. I can’t imagine how many wonderful books I haven’t read because the cover didn’t catch my eye. But of course a book has to be compelling, the reader has to want more of the story and that usually starts when they see a cover they like and begin to read.
What is your writing process like?
It used to be sporadic. My first book, Make A Wish For Me, was a “project”. It took a few years of dabbling with it to get serious and finish it. My second book, (still in editing process) was different. I decided to make it more streamlined. I began to wake up at 4:00 a.m. and wrote for an hour-I made a deal with myself. If I can get up and go to the gym, than I can sacrifice one more hour to work on what I love. What took me four years for the first book, was paired down to 10 months for (a first draft) the second book. I learned, and this is cliche-but true, that you have to just sit down at the computer. Some mornings the words just didn’t come. And sometimes those mornings would drag on to many days. When I hit those slumps, I tried to switch things up, like spending that hour researching or fine tuning the outline. When I was half way through the story, I hit writers block hard and decided to go back and (do what I call) “re-outline” the book. I re-read each chapter and gave it a quick summary. It really helped me get back into the story and pushed me to finish. The bottom line is you can’t wait for inspiration, the writing section of my mind has become a muscle and using it everyday has made it easier to make progress.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I don’t have a set time, as I think it depends on the topic. For me it’s getting to a point I can feel comfortable with a subject. My first book, because it was a memoir, didn’t require much research. It was definitely more soul searching. My second book, I spent about six months researching a topic that in the end I didn’t use, and then quickly made up time for a topic I preferred, in about a month. I have ideas for a third book and have begun the research and interviewing aspect on two topics. I’m not sure which topic I will choose, but they both are intriguing to me.
Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
I wish I could read more, but I finish a book a month. I have a few favorite authors, as a young adult I read all of John Steinbeck’s books, then I devoured Jodi Picoult, now I read a lot of one offs, but am slowly working my way through Ann Patchett.
Lastly, when can we readers expect to read more wonderful books from you?
I’m hoping to have book #2’s edits done this summer and off to shop it for a publishing house. So if all goes well, probably next year.
Its official book lovers, I am obsessed with LeeAndra! If you have liked what you have read about LeeAndra and are interested in learning more about LeeAndra and reading LeeAndra’s work, then please do have a browse of the links below and be sure to have a read of the preview too! You will not regret it.
Goodbye for now book lovers,