It’s A Book Thing Presents: An Interview with Eileen Haas, author of Along Came A Stroke
Author’s Bio: Eileen Haas was a writer, editor, copywriter, andcreative director at the likes of House Beautiful, The Sharper Image, J. Walter Thompson, Wells Fargo Bank and more. Then along came a stroke, and everything changed. It was a long, hard, road to sort of recovery, but she had lots of good epiphanies along the way, as well as lots of adventures. The stroke turned out to be a blessing in disguise in a lot of ways. Including some discoveries about how to recover that no one ever tells you. Except Haas does in her book.
Deliah Lawrence: What inspired you to write your book?
Eileen Haas: So many things inspired me. The realization that what doctors tell you to expect isn’t necessarily what will happen, but other things will pop up that you have absolutely no idea how to deal with. Also, the notion that a stroke is an opportunity to have a new life, even if you liked the old one.
DL: What is your writing process?
EH: Many people have asked me how I write. Maybe this is a terrible example, but I’m not disciplined. I write when I feel like writing. I don’t see the point in forcing yourself to write if you don’t want to. Frankly, I’d rather watch a good movie.
But sometimes thoughts, sentences, stories just pour out of me, and I have to get them down. That’s when I’m really cooking, and writing is a pleasure. I have learned to be patient and wait for those times to happen. They always do.
DL: What do you think makes a good story?
EH: If you can’t wait to read what will happen next, it’s a good story. Knowing in advance what’s going to happen will make me put a book down. Forever.
DL: Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
EH: Who hasn’t been influenced by Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time? What an imagination! She taught me that anything is possible.
DL: If you were hosting a dinner party, which three authors would be your dream guests and why?
EH: Anne Tyler, Elizabeth Gilbert, and Alice Walker. They’re all from the south (Tyler wasn’t born there but was raised in North Carolina) and would instantly have something in common.
DL: What tips would you give aspiring writers?
EH: Don’t listen to what anybody tells you. Never give up your love of words. Don’t get too attached to the way you wrote things down. There may be a better way to say it, and you’ll find that way.
DL: What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
EH: I love to cook, travel, read, take my dog on long rambles. Not necessarily in that order.
DL: What are three things you can’t live without?
EH: Good friends. Dogs. Music. Great books. That’s four!
DL: Would you like to share an excerpt from Along Came A Stroke?
EH: Sure, here you go.
Breakfast With Idiots
I am having breakfast in a room full of idiots. Some are drooling into their yogurt. Others are scarfing down eggs and bacon. An attendant, who must be assigned to me because she always pushes my wheelchair, coaxes me to eat.
“Have some more,” she urges as she pushes the Special K towards me. You must be kidding; I think as I obediently eat another spoonful.
I look around the breakfast room at my fellow stroke survivors. All wear the same stupefied expression. How in the world did I get here, their expressions seem to say. I couldn’t possibly be one of them, could I? The men look angry. The women look confused. They are all ages, from all walks of life. Just last week they were artists, teachers, carpenters. This week they are—what, exactly? A group of idiots?
I remember one man—dark-haired, mid-forties, mad at the world. He swept his entire tray off the table with a crash and informed the entire room that he was going home later. Because this place was terrible. A young woman was sitting in the corner, staring at the things in front of her—milk, cereal, a banana, concentrating hard and trying to figure out what she was supposed to do with them. She was so pretty. And part of her brain had obviously been damaged.
These were my new compatriots, God help me. I hated them at first, then developed a fond respect for them. They were survivors. They were brave, brave people.
DL: Where can readers learn more about you and purchase your book?
EH: Reader can learn more here:
- Instagram: http://instagram.com/alongcameastroke
- Facebook: http://facebook.com/alongcameastroke
- Blog: https://www.alongcameastroke.com/blog
- Website: https://www.alongcameastroke.com/
DL: Thanks so much for being here with us today. I know my readers will enjoy getting to know you and your work.
EH: It’s my pleasure.