What inspired you to write your memoir?
Growing up the middle child between a developmentally disabled brother and a schizophrenic sister rendered me something of a poster child for “well sibling syndrome.” My hope is that my story will be helpful to others who have experienced the challenge of walking the fine line between their own needs and the needs of loved ones.
About your Book:
Hamster Island chronicles Heartwell’s heroic (and often hilarious) determination to live an unremarkable life as a member of a very poor, super-dysfunctional family that includes a mostly absent father, a religious fanatic mother, a kleptomaniac grandmother, and two special needs siblings, all residing more or less in the middle of a parking lot. The story moves from Heartwell’s lively coming of age in the sixties to her role as caretaker for both siblings after her parents’ deaths, at which time she must resort to extraordinary measures to locate the midpoint between their needs and her own.
How did you decide how to publish your book and where is it published through:
Hamster Island is published by Twilight Times Books.
How do you see writing a Memoir as different from writing other genres of books?
Writing a memoir necessitates restrictions. It’s like being a kid on a playground: once you know the rules for behavior and the dimensions of the allotted space, you can get down to the business of playing. I enjoyed the imposed limitations. There was plenty enough fodder there for the taking without exceeding the bounds of the genre.
Joan Heartwell is the author of several fiction titles written under a different name.
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