Every article relating to:

Memoir writing

catnav-interviews-active-3Post #245 – Memoir Writing Interview – Matilda Butler



Interview with Memoir Author Glynne Hiller

BOOK GIVEAWAY: Check out this interview with Glynne Hiller. Then if you would like to enter our contest for a giveaway of her new memoir PASSPORT TO PARIS, just leave a comment below. Glynne will chose her favorite comment and that lucky person will receive a copy of her book.

Matilda Butler of Women's MemoirsMatilda Butler: Glynne, welcome to WomensMemoirs. I’m excited that you could join us today. We are a community of women writers who share our ideas, inspirations, and concerns about memoir writing. I’m sure that everyone here will be fascinated with your memoir.

I just finished reading Passport to Paris and couldn’t put it down.
Glynne, you know how to bring the reader right into your story in such a powerful and yet engaging way. Would you start by telling our readers about your memoir?


Memoir author Glynne HillerGlynne Hiller: Hi Matilda. Thanks for inviting me. It’s always great to have an opportunity to talk about my memoir.

Imagine yourself back in 1950 and join me as I share my story. Passport to Paris takes place after the end of World War II. US soldiers who had served in the army were given educational scholarships under the G.I. Bill to study at the university of their choice.

When my husband, Joe, elected to take his Masters’ Certificate in Paris at the Sorbonne I screamed: “Ooh la la! How fantastically wonderful!” I looked forward to being among French speaking people and was excited to see the Seine because I knew there were fishermen still fishing in it.

I thought this trip to France might cement our marriage, at least I hoped so. I wasn’t certain any longer that I loved Joe. He was a dear man seven years older than myself, whom I’d married when I was 17. But somehow he no longer made my heart flutter.

Matilda Butler of Women's MemoirsMatilda Butler: Prior to your new memoir, you authored two books on teenage health and beauty. In addition you taught courses on Colette, Proust, and Virginia Woolf at Manhattanville College and the New School in New York City.

So you knew the rigors of writing. And yet it took you many years to complete your memoir. This is not unusual. It takes the majority of people a decade or longer to write a memoir. When you reflect on your experience, why do you think it took you so long?

Memoir author Glynne HillerGlynne Hiller: I don’t know. I guess I’m just a slowpoke, and I was busy living my life. I was taking long walks on the beach and welcoming my family and friends to visit. Since I live on the beach, my house is like a hotel! People come, people go and we have huge meals with conversations that last hours. I also did a bit of traveling.



Matilda Butler of Women's MemoirsMatilda Butler: Glynne, you’re my role model and hero. I love the idea that when I’m in my 90s, as you are, I’ll be taking long beach walks and having fascinating dinner conversations with friends and family.

But I must admit I think you are being too modest. Memoir writing requires persistence and you certainly have that.

I know that at a certain point in your writing, you worked with your daughter. How did that process get started?

Glynne and Cathy HillerGlynne Hiller: Cathy kept nagging me to finish my memoir and I always said, “All in good time. It will get finished eventually — especially if you stop nagging.” Finally, she threatened me: “It’s now or never! We must get this book out!” Reluctantly I gave her my files so she could edit the book.

A bonus of this form of collaboration was that although Cathy and I had always been close, now we are even closer as we laugh at old memories.
 
Matilda Butler of Women's MemoirsMatilda Butler: I’m so glad you brought up that perspective. I’ve known a number of women who consult other family members to clarify their memories. You’ve turned that around in that you have helped your daughter to remember and learn about experiences earlier in your life.

My next question relates to publishing. I wonder about your reaction to the current publishing process today compared with your experience with American Girl books.

Memoir author Glynne HillerGlynne Hiller: It is totally different! I worked on a typewriter and at times even wrote by hand. I just had my pen, paper, typewriter and carbon paper. For Passport to Paris, I worked on a computer, and that turned out to be a problem, as I had duplicate files and disappearing files and computer malfunctions that my computer tech, Jorge, had to fix! Had I just written the book in longhand and typed it up, it might have taken half the time!

Back in the fifties and sixties, I was the beauty editor of American Girl Magazine and consequently the editors arranged for Doubleday and Random House to publish my beauty books. I did not have to worry about that or do anything for publicity! Still, there wasn’t much publicity for those books, though they sold well.

This time we had to find the publisher, Heliotrope Books, and prepare for a publicity campaign involving interviews and readings and a publicist.

Matilda Butler of Women's MemoirsMatilda Butler: You certainly have that right. Publishing has completely changed. And I love the way that you’ve embraced the new.

Glynne, your memoir is quite frank about your love affairs. How do you think your family and friends will react?

Memoir author Glynne HillerGlynne Hiller: That’s a good question. They might be a bit startled but not totally surprised – because they know me and they suspect that I’ve always been an adventurous woman! But they probably will react with new interest and perhaps mild shock to hear the details of my early life in Paris. That’s some of what I like about memoir – a part of your past can be made fresh again instead of forgotten or ignored.

Matilda Butler of Women's MemoirsMatilda Butler: Memoir writing means the need to be selective in what you write as it is about a slice of life rather than an entire life, which would mean an autobiography. Your first narrowing or focusing was to limit your memoir to your two years in Paris. Within that period, did you still find that there were things you left out? And if so, why did you feel it was all right to ignore those details?

Memoir author Glynne HillerGlynne Hiller: Yes, there are two things that I decided to leave out. First, I was friends with the famous artist, Sam Francis, though we didn’t have a love affair. (Can’t have them with everyone!) He showed me how he made his drip paintings. And second, Cathy had a terrible winter with mumps and scarlet fever. I had to send her to the country to recuperate.

Why did I leave these two part of my life out of Passport to Paris? As I wrote the memoir, I realized that neither of these parts of my life, while important, weren’t important to the central theme, which is how I finally found love. If I were to give advice to other memoir writers, I’d urge them to freely give up even fun and interesting stories when they do not cast light on the book’s theme.

Matilda Butler of Women's MemoirsMatilda Butler: Glynne, I think many people reading your memoir today would consider you a feminist pioneer. Do you consider yourself that way?





Memoir author Glynne HillerGlynne Hiller: That’s a hard question to answer. I’d say that perhaps unconsciously I consider myself a feminist. I want to make my own decisions throughout life, as I did in Paris.

I expect I was always a feminist, but I just didn’t think of the word!



Matilda Butler of Women's MemoirsMatilda Butler: Well, I certainly think of you as a strong feminist who is still going strong.

Glynne, thanks for this interview. And congratulations on the publication of your memoir.



Memoir author Glynne HillerGlynne Hiller: Thanks Matilda. And I want to urge everyone to leave a comment below. I’ll choose one and the winner will receive a copy of my memoir — Passport to Paris — thanks to the generosity of my publisher Heliotrope Books. And to everyone who reads Passport to Paris, let me thank you in advance and hope it helps you to think about your own life adventures!

______________________________________________

Click on the link to the left for the paperback version.

Click on the link to the left, if you are interested in the Kindle version.

Passport to Paris — Facebook Page

{ 4 comments }

Memoir Tip #19: It’s Better to Be a Memoir Writer than a Dentist

by Matilda ButlerApril 10, 2018
Memoir Tip #19: It’s Better to Be a Memoir Writer than a Dentist

Memoir Writing Tiny Tips are back. Designed as a “new thought,” Tiny Tips are meant to give you a quick thought about memoir writing. They require no more time than reading them. And hopefully this one, as well as the others, give you something to reflect on as you go about your busy day.

Read the full article →

Memoir Writing Tiny Tip #18: Mozart and Memoir Writers Share Same Problems

by Matilda ButlerMarch 13, 2018
Memoir Writing Tiny Tip #18: Mozart and Memoir Writers Share Same Problems

Matilda Butler’s Memoir Tiny Tip series continues with the exploration of why we don’t make as much progress with our writing as we would like.

Read the full article →

Dear Pamela’s Farewell with Answers to Two Great Questions

by Pamela JaneDecember 19, 2017
Dear Pamela’s Farewell with Answers to Two Great Questions

Dear Pamela advice column answers two great (and final) questions. Her memoir writing advice and memoir tips continue.

Read the full article →

Memoir Writers Explore: Stories Are Gifts and Why That Matters

by Matilda ButlerNovember 21, 2017
Memoir Writers Explore: Stories Are Gifts and Why That Matters

Matilda Butler shares research showing the positive value of sharing life stories with family.

Read the full article →

Memoir Writing Tiny Tip #16: Every Memoir Writer Needs This

by Matilda ButlerNovember 7, 2017
Memoir Writing Tiny Tip #16: Every Memoir Writer Needs This

The 16th Memoir Writing Tiny Tip. Each is meant to give you an idea, something to consider as you go about your busy life.

Read the full article →

Dear Pamela: When Is It Time to Write?

by Pamela JaneSeptember 25, 2017
Dear Pamela: When Is It Time to Write?

Dear Pamela responds to two great questions — one about when to write after the death of a loved one, and one about story structure. Pamela’s suggestions and tips just may help you as you work on your memoir.

Read the full article →
Interviews Category Interviews Category Interviews Category Interviews Category Interviews Category Interviews Category Writing Prompts Category Writing Prompts Category Writing Prompts Category Writing Prompts Category Writing Prompts Category Writing Prompts Category StoryMap Category StoryMap Category StoryMap Category Writing and Healing Category Writing and Healing Category Writing and Healing Category Scrapmoir Category Scrapmoir Category Scrapmoir Category Book Business Category Book Business Category Book Business Category Memoir Journal Writing Category Memoir Journal Writing Category Memoir Journal Writing Category News Category News Category News Category