Monday, 11 December 2017

C Columns

Q&A Author write book titled 'People Are Good'

By Gaye Bunderson

Editor's note: Local author and editor, AnnaMarie McHargue, is releasing her “People Are Good” stories on November 14. McHargue, along with her sister, Anita Stephens, created the book to highlight the good ways people impact the lives of those around them every day. Below is a brief Q&A with McHargue.

Q. What made you want to write this book?

A. In 2016 I found myself in a tough job situation that was throwing my work life off balance. My home life felt off, too, as the political landscape that included endless bickering from both sides of the aisle left my extended family divided. The constancy of these situations began wreaking havoc on my normally positive thinking. I started to lose focus, and my lifelong work as an editor no longer brought me joy. But it wasn’t only me. I saw my friends struggling and sad. For whatever reasons, 2016 was a tough year for so many. One night in October, I felt myself becoming more and more frustrated, and more negative in my thinking, regardless of the subject matter. This was so very unlike me that I knew something had to be done. I had to change my narrative. I had to focus on the good. But how?

That night, I kept saying to myself (or, really, God was saying to me), these are hard times, but people are good. My friends are good. My family is good. My husband is so very good. It was time to change my focus. “People Are Good: 100 True Stories to Restore Your Faith in Humanity” was born out of that thinking. It was time to start thinking about the many good things, and people, who surround us each day and whose tiny acts of kindnesses are changing the world.

Q. How long did it take you to complete?

A. The book from idea to published work will be exactly a year. The day after I decided to start the project, I contacted my sister (who is my sounding board and confidante, as well as mybusiness partner) and asked what she thought. She said the book was a must!

Q. What was your sister's part in the book?

A. After an initial conversation about who would do what, we launched into the project. Anita created a website, helped me to collect stories, and was the editor on the work.

Q. How did you connect with the people who are profiled?

A. Part of our website, wordswithsisters.com (Words With Sisters), included a form page where we asked people to send us their stories and where we outlined some extensive criteria for submitting a story. For example, the story had to be true. From our networks, as well as the networks of several of our friends, stories came streaming in. We spent a week in the spring narrowing down the stories that best exemplified someone’s meaningful act of kindness and theimpact that gesture made on the recipient. We removed stories that discussed someone’s good character or lifetime of goodness, as we wanted instead to highlight how simple, one-time acts could change so much. I started rewriting the entries and my sister edited my work.

Q. What are some of the other books you've written or plan to write?

A. Because we received so many beautiful stories, there certainly is the opportunity for “More True Stories” at a later time. Until this point, however, I have been the editor of over 300 books and countless dissertations. Becoming a writer or author had never been part of my plan.

“People Are Good” is being published by Aloha Publishing in Eagle. For more information, go to https://www.alohapublishing.com.

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