Today’s guest is Buffie Colloton, founder of and force behind BOOMER GRANDPARENTS, a blog that’s racking up the reads by Baby Boomers striving to thrive at work, play and with their families, in this digital age.
Q) You are the hippest grandma I know. You’re full of energy and ideas, great wit and fabulous jewelry. And I love your highlights. Does your hair always look this perfect when you write?
A) Those highlights have been placed to strategically camouflage all the silver “age stripes” breaking through the strands of brunette I’ve been clinging to for the past few years. But thanks for the nice compliments! I write at home in my office, often in yoga pants and a sweatshirt with my hair looking like I just rolled out of bed. I’ll get an idea for a post while I’m folding clothes and listening to NPR. I’ll run into my office to write it down, and 3 hours later the laundry is all wrinkled in the basket, dinner hasn’t been started and the dogs haven’t been exercised. The upside is that I’ll have completed 3 new posts. I find inspiration for my posts from magazines and newspapers, as well as TV and radio. My family and friends will often send me emails with suggestions. I find that researching a specific topic will often lead me to a new topic. In my nearly one year of posting almost daily, I am amazed that my idea folder remains stuffed with unused notes and articles.
Q) Is there a single thing that drives you or is it easy to add value to every blog post?
A) My family and my health are big motivators in my life. It’s imperative that I maintain a relationship with my granddaughters. They are ages 6 and 3 and their new baby brother is due in June. I loved being a mom and I truly LOVE being a grandmother! My entire family lives in Wisconsin where I spent the first 51 years of my life. Never in a million years did I expect to be living across the country (California) when my grandchildren arrived, but that’s the way the cards fell for me. I’ve been forced to come up with creative ways to be “present” in their lives, and I share that in my BOOMER GRANDPARENTS Blog. My topics center around what I know about, which is parenting, grand parenting, whether nearby, or from afar, and being a Baby Boomer in this digital age. I’ve made a conscious decision to shy away from religious or political topics. But I did recently write a post with suggestions for discussing current news events with children. I used the Wisconsin union situation as an example. I have friends and family who are in education and nursing and they’ve been very involved. The value I add to my posts is making sure even just a little bit of “me” is in every one. My friends say that they love to read my posts because I write just like I talk, and they can “hear” me in every one. I trademarked BOOMER GRANDPARENTS and will soon be offering BOOMER GRANDPARENTS apparel, bumper stickers and a variety of gift items through my site. In challenging myself, I’ve had to push through a lot of “unknowns” to find pleasant surprises waiting for me on the other side. Finding myself at the San Francisco Writers Conference, and meeting you is one of them.
//BUZZER NOISE AND SOUND OF TABLE BEING TURNED//
Q) Okay, your turn, Laura. What aspect of your professional background as a reporter set the tone for the type of book you chose to write?
A) Many of the events in the first chapter of Finding Clarity actually happened to me, such as with the old woman and her murdered son. They were unforgettable moments in my reporting career and I always knew I wanted to use them in a fictional setting. Then somewhere along the line, I began to incorporate mental notes I’d made about so many things that had happened to me in journalism, into a fun yarn. Fiction was calling my name. It’s such a pleasing departure from the news business. All these wild characters, like Clari my protagonist, were at my fingertips just waiting to be realized on paper. And at the same time, the crux of the plot is that Clari never gets over having been a reporter. She needs to find a good story. And that gets her into trouble. The conflict is inherent in Clari, and that makes for some fun fiction.
Q) Has parenting a young teenager influenced your writing style?
A) Clari has two boys, Zach and Zeppo. Each speak words that my own son, Max, who is now 15, did. They have his humor and zest and spark. It took a lot of energy to keep up with him and the same goes for Clari. We also both worry about our son’s medical problems (listen to me: I talk about Clari as if she’s a real person!) I can’t remember where I left my keys on any given day, but I can recall how Max sounded at Zach and Zeppo’s ages in the book (9 and 4) so I can easily use his voice in their dialogue. And as Max has grown during the various drafts of this novel, I’ve learned lingo from him and I can see where Zach is headed as a pre-teen. I then take Clari and her family and place them into a mystery series, that I’ve only just started on. Just like the boy, Jake, on “Two and A Half Men”, I hope we’ll see Zach and Zeppo grow up. And hopefully Max will keep feeding me dialogue, even if he doesn’t know it!
//BUZZER NOISE AND SOUND OF APPLAUSE//
Thank you for joining me on Quick Take Tuesday, dear Buffie Colloton of Boomer Grandparents! Please come back and fill me up, so to speak, with some of your work for Feature Friday!