Today I welcome Rick Lauber as my guest. Thank you, Rick, for joining me on my website.
Rick: It’s my pleasure, Eva!
Rick, can you tell us about yourself and your background? What do you currently do outside of writing?
When it comes to writing, I am a late bloomer! After pursuing a number of careers (including radio broadcasting, bartending, and marketing/public relations), I learned of the Professional Writing Program offered through Edmonton’s Grant MacEwan University. The area of writing had always interested me, and I thought that registering in this program would be an excellent way to explore writing and to see if there would be further opportunities for me in this field. When I first started taking classes, I only thought this might lead to my becoming a freelance writer. I did, in fact, pursue freelancing after I completed my studies and have expanded my writing portfolio with numerous published stories; however, doors opened much further for me! Outside of my own writing, I do continue to work a part-time job, travel to the mountains as often as possible, and cheer on the Edmonton Eskimos.
What books have you written, and what are their genres? What audience are they aimed at?
I have written two books – both published by Self-Counsel Press (North Vancouver). Both of these would fall into the non-fiction genre. My first book, Caregiver’s Guide for Canadians, was initially published in September, 2010 and has subsequently been updated to a second edition. My second book, The Successful Caregiver’s Guide, focused towards the American market, was published in September, 2015. Both of my books are valuable resources for prospective, new, and current caregivers (those helping and supporting aging seniors or preparing to do so). With both titles, I discuss caregiving as a timely and topical issue, share my own caregiving story, discuss issues of relevance to caregivers, and provide website resources where caregivers can find help at many levels.
In addition to authoring these two books, I am a two-time chosen contributor for Chicken Soup for the Soul! I have stories published in Chicken Soup for the Soul: It’s Christmas! and Chicken Soup for the Soul: My Very Good, Very Bad Cat.
What prompted you to write what you did? What message(s) do you want readers to take away?
I was a former co-caregiver (working with my two sisters) for my own aging parents (Mom had Parkinson’s disease and Leukemia while Dad had Alzheimer’s disease). This was not a job I was expecting or prepared for and came with a steep learning curve. Not only did I face a quick education about eldercare, I also had to deal with the physical, mental, emotional, and financial impacts of caregiving – it is certainly challenging to helplessly watch your parents decline. As a means of managing, I turned to writing to cope. Writing provided me a safe means to privately – or publicly – share my thoughts, feelings, and experiences. The stories I wrote while Mom and Dad were alive became the platform for my two books. There are a number of messages I would like to share with readers – these include planning ahead (your parents will naturally age, may become sick, lose their independence, and become more reliant on you), taking personal time away from caregiving (to maintain your own health and well-being), and to seek out and accept help yourself. I also like to remind readers that there is joy to be found in caregiving.
Do you write short stories, articles, or have a blog? Where can we find them?
My focus has been – and continues to be – writing articles about caregiving and caregiving issues for national magazines, senior’s newspapers, on-line markets, and other publications. I have shared links to published/posted stories via Facebook and/or Twitter; however, people can also “Google search” my name for a sampling of what I have written.
What do you find the hardest about writing? The easiest?
One of the hardest things about writing is convincing others that it can be work! Those who do not write (and even some clients) often do not realize the extent of time and effort required by a writer to produce a completed piece. This can result in a writer being paid less than he/she deserves (or not being paid at all …). Yes, I have accepted unpaid assignments for experience and/or tear sheets; however, I also feel it is not unrealistic for writers to expect a fair income for what they do. Conversely, the easiest thing about writing is likely writing about what you know or love. It is simpler to write about something that you are passionate about (whether that be a hobby, interest, or personal belief).
What’s next for you after your current books?
I will continue to write caregiving-related news articles and actively promote my books. Will a third caregiving book be on the horizon for me? I remain unsure; however, I haven’t completely dismissed that possibility and have learned the door for opportunities can open at the most unexpected times!
What special thing about yourself would you like to share with others?
I like to volunteer. As an example, I have repeatedly delivered gifts and toys for 630 CHED Santas Anonymous. I am also in my fifth year serving as a volunteer Board of Directors member for Caregivers Alberta.
How can we follow or contact you?
People can learn more about me and contact me through my website: www.ricklauber.com. This includes links to find me on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. My email address is also listed there.
Where can readers buy your books?
Both Chicken Soup for the Soul books will be stocked at major bookstores and be available to order from either Amazon.ca or Amazon.com:
- 630 CHED Santas Anonymous contributor
- Board of Directors member for Caregivers Alberta, volunteer — 5th year