Bobbi is an award-winning author and multi-published short story writer. Her work has appeared in numerous anthologies and publications, in print and online. She is teaching the Thursday morning intensive “Creative Writing for Truth Tellers” on nonfiction writing. Bobbi’s website and blog can be found at www.bobbicarducci.com and theimperfectcaregiver.com. Bobbi also blogs monthly for TheCaregiverSpace.org and AgingCare.com.
Pennwriters: What do you think is special about the genre you write in?
Bobbi: My writing is published in many forms. Newspapers, magazines, several anthologies, including Abundant Grace, the sixth book in the Grace and Gravity series, stories by Washington, D.C. area women, and Short and Happy (or Not) published by S&H Publishing, an award winning book for young readers, and in book length, Confessions of an Imperfect Caregiver, (Open Books Press). I love the flexibility of form and genre afforded writers. I started writing short stories as I love the freedom of seat of the pants writing and discovering the surprising way the story circles back to the beginning as if I had planned it all along. It was also way for me to find out if my writing was good enough to be published. Each success there gave me the incentive to try book length.
PW: What do you find to be the most difficult part of writing?
Bobbi: Getting in front of the computer. So much of my writing is done in my mind before it ever hits paper that I often get stuck in self-editing far too long. The more vested I am in a project, the more I find excuses to stay away from writing it. I worry it won’t be good enough or that the story won’t speak to the reader the way I hope it will. Self-doubt is a real issue for me.
PW: Did you ever encounter a serious roadblock and how did you overcome it?
Bobbi: I really had a hard time writing Confessions of an Imperfect Caregiver. Writing it involved reliving emotionally charged aspects of my life, exposing failures and moments of weakness that often stopped the writing process for weeks. I also had a very hard time figuring out how to organize the work in a way that moved the story forward for the reader. Seven years of caregiving covered in 80,000 words was a challenge. I credit Susan Meier and Ramona DeFelice Long with helping me get my act together. After taking their online writing workshops I had the tools and the confidence I needed to move forward and I am very grateful for their friendship and expertise.
PW: What’s individual or unique about your writing space?
Bobbi: My office is the messiest room in my house. I doubt that is very interesting to anyone. Somehow stacks of papers I intend to file grow higher and higher and sometimes end up in a pile on the floor. Then I have to spend a couple of days clearing everything out, always promising myself I will keep things organized this time. So far that’s a promise I have never kept.
PW: Do you have a memento or good luck charm on your desk?
Bobbi: The most interesting item on my desk is a copy of the Certificate of Marriage issued to my maternal great grandparents, John Hogan and Kittie Donovan, dated January 31, 1906. It grounds me to my heritage and the Irish are known to be story tellers and I take pride in that.
PW: What has been the most satisfying or significant project of your literary career?
Bobbi: While I love all the forms of writing I do, being a caregiver and writing Confessions of an Imperfect Caregiver changed the direction of my life and my writing. I spend a lot of time writing about and speaking about caregiving issues. I thought I would write novels. Courtroom drama is a genre I love. However, the drama and raw emotion lived out every day by caregivers can be written to read like a novel, appealing not only to caregivers and their families, but also to those who enjoy reading novels about families coping with difficult issues. How we come through them, bruised and exhausted yet somehow stronger is what I hope to convey when I write.
PW: What is your favorite tip or advice for writers?
Bobbi: I’m afraid my favorite tip is heard often. Read, read, read. Not all readers are writers but all good writers are readers. I fell in love with books the moment letters on the page came together to form words. I start and end every day reading and there is usually a good bit of it in between as well.
If I may, I’d like to add one more tip. If you ever have an opportunity to help another writer, do it. The more good writing there is out there the more people will read. The more they read the more markets there will be for writers. We are not on competition with one another. Only you can write your story.
PW: If you were stranded on a desert island, what three items would you take with you?
Bobbi: A huge crate filled with books. They don’t use batteries. A tent. My fair skin will need shelter from the sun. A machete that will come in handy for clearing land and preparing food.
PW: If you had a time machine, where and when would you be right now?
Bobbi: I would still be where I am. My past resulted in who I am now and I’m happy with that.
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