WOOF: Welcome, Peggy! Without giving away too much, because I encourage men and women of all ages to embrace for themselves your powerful memoir, Approaching Neverland, and its message, how were you able to even begin writing this book?
PK: So great to be with you, Diana! Writing our family’s story did indeed seem a daunting task. So I started with scenes from the past that were emotional hot buttons for me. Eventually, I was able to weave those scenes together, filling in details and dialogue. The interesting thing is that once I put myself back into a scene, I could hear in my head what my family members were saying.
WOOF: You’ve said that one reason you wrote your memoir was that you wanted readers to love your family, too. May I just say here and now, you had me at “Cannonball?” (Readers will just have to get the book to know what I mean!) Why was it important to you that others see your family through loving eyes?
PK: So often when we tell someone our story, they’re left with a shorthand version of the key people in our lives. I loved my family too much to have them forever remembered as “the bipolar mother” or “the murdered sister.” They were whole people with big personalities, humor and depth. I wanted readers to meet them, to know them as completely as possible, and love them.
WOOF: You’ve pretty thoroughly examined your formative and adult years, you’re a successful entrepreneur, wife and mother. What do you relish most about this time in your life, about being over fifty?
PK: I love that I’m now willing to fight for what I believe in. I make an effort to really enjoy my friends, family, and all the wonderful people that I’m lucky enough to meet. And I’m doing my best to grin as I hang on to this roller coaster we call life.
WOOF: In closing, I’d like to publically thank you, Peggy, for sharing your story. On a personal level, it’s helped me come to terms a bit more with my own childhood. As a tribute to both of our courageous mothers who instilled us with love in spite of their mental illness, I’m including their pictures. It seems so fitting that your mother, Barbara Jane Kennedy, (pictured left) and mine, Mary Elizabeth Richert, look so much alike!
And thank you, Peggy, for agreeing to this interview. Any parting thoughts for our WOOFer audience?
PK: Thanks so much, Diana. Talking with you has been a real pleasure. There’s no doubt in my mind that our mothers would have relished sitting down together for a cup of coffee and great conversation. You and I wouldn’t have gotten a word in edgewise! I would encourage all you WOOFers to write your own story. I’ll bet you’ll be amazed and gratified at where it takes you.
Interveiw with Diana Black
A memoir of Epic Tragedy & Happily Ever After
By Peggy Kennedy
iUniverse, 259 pages