A self-professed "fragrance philanderer," Eva's own addiction to "the juice" wafts through her debut novel, Underlying Notes, where readers can get a whiff of midlife renaissance with regard to sorting matters of the heart, redefining friendship, confronting a troubled past, and coming to terms with the tenets of life.
Eva recently paused from her writing long enough to chat with WOOF...
WOOF: Welcome to WOOF, Eva! Let’s get right to it. Please expand a bit on the three major reasons you think women over fifty have cause to celebrate.
EP: Thank you for your warm welcome, Diana. From my perspective, women over fifty have cause to celebrate because at this juncture in our lives the world is our oyster.
One—most of us have acquired the luxury of time for self-indulgence which was sacrificed as our generation tried to prove we could successfully balance motherhood and career.
Secondly-- whatever challenges, obstacles, and hardships we’ve endured and overcome throughout the years have afforded us resilience, resolve, and courage to explore new frontiers, for we’ve learned that mistakes and setbacks are not failings but the mortar for independence and adventure.
Thirdly-- most women over fifty pride ourselves in being well-educated to expand our horizons, while making a conscious effort to safeguard our health and well-being to increase prospects of longevity, which translates to female empowerment.
WOOF: How was it you came to discover these reasons? I mean, was it immediately after turning 50 or has it been a process?
EP: For me, self-discovery was a process. When I retired from teaching, the luxurious gift of time enabled me to delve into the joys of homemaking I’d sacrificed for career. For the first few years my contentment stemmed from preparing gourmet meals, reading novels, and refinishing furniture and cabinets which involved sanding, painting, and designing my own templates for stenciling. By outward appearances, I’d found my own niche.
WOOF: Your intro mentions the word “restless.” Can you tell us a little about how that felt and what made you move forward to realign your life?
EP: In retrospect my “restlessness” sprung from a sense that I no longer made a profound difference the way I had when I taught youngsters. I'd felt an emptiness. One measurable criterion involved the strides and gains my third grade students made with writing performance under my tutelage. This opened the door to introspection, and my subsequent revival of an otherwise dormant writing talent apparent since childhood.
WOOF: What have you discovered about yourself since reviving your love for writing?
EP: Since I’ve an avid interest in writing women’s fiction, I’ve become more sensitive to issues which affect women of all ages. I wish to parlay my novel in sponsoring an event for a local charitable organization.
WOOF: How did developing the character and plot in Underlying Notes (as well as the publishing process) helped you personally?
EP: Carla Matteo, my protagonist who initially stepped into my field of vision with all of her quirks, inhibitions, anxieties, and fears prior to the “journey” she embarks on in the Second Act of Life, has made me more determined than ever to celebrate the ordinary/extraordinary women amongst us who may never see our name in lights despite our everyday acts of heroism. Because the plot is driven by the character’s addiction to fragrance, a reporter from Time tracked me down for an interview for her article. One of my statements is the opening line for “Scents and Sensitivity” which appeared in the March 17, 2008 issue. The publishing process, particularly author ownership of marketing and promoting, has helped me become more resourceful, inventive, creative, and put me in close contact with potential readers.
WOOF: Finally, if a woman over fifty is struggling (or feeling restless!), what words of encouragement and/or guidance can you offer?
EP: Based on my own experience, my advice is to heed feelings of restlessness or discontent and focus on what truly makes you happy or fulfilled. This source of happiness will eventually steer you along your journey of reinvention. May the journey itself be its own reward.
Diana, I thoroughly enjoyed my interview and I’m delighted to mingle with spiritually kindred WOOFers.
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