Wednesday, July 10, 2019

Q&A with Cark and Leah Burbidge - Living in the Family Blender

When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? Or what first inspired you to write?  Leah: I never really intended to write a book. But over the years of Clark’s writing I became familiar with the process. We discussed many times the lack of practical ‘How To’ instruction for Blended Families. These discussions evolved into a ‘Let’s write a book on the subject’ decision. So, we kind of fell into this book together out of a desire to pass on our insights and learning. We worked on the stories, examples and the principles extensively and reviewed and edited in general. Although most of the actual writing was done by Clark the development, review and editing were definitely a team effort.
Clark: I have always been a storyteller and enjoyed making up stories, poems and tall tales for my children growing up. I especially liked the bedtime stories I’d make up on the fly because it really challenged me to produce something that would keep a child’s attention. I had different ones for each child. I thought a lot about various stories for years and always had ideas. But it wasn’t until 2010 when I was in between jobs that I decided to try my hand at getting something published. The first year I completed a non-fiction book for 20 and 30 somethings and a Christmas/Holiday book. I also had a fictional fantasy short story prepared that has since become a three-book trilogy. One never knows when you step on the path, as Bilbo Baggins once said, where that will lead. I have had a wonderful experience writing and have loved doing a book together with my sweetheart, Leah. Our collaborative effort turned out to be way beyond our expectations. We are so excited to have this book available for blended families, those thinking about jumping into the blender and single parents. Even though it is focused on these types of families, every family will benefit from attempting to apply the principles we included in our book. This book with Leah marks my 9th book and the last 8 have all been Gold Medal award winners as best in their category.

           What inspired your story?

Leah: Our children and our real-life experiences. We recognized that there wasn’t a lot of information out there to help Blended Families and felt a need to provide a practical guide to fill the void.
Clark: This story is a true one which was forged in the furnace of experience over our combined 68 years of Blended Family experiences and especially our 14 years together. When we started this process, we found a near absence of hands-on experience that provided practical ‘How To’ advice for regular people. The souls of individuals and entire families are dying out there every day because they can’t find simple answers and guidance. Many of the family train wrecks we see break our hearts because they are so easily avoided by consistently applying a few simple standards and rules. If implemented from the beginning it works. But if delayed the burdens can spin quickly out of control into serious individual and family strife that tear at the seams of what might have been an otherwise beautiful story. Our burning desire to help others find peace, joy and true love in blended family life and our own experience with such beauty in the midst of a messy world both inspired and motivated us to write this combination autobiographical and ‘How To’ guide.

Is there a message/theme in your book that you want readers to grasp?
Leah & Clark:
Absolutely. It is that single parents, blended families and any family are good enough to be successful. You have the knowledge and skills if you choose to use them. Anybody can create a happy and fulfilling environment of love, selflessness and compassion. Of course, it takes work and an absence of selfish pursuits, it takes firm commitment as a couple, standards and values and a consistent example to prove that what you are teaching your children works for everyone. You can do it. You really can

What was your greatest challenge in writing this book?
Leah & Clark: Whittling nearly endless principles and learnings to a manageable list of ten. We listed numerous qualities, teachings and learnings. Then we grouped them in a way we felt that we could include related ones together. In doing this we arrived at ten principles, plus a couple of bonus ones, that provide a 360 degree look at the ‘How To’ guide for each one. This is what allows average everyday people like us and you to successfully apply the principles and tailor them to each family and individual.

What do you like to do when you are not writing?
Leah: I love gardening, exercise, reading, baking and doing things to bring a smile to the faces and lighten the burdens of others. We both enjoy time with family and service in the community and in our church.
Clark: I enjoy bicycling both on roads and mountain biking. I also enjoy gardening and hiking and a variety of outdoor activities. We have enjoyed working with youth and neighborhood, church and community service.

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