Friday, November 13, 2015

Writing A Memoir

Today, My Pet Blog is in the hands of author Mark Koopmans and his brand new release Revival—The Donald Braswell Story.

Take it away, Mark!



Aloha,

Ending the second week of the REVIVAL – The Donald Braswell Story Tour, I’m delighted to stop by and bother the sweet MJ, who asked for none of this on Friday the 13th (but is a sucker for a bald guy shaking a cup and pleading for a book…(Thank you, thank you, I’ll let myself out…)

MJ asked about the challenges—and perks—of writing a memoir.

Probably the hardest part, for me, in the whole process was “learning” Donald’s voice. We held dozens of in-person, or over-the-phone interviews, but it was the hours and hours of recorded interviews that I leaned on to become skilled at Donald’s “isms.”

(During the first draft, there was a lot of email back-and-forth as I figured out, for example, that “y’all” isn’t actually used in every second sentence as spoken by native Texans!)

Another challenge was simply finding the time to get together. Both of us had “regular” jobs, so our meetings were sometimes confirmed the night before.

One reason why it was so important to me to meet (rather than an easy phone call and simpler email) was I preferred to watch Donald’s body language as he spoke. (Even if I didn’t need the info for the particular section of the book, it did show me how Donald liked to sit, stand, drive, talk, gesture, etc.

Probably the best perk of the whole project was when Donald would belt out a tune or a line to show me exactly what he meant, or how it was supposed to sound.

The man has a deep pair of lungs, people!

Ever dealt with (overcome) long-distance writing with a partner/subject?

Thanks, MJ, for having me (us!) over today and I wish everyone reading a great weekend.

On Monday, I’ll be back, and this time Yolanda Renee is interested in some general memoir tips.


Five years removed from his 1990 Juilliard graduation, Donald Braswell is set to be “the next Pavarotti.” Braswell’s successful career ends, however, not with a standing ovation at Carnegie Hall, but alone, lying in a dirty ditch.

Following the hit-and-run accident that steals his voice and future, the “Texas Tenor” struggles with
depression and despair—until the night his daughter, Aria, is born. Understanding this new and
immediate life change, Braswell fights to relearn how to speak, sing—and share this gift of second chances with others.

Working as a plasterer, a car salesman, and many jobs in-between, it takes thirteen years—and a musical miracle—for Braswell to battle back and sing on a professional stage. His dreams and ambitions collide with a tired and angry crowd when he auditions for America’s Got Talent. For his family, his faith and his entire future, can the Rocky Balboa of the operatic world find the courage and strength to win just one more fight?


Where To Find Revival—The Donald Braswell Story

Paperback:

Pen-L Publishing
Amazon
Barnes & Noble

E-Book:

 ● Kindle
● Nook
● iTunes
● Kobo


About The Authors:


Mark Koopmans is originally from Ireland. After working in Holland, Spain, France and England, he won his U.S. “Green Card” in 1994, and is an American by choice since 2003. Koopmans began his writing career with a feature for a regional magazine in California. Since then, he’s worked as a staff writer for newspapers in Florida and Texas. Koopmans is also a proficient blogger and is working on his next book, a novel. Koopmans lives in Virginia and is a married, stay-at-home dad to three active boys under the age of nine. He writes at night.

Find his blog at markkoopmans.blogspot.com.


Donald Braswell II is an American actor, classical crossover tenor and composer. Braswell was on a fast track to become an internationally acclaimed opera singer when he suffered a car accident in 1995 that made him unable to speak for almost two years. After that, he lived a quiet life outside of the spotlight until his appearance on the 2008 season of America’s Got Talent where he was a Top 5 finalist, which gave him another chance at a career in entertainment. Since then, he has entertained audiences both internationally as well as shore to shore in the United States in concerts, television appearances, inspirational speaking and radio. He boasts an international fan club with fans from over 25 countries.

Find him at donaldbraswell.com.


GIVEAWAY INFORMATION:

● GRAND PRIZE (2 winners): Donald Braswell to sing (Happy Birthday/Anniversary) via
Skype or phone call. (A unique gift idea!)
● 1ST PLACE PRIZE: Signed Donald Braswell CD/REVIVAL book combo
● 2nd, 3rd and 4th PLACE PRIZES: Signed copies of REVIVAL (by Donald and Mark)
● 5th, 6th and 7th PLACE PRIZES: Signed copies of Donald Braswell CDs
● 8th, 9th, and 10th PLACE PRIZES: Signed Donald Braswell 8x10 picture


a Rafflecopter giveaway

25 comments:

  1. You were fortunate to get to spend actual time with him. It would've been really hard to rely solely on emails and phone calls. You need to meet a person face to face to truly know him.

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    1. Absolutely agree. Interestingly, the book stemmed from an initial phone conversation (I was a beat reporter for a local newspaper.) Face-to-face meetings then became simply a matter of logistics :)

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  2. Nope, ya'll isn't used every other word in Texas or the South.

    Congrats on putting together Donald's story.

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    1. Ha-ha! I learnt a lot writing this book, that's for sure :) Thanks again for your support!

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  3. That is awesome! Congratulations! I love it when people burst out into song. :)

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    1. It was so MUCH fun!! (Scared me the first time, though!!)

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  4. Excellent, you know when your tour is done you should put all these together and do an online class!
    Great information, thanks!

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    1. Well now! You have just made my day, Yolanda. Thanks so much for the compliment :)

      (I'm not sure I'm a good teacher though, because I'd be sitting in the back row with all the troublemakers :)

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  5. Sounds like a fascinating story. How lucky you got to be the one to tell it.

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    1. It was a simple story for the newspaper that became a labor of love :) Thanks for stopping by:)

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  6. Hey, and MJ, THANK YOU for letting me borrow your blog!! I appreciate all your support :)

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  7. I am guessing that his speaking voice is also musical. And suspect I would have listened to the music rather than the words. Thank you for all the work that you put into Revival.

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    1. Donald has a rare set of pipes, that is for sure!

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  8. I definitely think writing a memoir like that would be very hard. You want to get the voice right as well as have enough time to get all the information you need. Congrats!

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    1. Thanks, and I'm so glad REVIVAL is out there and published!

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  9. What a great story. Memoir is hard. You do have to get the voice just right.

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    1. It was reallllly hard.... and I'm honestly not sure I'd ever do it again, but (it *was* fun, too:)

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  10. Must have been a pain for the pair of you. However, I think I know Donald from reading your memoir so you did a good job of it.

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    1. You. Have. No. Idea. (Thank God Donald is a patient man, because I would hit him up (via text, email or phone call) to ask the silliest, most random questions ever... but I needed to know how he "did" stuff :)

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  11. Writing the voice would certainly add to the convincing quality of the story. Nice seeing you making the rounds, Mark.

    Arlee Bird
    Tossing It Out

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  12. Hi, Mark! Best of luck with your new release.

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  13. Hi MJ - good of you to have Mark pop by - so interesting to hear how you, Mark, approached writing the Memoir to ensure you got Donald's voice ... fascinating - cheers Hilary

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  14. Meeting in person is the best way to get to know someone.

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  15. Congratulations on Revival! I hope it does very well.

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  16. I remember trying to do a reading of a fan script via Yahoo Chat. Ugh, that was annoying! In person is best!

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