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Interview with Barbara Lampert: ‘You have to want your dream badly’

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Barbara LampertBarbara Lampert is a Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in relationships. She’s been in private practice in Brentwood, California for over twenty years. She considers her work a calling and loves what she does. She has a doctorate in medical sociology and two master’s degrees – one in psychology and one in sociology.

Barbara has adored dogs her whole life. They’re her passion! She notes that for a lot of people, their dogs are their best friends. She loves helping people know that’s ok – that a soul-satisfying relationship may be found with any being and needs to be treasured.

Besides her love of dogs, Barbara is an avid gardener and finds herself gardening in much of her spare time. She sees her garden as a work of art. She loves being in nature – the miracle of growth, the ever-changing landscape, its beauty.

Today Barbara lives happily in Malibu, California with her husband David (married twenty-eight years!) and their six-year-old Golden Retriever, Harry.

Barbara hopes that Charlie: A Love Story will be a tribute not only to a magnificent dog but to all dogs everywhere.

You can visit her website at www.charliealovestory.com.

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ABOUT CHARLIE: A LOVE STORY

Charlie - A Love Story 2Charlie: A Love Story tells of the beautiful love between Charlie, a Golden Retriever, and the author, Barbara Lampert. It takes place in Malibu, California. When Charlie turned eleven years old and started having some health problems, a journal Barbara was keeping about her garden quickly became mostly about Charlie.

Charlie: A Love Story is an intimate look at an incredible connection between a canine and a human. And as a psychotherapist who specializes in relationships, Barbara brings that sensibility and understanding to Charlie’s story as well.

Charlie was Barbara’s loyal confidante and best friend. He was indomitable, had a zest for life and an uncanny emotional intelligence.

Charlie: A Love Story is about devotion, joy, loss, and renewal, about never giving up or giving in. But mostly it’s about an extraordinary dog and an extraordinary relationship.

Q: Welcome to Beyond the Books, Barbara.  Can we start out by telling us whether you are published for the first time or are you multi-published?

Charlie:  A Love Story is my first book that’s been published. My doctoral dissertation was published, but I’m not counting that.

Q: When you were published for the first time, which route did you go – mainstream, small press, vanity published or self-published and why or how did you choose this route?

I took the small press route.  Charlie’s story was a labor of love, and I wanted to have some control over how his story was told and what the book looked like.  Langdon Street Press allowed me to have that control, although their editing and front cover requirements were fairly strict. But now I’m glad for those restrictions, because they benefited my book.

Q: How long did it take you to get published once you signed the contract?

The interval between when I signed the contract with Langdon Street until I was published was approximately four years. My work as a psychotherapist, which I love, keeps me quite busy, which made it difficult to carve out time for my book. And because I am somewhat of a perfectionist (understatement!), every aspect of the publishing process took longer. For example, picking the font for the subtitle probably took about six weeks!

Q: How did it make you feel to become published for the first time and how did you celebrate?

It’s taken so long to publish my first book that I don’t think I’ve yet fully grasped that I am published. But I expect that, like most new identities, I’ll grow into it.  Promoting my book is helping. As I hear how people feel about my book, and as people want me to sign their copies, the realization that in fact I am a published author is sinking in.

I think my official celebration of being published was my first book signing, at Tecolote Book Shop in Montecito, California, on February 18, 2012. It felt that that was when I launched my book, twenty-two days after its publication date.

Here’s why:  Some very important parts of my book happen in Montecito, a place I love. It’s about an hour north of my home in Malibu, and it’s where I go to calm myself and rejuvenate. It’s spectacularly beautiful, with wonderful gardens (residents there take such pride in their landscaping) and most importantly, they love dogs! I was so happy to have a book signing at Tecolote, because it’s a truly charming book store, where the love of books permeates, beginning with the owner and extending to the store’s employees and many of its patrons. Besides which, it’s been in existence for 83 years.

My book signing at Tecolote was magical. Friends and family attended. A good number of people came to get my book, which so surprised me, because I don’t live there! I heard great animal stories – mostly about dogs, with a cat story here and there. I heard how much people love their animals. And I actually felt everyone’s enthusiasm for my book. It was truly a celebration of  Charlie!

Q: What was the first thing you did as for as promotion when you were published for the first time?

The first thing I did to promote my book was to have one thousand five-by-seven-inch postcards printed, after which I began handing them out everywhere and to everyone. Right away, I placed some in the waiting room of my psychotherapy office, in the middle of magazines on a long antique blue stressed-wood table. I specialize in relationships, and here was a book about my relationship with my dog. Many of my patients found this very interesting and valuable. Then I took postcards to all the shopkeepers I knew in Malibu and Montecito as well as to the three veterinary offices we’ve been to the most over the years. Of course, Dr. Olds, who took care of Charlie his whole life and who wrote the foreword to my book, was the first veterinarian to receive cards and a book.

I carry these postcards with me and hand them out whenever it feels right to do so.  The postcard has a copy of my book’s front cover on one side and mostly what’s on the book’s back cover on the other side. I must say I think the postcards are beautiful, and I feel good handing them out.

Q: Since you’ve been published, how have you grown as a writer and now a published author?

I’m told that my writing has improved, and I too think it has. My first drafts are better, I’m not repeating myself as much, and I find that I’m more careful with my choice of words. Still have a ways to go with grammar. But the grueling editing process taught me a lot about writing. Now I have more confidence in my writing. And believe it or not, and I can’t even believe I’m saying this, I want to write another book! Probably more about my musings in the garden. I think that writing another book will be a lot easier after this first publishing experience, which involved so much to learn.

Q: What has surprised or amazed you about the publishing industry as a whole?

I had no idea what it meant to publish a book prior to this experience. I’m amazed at how long everything took. The publishing world is very slow-moving, which was so difficult for my temperament. I like to move at my own pace, which is pretty fast. So I received many lessons in patience. At times, I thought my head was going to explode. So much waiting. So many details.

Q: What is the most rewarding thing about being a published author?

The most rewarding aspect about being a published author is that the story of my astonishing, beautiful, and indomitable Charlie is now out in public. And I was the one who got his story out there. That is rewarding!

Q: Any final words for writers who dream of being published one day?

Making your dreams come true is wonderful. The dream of being a published author generally takes a lot of work, determination and tenacity. You have to want your dream badly enough to work around all the obstacles you’ll encounter. But when you do, and then when you achieve your goal, it feels great. And when people love what you’ve done, that is even more wonderful. But most importantly, you have to be happy with what you’ve achieved.

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2 Comments

  1. Thank you so much!
    Your blog is beautiful! I appreciate being on it. And I love being surrounded by flowers and butterflies!
    All the best,
    Barbara

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