Interview with Becky Kueker

What are you working on next?
I am half way though my next book that I hope to have in publication by February of 2018. After traveling around the U.S. giving presentations to hundreds of men and women about my retirement journey, everyone has asked me to let them know how everything has worked out. So I am being even more honest by reflecting on what has happened to me personally, emotionally, professionally, and especially how my marriage is doing since the book came out because everyone wants to know the details of that!

The new book will also include incredible, moving stories that have been shared by the men and women I have met. Sad, funny, compelling, I believe these stories will be the high point of the book.
Who are your favorite authors?
There are so many authors that I enjoy. Like most women I love a really good romance novel so I read Nora Roberts, Debbie Macomber, and of course everyone's favorite, Danielle Steel. Last year I read a new book, Ruby by Cynthia Bond, an amazing read by exceptional new author. She should have her second book out by the end of this year. I also like Nancy Gibbs historical reads and Daniel Silva who is a riveting author.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
When I finally turned the corner after feeling sorry myself when I retired, wrote about my journey, and shared with others, I learned the hard way that each day is truly a gift. Now when I wake up I am excited, energized and ready to go. I usually get up very early and begin writing on my next book. It is my quiet, reflective time I treasure.

Reading over the stories so many men and women have shared with me the past year and a half, I am honored that they are trusting me to include their journeys and struggles in my new book. Not letting them down is so very important to me.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I love giving back to the community and I am involved in several community organizations that predominately deal with education. I also like to play golf, even though I do not do it well and my husband keeps suggesting I take it more seriously, I do like it. Living in Arizona I love just getting out to play, with the amazing weather and the Catalina Mountains in the background, it is hard to resist. I guess I just need more lessons!

To keep fit I walk 3 miles a day and love to swim.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
When I published Hiding in My Pajamas ebooks were new to me. So I went on line and discovered a whole new world out there of "affordable" reading!
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I wrote a short story when I was a senior in high school titled "The Candlestick". It was an assignment for my English class, about a secretary that worked for a millionaire for years receiving little pay and little recognition for all she did. My teacher said it was one of the best stories she had ever read and wanted to help me get it published. I was shy and very unsure of myself and although flattered by her accolades, I did not want it published. That was the first thing I ever wrote.
What is your writing process?
I do a lot of research when I am writing. My process is to write at least 2 - 4 hours a day, 5 days a week. Sometimes I do more if something new pops up that I find I should add or someone I meet strikes a cord and I want to share their story.

When writing my first book I let someone close to me talk me out of a lot of the content in my first draft. That was a mistake I will not make again. So my process is to write until I feel I have shared what I believe is relevant and will be appreciated and connect with my readers.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
When I was a child I grew up in a life that was filled with emotional upheaval and an abusive father. When I was 6 a neighbor took me to the public library. Because I was withdrawn and so fearful as a child the library opened up a whole new world of hope and dreams for me. Huckleberry Finn was the first book I checkout at the library. And as I opened up book after book a new world began to appear that I never thought possible.
How do you approach cover design?
I would like the cover to be compelling and draw the readers to the story. I know over the years a cover has convinced me quickly that this was a book I want to read. I believe readers can identify with covers seeing themselves or wanting to discover themselves within the pages. The cover for Hiding in My Pajamas took a while but I was very happy with the result. The blue cover color I decided should be "Tiffany" blue!
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I do a lot of reading on my Kindle which my daughter gave me years ago. I like the size and the ease of searching for new books.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
When my book was first published I sent out the press releases of course, but I also had an extensive e-mail list from my work life so I sent out an e-mail blast about the book. This worked very well for the first big surge. Because the first part of my book deals with how to put together a long term financial retirement plan, I sent a letter and book to the CEO's of major financial companies around the United States. This jump started my new career of traveling around the states providing professional presentations about my journey.
Describe your desk
My desk is glass and very simple. I don't like a lot of clutter so everything I need is in file folders adjacent to the desk. Although I do most of my writing at the desk I also take my lap top outside on my back porch and work. It is truly inspiring!
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the San Francisco Bay area until I was 13 and then we moved to the Midwest. My family life definitely influenced my writing. When I began writing Hiding in My Pajamas I found that a great deal of my past was a big part of my emotional struggle in retirement. You never know what is hidden until you close one door and open another.
When did you first start writing?
I began my first book in December of 2014. Although I had written for projects in school, college and during my professional life, this was the first formal writing I had ever done to share with the public.
What's the story behind your latest book?
I retired from a stressful and rewarding professional career as a partner in a commercial architectural and interior design firm, moving to Arizona 4 years ago. I was 69 years old when I decided to retire and start a whole new life. But many, many things I did not see coming got in the way. What I learned that I was not truly invested in my emotional journey, or in anyway prepared the the emotional roller coaster I was experiencing.

Society seems to view aging as more of a problem rather than an accomplishment. And, when you are married or have a significant other, finding that emotional balance so you are both taken care of can be daunting as you are thrown together 24 hours a day, seven days a week. My husband and I discovered many surprises about each other, some silly, some funny and some that caused many bruises and bumps along the way that we did not see coming.

I spent my entire life taking care of others, my family, my friends, my co-workers and of course, my clients. When I retired there I was 1,600 miles away from all my friends and family alone in a new home. I did not know who I was or what I wanted to be. The day to day we take for granted in our work life comes quickly to an end when we retire. So how did I find or discover a new me?

What I learned is that the best kept secret with women and men who retire today is that retiring is a huge challenge to those of us who have had years of validation through significant recognition and power. When you close that work life door behind you all you were, all you accomplished, seems to disappear to society. As I went through the first 2 years of retirement becoming an emotional mess, I knew I had to share my journey. That is how Hiding in My Pajamas became my "heads up" for those who are not prepared for what I experienced.
Published 2017-08-28.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Hiding in My Pajamas
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 24,670. Language: English. Published: August 26, 2017. Categories: Nonfiction » Self-improvement » Motivation and inspiration
Somewhere between a memoir and a how-to, Hiding in My Pajamas is a professional woman's journey to a financially and emotionally healthy retirement. This is a uniquely refreshing, funny and candid look at the emotional side of retirement with the author sharing the best kept secret about retirement with professional women today. Honest, vulnerable, and heartwarming this is a must read.