Interview with Kirk Hall

Is writing your profession?
I retired from my business career with companies that included American Express, Federated Department Stores, Panasonic, and Cook Publishing during the summer of 2008. I had experienced symptoms including extreme fatigue, shakiness, and lapses in mental acuity/concentration/memory since early that year and was diagnosed with Parkinson's PD) in April 2008. Following retirement, I started a journal to keep a record of events/appointments, status of symptoms, and what I was feeling. I have always enjoyed writing, but never considered trying to do it for a living. Frankly, I couldn't imagine having enough to say about anything to write a book, though, like many others, the notion appealed to me. After I had started keeping the journal, it occurred to me that I might be interested in writing a book related to PD at some point.
Is there anything in particular that motivated you to actually start writing?
I was scheduled to have deep brain stimulation surgery in March 2011. Early that year (January) I was thinking about an interaction with some of my grandchildren the previous summer. They had noticed that my hands shook sometimes and asked why that happened. I responded spontaneously "Grampa just has shaky paws". As I reflected back on that event, it occurred to me that it might be fun to attempt to write a book for my grandchildren based on that comment. I started writing without having a destination in mind, which is not normally my preference. I decided to feature my oldest grandson and write it in his voice. So Carson told the story about our relationship, how he started to notice some unusual things going on with me, the sale of our "log cabin" and subsequent move closer to his family, and my "special procedure" at the hospital (deep brain stimulation surgery) that took away my "shakiness" and enabled us to have more fun together. Later on, after Easter, I added a page about a prayer of thanks that I had tried to say at Easter dinner. I choked up, so Gramma helped me finish the prayer. That was how "Carson And His Shaky Paws Grampa" came into being. After writing it, I realized that this book might be useful to adults who were interested in communicating with their children or grandchildren regarding illnesses they were experiencing. I shared it with a few people in the PD world, and it rather quickly took on a life of its own. It has since been published by innovopublishing.com and has led to national speaking engagements, advocacy involvement, and media interviews.
Have you written any other children's books?
As a result of my interaction with PD audiences and support groups, I decided to write a second book that would facilitate more "in-depth" conversation between adults with PD and their children specific to how Parkinson's affected them. "Carina And Her Care Partner Gramma" was published September 2013 and is also available at innovopublishing.com.
Why did you write "Window of Opportunity"?
I started to think about writing a book about PD and related cognition issues some time in 2009. I had done a lot of research to help me understand what I was experiencing and quickly learned that it was not a subject being talked about openly, in most cases, by doctors or patients. I learned that nearly all PD patients have cognitive issues and a significant probability of progressing to PD-related dementia, which is a terminal condition. That explained why many folks were reluctant to talk about it. However, it was important to me to understand my situation and how it was likely to progress in order to advocate effectively for myself and make informed choices for the future with my wife of 45 years. I enlisted my doctor to review the book to make sure it was medically accurate and write a foreword. It became extremely important to me over the last couple years to complete this book. As my symptoms have progressed, I realized that this was my chance to something of value to people facing similar problems. Also, it was a possible opportunity to make my family proud. Both of these things held great appeal for me.
Is the "Window of Opportunity" book available in print?
It is available in print at pygmybooks.com.
Published 2014-03-01.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Footprints: A Memoir
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 40,470. Language: English. Published: May 13, 2015. Categories: Nonfiction » Biography » Autobiographies & Memoirs, Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » Diseases / nervous system (incl. brain)
This memoir is a collection of stories and thoughts that I had written for my sons. I am publishing this “lightly-edited” version for those who may have interest in knowing more about my life after reading any or all of my PD-related books. Additionally, I hope it might stimulate ideas for those who may be thinking about writing their own memoir.
Window Of Opportunity: Living with the reality of Parkinson's and the threat of dementia
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 36,530. Language: English. Published: February 25, 2014. Categories: Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » Diseases / Alzheimer’s & dementia
"Window of Opportunity" is the story of one person’s journey through the initial signs of cognitive impairment associated with Parkinson’s disease and the uncertainty of a future that includes a significant probability of dementia. The book is a tribute to someone who is able to maintain a positive orientation despite the threat of something as devastatingly frightening as dementia.