Tell us the book title and your author name.
It is great to be here. Thanks for having me. My name is Tori Kropp and the book is called The Joy of Pregnancy.
What inspired the book?
I have been a Perinatal nurse for more than 20 years. Even years before that I had a fascination with birth that has led me on this long and expanding road of pregnancy. There is nothing I know more about than “birthing” babies. I have seen more that 2000 babies come into the world in hospitals, birth centers, bedrooms, bathtubs, hammocks and even in the back of a pickup truck! Birth is not one bit less magical to me today than it was the first time.
Many years ago, I began to recognize that many women who were “prepared” for birth by having read books and taken classes were coming into their births ill prepared for actual labor. They were trusting a variety of “experts” and writers more than they trusted themselves. They were struggling to “think” their way through and to try to control the very primal and uncontrollable experience of childbirth.
Women today are more worried, anxious and serious than I have ever seen. Where is the humor of that expanding belly, the funny stories, and the old wives’ tales? It seems as though the common sense and lightness of this wonderful time has been replaced by dry facts about procedures, tests, and nutrition. These are all important things but certainly not the whole picture.
I have been able to use the skills I have in my work with pregnant women in a variety of ways. I have worked with women during labor, through my childbirth education company, PillowTalk® and online via my community website, Stork Site. And I know I have been able to have a positive impact. My heart warms when a woman, with a child (or two or three) in tow, makes a beeline across the street to say, “Tori, do you remember me? You were with me eight years ago when my son was born, “ or “Thanks! We learned so much in your classes. They made such a difference for us.” What could be more fulfilling?
I have always wanted to reach out to more women through a book and the time finally presented itself.
What makes this book special to you?
It is truly a work from my heart. It is not merely a resource. It is something that I have wanted to do for many, many years. It is also something that was difficult for me to complete. While I was writing the book, my life took a heart-wrenching turn. The love of my life, my husband Ray, was shockingly diagnosed with terminal cancer. At the time, our son, Alexander was 3 ½ years old. After a grueling course of chemotherapy, Ray died 14 weeks later. I wasn’t certain I could finish the book, but knowing how happy Ray was for my opportunity to write it helped me continue. Ray was my best friend and best critic, and his strength and spirit will always guide me. The Joy of Pregnancy stands a monument to his enthusiasm for the work I so love.
What makes this a book that other people MUST read and WHY?
It is simply different than the most popular books out there. It is warm and contemporary. Because I actively work with pregnant women, the information is absolutely current and sound. So many books focus on the negative possibilities and that is simply unfair to women. I focus on the realistic experiences that women may have and present information in a positive way. I talk about how normal most of what women experience is. I also share a lot of myself in the book and it is very personal and honest. My goal with The Joy of Pregnancy is to help women in the most non-judgmental way possible prepare for their babies. The book is fresh, uplifting, funny and empowering.
What people NEED to read this book and WHY?
Pregnant women and their partners or women in the “planning to be pregnant” stage of their lives. It is designed to be a guide for them to use from the moment they become pregnant or even when they are thinking about being pregnant. I have written the book in a very conversational and easy to follow way. Each chapter corresponds to the month of pregnancy that a woman is in. People close to me who have read the book tell me that it sounds just as though I am speaking. And I think I speak more comfortably than I write! I hope women can feel as though they have a trusted companion walking with them through their pregnancies.
What sparks your creativity? Any tips to help others spark their own creativity?
I feel as though I am constantly carry on conversations in my head. Often, I find myself talking aloud as well. I also can only write when I feel passionate about something and then the words seem to come easily. Otherwise, it is almost impossible for me to write. What I have found works best for me is to just let the words come out without worrying about how the sentence reads or whether or not it makes sense. That is what revisions are for. I also don’t write small amounts over long periods of time. I write big chunks all at once. Deadlines are very motivating for me.
What has been the biggest stumbling block in your writing? Can you share some tips to help others get past similar problems?
I feel I am much better at speaking with people than writing. I like the human interaction so it was hard, at times for me to sit alone in front of the computer. Although, over half the book was written after Ray died and I was really unable to interact with people at that time. Writing the book truly was the best thing for me.
Some people are writers who can write about any topic—they simply love the process of writing. That isn’t me. I need the desire and passion behind it. Sometimes I felt as though I had “homework” and that was quite a stumbling block. I had to let go of that.
What do you think motivates people to become authors? What motivated you to get into this unusual industry?
Having something to say or enjoying the process. For me, my motivation was to transfer all that was in my head and heart to the page. I wanted to reach out to more people with something I could share. It isn’t easy to be sure that your voice comes through, even after editing. That was very important for me and I can honestly say that my voice shines through in The Joy of Pregnancy.
Tell me about the most unusual things you have done to promote any books?
We spend time in the summers in a small community on Lake Michigan. This summer I posted flyers on trees and in small kiosks to let my neighbors know about it. There is even a copy in our tiny, local soda bar.
Why are you the BEST person to write this book? What in your background or in your research makes you qualified to do justice to this topic?
For a very long time, I have been able to really connect with this audience. On a very visceral level I understand pregnant women and am able to share that ability with them in a very personable and supportive way. I have attended several thousand births and have seen nearly every situation imaginable and I currently work in a very well respected, family centered women’s hospital in San Francisco.
If a potential reader thinks that your book wouldn't interest them, what would you say to convince them to buy? I'm thinking something better than "Its the greatest book ever." Give me something more specific :)
It is different. It is practical and it is fresh. It presents information in a non-judgmental way so that women have the resources to make decisions that are best for them. My dream is to bring about a change in the negativity that so often surrounds childbirth, in this country. Why is it that there is so much polarization in how women should experience their pregnancies and especially what should and should not happen during labor and birth? There are so many “opinions” about what the “right or better” choices are. The truth is that all those opinions do is create guilt for women. Of course, we want to do what is best and it simply unfair for women to feel as though a reasonable choice they make is not the “right” one.
There are certainly other really great books out there. I simply encourage potential readers to give this one a look to see if it is right for them.
Why does the topic of your book interest you? Why would it interest potential readers? Give us a hook to reel in new readers.
This topic is everything that is me. I don’t for a minute say that I know everything. I really don’t’ want to give the impression that I do. I simply have had a lot of experience and hope to share that in a positive way through The Joy of Pregnancy. Among the best-selling books, I continue to discover plenty of opinions and biases and medical information presented in a way that creates worry and fear. This book, I hope, does not do that. Much of what is written is alarmist, outdated and impractical. The Joy of Pregnancy is contemporary, very realistic, honest and positive. It speaks to today’s women.
Is there a way to tie your book topic to current events? If so, tell us about how you could do that. I have a blog to feature information and examples about tying books into current events that might be a good place for you to promote your book.
One of the things that the book does focus on is practicality, particularly related to what is useful to buy and what is and is not necessary in preparing for the new baby. In today’s economy this is very relevant. People are working harder and harder and there is a tremendous amount of marketing targeted to this audience. I talk a lot about how to spend less and focus on things such as spending money on wholesome food and buying for the long-term and borrowing for the short term.
There is also such frenzy and focus in the media related to celebrity pregnancies. The book really addresses some of the unrealistic expectations magazines and the media place on pregnancy, weight gain, postpartum and baby care. We talk about what is real for women.
If there's anything else you would like to share, this is the time and place.
I just want to say, come join me. I welcome women to read and learn and take from the pages of The Joy of Pregnancy anything that they find to be helpful. Feel free to leave the rest.
“The ride is great. There is nothing more beautiful than a pregnant woman. Babies are unbelievable, and humor is the ingredient that keeps us sane and happy.”
Thanks so much for allowing me to share all of this with you and your readers.
~~ Warmly, Tori Kropp