I had a chance to interview her to learn more.
What was the inspiration for writing this book?
My inspiration for the writing The Butterfly Groove was to learn about my mother’s life over a decade after she passed away. I graduated from Journalism school, and after looking into many interesting stories about other people’s lives, I thought it only fair to learn my own mother’s story after spending so much time looking into strangers lives.
How did you start probing into your mom's life?
To learn about my mom’s life, I went back and did my best to recall the handful of facts and people she had told me about herself. I came up with: her best friend since kindergarten’s name, her first love’s nickname and last name, and the restaurant she spent most of her working years at: Lawry’s (formerly called The Westside Broiler).
What tips do you have for those who are trying investigations into their family's past?
I actually wrote a whole piece on this topic for ModernLoss not too long ago. My best advice is to follow every lead in your relative’s life, and to always keep pushing your interviewee’s to tell you the whole truth. A lot of people, even once you find them and they are feeling nostalgic and happy, will withhold information from you for various reasons (it was your mom, it was your child, it was a long time ago, etc). It is your job as the interviewer to let them know you can handle anything, and actually want to know the truth; not a sugarcoated version of their memories.
How did you feel as you found out more about your family's past?
Truly, learning about my mom was not only satisfying as a writer, but has become the spiritual chord that is keeping she and I attached. Learning about her life allowed me to become a better journalist, to tell a great story, and become closer to my mother from beyond the grave. I got to discover her emotional genealogy — who she really was. There are many websites and resources that can help you locate the whereabouts of your relatives before you (Ancestry.com ,etc), but no resources can tell you who your relatives were. That is your job as a human being to discover for yourself, and it’s never too late!
To learn more about The Butterfly Groove, click here: http://www.amazon.com/The-Butterfly-Groove-Mothers-Daughters/dp/1631528009. Questions, comments? Reach Jessica at firstname.lastname@example.org.