Wednesday, April 12, 2017

Interview with author Janet Lombardi

Bankruptcy: A Love Story

1. What really inspired you to write your book, to force you from taking an idea or experience and conveying it into a book?

I had a burning desire to tell the story that became Bankruptcy: A Love Story. But the book I began was very different than the book I finished. I started writing about my marriage and as I wrote events began to unravel, in real life. I had no idea that my husband was being investigated or that he would eventually go to prison. So I kept writing. I knew I had an extraordinary story on my hands, yet I struggled with the structure of the book and my fear of revealing such intimate details. I wished to show how complex life becomes when a spouse commits a crime. I wanted to describe the depth of feeling and how love doesn’t simply halt. I had a war going on within me—whether to hate someone who had harmed our family or whether to love and offer compassion and forgiveness to my betrayer, the man I loved and with whom I had shared a life.  But the real story is about confronting and managing a catastrophe—something unexpected that changes your life. I never knew myself as a determined person until I was forced to survive financially and emotionally. As a writer, I wished to convey all of this. 

2. What is it about and whom do you believe us your targeted reader?

The book is about the route one takes when one finds herself in an astonishing circumstance. As a family, we were blindsided by my attorney-husband who had been hiding hundreds of thousands of dollars of debt. In an attempt to get out of that debt, he stole $400,000 from clients and eventually went to prison. But the book isn’t solely or even directly about my husband going to prison, though that is the dramatic part of the story. The true story is about discovering what I and my family were made of. I was no innocent (though I had no knowledge of the crime my husband committed) and there are plenty of details about that. The book is about owning my choices, discovering frightening circumstances, loneliness, emotional pain, and the decision to fight for survival—financial and emotional. I emerged with new knowledge, recognition of my strength and determination, the wonderment of compassion, friendship, forgiveness, joy, and love of family.
My targeted reader is book-club belonging middle-aged woman. Or any reader who likes reading about marriage, the road back from adversity, and the fascinating interplay of money and family.

3. What do you hope will be the everlasting thoughts for readers who finish your book? What should remain with them long after putting it down?
Bankruptcy: A Love Story is a compelling read set against the backdrop of 9/11 and America’s distressed economy. Suffering from a post-traumatic stress disorder sparked by his eyewitness to the collapse of the Twin Towers, my husband’s attempt to pay off a mountain of debt and win me back after my own affair with another woman created the perfect storm. The result was a family that imploded and my husband’s eventual incarceration for grand larceny. My goal was to connect people with an inspiring story so they can look at their own lives and apply a renewed sensibility towards money, marriage, and life. I hope that the book will help readers with their own financial and personal struggles. Inspiration can produce miracles and I’d like readers to come away understanding that love, compassion, and forgiveness are powerful choices. I would like readers’ everlasting thoughts to be that sometimes getting out of a mess can be a beautiful thing!

4. What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers?
You need to write the story that keeps nagging at you. The one you keep coming back to. I heard Anne Lamott once say at a seminar, “If you are a writer and you’re not writing, you won’t be well.” So write! Be persistent and don’t give up. Be committed to finishing the draft and remember that no draft is perfect; that’s why they’re drafts. Get yourself a writing schedule and stick to it. Having a full-time job, I had a standing writing date with two writing comrades every Saturday. We “met” on the phone and set a timer for how long we would each write. After the timer went off, we read our work to each other. I could not have finished my book without my loving, talented writing buddies.

5. What trends in the book world do you see and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading?
 I see a trend towards shorter books, fresh voices and, believe it or not, growth in independent book stores. Online and face-to-face book clubs remain popular, as do print books. Everyone likes to hold a book in her hands, even if it’s occasionally!  

6. What great challenges did you have in writing your book?
I struggled with the structure, not sure whether to write it chronologically, with flashbacks, or in a loose fragmentary way. I wasn’t sure where to begin the story, so I chose a point in time (when we moved into our house). Most of those pages got cut but they offered me an entry. And a sense that I was writing a book. It was emotionally challenging to write this memoir as I knew the only way to make a compelling story would be to reveal intimate details – about an affair I had, my husband’s addiction, and deep details about our financial lives, very personal items. But I was willing because I simply had to write this book.

7. If people can only buy one book this month, why should it be yours?
 I have not seen any “financial memoirs” that describe a family’s life in the challenging 2008 economic climate in this country. Bankruptcy: A Love Story covers a number of hard-hitting topics: financial and marital infidelity, lesbian romance, drug and alcohol addiction, and debt recovery. Bankruptcy: A Love Story adds a human face to the grueling headlines and statistics. Yet the message, over, is a positive one: love, compassion, and forgiveness are powerful motivators!

Janet Lombardi is a member of the International Women’s Writing Guild, and has earned four artist residencies at the Ragdale Foundation in Lake Forest, Illinois. As a regular writer and speaker on the topic of everyday money management and financial recovery, Lombardi specializes in transcending financial upheaval and offers tips to help others achieve economic peace and prosperity. Her work has been featured in numerous publications, including Newsday, Newsweek, Daily Beast, and  The mother of two grown sons, Lombardi lives in Rockville Centre, New York. For more info, see:

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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog 2017©. Born and raised in Brooklyn, now resides in Westchester. Named one of the best book marketing blogs by Book Baby 

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