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An Interview with Ann Favreau, author of The Dementia Spiral

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Ann Favreau is a retired educator who lives in Venice, FL. She is a member of the Florida Writers Association, Florida State Poets Association, and Past President of the Suncoast Writers Guild, Inc., in Englewood. She has self-published six books. Her writing has appeared in many newspapers, magazines, and anthologies. She has won local and national prizes for her prose and poetry and loves sharing her work with others.

Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

As an early childhood teacher, I wrote plays for the children to perform and articles that appeared in Early Childhood Magazine. When my husband and I traveled, I captured our adventures and my reflections on different cultures in prose and poetry. As a colorectal cancer survivor I wrote articles and poems about being a cancer survivor and a person with an ostomy. When I moved to Florida I joined a writing group that met during the season. That led me to the Suncoast Writers Guild that had meetings all year. There I was encouraged to share my work and publish it. Part of that group was the Poetry Pod that influenced my writing and provided support for my journey through my husband’s dementia.

What inspired you to start writing this book?

The members of the Poetry Pod of the Suncoast Writers Guild encouraged me to keep writing more dementia poems. Many of them asked if they could send them to family and friends who were going through similar situations. I found it cathartic to express information about the condition, my husband’s experiences and mine as his caregiver.

Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

I originally was going to use The Detour, A Dementia Journey as the title. However, when I sent the text to a young relative who is a graphic designer, she said that the poem The Dementia Spiral that compares walking through Richard Serra’s immense sculptures to treading the dementia journey was a wonderful image for the book cover.

Describe your dream book cover.

The cover that has been designed shows an intricate spiral in a variety of colors against a black background. The designer said she was influenced by the Dementia Spiral poem but also by the gentle molding of reality that is expressed in several poems as a way to bring peace to our days.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

As a kindergarten teacher from a very small town in Massachusetts, I never expected to travel the world, be invited to the White House, become President of the United Ostomy Association, Secretary of the International Ostomy Association, President of the Friends of Ostomates Worldwide-USA, and a recipient of the Helen Keller Award from the Lions Club.

What books did you read (for research or comfort) throughout your writing process?

I read several books on finding joy in the dementia journey. Most of my information came from an online support group:

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

I hope a reader understands that the best approach to caring for a loved one with dementia is love and patience. Keeping or building a wonderful relationship is key to supporting your own mental and physical health.

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