Interview with Baby Boomer Maggie Rose Crane

Prior to publishing her book, Amazing Grays: A Woman's Guide to Making the Next 50 the Best 50 (Regardless of your hair color!), Maggie Rose Crane spent a decade crisscrossing the country conducting leadership and life-skills workshops for women. Born on the leading edge of the Baby Boom generation, she has experienced many life passages common to her peers: college, marriage, divorce, single motherhood, career changes, and creating a blended family. At the core of her message, shared through writing, speeches and workshops, Maggie exposes the fears and anxieties that haunt many midlife women – and reveals how to mindfully navigate the turbulence with wisdom, perspective and practice. She also serves as a guest editor for the Dove Real Women/Real Beauty Campaign website. (www.dove.com). Born and raised in Wisconsin, Maggie now resides on the West Coast. You can visit Maggie's website at www.maggiecrane.com.

Welcome to The Writer's Life, Maggie. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

Sure. I’m a leading edge baby boomer, doing my best to mature gracefully in a society that seems not to honor or appreciate the aging. I had actually never written anything more than a few speeches and workshops, until I was drawn to chronicle my bumpy journey through midlife. Previously, I spent nearly 10 years crisscrossing the country conducting leadership and life skills workshops for women. Exhaustion, menopause and the big 5-O all hit me at the same time and I experienced a total burnout. Wisely, I pressed the “pause” button on my life, stopped traveling, took on the administration of a home based business and created a space for whatever was next. Among other things – it was writing Amazing Grays!


Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

After an epiphany in a hair salon convinced me to try life without hair dye, I was forced to face my underlying fears and expectations about aging in a youth obsessed society. When I looked in the mirror and saw myself being transformed into a gray haired women, there was no hiding from the truth - I was no spring chicken! This hard-to-swallow truth hits us all at different times. For some it happens when they become empty nesters, for others it’s when they find themselves in unsatisfying relationships, notice their careers are winding down or becoming unfulfilling, or the wrinkles and rolls become impossible to ignore. Eventually, we all are forced to confront the fact that we are “not so young” anymore.

Going gray was the precipitating event that shoved me up against all my fears about getting “old”, but the book is only a little about gray hair. While I do share some strategies for going gray (with photos and stories from women who have taken the plunge) I understand many women choose to keep coloring their hair. “Amazing Grays” has more to do with age than a hair color.

Amazing Grays is about aging mindfully. It’s about choosing to heal past wounds, challenge limiting beliefs and expectations and dropping the roles that no longer serve you. It’s about awakening slumbering dreams; uncovering what you value now; taking steps to insure good health and fitness; and uncovering roots of a deeper kind. It’s truly about creating a fresh start for the second half of life.

I wrote it because, as I leading edge baby boomer, I was one of the first of my generation to go through this midlife transition. I thought sharing my experience, research and insights might make it easier for the boomer women coming up behind me to not only cope, but triumph!


What kind of research was involved in writing Amazing Grays?

I read a lot of books about aging, hormones, menopause and the like, and did a great deal of online research. I spoke with a couple of doctors. There seems to be a plethora of material on these topics today, but when I started this book there wasn’t as much to draw on. I took care while writing my book to reference my resources. Not being a medical professional, I had to use more than my experience of sweaty nights, low libido and my expanding menopot to establish credibility.


How much input did you have into the design of your book cover?

The cover design was totally my choice, but I relied on a good cover designer to help me. Initially I didn’t want to put my picture on the cover. I mean, who is Maggie Rose Crane to anybody but my family and friends? I thought only celebrities were entitled to have their mugs on the cover.

After experimenting with roses, various images and color designs, my graphic designer strongly encouraged me to use my photo on the cover. He thought I was a good example of what being an Amazing Gray was all about, wrinkles, crinkles and all. Seems he was right. I get a lot of compliments on the cover.

Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?

I wrote the book very part time over a 3-½ year time frame, not making it a full time endeavor until the last year. I had a hard time finding an editor who had both the skill and the time – but finally ended up with someone I really connected with and admire. Since I had been along for the ride when my husband self-published his book, I knew what to expect - not that it was easy. There are many steps and a lot of things to pay attention to – way beyond writing the book!

For this particular book, how long did it take from the time you signed the contract to its release?

No contract. I actually preferred to self-publish this book, as I was reluctant to give up control of the design, content, publicity and profits. It costs a little more up front, but I think an author makes it up in the long run.


Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

No agent.


Do you plan subsequent books?

I have learned to never say never. If I am so moved, and have something to say - I may write another book. There is nothing in the works at this time.


Are you a morning writer or a night writer?

Both. I find I write best in a quiet, undisturbed, uncluttered environment. I wrote my book in fits and starts – it was just important to start somewhere! During the last year, I arranged to housesit in another city for 6 weeks to get away from all distractions. I was able to finish most of the book at that time. Sometimes I found myself writing late into the night if I was on a roll. I would often just sit down in front of the computer and think about some aspect of my experience and begin to write about it. That often led to research, and more insight, and more writing.

If money were no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?

A website, blog, online book tour and a good, fairly priced, publicist.


How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?

Taking accountability for self-promotion is often the difference between just being an author and selling books! I created a website and blog, signed up for a virtual blog tour, established a presence on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.com. I wrote articles to be published online and am developing workshops and speeches on making the next 50 the best 50.


Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?

Ignore the voices from within that insist you don’t know what you’re talking about and you have no business writing a book! They are not on your side. Thank them for sharing and keep writing. Don’t worry about how long it takes. If you’ve got something to say – it was given to you as a gift. It’s your job to give it back.


Thank you for coming, Maggie. Would you like to tell my readers where they can find you on the web and how everyone can buy your book?

Visit http://www.maggiecrane.com/. I’m currently offering a free bookmark with purchase of Amazing Grays. It features a wonderful quote for midlife women, affirming how powerful and amazing we truly are. After all, we become what we think about most!
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