Well, it’s that time of the week again when I welcome another author to join me for the Thursday Throng and this week we have the pleasure of hosting an author of a book on a subject that is very close to my heart, the menopause. You may or may not know but I run an organisation called The Hysterectomy Association and so the menopause features heavily in discussions among our members on regular basis, the subject of sex probably runs a very close second. The book is Sex, Meaning and the Menopause and it is by Sue Brayne.
According to Sue it is a menopausal woman’s search for what matters, and a challenge to the myth that all older women want to remain sexually active. In a highly-sexualised and media-hyped society, postmenopausal woman often feel pressurised to have ‘great sex.’ Books and websites prescribe what the menopause should be. And, if it isn’t, here’s how to fix it. Painful sex and mood swings can be cured by HRT. Some women take the artificial route to remain sexually active. Others choose a natural approach, even if it means dwindling sexual desire. ‘I used to seek it out. Now I endure it’, said one woman. But few talk about it. ‘It’s far more of a taboo than talking about death’, said another woman. Fading libido can have a profound effect on relationships. ‘I feel despair’, said a 61 year-old husband. ‘I have to accept that my sex life is more or less over.’ And another: ‘I have never broached this with my wife, but to think I may never have sex again is very dangerous.’ Sue explores the lived, felt experience of what it means to be postmenopausal, and looks at how it affects relationships and changes lives.
Hi Sue and let’s get cracking with my first question to all Thursday Thronger’s ‘What is One thing that No-One Normally Knows About You?’
I was born with partial vision and squint in one eye. I spent most of my childhood wearing those ghastly pink NHS glasses with a patch made of plaster covering my good eye in a failed effort to correct it. Two operations straightened out the squint but I never regained the sight. This had a profound effect on my ability to learn and I was always near to bottom on the class. By the time I reached senior school I had more or less given up, although I did manage to scrape an A’Level in English, which amazed my parents and teachers not to mention myself. Now I have two MAs, so I couldn’t have been that thick. (Linda’s aside – I suffered from the same thing and can really relate to those childhood trauma’s)
I wanna be a show girl! I’m nuts about west end musicals. Twice a year I meet up with my dear friend Sally. We lunch and drink bubbly at Joe Allens in Covent Garden before heading off, rosy cheeked, to a matinee. Dancing in the Rain was the last outing. Fabulous. (Linda’s aside – wow! go girl, go girl)
Are there any occupational hazards to being an author?
I love the whole process of writing, from playing with an idea in my head, perhaps for months, then sitting down to plan the structure of the book. Once I get that onto paper I make a list of people I want to talk to, and experts who might be willing to be interviewed. The only hazard for me is trusting the publisher to get the publicity right, or, indeed, do any publicity at all. That’s when it can get very frustrating.
Do you think there is any elitism attached to the different genres of books, both in the fiction and non-fiction worlds?
Yes! Non-fiction is the country cousin. If you mention you are writing a book people always ask, ‘What’s the novel about?’ Their eyes glaze over as soon as you say it’s non-fiction. It’s not sexy. Mind you, celebrities have made their fortune from the non-fiction market. There’s not a gardener, chef, personal development coach or Z-lister out there who hasn’t written the definitive book as part of their marketing strategy. Just take a look at the non-fiction top sellers.
Do you have any hints or tips for aspiring writers?
If you love to write, write! Don’t be put off by anything or anyone. Do it because you enjoy it, not because you think it’s going to make you famous or rich. That is most unlikely unless you’re the next John Fowles or Jamie Oliver. The other tip is, don’t talk about it. Do it. Apply bum to seat of chair and fingers to key board or pen. Find the rhythm of working that suits you and go for it.
Where do you find your inspiration?
I love learning about life, especially about the aging process, which I am kind of getting used to. I am fascinated by physical, mental, emotional and spiritual changes I am experiencing – whoever said aging is all in the mind is wrong. When I started to go through the menopause I felt the cogs in my brain move into gear. I heard myself think, ‘I want to know a lot more about this.’ Luckily my publisher thought the same. (Linda’s aside – I felt exactly the same with the Hysterectomy Association 🙂)
Where to buy the book and find out more about Sue
You can find out more about Sue Brayne on her website at: suebrayne.co.uk/ which just so happens to be a WordPress blog, brilliant 🙂
PS; Sue is taking a major trip around the Far East and is in India; you can find out more about how it’s going on her blog listed above. She also inhabits the Twittersphere at twitter.com/suebrayne and for those of you who are LinkedIn you can find here there too: linkedin.com/pub/sue-brayne/2a/4a7/184
Why ‘The Thursday Throng’?
These posts are called The Thursday Throng in honour of the throng that waits eagerly outside the book store when a new author is doing a book signing event or appearance. On this website it takes the form of a ‘Meet the Author‘ online event with some information about our author’s latest book and an interview. If you would like to take part in the Thursday Throng then why not email me to find out more.
If you would like to see all the Authors who have been featured on The Thursday Throng you can click here: womanontheedgeofreality.com/2012/06/17/the-thursday-throng/