We welcome today Deborah Serani, author of the self-help parenting book, Depression and Your Child: A Guide for Parents and Caregivers. Dr. Serani is a go-to media expert on a variety of psychological issues. Her interviews can be found in ABC News, Newsday, Womens Health & Fitness, The Chicago Tribune, The Associated Press, and affiliate radio station programs at CBS and NPR, just to name a few. She is a ShareCare Expert for Dr. Oz, writes for Psychology Today, helms the "Ask the Therapist" column for Esperanza Magazine and has worked as a technical advisor for the NBC television show Law & Order: Special Victims Unit. A licensed psychologist in practice over twenty years, Serani is also an adjunct professor at Adelphi University teaching courses in clinical disorders and treatment and is the author of the award-winning book, Living with Depression. Visit her website at www.drdeborahserani.com.
Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life! Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process. Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning? Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?
They say write what you know, right? Well, I’ve known the textures of depression my entire life. So it was easy for me to take those experiences and craft Depression and Your Child: A Guide for Parents and Caregivers. What makes the books I write different is that I specialize in the treatment of the very condition that I grew up with. So I help readers understand depression from both sides of the coin... as a doctor and as a patient.
Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?
Writing is a very disciplined art, so you really have to make time to actually sit down and write. I tend to enjoy solitary activities, so writing comes easily to me – and I really enjoy the creative process of it all. The best advice I have for writers is to find what mix works best for you – and set a deadline. If quiet and uninterrupted time helps you get your prose on, so be it. If you’re the kind of writer who can be productive in the middle of a noisy room with a hundred things going on, that’s great too. Find the writing environment that suits you best – and try not to get caught up in what other writers are doing. And remember to keep that end date in your mind’s eye. It’ll help you finish your work.
Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?
The Rowman & Littlefield Publishing Group are where my books have their home. I could have chosen several others publishing houses, but decided to sign with them because they were so supportive of my work and encouraging with my other writing ideas.
Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?
I have to say what surprised me most was the publisher’s attention to the smallest of details from the paper color, to the font chosen and the book art. I didn’t realize my interests and input would be considered so heavily in the production of the book. And it really delighted me.
Q: Can you describe the feeling when you saw your published book for the first time?
Seeing my book for the first time was like holding a new baby. I was just filled with joy. Like counting fingers and toes, I thumbed through the pages. I held the book, feeling its weight and was just so amazed of its realness in my hands. The smell of the newly printed book and the sounds of the hardcover folding open and closed were delicious too. And then there’s seeing your name as an author which makes the entire creative process all the more wonderful. Writing and publishing a book is very much like having a baby. So much of your heart and soul goes into it. And then your book takes off with a life of its own. As an author, just like a parent, you hope what you’ve created does you proud.
Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?
I’m completing a children’s picture book on depression. It was always my dream to do a trio of books on depression – one for those struggling with the disorder, another for parents and lastly one for children to help them understand this debilitating illness. My publisher has been wonderful in helping me reach that goal.
Q: Fun question: How does your book contribute to making this world a better place?
I want others to know that living with depression, or any mental illness for that matter, doesn’t mean one has to hide in shame or fear that things will never get better. I’m living proof that recovery from depression is possible. And so are the 400 high profile celebrities listed in Depression and Your Child: A Guide for Parents and Caregivers.
Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?
When you realize that you are more than your illness, you begin to live a more meaningful life. And that’s my wish for anyone who reads my book.
Q: Thank you again for this interview! Do you have any final words?
Every 40 seconds, someone dies by suicide. Every 41 seconds, someone is left behind to make sense of it. Depression is a serious, but treatable illness with a recovery rate of nearly 80%. Know the symptoms. Reach out for help. And know that hope and healing waiting for you.