Friday, June 29, 2012

Interview Friday: Families Matter: Interview with author Bill Birnbaum-

This Friday I'm sharing an interview we did over at the SFC blog Families Matter. A bit different from my normal interviews, but I hope you like this one all the same.

Born and raised in New York, Bill spent his middle years in Southern California. There, he raised two sons and enjoyed a twenty-five year career as a self-employed management consultant. For twenty years, Bill published and edited the Business Strategies Newsletter. He authored two business books, including, Strategic Thinking: A Four Piece Puzzle. Published in 2004, that book is currently in its third printing.


In 2007, Bill and his wife, Wendy, were ready to write a new chapter in their lives. They sold their home, put everything they owned in storage and purchased one-way tickets to Arequipa, Peru. They spent the next eight months living in Peru, six of those months working voluntarily in a poor community in the Peruvian Andes. In 2008, the Birnbaums spent an additional four months traveling in Ecuador, Patagonia, Chile and Argentina.

Bill holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from The City College of New York, School of Engineering and a Master’s Degree in Business from California State University-Fullerton.


Thanks so much for your time!  You have a varied background that led you to write! 
Q: Tell us briefly about your book.


A: In my newly-published memoir, A Lifetime of Small Adventures, I relate my stories of adventure from my mischievous boyhood to my mountain climbing adulthood.  As a boy, I flooded the basement of my home – quite by accident, I assure you.  As a young man, I acquired the habit of picking up hitchhikers.  Fortunately, only a few of my passengers were seriously dangerous. 
In my memoir, I also relate my lessons learned.  I point out that we citizens of modern society are too busy  and too often concerned about things which aren’t important at all. 

About my writing style – I think of it as easy-going.  Others have described it as both humorous and friendly. 

Q: How did you feel the day you held the copy of your first book in your hands?
A: Holding my first book in my hands was an absolute thrill.  The feeling of elation was my reward for having spent all of those months working on the book.  I was especially pleased that I could finally share my stories and my thoughts with my readers.

Q: What type of music, if any, do you listen to while you write? Do you need the noise or the silence?

A: I’m one of those writers who prefers a quiet working environment.  I find music to be a distraction.  And it isn’t just while writing that I need quiet.  I even have trouble reading while a TV or a radio is playing. 

Q: I am always amazed when I see others doing several things while reading!  If you could live in one of your books, which one would you live in?  

A: If I could live in one of my books, I’d live in my recently published memoir, A Lifetime of Small Adventures.  And since it’s a memoir, I actually did live in that book.  My two earlier books are business books, and while I’m proud of having written them, they’re both descriptive of intellectual adventure, rather than physical and emotional adventure.  My business books describe my lessons learned as a business consultant.  But my memoir describes my lessons learned while experiencing life’s adventures.  Whenever I read a chapter in my memoir, I enjoy re-living the adventure.
Q: How great to live in one of your books!  How do you balance out the writer’s life and the rest of life? Do you get up early? Stay up late? Ignore friends and family for certain periods of time?

A: I confess that I’m an undisciplined writer.  I don’t really have a set writing schedule.  Instead, I catch a few hours here and there.  And I’ve drafted quite a number of my ideas and stories in hotel rooms and on airplanes.  Inspiration, at times, strikes me at some very odd moments – like when riding my bicycle or paddling my kayak.  I then play with the idea in my head for a while.   At my first opportunity, I sketch the idea on paper, and later draft the idea at my computer.  

 To read the complete interview, visit
SFC Blog: Families Matter: Interview with author Bill Birnbaum-

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