Barbara Delinsky biography

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Barbara Delinsky

Barbara Delinsky

Barbara Delinsky Biography

In her own words: "I was born and raised in suburban Boston. My mother's death, when I was eight, was the defining event of a childhood that was otherwise ordinary. I took piano lessons and flute lessons. I took ballroom dancing lessons. I went to summer camp through my fifteenth year (in Maine, which explains the setting of so many of my stories), then spent my sixteenth summer learning to type and to drive (two skills that have served me better than all of my other high school courses combined). I earned a B.A. in Psychology at Tufts University and an M.A. in Sociology at Boston College. The motivation behind the M.A. was sheer greed. My husband was just starting law school. We needed the money.

Oh. Oh. Back up. You'll love this. When I was in high school, I was kicked out of Honors English because I couldn't keep up! No, I never did go back to gloat. The truth is that though I came from a family of lawyers and never dreamed of publishing books, I did learn the basics of writing in high school, and, yeah, that skill has come in handy, too.

Following graduate school, I worked as a researcher with the Massachusetts Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, and as a photographer and reporter for the Belmont Herald. I did the newspaper work after my first son was born. Since I was heavily into taking pictures of him, I worked for the paper to support that habit. Initially, I wrote only in a secondary capacity, to provide copy for the pictures I took. In time, I realized that I was better at writing than photography. I used both skills doing volunteer work for hospital groups, and have served on the Board of Directors of the Friends of the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center and on the MGH's Women's Cancer Advisory Board.

I became an actual writer by fluke. My twins were four when, by chance, I happened on a newspaper article profiling three female writers. Intrigued, I spent three months researching, plotting, and writing my own book – and it sold.

My niche? I write about the emotional crises that we face in our lives. Readers identify with my characters. They know them. They are them. I'm an everyday woman writing about everyday people facing not-so-everyday challenges.

My novels are character-driven studies of marriage, parenthood, sibling rivalry, and friendship, and I've been blessed in having readers who buy them eagerly enough to put them on the major bestseller lists. One of my latest, Sweet Salt Air, came out in 2013. Blueprints, my second novel with St. Martin's Press, became my 22nd New York Times bestselling novel soon after its release in June, 2015. Making Up, my work in progress, will be published in 2018.

2018? Yikes. I didn't think I'd live that long. I thought I'd die of breast cancer back in the twentieth century, like my mom. But I didn't. I was diagnosed more than twenty years ago, had surgery and treatment, and here I am, stronger than ever and loving having authored yet another book, this one the non-fiction Uplift: Secrets From the Sisterhood of Breast Cancer Survivors. First published in 2001, Uplift is a handbook of practical tips and upbeat anecdotes that I compiled with the help of 350 breast cancer survivors, their families and friends. These survivors just … blew me away! They gave me the book that I wish I'd had way back when I was diagnosed. There is no medical information here, nothing frightening, simply practical advice from friends who've had breast cancer. The 10th Anniversary Volume of Uplift is now in print. And the money I've made on the book? Every cent has gone to my charitable foundation, which funds an ongoing research fellowship at Massachusetts General Hospital. Wow. Does it get any better than that?"

Barbara Delinsky's website

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Interview

Barbara Delinsky discusses her work and in particular her 2009 book, While My Sister Sleeps.

While My Sister Sleeps portrays a family facing a tragic turning point. Was the writing process different for you this time, or do you follow the same approach with every manuscript?
 
The writing process rarely changes. It entails developing a concept into a plot, fleshing out characters, doing research, and writing for long hours each day. That said, each book of mine involves very different emotional issues. In the case of While My Sister Sleeps, the issues of responsibility, family love, and letting go were particularly vivid. I lived for nine months with the high emotions that the Snow family experienced in a week. As draining as that was for me, I am thrilled with the outcome.


Like many of the families in your books, the Snows have a complex way of coping. Do you have siblings? If so, how did those relationships compare to Molly and Robin's?  
 
I was a middle child. With sisters above and below, I know of sibling rivalry and have often written about it. None of us were stars as Robin was, and we had no family business. But we were as different from each other as Molly and Robin were, and we vied for our parents' love, just as they did. That desire for parental approval is ...

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Books by this Author

Books by Barbara Delinsky at BookBrowse
Escape jacket Not My Daughter jacket While My Sister Sleeps jacket The Secret Between Us jacket
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All the books below are recommended as readalikes for Barbara Delinsky but some maybe more relevant to you than others depending on which books by the author you have read and enjoyed. So look for the suggested read-alikes by title linked on the right.
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    If you enjoyed:
    Coast Road

    Try:
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  • Nancy H. Dahm

    Nancy H. Dahm

    Nancy Hassett Dahm is a registered nurse who specializes in cancer care. Her experience in caring for over 400 cancer patients, since 1991, is the basis of knowledge for this book. Over the years, she has developed ... (more)

    If you enjoyed:
    Uplift

    Try:
    Mind, Body and Soul
    by Nancy H. Dahm

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