Guest Author Molly Best TINSLEY

Today Nicole from Tribute Books is stopping by to introduce us to an amazing, busy and talented author as she talks about her new memoir.  So please help me welcome Ms. Molly Best!


Air Force brat Molly Best Tinsley taught on the civilian faculty at the United States Naval Academy for twenty years and is the institution’s first professor emerita. Author of My Life with Darwin (Houghton Mifflin) and Throwing Knives (Ohio State University Press), she also co-authored Satan’s Chamber (Fuze Publishing) and the textbook, The Creative Process (St. Martin’s). Her fiction has earned two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Sandstone Prize, and the Oregon Book Award. Her plays have been read and produced nationwide. She lives in Oregon, where she divides her time between Ashland and Portland.
Connect with the author at:  Fuze Publishing’s FacebookFuze Publishing’s TwitterFuze Publishing’s WebsiteFuze Publishing’s BlogEntering the Blue Stone Blog Tour SiteTribute Books Blog Tours Facebook


Entering the Blue Stone is a memoir of my parents’ final years, when my father was afflicted with Parkinson’s, my mother with Alzheimers.  My siblings and I had to move them from their home to an independent living apartment in a continuing care facility, then to the assisted living wing, and finally to the nursing home on the bottom floor.  It’s a fairly common experience nowadays, but it feels extraordinary when it happens to you, a cross between a comedy of errors, a crusade for humane treatment, and, of course, a prolonged funeral.  In order to maintain my sanity, I transcribed events almost as they were happening, including conversations verbatim.  I was coping with the chaos by keeping notes—trying to contain it in words.

As the months passed, and their situation plummeted from difficult to impossible, the writing began to serve a purpose beyond my own mental health.  I wanted to tell a cautionary tale so that other families might begin this end-of-life process with more information.  Because our experience became so surreal, however, I chose an almost documentary tone recount it.  No hysteria, no exclamatory outrage–just the facts.  We felt as if the administrators in the continuing care facility had lost their minds while those with diagnosed dementia exemplified grace and a certain common sense.  I had to make sure I didn’t sound like a crazy person myself—even if I felt that way sometimes!

At the same time, if the story was going to make an impact, it would have to bring the experience to life in a nuanced, three-dimensional world, creating our parents and their care-givers as characters, conveying the sensory texture of our struggle, and its ineluctable arc.  The real information is in the concrete details, not in some sort of abstract power point presentation.  So I didn’t spare them.  Based on my notes, I painted the fullest picture I could of our search for a care facility and then our adaptation to one frustration after the next–the scenes, the dialogue, the unexpected sweet times, the inevitable bad.  My book is an account of what-not-to-do, but maybe its portrayal of the challenges and struggles that come with being human will assure others in similar circumstances that they aren’t alone.


Entering the Blue Stone Summary

What happens when one’s larger-than-life military parents–disciplined, distinguished, exacting–begin sliding out of control? The General struggles to maintain his invulnerable façade against Parkinson’s disease; his lovely wife manifests a bizarre dementia. Their three grown children, desperate to save the situation, convince themselves of the perfect solution: an upscale retirement community. But as soon as their parents have been resettled within its walls, the many imperfections of its system of care begin to appear.

Charting the line between comedy and pathos, Molly Best Tinsley’s memoir, Entering the Blue Stone dissects the chaos at the end of life and discovers what shines beneath: family bonds, the dignity of even an unsound mind, and the endurance of the heart.

Price: $14.95 paperback, $9.99 ebook
ISBN: 9780984990818
Pages: 195
Release: May 2012



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4 thoughts on “Guest Author Molly Best TINSLEY

    1. Caring for aging parents is definitely one of the tougher experiences–but one benefit of sharing stories is the reminder that frustrations, pains, and mistakes and all, you are not in it alone.

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