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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Thriving into Old Age - a Gift from Shirley Melis

As part of her WOW!Women on Writing book blog tour, I had the privilege to interview Shirley Melis. Feel free to check out the entire interview here at the WOW!Women on Writing Blog, the Muffin.

I love how Shirley answered this question in particular; it really speaks to her character. Her goal was to leave behind some help for the rest of us - that we can thrive into old age. That message certainly rings true in her touching memoir. Keep reading to find out more...

Interview Question: You had a plan to write a book about women thriving into old age – that plan changed course, but what spurred your initial plan?

Answer by Shirley: Knowing I’d be in my sixties when I retired and wanting to write, I thought there’d be a market for a book like this. People today, especially women, can expect to live longer and healthier lives than their parents. Some may need role models. I like reading about women who are thriving mentally, emotionally, and physically despite growing older. Of course, it would be important to find women whose backgrounds and passions differed from one another. And I would have to hone my interviewing skills and figure out what questions to ask. As I told Pierrette Kemoul, a literary journal editor and writer in Brittany, when John and I were guests of hers and her husband Gwenael, I like the idea of doing something that is not only challenging and interesting but also worthwhile. Now that I’ve written a memoir and have another percolating, I don’t know when or whether I’ll ever get back to my initial plan.

And here is some more information about Banged-Up Heart,a memoir you should definitely read right away! Thank you Shirley for this priceless gift!

Thank you to WOW! Women on Writing, Mari from Artotems as well as Shirley Melis. Without these amazing friends this lovely post would not be possible!


Paperback: 300 Pages
Genre: Memoir/Non Fiction
Publisher: Terra Nova Books (February 14, 2017)
ISBN-10: 193828870X
ISBN-13: 978-1938288708

Banged-Up Heart: Dancing with Love and Loss is available in print on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound.


Banged-Up Heart: Dancing with Love and Loss is an intimate and clear-eyed account of finding love late and losing it early—and of the strength it takes to fall deeply in love a second time, be forced to relinquish that love too soon, and yet choose to love again.

When her husband of thirty years dies suddenly, Shirley Melis is convinced she will never find another man like Joe. Then she meets John, a younger man who tells her during their first conversation that he has lived for many years with a rare but manageable cancer. She is swept off her feet in a whirlwind courtship, and within months, made brave by the early death of a friend’s husband, she asks him to marry her! What follows is a year-long odyssey of travel and a growing erotic and creative partnership— until a mysterious bump on John’s forehead proves to be one of several tumors in his brain and spine.

The nine months that follow are filled with a life-threatening infection, three brain surgeries, radiation, and chemotherapy. Two years and one week after their wedding, John dies at the age of fifty-nine. More than just a love story or a memoir of mourning, Banged-Up Heart comes down solidly on the side of life. It takes you deep inside an ordinary woman, her deeply felt grief butting up against her desire for more than companionship: passion, sexual fulfillment, and self-realization. It bears eloquent witness to the wild trust it takes to fall madly in love and risk profound loss—a second time. Ultimately, it shows that it is possible to dance with a banged-up heart.

About Shirley

Shirley Melis is a longtime business writer, travel writer, and newspaper columnist who traveled the world interviewing everyone from busboys to heads of international organizations before launching a career in public relations in Washington, D.C. With Banged-Up Heart, she now takes her writing in a new direction, delving deeply into her own personal story of finding love late, losing it early, and discovering the strength to choose to love again. It is a fascinating odyssey, a journey both creative and erotic as Shirley and John work lovingly together to blend their dreams—until a mysterious bump on his forehead starts them on a tragic struggle against the dark hand of fate.

A graduate of Vassar, Shirley Melis has created an intimate memoir bearing eloquent witness to the kind of wild trust that can grow in the heart of an ordinary woman thrust into circumstances that few others must face. Now retired, she lives in Galisteo, New Mexico.

Shirley can also be found online at:




Thank you to WOW! Women on Writing for allowing me an opportunity to participate in this book blog tour!

Be sure to check out some of the future blog stops on this tour:

March 1 @ Bring on Lemons with Penny Harrison
Wisconsin business owner and avid reader Penny Harrison shares her thoughts and feelings about Shirley Melis's memoir Banged Up Heart.

March 2 @ Book Santa Fe with Tange Dudet
Avid reader and book enthusiast Tange Dudet shares her thoughts and feelings after reading the touching memoir Banged Up Heart by Shirley Melis.

March 3 @ The Constant Story with David W. Berner
Author and radio personality David W Berner reviews Shirley Melis's book Banged Up Heart and shares his thoughts with readers at The Constant Story.

Please feel free to leave a comment or ask a question - it's great hearing from YOU!

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