We had the good fortune of connecting with Anna Penenberg and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Anna, how do you think about risk?
I’m one who has always been an observer. I was the middle child. The mediator, the quiet one. When I think about taking risks, I think of writing and publishing my book.. A palm reader once told me that I would write a book, and all I could think was. . . “What about?” I had no idea what grand challenges would occur later in my life.

Risk taking offers us opportunities to grow. The challenges in my life have inspired my learning. I have survived the risk of failure many times in the roles of single mom to two daughters, as a caretaker for a child with chronic illness, and becoming an author.

Publishing a book of my own life story was the biggest risk I have undertaken as an adult. A high dive into nothingness was the feeling I had when putting my manuscript out to the world. Then stepping into being a public person shocked my introverted personality.

Please tell us more about your art. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?
I became an author in my 60’s when I wrote my memoir, “Dancing in the Narrows” after raising two daughters, working as a psychotherapist and yoga teacher. I’m proud that I had the courage to publish as a new author.
I’ve been told that my writing style flows like poetry. I observe life through a hint of nature and a dedication to honesty.  The characters in my story have deep challenges to overcome. As a mother of a child with sudden onset of chronic illness, I had to be in fierce pursuit of my daughter’s health and development.
Finishing my manuscript, finding a publisher and promoting my book was a huge learning curve. In the beginning, I had to move forward at lightening speed to keep up with my July 2020 publishing date. The biggest curve ball of all was the pandemic. When it hit, everything in the book world went online. There were no more in-person bookstore launch events for newly published books! I adjusted to becoming a speaker in a square online, engaging in author interviews over Zoom.
I want the world to know that memoir can be an opportunity for readers to rally curiosity about their own lives. I wrote this book to heal myself and to find out what happened to me. In my darkest moments there might be grace, causing an equally powerful belly laugh. For readers, the memoir offers an emotional experience with universal themes of relationships.
“Dancing in the Narrows” unpacks the story of a mother-daughter relationship in the flow of family life when an illness took over and brought pain, healing, joyous love, and ultimately the sustainability of hope.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
I would take my guest on a hike to the Topanga labyrinth overlooking the pacific ocean, stay for the sunset to light up the sky, then descend the mountain in the afterglow. We would take a day trip to Laguna to enjoy the art, shops, restaurants and walk the beach. Back in Santa Monica we’d enjoy fresh juices, delicious lunch and pastries from the popular Erewhon market, dining outdoors on the bustling terrace. On another day, we would take in the tastes and smells of the local Farmer’s Market, buying our bounty for a farm to table meal to prepare that evening. On the weekend, we would go out for a special elegant evening of fine dining in the twinkly night lights of The Inn of the Seventh Ray, an iconic part of Topanga since the 1970’s.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
I would like to recognize my publisher, She Writes Press for supporting women authors. Sarelyn, my mother and mentor in seeing the world with creative eyes. Tovya and Jain, my sisters, for life long support. My daughters Cayla and Dana, powerful and creative individuals in their own right who cheer me on.

Website: https://annapenenberg.com

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/annapenenbergauthor/

Other: mybook.to/dancinginthenarrows

Image Credits
Mariana Schulze Nick Cusato Cayla Penenberg

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