Featured Interview With Toni Kanzler
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
Life Giving Dementia Care is my first published book. Life brings lots of challenges that might steal your joy. Being a caregiver is among the most difficult. The key to overcoming these challenges is having an optimistic perspective and positive attitude. My writing encourages you to look beyond the obvious, to see truth that lives in the ordinary…and extraordinary.
I wear several hats: wife, mother, friend, CPA, entrepreneur, private school administrator, non-profit volunteer and board member. But it was as a daughter that I had the privilege of being my mother’s caregiver during her years-long battle with dementia. I’m passionate about helping others have greater confidence and experience joy in their caregiving journey.
I was born in Illinois and traveled a bit since my dad was in the US Air Force – Guam, Long Island, NY. But for most of my life I’ve lived in Indianapolis, Indiana with my husband, Dan. We are blessed that all three of our grown sons live in town. Our beloved miniature schnauzer, Baxter, passed a year ago. But our youngest son and his dog Reggie are living with us for a few months. I suspect my dog-loving husband will add a new dog to our family soon.
When I’m not writing, I like to read, learn, watch movies (especially historical series) and listen to Disney or acapella music. But I have lots of interests and experiences. I’ve traveled to Europe and China, learned to make stained glass art, love Broadway and flower gardening, have sung in an ensemble with a top symphony orchestra and am a CPA. I’ve got that right brain/left brain thing going and it makes life so much more interesting!
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
I started reading massive amounts of books in elementary school. I’m an only child, and books were what I did for fun. Writing became an interest in middle school, but didn’t become a passion until I turned 40 years old. Life was busy then, though, with three boys who were active in just about everything, my parents living with us for 12 years, and us hosting five different international students during that time, so it took another 20 years for me to actually write and publish my first book. It is never too late!
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
I am drawn to authentic, conversational writing. Text that exposes the humor in life and isn’t especially “uppity” sounding. Stories that engage me. Mark Twain, Shel Silverstein, JR Tolkien, JK Rowling, Erma Bombeck. And I love books that challenge my thinking – Ton Clancy, John Grisham. The most influential book – the Bible. As much as I love these authors, I must admit to reading more non-fiction right now. My work demands it, as does my parenting phase. It seems it’s more difficult to parent adults that it was toddlers and teens!
Tell us a little about your latest book?
Life Giving Dementia Care is my latest, and first, book. I was inspired to write it after caring for my mother for several years during her dementia battle. I made some good decisions during that time, and some not so good. A few years after her death, I decided to document my caregiving experience for my sons, so they would be better prepared if they have to care for me someday. It can be easier than I experienced.
Over time, though, I realized that many of my friends and co-workers were dealing with being caregiver to a loved one. I was often able to help them by sharing my experience. I decided to publish a book about caregiving to help more people in addition to my boys.
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