Our Adventure as Coauthors

By Bratter, Bernice; Dennis, Helen | Aging Today, July/August 2008 | Go to article overview

Our Adventure as Coauthors


Bratter, Bernice, Dennis, Helen, Aging Today


When we began collaborating on Project Renewment: The First Retirement Model for Career Women (Scribner, 2008), we had no idea what lay ahead of us. We both had young grandchildren to enjoy, full careers, or full education and volunteer commitments.

We decided to follow the advice of the late Margaret E. Hartford, the first director of the University of Southern California's Leonard Davis School of Gerontology. She urged anyone writing a nonfiction book to remain fully engaged with life, an approach that would challenge and enhance one's thinking and writing. Leading full lives did not preclude our thinking about the book for two years at almost every waking moment-and sometimes in the middle of the night.

From the signing of the contract to the release of the book was a 24-month process. During that time, we each had life experiences that kept us from the task at hand. Fortunately, we developed an exceptional relationship of mutual support in which one or the other of us would pick up the slack when necessary. In the end, the time and energy each of us spent was balanced.

The two of us quickly learned the importance of having a compatible relationship. Having similar backgrounds helped: Both of us are from the silent generation preceding the boomers, and each of us had hard-working immigrant parents who gave us a strong work ethic and a commitment to quality. We agreed that to write a quality book with meaningful advice for career women was an endeavor that left no place for egos. …

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