An Interview with Raymond Burchyns: Author of ‘The Wonder of You’ by Lisa Edwards

I am a writer, editor, and social media marketing consultant living in New Hampshire. I love the mountains and the ocean, and living here allows me to enjoy both without having to travel very far.  I’m originally from just outside of Boston, but I traveled to New Hampshire to attend the University of NH in Durham several years back, and I haven’t looked back since.
I am always interested in reading and supporting local authors, and that is why I want to tell you about Ray Burchyns and his book, The Wonder of You.
Ray and I had worked together several years back when I was working at a small marketing and advertising agency in the Seacoast City of Portsmouth, NH. His wife, Priscilla, also made appearances in the office from time to time, so we all got to know each other a bit. In fact, we had established such a great working relationship that he and Priscilla invited my partner and myself to attend their 25thWedding Anniversary / Vow Renewal Ceremony. I happily accepted, and we attended, along with another co-worker of mine at the time.
Shortly thereafter, I moved on from that company, but Ray and I kept in touch over the years. One day, Ray reached out to me to tell me that he had written a book about love, loss, and life after divorce, and that he wanted me to help him publish and promote the book. I have always wanted to publish my own book someday, so I thought, “What would be a better way to learn how than to help someone else publish their memoir?”
Plus, I had heard some of his stories before, so I had no doubts that his story would be one I, or anyone, would want to read.
After several in-person and phone meetings, a lot of decision-making, editing, and more emails than I even want to think about, the book was finally published in March of 2015. It is now available online at Balboa Press, Amazon.com and other online stores in E-Book, Softcover and Hardcover formats, as well as at a few local New England bookstores, including both Nonesuch Books and Cards locations.

 

Below is the transcript of my recent interview with the author of The Wonder of You, Raymond C. Burchyns. Enjoy!
 
The interview
 
Lisa: “Can you tell everyone a little bit about yourself?”
Ray: Well, I was born in New York in its glory days. Between the late 40’s to the mid 60’s, it was a marvelous place to live. I was lucky enough to grow up being exposed to an array of arts and culture, and an especially booming Rock N’ Roll industry. I saw Carole King and BB King at work. I attended the old Paramount Theater in New York City on a regular basis. It was the time of Chuck Berry and The Platters. We listened to Murry the K DJ on the radio. It really was something.
My childhood and education gave me every part of life. I went to a Jesuit high school, and it was a very enriching experience. In fact, I am still friends with many of the people I went to school with, and we enjoy reminiscing about the old days. I spent a lot of time in the summer on Long Island and the beaches, and it was wonderful. I knew what it was like to get a slice of real New York pizza.
I grew up surrounded by firemen, and I grew to respect them greatly. My father was a New York City fireman, and my uncles were captains and chiefs, so I spent a lot of time with them. I even got to sleep over at the firehouse, and I watched the guys go out at night. I used to stand on the west side of Manhattan and look over to Jersey, and I couldn’t imagine anything existed outside of the city. When I went to college in the Midwest, I was shocked to see the difference vs. where I grew up. It was quite unsatisfactory and dreary compared to the city.
 
Right out of college, I had an opportunity to work with the IRS, and I did so for several years. Leaving the IRS and going into business was a big risk, but I am grateful that I did it. I then had my children, who have given me grandchildren, and of course I met my100 pounds of clay – the best thing that ever happened to me.
Lisa: “What have you done for work over the years?”
Ray: I moved to Florida in the mid 90’s and learned the distribution business. I got the chance to start my own building product distribution company, and I did. I was successful for a while. I came back to New England in 2006 after closing my business, and took a job as a credit collections manager at a newspaper company in Vermont. I finally decided to retire, and that’s when the urge to write this book became more and more powerful.
 
Lisa: What are your interests and passions?
Ray: I love the live theater, and reading biographies and history. I’m an avid reader of anything regarding WWII. In childhood, the people who gathered around me were all veterans and had seen enormous things going on in the world. It was remarkable to watch these guys and realize just how incredible their efforts were. From a young age, I became very interested in the war and how something like that could happen.
I also love going to the beach. In fact, Priscilla and I make a point of going every weekend during the nicer weather. I love just sitting there and watching the world go by.
Lisa: Tell me again the story of what made you decide to write the book.
Ray: When I finally retired, I started to look back and reflect on how I came to where I am. I questioned myself as to what my influences did. About how important it was to have Priscilla in my life to keep me moving forward. As I got older, I needed to tell a story about how every life is filled with problems and joys and successes, and how it’s all about how you relate to the people around you that determine whether you’re a success or a failure. I wanted to tell people about how so much good could come out of so much bad.
Lisa: How long did it take you to write the book?
Ray: The book took about six months to write. However, it took about 3 years of careful thought, editing and rehashing to get the story just right.
Lisa: What is your favorite chapter/event/excerpt from the book?
Ray: One of my favorite parts of the book is when I go back and take a long hard look at my growing up and the effect that my father had on me and my family. It was a very positive effect. And it was so difficult for me and my siblings to go from leaning on our father to helping him go through his Alzheimer’s. We had to step in and become the decision makers. I always felt like I was a kid, sneaking to steal a buck out of his wallet while we were sorting out his confusions. This memory is something that sticks with me because it affected my decisions about how I’m going to make that final journey. I never want to impose that on my kids.
Another of my favorite parts of the book is where Priscilla and I come together. Those memories have and will enrich my life forever. Priscilla, however, would like to see that chapter taken out entirely.
Lisa: What do you want people to get out of this book?
Ray: The main message is that no matter how lost you may feel, and no matter what losses you may have in your life, there’s always hope for the future. If you direct your energies towards spending time with the right people in your life, not repeating the same mistakes, and forgetting the things you can’t fix, it is easier to move on. No matter how you feel, you can rise above and be happy. Relationships take a lot of work and a lot of effort, not stuff.
Everyone should step back and look at their lives from a “way back then perspective.” Everything you are comes from the influence of your parents, friends, neighbors, teachers and other authority figures from your childhood. They seep into you without you even knowing or realizing it. And when you need to rely on some strengths, that’s when you’ll rely on those influences in your life.
Because of my success with this book, I am writing 3 more books – each another piece of me and things I have going on now.
·         Put on Your Big Boy Pants. This one is essentially about how to deal with life’s problems, including the things you can avoid doing which make life’s problems worse…
·         LA 5 4000. This one is about growing up in New York as a kid. It goes into detail about the first two decades of my life, including my education, sports, music influence and teenage angst.
·         Take Me Home Country Road. This book is about the history of the U.S. towns along US 50. It was inspired by JHYPERLINK “https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Denver”ohn Denver’smusic, and his references to small town America in his music. He sings a lot about how small town America is vital to our essence.
If you haven’t read The Wonder of You, by Raymond Burchyns, I highly recommend you do so. Also, be sure to follow him on Facebook and Twitter for more information about his upcoming books!
Images:
Copyright: Raymond C. Burchyns. 2015.
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S.W. Biddulph

Scott Biddulph is a published writer, author, and poet from North Georgia. He began writing as a youngster and followed his lifelong dream of reaching people through the written word when he returned to The University of North Georgia in 2013 to finish earning his BA/English with a concentration on publication and creative writing. His publications include the following: an eBook, Apples of Gold: A collection of inspirational short stories and poems (Smashwords, 2010) and a paperback, Voices from the Heart, (Createspace, 2012). His poetry is published in Papers and Publications Undergraduate Research Journal. Vol 3 (2014) and the award-winning Chestatee Review (Spring, 2015), among other places (Check his LinkedIn profile for a full list of his publications). He is currently working on publishing poetry, creative non-fiction, academic essays, and his memoir. ******** Scott has also worked as an intern editor for the University of North Georgia Press. As a freelance editor, he has done the layout and design of several books and magazines. He is currently working with several authors on various publication projects in which he is either ghostwriting, editing manuscripts, or doing the layout and design of their books. ******** Finally, and most importantly, he is a father, grandfather, husband, and dedicated Harley Davidson rider. He and his family enjoy the beauty of the North Georgia Mountains where they live—especially their screened in back porch where they love to bird watch. ******** ~ "I love realism. I love writing about the raw, down-to-Earth, heartfelt realities of life. I love to write in a way that reaches into the human soul—to take the greatest pains and struggles in life, and make them a blessing to others. Fantasy is a wonderful, interesting thing—but real-life situations, feelings, fears, and dreams are an unexplored ocean of stories that need to be told." ~ ~Scott Biddulph~

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