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Saturday, May 26, 2012

Nanci Rainey Shares Her Story about the Genesis of Her Book, Just One More Day in the Driver’s Seat

I, Nanci Rainey, raised four wonderful children in Cherry Hill, New Jersey. I was fortunate enough to witness their first words, first steps and falls. I was there to hold them in my arms and wipe their tears. My children were my world and I marveled at their beauty and innocence. After losing my son, Billy, my world changed forever. I was left with a hole in my heart never to be healed. A grandmother of two of the most amazing children, I was given a chance to marvel at the beauty and innocence of a second generation. After ten years of struggling through the world of grief, I had back surgery that left me paralyzed from the waist down. I am now looking at the world through different eyes and realize we will all have challenges and adversity in our lives, it is up to ourselves how we respond to those challenges. I was given a chance to meet some of the most wonderful young adults with spinal cord injuries from gunshot wounds and stabbings and encouraged them to accept the challenge of a life altering injury, working hard at rehabilitation side by side, acknowledging they are not alone. I now volunteer at the rehabilitation hospital where I am able to listen and motivate others to think positive, to believe and to accept the good. 

What is the Genre of your book? 

My book is a Memoir.  Most of the writing I do is based on life changing events and the people who have crossed my path along this journey.  believe people come into our lives for a reason, and how we react with others shapes our lives.  

Why did you choose genre? 

I had a story to tell and it was a life event, a tragic path I had journeyed through.  I started with a daily journal of my son’s medical treatment. There was so much information thrown at us at once and neither my son nor I wanted to chance anything to memory. Initially the story was written more like a diary of medical information for others with DSRCT . I didn’t want to limit my audience, therefore it became a story. 

  How is it different? 

Writing memoirs is much different than writing fiction. With a memoir, the cast of characters are already developed, as is the setting and plot. There is an actual event or life-changing moment in the story that was not created from one’s imagination; it happened, it WAS. 

Can you tell us more about your book and where we may find it? 

  I have published only one book,  “Just One More Day in the Driver’s Seat”, released February 21, 2012.   


My story captures the spirit of my son, Billy, stricken with cancer at the age of 18 and his courage and strength during the battle.  The type of cancer Billy had is called DSRCT (desmoplastic small round cell tumor), which was and still is quite rare.  There is no cure and the    survival rate for five years is only 15%; most of the young adults stricken with DSRCT end their battle around two years after diagnosis. The story is sad, yet it is real. There is no fluff about cancer.  It is my hope to raise awareness of DSRCT and generate funding for more research. A portion of the proceeds of my book will be presented to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center for their research studies in DSRCT protocol.  My book is available thru the publisher:;; and . 

                You can also read more about “Just One More Day in the Driver’s Seat;   and information on DSRCT at . 

When did you decide to write the book? 

 My story began the moment my son was diagnosed. I started a daily journal of procedures, medications, visitors, vital signs, etc. We were faced  with a monster that could (and did) destroy lives.  I wasn’t leaving anything to memory while under the influence of stress and sleep deprivation. The journal was both informative as well as therapeutic and at times it came in quite handy for the doctors looking for past test results, etc. (oh yes, I had copies of them as well). It was a joke amongst the staff and physicians that I was writing a book, but eventually, my son asked me to write the book and it is in his honor the story was written. 

When did you begin writing and who inspired you? 

I began writing while still in elementary school. I was intrigued with books and it was my passion to read and write.  I started writing poetry, as most young teenagers do, but eventually I started writing short stories in school. I can remember one particular teacher, Ms. O’Breeza, encouraged me to continue my writing, saying it was a talent not to be hidden.  

Do you have a writing schedule? 

My writing schedule fluctuates. I usually get ideas or start writing in my head while I am relaxed in the tub or driving in the car. I would have to try to recreate the though shortly after it comes to me and write it down. Not everything comes in order and when I review all my thought and paragraphs scribbled, I sit at the computer in my room and type, usually in the afternoon and early evening. Just One More Day in the Driver’s Seat was completed while I was a patient in a rehabilitation hospital for a spinal cord injury. I had already been under contract with my publisher and there were still empty chapters. During my six month stay at Magee Rehab, I managed to complete the book, with the help of a speech therapist. (As a result of my spinal cord injury, I developed chemical meningitis and had some word retrieval and memory loss.) 

When do you do when you are not writing? 

Currently I volunteer at Magee Rehabilitation Hospital two days a week. I try to give back a little bit of hope to those experiencing similar injuries and emotions. After a spinal cord injury, one is fearful how they will be able to function in the “able” world despite their disability and Magee offers hope through their physical and occupational therapists. I try to show others how important attitude is and positive thinking. I use myself as an example of one who is trying to accomplish all I can regardless of my disability. 

Do you have any new writing projects in the works or planned? 

I am currently at the scribbling stages of a new story, one of overcoming challenges and hurdles. Since the release of Just One More Day in the Driver’s Seat, I have been working with my marketing advisor and publisher on getting my story out there.  Marketing and selling the book takes more time than I ever imagined. I have to put serious writing on hold at this time. 

What are your "Made it  Moments? 

The birth of each of my children were “Made It” moments in my life as well as each of their graduations. I am also blessed to have been able to witness the birth of my grandchildren, another “Made It” for me.  I “Made It” when I was able to take my family to Denver, Colorado and celebrate “World Youth Day” with Pope John Paul II.  While at Magee, “I Made It” when I was able to take my first step with braces and assistance.  The publishing of Just One More Day in the Driver’s Seat has been my most recent “Made It” moment. 

What advice would give someone who wants to write or a beginning writer? 

My advice to anyone who is inspired to write is to just write, write, write. When you write, your story nor your thoughts are always in order; just write the words as they come and set aside another time for formulating these sentences and paragraphs. I had the Epilogue of my book completed prior to completing several chapters.  Be prepared to edit.  There are times editing can be dangerous, as you can edit too much. After you edit one section, move on, don’t dwell on what you already edited.  If it doesn’t feel right the next time you read it, then you can change it. 

    Never give up! There is always hope
    and a reason to believe.

Note from Sylvia: You can visit my other blog at: features a preview to my new book, Traveling a Rocky Road with Love, Faith and Guts.

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