New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jane Heller has sold many of her 13 romantic comedies to Hollywood, but in her personal life she was thrust into the world of caregiving after she married a man with an illness, just like her mother did years before. Her critically acclaimed book, "You'd Better Not Die or I'll Kill You: A Caregiver's Survival Guide to Keeping You in Good Health and Good Spirits," chronicles her candid, often hilarious, always inspiring journey from novice caregiver to 20-year veteran. She speaks passionately about the caregiving experience, whether one is caring for a child with autism or a parent with Alzheimer's, as she did with her mother who suffered from dementia. She delivers, as Library Journal put it, "a valuable, virtual support group."
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"Funny" and "inspiring" are the two words most often used to describe both the books of New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jane Heller and Jane herself. Her thirteen novels of romantic comedy, nine of which have been sold to Hollywood for film and television, are laugh-out-loud entertaining while reminding us that we're all resilient, regardless of the obstacles we face - a theme that recurs in Jane's own life.
Growing up with a mother who nursed two sick husbands (her father died of brain cancer; her stepfather suffered complications from epilepsy), Jane had an up close-look at her mom's demanding role as a spousal caregiver. She was determined to take a different path and "marry for health." Instead, she fell in love with Michael Forester, an architectural photographer who'd been diagnosed at age eleven with severe Crohn's, an incurable, autoimmune disease of the digestive system. Jane was ill equipped to take care of Michael, not to mention take care of herself, but over the course of her twenty plus years of marriage she became his stalwart helpmate, learned how to navigate the healthcare system, took charge of her own health and developed a passion for reaching out to other caregivers, whether they're caring for a child with autism or an aging parent with Alzheimer's.
In her latest book, You'd Better Not Die or I'll Kill You: A Caregiver's Survival Guide to Keeping You in Good Health and Good Spirits (Chronicle Books), she recounts her journey as a caregiver with the humor and compassion for which she's well known. She shares her personal, candid, often hilarious thoughts about everything from how to get on a nurse's good side and why men should never go to the ER without a woman along, to why caregivers need "mental vacations." Caring for her mother with acute memory loss, provided her with wisdom to share with councils of other adult children on when to move Mom or Dad into assisted living or skilled nursing, how to broach the subject of living wills and how to handle the sibling rivalry that often crops up. She culled advice not only from other caregivers but also from notable experts in such fields as palliative care, spiritual care, senior housing, psychotherapy, nutrition, meditation and fitness.
On stage, she brings to life all her wit (the title of her book are the words she whispers to Michael before each surgery) and wisdom (she finds silver linings in even the grimmest times), whether she's keynoting a hospice fundraiser, addressing an illness-specific support group or extoling the virtues of hospital volunteers, having been an enthusiastic hospital volunteer for many years. She manages to discuss even the most difficult, sensitive subjects with an upbeat, we-can-do-this attitude.
Born and raised in Scarsdale, New York, Jane graduated summa cum laude, Phi Beta Kappa, from the University of Rochester with a degree in classics, studied creative writing at the Annenberg School of
Communications and was a book-publishing executive in Manhattan, promoting bestselling authors before becoming one herself. She and Michael split their time between Santa Barbara, California, and New Preston, Connecticut. Jane is currently at work on a new novel as well as a memoir about her journey as a former tanner-turned-skin-cancer patient.
To visit Jane Heller's website - www.JaneHeller.com