Thrilled to welcome Barbara Rubin to The Spotlight to discuss her memoir, More Than You Can See

Author Name: Barbara Rubin

Book Title: More Than You Can See – A Mother’s Memoir

Book Genre: Memoir

Release Date: October 4, 2022

Publisher: She Writes Press

Welcome, Barbara! Please tell us a bit about your memoir.

At the age of seventeen, my daughter, Jenn is in a horrific car accident and sustains a traumatic brain injury.  Once she awakens from a two-week coma, a unique disability presents itself; Jennifer lacks any method of communication. 

What drew you to write a memoir about this experience? What made you want to tell this particular story?

It was a beautiful story that deserved to be told but only because it had the possibility of helping others. Unfortunately, just as our family had to navigate through the quagmire of brain injury, many tens of thousands of people throughout the world suffer a similar fate every year. By writing my book, I hope to expand the awareness of this type of injury and the ramifications it has on not only the survivors but their families, friends, and communities.

Jenn’s unique disability of not being able to communicate added more complexities to her rehab and gave an interesting twist to the story. Not falling within the realm of what service providers usually saw in their clients called for creative thinking for them to know how to treat her. Our family and her caregivers were also challenged to find ways for her to connect with us as we helped her relearn basic life skills. There was no script on how to do this; it was a matter of trial and error. As her mother, I made it my mission to rebuild a life for Jenn that was interesting and filled with people and adventure. In doing so, I enabled all of us to move well beyond the normal routines of caring for someone. We were amply rewarded for our efforts by seeing Jenn’s smiling face as she found a way, without words, to touch the many people who came to know and love her. If my book encourages one caregiver to go beyond simply providing for the basic needs of a person in their charge and inspires them to pursue new and interesting avenues in serving their client, then More Than You Can See is a success and attained a worthy goal.

What was your research process like for More Than You Can See?

I interviewed each of the main characters in the book to get different perspectives on Jenn’s impact on their lives and favorite stories they wanted to share.  I was looking for material for the manuscript but along the way discovered fascinating and emotionally charged aspects of my daughter that I was unaware of.  I would not have learned many of the things revealed to me during those discussions if I had not taken on this project.

From your perspective, what’s the hardest thing about writing and researching? And what do you love most about it?

The hardest part of writing for me was the fear of rejection. Every time I had someone read my work it felt like it might be that perilous last step over a cliff.  I started writing with the hope of publishing but was silently resigned to accepting failure. I had to remind myself before each submission that regardless of what happened, it was okay. I had done my best to tell the story and was ready to accept whatever critiques came my way.

The best part of the writing experience was when my editor or those who read my Advanced Reader Copies said they were touched by the story and felt they knew me and my family after finishing the book. As an author that is the kind of feedback that tell us we have connected with our audience and have more than adequately described our characters. Another remark that I loved was when a reader said she had laughed and cried through every chapter. Having readers emotionally engaged with their work is the hope of every author.

What’s capturing your imagination these days outside of reading and writing?

I have done oil painting for years but recently began exploring abstracting nature using acrylics. Going from realism to vaguely hinting at an imagined landscape or floral design has proven to be a refreshing way to test and express my artistic skills. Using different methods and tools to apply the paint, instead of simply choosing the right size brush, has added new textures and patterns to my work that was not present before. I treasure my ability to paint in the realism style but am happy to have found a new way of bringing a canvas to life.

Where can readers find you?

I welcome readers to visit my website:

Thank you, Barbara! More Than You Can See is OUT TODAY!

At seventeen, Barbara’s daughter Jennifer is in a horrific car accident and sustains a traumatic brain injury that sends her into a two-week coma. Once she awakens, a unique disability presents itself: Jenn lacks any traditional method of communication. Unable to speak or function on her own, Jenn must relearn basic life skills in a rehabilitation facility while Barbara and her family struggle to piece together their lives, now forever changed.

When it becomes clear that Barbara and her husband cannot care for Jenn on their own, they move her to a group home. Over time, three creative, lighthearted women become Jenn’s caregivers, and with their support Jenn reenters the community and experiences travel and adventure, all while capturing the hearts of those around her with her engaging and quirky personality.

Despite her disability, Jenn connects with everyone in her life. And Barbara ultimately realizes that Jenn’s lack of language doesn’t stop her from having a voice. A touching memoir that strikes a delicate balance between sorrow and joy, heartbreak and triumph, More Than You Can See is Barbara’s story of moving beyond tragedy and discovering profound and fulfilling life lessons waiting for her on the other side.