Interview with Laurie Hoirup

Laurie Hoirup book coverI recently manned a vendor table at the Solano Bookfest. I was lucky to be seated next to Laurie Hoirup and throughout the day we spent time chatting (and solving all the problems of the world!)

Laurie is 59 years old, was diagnosed with spinal muscular atrophy (SMA 2) and has lived with a significant physical disability since the age of two, using a wheelchair since the age of five. She is retired from her position as Chief Deputy Director for the California State Council on Developmental Disabilities, is a mother of two adult children and a grandmother of four grandsons. Her memoir “I Can Dance: My Life with a Disability” is available from most online bookstores, including, also on Kindle,, as well as on her personal website, where you can learn more about her story and see pictures of her growing up.Laurie Hoirup

Laurie, what inspired you to write this book?

I believe my inspiration to start writing had to do with my friends and colleagues, always encouraging me to share my story and be a role model for others. I started writing in 2008, when I was promoted to a chief deputy position for the state of California. I am presently working on a book for young adults-fifth through 12th grades in hopes that they can learn more about what it means to have a disability and that were not really any different then anyone else.

What influences the way you tell a story?

I’ve always enjoyed reading things where it seemed like the author was talking to me and for that reason, I write as though I am conversing. I have always been a storyteller and most people seem to enjoy the way I write, so I just continued in that fashion.

How do you approach the art of writing?

I approach the art of writing quite seriously. When I decided to start writing my memoir, I was very disciplined and spent at least one hour a night writing and learned to use it as my wind down time away from work stuff. Sometimes on the weekends I would get on a roll and go for hours. My favorite place to write is in the privacy of my office, where I am comfortable and things are quiet and undisturbed. My tip for other writers would be to find what works best for them and stick with it.

What do you read for pleasure? Who is your favorite author?

When reading for pleasure, I enjoy clever mysteries, memoirs and real life occurrences. I think I am always amazed by the psyche of what some humans are capable of doing. I always enjoyed Kurt Vonnegut, some Stephen King and Dean Koontz, as well. I haven’t had much opportunity to read lately due to having too much on my plate, but I enjoyed “My Diabetic Soul.”

Your story is personal. I think I heard you say you are working on a version for teens. Are you writing anything else? What’s next for you?

My story is very personal and for that reason, I am presently working on an extract from my life more appropriate for youth. I would then like to write a sequel to my memoir about aging with a disability and eventually, take my story for youth, which ends at eight grade graduation and write sequels for each high school year. So I have lots of “next’s.”

Any upcoming events? Final words of wisdom?

I will be at state fair for four days in July in the Author’s Corner and I am hoping to perhaps do a presentation up in Chico, but nothing has been confirmed on that one. As for words of wisdom… Join an author’s group for the knowledge and the support, and at the same time, have your writing critiqued, as it is so important to have it seen by others. Lastly, write what you love!


Visit Laurie at and follow her on Facebook at Laurie’s Legacy.

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