Interview: Keston Ott-Dahl

Jen: Today we welcome Keston Ott-Dahl to Romancing the Book. Keston, will you share a short bio with us?
Keston: KESTON AND ANDREA OTT-DAHL are authors of the upcoming memoir Saving Delaney. they are popular bloggers and prominent parent activists in the Down syndrome community, as well as mainstream media. Their articles and activism have been covered by Yahoo News, Fox News and The Huffington Post, among hundreds of news and media outlets from California to New Zealand to South Africa. They lives in the San Francisco Bay area with; their three children, Jared, Jules and Delaney Skye; plus two dogs, a cat and five fish.

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Jen: Please tell us about your newest release and where the idea came from.
Keston: Saving Delaney is our Memoir about the life changing journey we went on when we volunteered to become surrogates for friends and the subsequent life and death decision we were faced with when the baby is diagnosed prenatally with Down syndrome.

Jen: Do you have a writing routine?
Keston: Interestingly enough, I typically start with a plan to write 3 pages a day, but rarely is that the case. I am a marathon writer, when the passion of the story takes over I give in and am known to stay up all night and sometimes days writing. Once I am completely finished with the project I hand it over to Andrea to edit and critique my writing. We are a team!

Jen: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest? Most rewarding?
Keston: The most challenging aspect of writing our memoir Saving Delaney for me is exposing the truths about embarrassing situations. We had to be 100% real, up front and honest for the integrity of the Memoir which is exposing. The most rewarding aspect of writing is when we are approached by people who have read the book and they tell us Delaney’s story has changed the way they see Down syndrome.

Jen: Who are some of your favorite authors? What are you reading now?
Keston: I love Cheryl Strayed who wrote Wild. I am reading her book Brave Enough.

Jen: What’s the most interesting comment you’ve received about your books?
Keston: We have received more than a few comments from conservatives praising the book and our family, one woman even expressed a changed perception and view on gay marriage and parenting. Surprising, unexpected and just another way Delaney has affected the world around us.

Jen: What did you do to celebrate your first book? Do you do anything to celebrate a sale, new contract or release?
Keston: We took the kids to dinner and taught Delaney to say “cheers”!

Jen: What do you do in your free time?
Keston: We renovated an old houseboat and now spend weekends relaxing on the California Delta with family and friends!

Jen: What’s next for you?
Keston: So many things. Currently, I am writing a children’s/young adult book called River Rats collaborating with my youngest son Jared who is ten years old.