By Nadezhda Otterstad–
Jane Daly’s business card says it all: “Banker by day, blogger by night.” Well, not quite all — she’s not just a blogger, she’s a professional speaker and an author who just took home two awards for her books last month.
A Sacramento-area native, Daly moved to Citrus Heights in 1985 and raised her family in the Birdcage Heights neighborhood along with her husband Mike. Both her daughter and son were active in local basketball teams and her son was also on the Sunrise Sharks swim team.
Daly served on the city’s first planning commission in 1997 and also served as secretary-treasurer for the first board of the Residents’ Empowerment Association of Citrus Heights (REACH), an umbrella organization representing the city’s 11 neighborhood associations. She later began working at First Bank in Rancho Cordova, where she currently serves as vice president and manager.
Related: Neighborhood groups REACH out to connect Citrus Heights residents
Sitting down at Barnes & Noble on a recent Wednesday, The Sentinel had a chance to interview Daly about her recent awards and experience as an author.
“I’ve always said my whole life: I’m going to write a book,” said Daly, who recently turned 61. “I knew that someday I was going to write. I put on my bucket list that I wanted to write a book before age 60, and I did that.”
Daly has written several books, one of which is “The Caregiving Season” and another work of nonfiction titled “Because of Grace.” She explained that her inspiration for writing nonfiction has come from her own life experiences, and the books have given her a new platform on which she’s been able to help others in similar life situations.
The Caregiving Season speaks to baby boomers who are caring for their aging parents, and addresses the challenges that come along with the responsibility. A quote found in the introduction of the book reveals Daly’s strong Christian faith, which she says aided her through what was a difficult season of life.
“I’ve discovered through my caregiving season that we can find help from the Source of Peace throughout this emotionally wrenching experience,” she writes, referring to God. “We can turn from dependence upon our own strength, and even from dependence upon our parents, to dependence upon Christ.”
Diving into the topic of grief after the loss of her son, “the Golden Child,” as the family dubbed him, “Because of Grace” tells of Daly’s personal journey through grief after her adult son passed away from a rare form of cancer. In it, she writes of her struggles to believe in a God who would allow such a thing to happen to her son, but her faith has given her strength to go on.
“You expect your parents to die because they’re older, but you never expect to bury a child,” Daly said, reflecting on her experience. “It’s the most difficult thing to do ever. And you become part of a club that you never wanted to be in.”
Daly also shares her experiences at speaking engagements, addressing grief support groups, local rotary clubs, and other networking groups.
Her writing has received some notable recognition, including The Caregiving Season being published by Focus on the Family, a national Christian organization. Her brother-in-law Jim Daly took the helm of Focus several years ago and also wrote the forward to her book.
Her caregiving book also received an award last month in the published nonfiction book category at the Oregon Christian Writer’s annual writing contest, Cascade Awards. Daly also won another award in the unpublished contemporary fiction category for her book “The Girl in the Cardboard Box,” a story about a feral child in a homeless camp and a foster mother who takes her in.
At 61, Daly, now a grandmother to three grandchildren, is not looking to slow down her creative pursuits anytime soon and is continuing her banking career while also working on a new book that she says will be a humorous look at life at 60.
For those writers afraid to pursue their dream, Daly concluded with a few words of advice.
“The written word is never going to go away. If every writer waited for inspiration, there would be a lot fewer books written,” she said. “Write about what you know… start blogging. Who knows, it could turn into books.”
Jane Daly’s books are available for sale online on Amazon and Barnes & Noble, or through her website, www.JaneSdaly.com. She is also active on Facebook and Twitter.