Changing Shoes

Changing Shoes

Staying in the Game with Style, Humor, and Grace

Additional Formats
  • Paperback
  • ISBN 9781592406647
  • 224 Pages
  • Gotham
  • Adult


A beloved daytime TV actress tackles the real-world issues women face at different times of their life through the various shoes (and roles) they wear.

You might be wondering what wisdom and life lessons a soap opera actress, dispatched from the land of outrageous and hilarious plots, has to offer. Well, no one knows more about reinvention and perseverance than an actress who began her career as the star of a show-and then became the mother of the star, and then the grandmother of the star-all while raising a son, taking care of her aging parents, and sustaining a happy marriage.

In Changing Shoes, Tina Sloan tells her story through humorous anecdotes about the shoes she has worn throughout her personal and professional life (from her college-girl pink Capezios to her first pair of Chanel pumps, to her white high heels and fitted nurse’s uniform, to old sneakers and modern nurse’s scrubs). Sloan imparts warm, relatable advice to which all women can relate, including looks, love lives and sexuality, careers, families, and sense of self.


Did you always want to write a book? What gave you the idea and the perseverance to finish once you had begun?

I've been writing books for decades. They are all hiding under my bed like the shoes hiding in the bottom of my closet. The idea for Changing Shoes came from when my parents were getting very old and I had no idea what to do to take care of them. So as I learned the answers—and it was a long journey—I decided to write them down to share with others. It just grew into telling people the other lessons life taught me such as how to stay forever frisky and the importance of staying in the game.

What made you decide to take your "shell of a book" (p. 90) and transform it into a play before you finished and had the book published? Looking back, are you happy that you did the play first?

I realized that I was an actress, what could be more fitting than turning my idea into a play. I could take the words I'd written and give them life on stage. That in turn made the words in the book livelier as I re-edited and re-wrote. It made the scenes come to life by prompting me to add new anecdotes that I discovered while writing and performing the play.

How did it feel to not be able to find a mentor or role model when you turned fifty? How did this experience change your perspective on helping others? How does it make you feel to be a mentor through Changing Shoes?

When I turned fifty there was no one I could turn to for advice when I had to deal with my parents aging and this was devastating. I learned through trial and error. One day when I was in the eye doctor's office, two sisters came in. They were in their mid-forties and were with their elderly mother who was having trouble seeing and hearing and walking. After she went in to see the doctor I turned to them and said, "I hope you have power of attorney and a living will for your mother," they looked at me flabbergasted as I explained what was ahead for them. They begged me to come over to their apartment and talk to them about this. I realized how necessary this book was.

If you had to pick one pair of shoes, which pair would be your lifetime favorite? Why did you select that pair and what stage in your life did they signify?

The strappy sexy heels! Because they are carefree, happy, joyous, and flirty! They signify falling in love and getting my first jobs as an actress. They signify beginnings and sometimes I just put them on because I still believe there are always new beginnings in our lives.

What "risks" do you have lined up in the near future?

Hmmmm—How about doing the play all over the country and the book coming out!

You have a Twitter account, @tinasloan. How does your Twitter account fit into "staying in the game?" Have you enjoyed being on Twitter?

Twitter certainly is fun; it is instant gratification and I have made lots of new friends! That's staying in the game—making new friends. I love Twitter!!!

How does it feel to write about so many personal details of your life? Did any of your friends or family object to any aspect of the book? Did your play, Changing Shoes help you become more comfortable with speaking about your own personal struggles in public?

I have never been afraid of putting myself "out there" if it could help people "change their shoes." I was willing to say or do or share whatever to help others let their feet take them where they should go. My wonderful friends and family have always been supportive!!

What was the most challenging part of writing this book?

Re-writing, re-writing, and re-writing.

What part of the book or play have you received the most response to?

The part about my parents has affected my friends with aging parents. The part about my son has affected people who have sons in the military or who empathize. The part about Guiding Light has touched all the fans. The part about my body falling apart has resonated with everyone!! I've gotten letters from people after the play saying they really did change their shoes and they really did take some risks—I want this book to have the same effect.

Do you think making lofty goals and tackling them is the best way to force personal growth? What do you think your life would be like if you hadn't faced your fears?

I always wanted to be an actress so I started pounding the pavements in pursuit of an agent—I kept at it and succeeded. And it took a long, long time. But I persisted—to me, that was a lofty goal. It certainly brought personal growth by teaching me to just hold on and do it and it taught me to face my fears of rejections. Aut nunc, aut numquam—"If not now, never." This is a great way to sum up how I did it. If I hadn't faced my fears I wouldn't have become an actress, written this book, done the play, had my child—as I had 8 miscarriages before his birth. I was daunted but kept on going.

When it comes to your relationships, you seem to have a strong perspective on their worth that propels you to put everything you have into them. How do you think this outlook has sculpted your life? How have your friends and family helped you to achieve your goals?

By allowing me the time and the space to do my work—my husband encourages me to rehearse in the living room and to write in the dining room. My son is proud of me and gives great feedback and ideas. My friends love me enough that even though I haven't been around as much while I was writing the book—they never forget to include me. And, in return I am fiercely loyal to both my friends and family.

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