My books series started out as a ‘Real’ diary. I was keeping track of the things that my EX-Husband did for court purposes. How many phone calls he made, whether he threatened me that day, how he treated the kids and me, etc. And, when I was injured in 2010, I took that diary and started writing the first in the series. Some things are trivial, but, others……they needed to be said, and other women and or men, need to know……stand up for yourself! No one else will. Verbal abuse is real and painful! And……I had had enough of it. I got no help from the court system and no help from our prosecutors……so……I wrote. And I really could not afford therapy. These Diaries are and were, my ONLY therapy. I can only hope, they helped someone, somewhere. I know they helped me. Yes, these events “REALLY” did happen!!!
2. In the description for the first book in the series, you describe, “The cover to this book is blurry on purpose. As confusion is a difficult thing to replicate with JUST written words, a visual blur helps to GIVE you the impression of this confusion felt during the marriage. So, don't be upset when it arrives and it is indeed....a blur.” Do you use a similar marriage of form and content in your writing?
I really do try to. If I can’t quite get the image to appear on the written page, then, it is my responsibility to help finish the image to the reader so they can understand what I am attempting to describe. I tried my best to get verbal abuse to come alive on those pages……but, unless you have ever been there, you won’t feel it. I wanted people to feel the confusion. A technique an abuser will use……confuses you. They weave you into a circling story of deception, keeping you off of the topic at hand, and throwing you into a perpetual nightmare. I can not have a conversation with my Ex, that keeps the main topic going. He will circle around, taking the focus off him and the question, and get me confused. I purposely have to stop him, tell him to stay on topic, and start again. And even then, he can and will change the subject, thereby, never answering what we were talking about. And by then, I am either confused or angry and just give up. AND that was his goal to begin with! That is why, I used the blurry cover on the paperback to similate confusion.
I know this happens across the country, but, I never thought it would happen in Idaho. People are still human beings in Idaho. When I arrived at the hospital, in an ambulance, I was rushed into the emergency room. The questions started coming from all directions, and the one that stopped the urgency to help me was, “What is your insurance carrier?” Well, I have no insurance of my own. My cancers made it so expensive, that I could not afford it, and when they heard that, they stopped what they were doing, and almost ran from the room. I did explain this was a State Insurance claim, and that it would be paid for, and it was. But, the damage was done. I suffered in that room! They did not get me liquids, and they did not send an experienced nurse to help me when I needed to urinate. Of which, I could not move to do on my own. I did get SOME pain killers, but, no diagnosis. “BACK PAIN” was their official ruling. They never took x-rays and when I made a nurse get the doctor back in the room, I asked him to reconsider the MRI, and he told me, “It was a waste of emergency room services!” My neurosurgeon got me an MRI that afternoon…… I had a blown disk that smashed the disk below it and had fragments pushing up against my spinal cord. The man almost paralyzed me. Their money came before my safety. That’s NOT the Idaho people I know, and I have been appalled since!
4. I know from my own experience that past abuse can take a long time to heal. Have you found writing these books to be cathartic?
Yes I do. I know I am not healed 100% and probably never will be, but, writing helped with the healing a lot more than I expected. I was able to release the anger and the fear and my poor bruised feelings. I probably said more than I should have, but, if I had left anything out, it would not have been as emotional. I have had many a woman reader tell me, they could not put the book down, and spent the entire weekend reading and healing with me.
5. Writing is a journey, one that can allow the writer to see things from a reflective or wider perspective. What would you say you have learned the most in your journey as a writer?
I am laughing to myself….there are so many things. I learned…… my 8th grade English teacher was right. I learned all those years being tortured by my grandmother about grammar and spelling was worth while. And most of all, EDIT, EDIT, EDIT! And even then, walk away from the story for a week, and then edit some more.
Awww, yes. “Coffee of Change” is my first fiction novel. I really have had a good time with this work. Six women that meet on a website to heal from ex husbands. They go about their daily lives, but come to the website to heal from the damages of life. They have very little in common other than the website. They hold each other up, support one another’s decisions and live their lives. But, life is pretty tough on them, and thank goodness for one another. One has her son kidnapped, one loses her mother, another is suffering through cancer and one is a stewardess just flitting through life. I wrote a fun little sex scene for the stewardess and almost had to take a cold shower. Whew…. I hope that means it will be good for the reader too. LOL!!!
The idea for this book occurred from a reality in my life. I did find a website that probably saved my sanity after my Ex-husband left. I did meet six women, and I have even met one of them. They are my friends and I hold them dearly in my heart. We have, indeed, supported one another through thick and thin. Kids, accidents, cancers, divorces, court room dramas, etc. They are fabulous women. We didn’t and don’t always agree on how to handle everything, but, we have always been there for one another…….. since December 2008. And, I don’t know what I would do without them.
Hugs to my CafeMom friends!!!!
7. For you, was there any challenge in making the jump from writing narrative nonfiction to novel? Which do you prefer to write?
I like writing them both. I had no problem jumping from one genre to the next. One just needed to be written before the other. I guess it was just a stepping stone. Thank you for asking….
8. Did you always know you wanted to write books?
I always knew I wanted to write. I had an 8th grade teacher I drove nuts. He probably pulled a lot of his hair out because of me. I wasn’t always great at editing or commas …… I just couldn’t get the story on the page fast enough. I would turn in extra credit all the time. He went out of his way to remind me to slow down, reread, punctuation, and get the whole story out. Describe the characters. It took me the longest time to get that. That just putting it on the page, did not mean, the reader could see what I saw. So, with the new novel, I have gone to great pains to follow Mr. Reichert’s advice. And in the back of my head, my fourth grade teacher, (also my grandmother), is reminding me of spelling….. So, even with the story, comes a lot of people in my head…. LOLOLOLOL!!! Funny how all these years later, that advice still rises to the surface.
Dianna Gabaldon is my favorite author. What a story that woman can tell!!!!
The Nancy Drew series written by a slew of author’s published under Carolyn Keene. I read everyone that was written,(while I was growing up),until recently. I haven’t had the opportunity to see what is new.
10. What advice would you give to people who are interested in sharing their stories via narrative nonfiction?
It’s funny you should ask. I was recently asked that question by a snow plowing customer. He did not know how to start the history of his family, and before I knew it, he was telling me some things. I stopped him, and explained….. “Just the way you just told me. Tell your story about your family and their roots, by telling it, as if you were talking to an old friend.”
I am by no means an expert, but, if there is a will, there is a way. And never compromise your virtues or your ideas. Get them down, the way you feel comfortable. Billie Sue Mosiman recently said this better than me, and I am paraphrasing here…. ‘The story ends, when the story ends.’
Good advice. How about a bonus question: If you had a million dollars to give away to one charity, which would it be and why?
It would have to be a charity that feeds people and clothes them in America. So many people fall through the cracks in our own country. I understand why people go on missions and do good deeds in other countries, but, right here, right now, in our own country, hundreds of thousands of families are struggling day to day to make ends meet. And these are hard working parents and grandparents…not welfare recipients. I would give that million dollars to food banks across America. Not to sound biased, but, I would start in Idaho. I have seen personally, how easy an accident, can cause chaos in the financial future of a family living paycheck to paycheck.
I am a mother of two, an aunt to 7. My daughter is finishing college as a writer, and my son is in high school. I have been married once, and quite possibly ONLY once. I proudly represent my town's little league as their president and this year the secretary, the vice president and anything else that needed done. I live in a small town and have for all but two years of my life. I have traveled through many of the states in our wonderful country and still am astounded by its beauty! And still, home is where my heart is. I wanted to write when I was a young thing and life got in the way. In 2010 when I had an industrial accident, while healing, I started to write to stave off the boredom of just laying there. Once the writing bug got hold of me, I never stopped. I had forgotten the love I feel from putting the written word to page. What a great feeling! I currently, try to work, with my parents in their construction company. They are patient and understanding.... and for the last 22 years, I was a heavy equipment operator. Now, not so much. But I never give up!