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Smashmouth Interview

Posted by on January 11, 2021

What motivated you to become an indie author?

Over the years I have helped others with grief support, and when eBooks started getting more popular, I wanted to make my book available to others in this format. When I looked at reprinting the original version of Love & Courage, I wanted to add more information. So I decided since I had to retype the entire book as no computer uses or reads a 6″ floppy disk, I would add some content to help with grief. Becoming Bigger Than Our Pain is about how to help someone grieving, or yourself. I help others in my daily life, but wanted a way to help many others with eBooks and print.

In my talks with the big publishing houses, they all wanted to change my book, and I wanted it to remain the way I wrote it. So I self published to keep the manuscript intact.

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?

Living my entire adult life with grief, I have grown to live in the moment, knowing full well this may be my last day, so why not make it a good one! I plan for the future, but I live in the present, and choose to find joy in my life verses sadness. I have learned to smile because I had my children in my life who passed before me, and remember the love, rather than to keep crying because they are gone from my arms, as they are still in my heart.

Life is a journey, and I truly believe we draw to us what we focus on the most. When I was so deeply engulfed in my grief, I saw no reason to even think I would ever be happy again. I continued to draw pain and suffering into my heart and soul until I was finally strong enough to move forward. Now I draw in happiness and joy in the simple moments of life.

When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?

I have a large flower garden, and it gives me peace to work in it, and sit on my patio and enjoy all the bright colors and smells. I have a busy family life, and enjoy creating designs and artwork for my son’s business. I used to have a side by side off road vehicle that we would take to the Oregon Dunes to ride. I loved to sit out in the dunes and watch the sunset over the beach, it is so beautiful and relaxing. I love to walk on the beach and feel at one with nature as the waves wash upon my feet. That feeling of peace is what inspired my support website Griefbeach.com and the song I wrote also named Grief Beach. I finally have a baby grandson, who is so much fun to be with, and he helps Gramma to continue to heal her heart.

Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?

Maybe not the first, but I loved Nancy Drew in grade school, I had every book in the series. They were mystery, detective books that kept me interested thru the entire book. They helped me to realize things are not always as it seems.

What is your writing process?

I am an emotional writer, I could never just sit at a desk and write. I start with an outline, and then go from there. I am not too organized, so I have many re-writes to get my books done. My best ideas come to me in the shower…(why is that?)

Describe your desk.

Always cluttered! They say that creative minds are rarely tidy! That applies to me! I start with a very organized desk, but then life happens, my tasks multiply, then I spill my coffee, and move things about and well now it’s a mess!

Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?

I grew up in a small town in Eastern Washington. I did not live on a farm, but most of my friends did. I grew up as a country girl, not wanting the fast paced city life, my dream was the house with the picket fence, 2 kids and a dog in the yard.

I was working on that dream when I wrecked my car at age 21. My 2 year old son died, I was 5 months pregnant with my daughter, who survived. Everything changed that day, my life shattered in an instant, and grief has influenced my life in everything I do since then.

I write like I speak, not in 3rd person, like I am sitting at the table with you telling my story.

What do your fans mean to you?

It means a great deal to have someone tell me that my book has helped them on their grief journey. My sole intent is to do just that, helping others and paying the love forward. I have a box of letters from those who read my book, and they are precious reminders of “what good has come of this”. Thru my pain, I have helped many, and that makes it just a little easier.

How do you approach cover design?

I put many elements in the cover design for Becoming Bigger Than Our Pain, it started with the purple sunset off the deck of my best friends family condo in Hawaii. Then I added the family walking on the beach, who could be anyone’s family, and I show them stepping back into life from the fog of grief onto the pavement. I wanted to show healing, and support and beauty.

What are you working on next?

I have 2 projects in the works, a Bio of sorts, profiling the events that changed the course of my life. I was asked to do a movie when my children were young, about the years in-between the boys deaths, but the timing was not good for my living children, and I wanted them to live as normal of a life as they could. So now I can talk about all the insanity of my life. Destined to Grow Strong will be done soon.

Another project is the children’s book. When I am doing grief workshops and grief coaching, I have been asked how to help children cope with grief, how to help them understand what it means to die, regardless of religion, and how to help them express the grief in healthy ways. It is almost done. I have a friend who speaks Spanish, so I will start doing Spanish versions of my books also.

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