The Next Big Thing! (An Authors Blog Hop)

Lovely and talented writer friend and Nashville blogger Leisa Hammett tagged me to participate in a “blog hop” about my next book. She was tagged, then she tagged me, and at the end of this post I will  be tagging a few other writers who will share about their next big projects. I invite you to visit their blogs next Friday and to come back and visit me again and keep up with my progress — and hold me accountable!

So, my Next Big Thing, my second book, is a book I never thought I’d be writing, and a book I didn’t want to write. But life after a harsh season sometimes takes us softly into a new season and we feel a need to share our journey. So here’s my book-in-progress ~

1. What is the working title of your book?

My current working title is A Resting Place. When I began, it was Losing Charlie: And Building a Whole New Life. So from that original title, you now know what my book is about. Hmm. Which title is better? My current title comes from a quote of my son who did the funeral service for my husband. The quote is based on a story my husband wrote two months before he died. “My hope is that each of us will — in our own way and in our own time — find a resting place far away from this sorrow.”

2. Where did the idea come from for the book?

The night my husband died, my sister (I love her, and she knows I’m telling on her!) arrived from Memphis and said, “Well, Kathy, you just have to build a whole new life.” I didn’t hit her or anything, but I could feel an invisible shield around my body repelling that thought. The old life was just fine; I wanted it back. Nobody who has lost anybody wants to think about starting all over alone and building a new life. But over the course of six months…a year…three years, I slowly and unknowingly crept toward a new normal. It was the struggle of a lifetime. It’s a struggle everyone goes through eventually, unless they die first, before their spouse. I’ve had many women tell me, “I couldn’t make it if I lost my husband.” I was in Huntsville at a conference when a woman who almost lost her husband to a stroke said those words to me, and cried, and my heart was with her, and I knew at that moment I’d write my story.

3. What genre does your book come under?

Easy one. Creative nonfiction: memoir.

4. Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Sandra Bullock. She does loss well. How will she look as a blond?

5. What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

Everything she had depended on him—job, income, house, companionship, love; he died, and it was all gone, and she journeys from loss and grief of those early days when her bones were in agony, through the struggles and tugs of letting go and holding on, to rebuilding and finding a new normal, a resting place to land. (The she is me. Or I.)

6. Is your book self-published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency.

I will query agents and shop my book around, but since I am not a famous celebrity with a national platform that will lead to billions in sales…well, we’ll see. I will most likely self publish. I have a platform. I know grief and loss. I know a good publishing company.

7. How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

I will be finished with the manuscript by April 1. (If you’ve been reading my blog, you know that is supposed to be March 1. But, well, things happen.) So that will make it ten months.

8. What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

A fairly recent book is A Widow’s Story by Joyce Carol Oates. The time frame of her memoir is much narrower than mine; therefore, her pain is acute and fills the pages, as she curls up in her nest (bed) unable to function. My book takes on these early months and shows the depth of pain, but it spans three and a half years and covers not only the raw mourning that Oates describes, but it moves on to a place where life happens in peace.

9. Who or what inspired you to write this book?

As mentioned earlier, the many women who have come to me in private moments and told me that they could not make it if they lost their husbands. Also, the many women I know who depend completely on their husbands to earn an income, pay the bills, manage house and car repairs, and keep them safe at night. Also, to the women who’ve already lost husbands — and hurt and grieve and have a hard time putting one foot in front of the other and moving on to a new normal, when all they want is the old normal. And this book is sort of a tribute to my late husband because it tells the strengths of a man who had good principles, a good career, an interesting life.

10. What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?

My book chronicles the compounded journey of grief, loss after loss — loss of husband, loss of job, loss of income, loss of second job, loss of mother, loss of house — and because life is this way: JOY comes in the middle of loss in the birth of twin grandchildren. And there is humor in the midst of the raw pain of mourning. There are supernatural moments, obvious ones, and many don’t believe you can see or hear people after they die, but you can, and I tell many instances in the book. Put it all together and I believe it’s a book of preparation, validation, and hope for the many people who have walked or are walking or will walk this grief road.

That’s it! Be watching for my book! Please come back and spend a moment here at First Draft! And please visit my friends next Friday, February 22, as they answer these same questions and/or share with you what they are doing:

Bill Peach ~

Judy DeLuca ~

Susie Dunham ~

And now, a final shout-out to Leisa! Go visit her blog and warm up to her words of wisdom!


7 Comments on “The Next Big Thing! (An Authors Blog Hop)”

  1. Don Day says:

    Write me into the screenplay as an actor:)
    Regards, Don

  2. kathyrhodes says:

    It’s a deal, Don! (Do you have a dimple in your chin?)

  3. I like the second (first) title “Losing Charlie and Building a Whole New Life” or you could combine it, “A Resting Place… Losing Charlie and Building a Whole New Life”.

  4. leisahammett says:

    Wonderful! Can’t wait to read!

  5. Grief and loss has made my life more rich and full. Like I used to live in this space that got busted wide open. It is bigger… more expansive. And yes, you can talk to the deceased.

    Looking forward to your book.

  6. “Every great loss demands that we choose life again. Grieving is not about forgetting. Grieving allows us to heal, to remember with love instead of with pain. Its a sorting process…..One by one you let go of the things that are gone and mourn them. One by one you take hold of the things which have become a part of who you are and build again” (Rachel Remen)

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