What kind of writing do you do?
I write non-fiction, because I am an avid reader, but have always preferred to read true-to-life stories that offered answers to life’s challenges. I have been most inspired by autobiographies that served to inspire me. One of the most influential books has been Dr. Elyn R. Sak’s, The Center Cannot Hold: My Journey Through Madness. Her book saw me through my darkest hours of grief, and gave me the courage to find my voice, to speak out about my own struggle with depression, and my daughter’s suicide. It’s ironic that I have written an autobiography, and honored that Dr. Sak’s wrote the title review of my book.
What would you like readers to know about your new book, Once The Storm Is Over?
It is raw and honest, sharing my painful past: an abusive alcoholic father, a failed marriage, the rejection I suffered after I came out as a lesbian, and my own brush with suicide. What could have been a story mired in self-pity and misery, ultimately is a story of hope. This book is not only for survivors but for anyone facing depression. The book has garnered outstanding reviews from suicide prevention organizations, expert psychiatrists, best-selling authors on suicide, mental health and parenting magazines, as well as grief recovery organizations. My hope is that it will lesson the stigma of mental illness and comfort those who are grieving, so they know they are not alone.
Many times writers find a creative niche and community. What do you think is yours?
I see myself as a part of the movement to fight the stigma of mental illness worldwide, specifically that of suicide. My community is a world-wide and large: I’m part of the Suicide Club-survivors of suicide, a terrible club to be a part of. And although we have been silenced in the past by the societal taboo about suicide, if all survivors do their part by speaking about their own journeys, their own experiences, we can lesson the stigma of mental illness so that more people will come out of the shadows and feel safe about reaching out for help.
Are there aspects of your writing that readers might find challenging to them?
Once The Storm Is Over is being described by reviewers as: raw, honest, shattering, healing, and important. This is an emotional read, especially for suicide survivors. But to have an impact, sensitive topics like mental illness and suicide need to be genuine and caring; they also need to be brutally honest. I believe this is one of the few books that manages to be both.