Q & A with Linda Andrews, author of Please Bring Soup To Comfort Me While I Grieve. (Feb. 8, 2016)
How long have you been writing?
For as long as I can remember, writing has been my preferred method for expressing myself. Writing allows to me to contemplate what I want to say, review it, and then follow through, whether it is a poem, an article, a Christmas letter, or now—my very first book!
One day while visiting my Mom in a nursing home, I witnessed something taking place that just broke my heart. I went home and wrote a poem about it. When I shared it with people, it touched their hearts. They were surprised that I just went home that day and wrote a poem.
The Christmas before my husband died, I wrote a letter to him expressing just how important he was to me. I still have that letter I wrote to my husband. I am so grateful I took the time to do that.
What made you decide to publish your own book?
Writing is something I enjoy so much and I found that was the easiest part of this entire process. I signed up for a writing class about one year after my husband died. It was a very big step for me, but I found the courage to do it. At the time, I was already working on my book so I was looking for direction on how to proceed with my project.
The class went well. However, the big picture was still very overwhelming. I was still grieving and my ability to focus on a book was not front-and-center at the time. The writing teacher, Jim Baumer, kept in touch with our class and when he reached out to say he was teaching another class, this time for those of us that were serious about getting our books out, I signed up. His class gave me an opportunity to learn even more and meet other people who shared a love of writing.
Later, when Jim offered one of his publishing boot camps, I was in! I must say after an entire day of learning about self-publishing, I was a bit discouraged and overwhelmed, but once again, Jim kept in touch with us. While I was happy with the manuscript, I was unsure of where to go next. I kept telling everyone, ”if only I had someone to walk me through this process, I would pay them to do so.” Again, I reached out to Jim. When we met to talk about where I was at in the process, he mentioned that he would be willing to serve as my book coach. I was thrilled. Now I felt like this could really happen. As a coach, Jim was incredibly helpful and encouraging. We had our first official coaching session last July and that is when I made the decision to self-publish. Now, seven months later, my book is at the printer.
Why did you decide to write a book about grief and loss?
Grief and loss are a part of life. All of us will eventually experience profound loss and the sadness and pain that accompany it. Unfortunately, grief education is often lacking. We need to do more as a society and address grief in schools, in the workplace, and in the community. Writing this book is my way to contribute.
What would you consider to be your biggest influence in deciding to become a writer?
I believe it would be the feedback you get when you write. I wrote an article several years ago for Twins Magazine about bringing up identical twins as individuals. I mentioned that for a few years, my sons were even in separate schools. When I ran into people who read my article, they said they decided to separate their twins in school after reading my story. This made me realize that I wanted to find a way to share my own stories and help people. I have been told by many that I have a gift of connecting with people. Writing is my way to share that gift.
Do you have any advice to other writers considering publishing their own book? Are there particular resources that have been helpful for you?
For me, taking a publishing class and then, working with a book coach were keys in helping me move forward with my book. There is a lot of information out there about publishing so by all means, do your research and do your homework. It takes a lot of time but it is well worth it.
I checked it all out, bought books about it, watched podcasts, read everything I could find on the internet—in the end, I decided to work with someone who I knew was experienced as a self-publisher and could help me make it happen; someone I trusted and knew had my best interest in mind.