The Author

Will you write more books?
The writing process was exhausting and challenging for me, so this is a difficult question to answer on the heels of finishing my first project. But, my answer is an absolute yes! In fact, I have a story that has been churning for months, since someone shared a very personal piece of her life’s history with me. I love reading fictional stories, but I find that my life has enough interesting events and characters that I won’t have to create any on my own.

What is your writing process?
Since I currently do not have a lot of free time, I had to set aside a specified time frame when I knew I could write. I wake up between 4:30 and 5 every morning and write for an hour or two before getting ready to go to work. How to start our family’s story was the first big decision that I had to make. Once I accomplished that, it became easier to write. It was difficult at times because I felt like the process was really flowing and working for me, but then I had to shut it down and get ready for my work day.

When I came home from work in the evening, I set aside some time to review what I had written that morning. I would make changes and edits. Then each night before I fell asleep, I would again re-read what I had written in the early hours of the morning and think about where the story would continue the next day. I would reflect on the period in which I was writing about and look at the notes I had taken at that time. As I fell asleep, I was often reliving the part of the story I was about to tell. On the weekends, I had designated writing time, either early in the morning or on a quiet afternoon when Taylor was resting or occupied with some sort of activity.

I had also kept a detailed calendar and a scantily written journal over the year following Taylor’s accident. I did that simply because there was so much happening and I had a hard time keeping it straight. Throughout writing this book, I referred to the calendar and the journal numerous times, which helped me identify what was happening and when it occurred.

Do you have advice for writers?
I think it is really important to practice your art. Write whenever you can, about whatever you can. Jot down your ideas because it is easy to think you will remember them and if you are like me… you don’t.

When writing, remain true to yourself. Let the words flow from your heart and mind, and edit them later. Continue to focus on the purpose in telling your story and stay true to that purpose. And finally, believe in yourself. Someone told me once, “You are a writer, don’t let anyone tell you different.” I have chosen to believe that and to believe that my writing will be beneficial to others.

While writing Falling Away from You, there were a lot of paths that the story could have meandered down. I had to keep in mind that I wanted this story to teach, reach, and help others cope with and understand Traumatic Brain Injury. So in writing, I had to make sure that that was the path I continued to pursue.

Why did you decide to write this book?
This book was something that was waiting to be written, almost like a baby who is waiting to be born. It was inside of me and it needed to come out. In terms of my actual decision to write it, a lot of friends and family members would tell me throughout this journey, “You should write a book.” At some point, I explored what that would mean, how it would play out in real life, and if it was something I could do. I made the decision that if it were going to happen, I would need help and I was at peace with that. Prior to any decision or real exploration, I woke up and a title came to me. I wrote the words, “Falling Away From You”, on a post it note and hung it at my desk at work. Before hanging it, I shared it with a friend who had been telling me for months that I needed to write a book about Taylor’s accident. I said to her, “I don’t know what this means but I woke up with this title on my mind.”

One thing that Taylor’s accident had taught me was that life was indeed fleeting, and something that we are not guaranteed. If something was important to me, I needed to make the choice to do it and get busy. I hung the post it as a reminder to keep the idea on my radar and the dream in my heart.

Shortly after, Convurgent Publishing contacted me and offered to assist me with the process. There are very few times in life when I have been absolutely certain that something was meant to be. This is one of those times that I was certain. I knew that I did not have the time, energy and resources to complete the project in its entirety on my own, but I could write. Convurgent was willing to do a large part of the rest of the work involved.

What is it like to have a son with TBI?
Having a son with a TBI is devastating, brutal, relentless, and just downright painful. It is the hardest thing or series of endless things I have ever had to go through. When I first heard the words, “Taylor suffered a devastating traumatic brain injury”, I had absolutely no concept of the havoc that would come as a result. TBI is one of the cruelest and harshest things I could ever imagine, much less live. It has unequivocally turned our lives upside down and inside out.

What are you currently reading?
I have been reading articles from New York magazine that my mom is kind enough to pass along and I have recently finished The Light Between Oceans by M.L Stedman and Big Little Lies by Liane Moriarty. I am currently more than halfway through Broken Harbor, by Tara French.

What are your favorite books?
This is an IMPOSSIBLE question to answer. I know I will never satisfy the true list. These are some of my favorites and some that I found both hard to put down and hard to forget:

The Kitchen House, The Help, Prince of Tides, The Kite Runner, Memoirs of a Geisha, the Road Less Travelled, I’ll Love You Forever, The Color Purple, the Secret Life of Bees, A Child Called It, Water For Elephants, Little Bee, Oh The Places You Will Go, Milkweed, Cold Sassy Tree, The Good Earth, Thirteen Reasons Why, the Book Thief, Me and Emma, Angela’s Ashes, Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas

I cannot pinpoint a favorite author because like books there are so many, but I really enjoy Pat Conroy’s style and his description of the south and I think Kahled Hosseini has an amazing way of telling a story that will resonate for weeks to come.

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