“Feed your faith or feed your fear. What you feed will grow. What you starve will die.”~ Author’s favorite quote from her father.
I gives me great pleasure to introduce you to Carol Graham in this guest post about her memoir, Battered Hope. Carol and I met through the We Love Memoir Facebook group. In addition to being a memoirist, Carol is also a radio talk show host on “Never, Ever Give Up Hope” where she interviews people who have overcome adversities. Her mission is to share hope with others by sharing stories of survival and triumph over life’s challenges.
October is National Domestic Awareness Month. Carol’s memoir addresses freedom from marital abuse and helps break through the conspiracy of silence that often surrounds abuse.
My reviews of her memoir, Battered Hope, can be found on:
A Faith Greater Than Fear: A Memoir of Triumph
KP: Battered Hope is a deeply personal story of how you overcame many insurmountable obstacles. Can you tell us why you wrote this story?
CG: I wrote it for two reasons. I knew there was a ‘book’ in me but was terrified to expose it to the world. Initially it was to appease my daughter who consistently pushed me to write it. BUT, it was her miniature Dachshund, Louis Vuitton, who finally motivated me to put pen to paper. That hilarious story, I owe my career to Louis Vuitton, was recently posted on Midlife Boulevard http://midlifeboulevard.com/p-graham-owe-career-dream-louis-vuitton/
The second reason is a bit more complicated. I knew nothing about any aspects of writing or publishing a book. I was a social media illiterate. I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and it took 10 years to complete the memoir. Many aspects of my life were hidden, even from family and close friends. The idea of exposing that had to be weighed against who might be helped and encouraged by my story. My fear lost to compassion.
KP : While reading your memoir, I marveled at your resilience in the face of so many misfortunes. What was the experience of writing this like for you?
I wrote late in the evening, locked in my office. There I could weep while bringing up memories I had chosen to bury decades ago. When I needed clarification on something, I would ask my husband. It was even more difficult for him to relive those moments and I was careful how I asked him – keeping the emotion out of it.
CG: Memoir writers often fear repercussions from family members and close friends when revealing their truths. You tell your story with raw honesty. How were you able to summon the courage to reveal your past so openly? Did you have resistance from family members or friends?
CG: My family was extremely supportive and it answered a lot of questions for them that they never felt comfortable asking me. Most of them cried. My sister was extremely upset that she had not been there for me. I assured her that was not the case. I knew she would always love me but I did not want to worry her at the time.
KP: Memoir writing can be a daunting task. What tips do you have to share with others who are writing about a painful past?
CG: That’s a tough one. I think the best advice I could give is – change everyone’s name. I was always concerned I might offend someone but needed to share the full story. Changing the names of everyone takes the pressure off.
KP: What is the main message you hope to convey through your story?
CG: I did not have a main message until after it was complete and then it became obvious. I never gave up – no matter what. I kept a good attitude. And above all else, I chose to forgive each and every person who wronged me. I believe that tone was woven through the story. I have never seen any value in holding grudges, resentment or bitterness toward anyone – it only hurts you in the end.
KP: The publication of your memoir has led you to radio program that has garnered national and international attention. Please tell us about your program.
CG: I believe that after I was able to write, read and then digest my story in written form, it became clear that I was one of large group of people who had phenomenal stories to share. I presented the question to memoir authors and the response was greater than ever expected. Over 100 people responded the first day.
Although I knew less than nothing about producing a broadcast, I was determined to teach myself. It took ten months of intense stretching of my comprehension skills. It was a continual two steps forward and one step back process. There were many tears as I tried to understand all aspects of interviewing, editing, broadcasting and many unforeseen skills I did not even realized existed but definitely needed.
But as much as writing my memoir has changed my life, producing my show has opened doors and opportunities I never could have experienced – if I had quit before completion.
One of the greatest benefits has been listening to ordinary people tell their story of extraordinary circumstances; how they survived, how it changed their lives, and what they are doing to make a difference in their/our world. Often, after an interview, I am speechless and ponder the story I just witnessed at great length. Each one leaves an impact on me and I trust it does the same for my listeners.
Thank you, Carol for sharing your memoir and your mission of spreading hope to others. We can all gain so much from one another by sharing our stories. I am thrilled that your radio talk show has gained an international audience. Hope has been a powerful force in my life and I love that you are spreading the word about how hope matters.
Carol Graham, author, motivational speaker, radio talk show host and health coach, shares the art of becoming a survivor based on her own traumatic life experiences.
In her weekly blog and radio show, Never Ever Give Up Hope, Carol shares inspirational, motivational and heart-warming stories of people who have overcome insurmountable odds and became successful. She is a regular contributor to several websites and has been published in three anthologies.
LIFE STYLE BLOG: http://batteredhope.blogspot.com
PODCAST BLOG: http://neverevergiveuphopenet.blogspot.com
AMAZON: MEMOIR – http://amzn.to/1wEwEsN
FACEBOOK PERSONAL: http://www.facebook.com/carol.graham.90834776
website. Twitter, FB
Brief Book Synopsis:
Carol lived an intense life of outrageous traumatic events, always a fighter and a winner over cancer, rape, marital abuse, husband in jail, loss of a child, and huge financial losses. She strongly believes that laughter will get you through almost anything.
Her fast paced memoir, Battered Hope, reads with all the elements of a good novel – character, conflict, suspense, and resolution, It is a story of hope, perseverance and faith. It will afflict the comforted and comfort the afflicted.
How about you? Have you had the experience of writing about a painful past? How did you get through it? For those who love to read memoir, what keeps you turning the pages until the end?
Carol has graciously agreed to give away a copy of her memoir to a commenter whose name will be selected in a random drawing.
We’d love to hear from you. Please leave your comments below~
Monday, 10/12/15: “Wired for Memoir and A Magical Memoir Marketing Moment.”
Saturday, 10/17/15: A podcast interview about Ever Faithful to His Lead; My Journey Away From Emotional Abuse on “Never Ever Give Up Hope” Radio Show with Carol Graham.