One of things we’re talking about on Book Country lately is how to write about the hard stuff: real life pain and hardship. We featured Joshua Henderson‘s memoir RARE AND SPECIAL ANGELS in the Book Country Bookstore this month because it is an example of a writer bravely crafting a story from his family’s struggle–namely, Joshua and his wife’s daughter being diagnosed with Trisomy 17p, a rare and fatal disorder. We talked to Joshua about what it took to write RARE AND SPECIAL ANGELS (which he posted in Peer Review on Book Country prior to publishing), and what he’s doing now that his book is out in the world.
LS: What brought you and your story to Book Country?
JH: I have always been interested in publishing my book and one of the other publishing websites in fact published my other book. I left them because there wasn’t much assistance with the publishing and the prices of the books were too much based on how many pages the book was. I like eBooks, but I would also like to check into other publishing companies that can publish a hard copy of my book that I can sell. I don’t need all of the help trying to get the book sold. I just need someone to print it off that makes it look professional.
LS: How long have you been writing, and is Memoir the genre you write in most often?
JH: I have been writing on and off for a few years, nothing that has been published. I have always thought about publishing a book. The first book that I tried having published was a book about me and my military experiences. After reading it in the eBook version I had to take it offline because I had found somethings that needed to be corrected. I haven’t completely corrected everything, so I haven’t tried to republish it again. The two books that I have written have been memoirs, but I am currently working on writing a fictional book.
JH: RARE AND SPECIAL ANGELS teaches us about struggles that some families go through when their children have rare genetic disorders. People with normal children, or what is supposed to be normal, in fact feel sorry for those children and their parents. What they do not realize is that, these children don’t see themselves as being handicapped, they see themselves as average people. I can tell you from firsthand experience that these children, if treated normally, can achieve more than expected. This book is about my daughter and my family’s struggle to ensure that our daughter has the most normal life as possible. My daughter wasn’t expected to survive to this age. There is very little known about this due to the fact that there are very few cases known. There are parents out there that might not spend time with there children and tend to regret it as they grow older. With my daughter I have found that every day she is with us is a blessing because at any moment she might not be here. Let these children inspire us to do the best that we can as parents and as a community.
LS: What surprised you most about the writing and publication process? What has been the biggest challenge?
JH: The people at Book Country are really helpful. They didn’t publish my book until I was okay with it. Also, the writing process was very emotional for me. Especially when mentioning my son who had passed from the same chromosomal abnormality as my daughter. I had friends and coworkers correct my work to try and make it show that I wasn’t too emotional. I believe that complete honesty within memoirs is necessary. That is what I did here and in my other book. I have found that writing is something that I am decent at and would like to continue to pursue. I have run into the hardest part while writing the book. My weakness is that I really get emotionally involved with my writing, especially RARE AND SPECIAL ANGELS. The other challenge that I am having is that more and more people locally want a hard copy so that I can sign it. There really isn’t too much of a market out here in Iowa for eBooks.
About Joshua Henderson
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