Gracie Lea Silverwood is an extraordinary woman, and her memoir, My Soul to Keep, is now available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. Silverwood is a mother of three and has been confined to a wheelchair since childhood as a result of cerebral palsy. Her memoir explores the difficulties of growing up knowing she was unwanted and is a testament to courage and strength in the face of adversity. We appreciate Gracie Lea Silverwood for taking the time to share some of her insights with us at the Book Pound.
Is "My Soul to Keep" a memoir or a novel? Does it have elements of both?
"My Soul to Keep" is a 100% true memoir of my life, the only thing that was changed was some names to avoid any more drama from my family.
You say it took many years to work up the courage to write about your childhood. Was there an event that finally prompted you to write your story?
Honestly I toyed with the idea of sharing my story for many years and even started writing it more than once but always backed off when the memories got too tough to deal with. So when I started this time around I promised I would put everything down no matter how ugly and finally be done with being afraid of ashamed of my past. I also made a deal with myself that if when I was done and I still felt like it was too much, I didn't have to hit that "Publish" button, and I almost didn't but then I read Lizzy Ford's Broken Beauty and saw that I wasn't alone in being afraid, and that even though Broken Beauty was a fictional story it gave me the final push of courage needed to publish My Soul to Keep.
What was the writing process like for you?
My process was pretty simple. The first thing I did was compile a list of my life events and put them in order to help me stay on track, and then I wrote in all my free time, usually about ten to thirty pages a night. However I must admit there were some nights I had to "walk" away from writing for a few nights when memories and emotions got to much to handle.
What challenges do you face as a stay-at-home mom who is wheelchair bound?
Now that my children are older the challenges are not as great and having my house set up at my wheelchair level pretty much makes my life easy. However when my youngest was a baby my husband and I were very inventive in doing everyday things so I didn't miss out. For example, I bathed him on the kitchen table in his baby bath because it was the right height for me to reach.
What advice do you give to children with cerebral palsy?
The best advice I can give is "Never Give Up" if you have a dream follow your heart until you achieve it, your path my need to be altered a little bit and it may take longer and be harder to achieve then some other people but you will get there if you stay on course and never be afraid to ask for advice, just as long as you never ever give up!
Are you working on any new writing projects now? Is there anything else you would like to tell Book Pound readers?
I love writing, I always have and I do it everyday but I'm not sure if it's anything I would ever publish. To the Book Pound Readers I'd like to say Thank You for taking the time to read this interview and feel free to visit me at my website www.
gracieleasilverwood.wix.com/ my-soul-to-keep or my Facebook page www.facebook.com/ GracieLeaSilverwood