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Interview with author, Constance B. Wilder, by Goodreads Fan, Carol Courneen:

Your career was in public relations, what made you want to write a book?

For forty years, I mostly wrote for others and gave advice on how the written word and attractive design could help tell a story. After my husband died, I realized I had a story to tell.

I realized I had a story to tell.

Once you knew you had a story to tell, how long did it take you to write Above and Beyond Wellfleet?

Ten years. I've said that I started writing my heart out, weeks before my husband died, and I never stopped (still haven't). It took ten years for me to write this book, because I wanted to squeeze out as much of the personal sadness as I could. I did not want the book to be an "I can do it, so can you, preachy book.

It's a short book, only 73 pages, containing 14 stories. Was that deliberate?

Yes. I believe that when you are suffering from grief, you cannot take in too much information. Your brain is mercifully numb--I call it grief brain. I wanted to make every word count. I believed that for the book to be meaningful, it had to be a spare book about a ponderous subject.

When you say "ponderous subject", what do you mean?

The book is about recovering from a shattering loss and still finding life worth living. I wanted the subtitle "A memoir about welcoming life after loss" to ring true. I also hoped to help us all learn to speak the language of grief.

Are you saying that people are uncomfortable talking about grief?"

Yes. It became apparent to me that even the most well-meaning friends simply wanted to be assured that I was okay after my husband died. I don't think I ever experienced anyone asking me how I felt without my noticing that they fidgeted--almost as if they were late for catching a plane--as they waited for my hoped-for positive answer. I believe none of us--myself included--know what to say to the person who has suffered a loss. The most we seem to be able to muster is "I'm sorry for your loss" and pray the person will let us off the hook for continuing the conversation by the grieving person saying "I'm fine, I am really fine"--which is usually a lie.

Last question for now. What do you hope people get from your book?

While those grieving feel lonely, I hope they will know they are not alone. I would like the book to be a companion, one they can summon in the middle of the night when the night terrors strike--as well as being a friend who will never tire of providing comfort.

Please contact the author with your questions at:

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