I’m pleased to announce that inspirational author Heather Hogan is the guest on my blog today. Her memoir, “Can There Be More?” is her way of offering wisdom by sharing her experiences. “Can There Be More?” will inspire and uplift women everywhere.
Katie: What prompted you to write a memoir?
Heather: One day I was sitting on my bed looking out the window with tears streaming down my face and my son Cade, who was five at the time, came in my room and asked me what was wrong. I looked at him, smiled and said, "Nothing is wrong honey, mommy is just happy." To my surprise, I really meant it. For the first time I was truly happy, for at least a moment. I stared at the sky for a long time and started to think about my journey to the present, and how many people I had hurt, and had hurt me to get to where I finally was. I grabbed my laptop and started typing. Boy did it feel good! I was no longer ashamed, embarrassed or hurt, I was just ready to let go!
Katie: Share with us the process of choosing which life experiences you wanted to share in your book versus those you decided to leave out.
Heather: I left out all the experiences in my life that I was not present. I didn't tell my siblings stories, those are their memories to tell. I only included one story that I was not in person to witness. I left out some things that were too embarrassing to my father, and my family that were not necesseray to get my message of hope and faith across. I had to leave a few things out to save my children from needing to process and deal with what their mother had done. I only included events and tragedies that were relevant in helping others heal and realize they are not alone!
Katie: Did you journal any while you were going to through these things in your life, and thus use that as a springboard for your memoir?
Heather: You know Katie, I did journal. The funny thing is I lost track of those journals. My sister called me about a month ago and had found one. She told me she read it, and couldn't believe how many times I had written the same thing, "Today is a new day, and I am going to start a new life." I tried for so many years to start over, but I couldn't. I hadn't let go of my anger, resentment and inner turmoil yet! I knew peace was waiting for me on the other side of the river, I just couldn't grasp the rope long enough to make it to the other side of the river where light, love, and peace had been waiting for years!
Katie: Writing about your personal journey can make you feel very vulnerable. Did you (do) feel that way as you were writing your book, and if so, how did you work around that?
Heather: Katie, I never felt vulnerable! I don't know why, I just knew I had a mission in life to share my story with others. I want so badly for people to be able to live the life they were meant to live, and it is hard to do when you have so much baggage from your past. People can let go and find hope in other people's stories and lives. That was my goal with my book and I have never once regretted sharing my story with the world!
Katie: You witnessed your father’s battle with alcoholism. How did that change your life?
Heather: Alcoholism is a selfish and narcisstic disease. Alcoholism consumes the alcoholic and there are only two things the alcoholic cares about: the alcohol and themselves. An alcoholic wants to do the right thing. They want to be a good dad, husband and friend, but they can't. You see, I believe that alcoholics play tricks on themselves. When an alcoholic looks at their reflection in the mirror they cannot bare to admit to themselves whom they really are and the pain they are inflicting on those around them. What they do instead is focus on all the wrong that has been done to them and feed off their own ego and self-elevated perception of who they think they are. Once they internalize these thoughts, they become warped, and the poor me game starts. Once the poor me game begins, the first drink is consumed and by the time they are well into their third, fourth and so on, they have forgotten those they love, their responsiblities and they don't care that their actions are slowly killing the people around them mentally and at times physically if the alcoholic is violent while drinking.
My father altered my life the day my mother died and he chose the bottle over his children. Do I love my father? Absolutely. But realistically, he gave me a life that was filled with so much turmoil, anger, violence and anxiety that I did not know how to function in the world as a child let alone as an adult!
You can only blame your mishaps and downfalls on your childhood for so long before you have to step up to the plate and correct the past to make your future bright. Katie, that is exactly what I did at the age of thirty five. I took blame for my mistakes, forgave my father, and moved on!
Katie: How much did your personal faith affect your life while growing up? As an adult?
Heather: God is good, and God is faithful. Growing up I used to sit on the end of my bed and look in the mirror. I would grab my cheeks and say out loud, "Why am I here? Who am I? Why is this happening? Where are you mom?" I would get up from that bed with God given strength knowing with 100% conviction that I had a purpose and I was not meant to suffer everyday of my life. Katie, we are meant to receive all of God's gifts! We are meant to live in abundance and we are also meant to learn lessons. I never lost faith that one day I would break through my barriers and live the life I was supposed to live.
I prayed and talked to my dead mother all the time. I cut deals with God, and God showed me grace. In turn my faith and hope was kept alive. As an adult I never lose faith. I wake up every morning thankful for my life, my children, nature and God. I love hear the birds sing, and see how the light from outside illuminates my cat that is sitting in my window. We are surrounded by beauty and love, life is good, life is a great party, you just have to show up and have faith that you will guided and directed, and in turn you will fulfill your destiny!
Katie: What kind of writing schedule, if any, do you maintain?
Heather: I don't really keep a writing schedule. I write when I feel like it and when I can. I am also a personal stylist, and have a big family to take care of. I can tell you I have to write daily, but there is no schedule.
Katie: What advice would you give to authors aspiring to write an inspirational memoir?
Heather: Start writing! Don't wish you could do, or ever think I can't do it, you can! So many people told me I would never get my book published. I finally stopped telling my friends and family what I was doing. The next thing they heard was Tate Publishing sent me a contract for my work!
Katie: Is there anything else you would like to share?
Heather: Everyday is a new day and the chance for a new beginning. Remember, there is always someone who has it worse than you and always someone whom has it better than you. Stop comparing yourself to others, love yourself, embrace the life you have been given, be thankful for what you have, and the rest will fall in place!
Thanks, Heather, for being my guest on my blog today. Heather’s book can be ordered through her publisher at www.tatepublishing.com/bookstore. It is also available through Barnes & Noble, Amazon and Target.