It Felt Like A Forbidden Topic
Posted by Literary Titan
Sarah Burning is an emotional memoir telling of the tragedy that your family endured when your home caught fire and the path to recovering physically and mentally from that night. Why was this an important book for you to write?
I heard bits and pieces of this story starting at an early age, but a lot of it didn’t make sense to me. Of course I knew Neil and Sarah (she was Granny to me, died just before I turned seven). But I didn’t know these other people who were involved. I wanted to ask more, but unfortunately it felt like a forbidden topic. As noted in the Introduction of the book, when I was in college I told my mother that I wanted to talk with Uncle Neil (one of the survivors of that night) and ask him about what happened. She said, “Don’t you dare. Don’t EVER ask that man about that night.” That set off a spark, so to speak, and I knew that one day I would dig into The Fire to find out what really happened, and then write about it as a permanent family record. When I began to research in earnest nearly seven years ago, the details that surfaced convinced me that I had to write the book and tell the tale of what happened to those people that night, and how the three survivors heroically struggled to return to something resembling “normal life”.
I appreciated the candid nature with which you told your story. What was the hardest thing for you to write about?
By far the night of the fire itself was the hardest to write about. I knew I had to make it real and horrifying for the reader, so I got completely caught up in the sights, sounds, smells, and heat of that night. In my mind, I put my mind in a place where I burned with the people as they fought to escape the maelstrom. After writing Chapter Three, the fire itself, I was shaking and crying, and had to walk away from it for several weeks.
What is a common misconception you feel people have about disaster survival?
I think the biggest misconception is that when there is no visible physical trauma, the person is ok. That’s so wrong. Surviving a disaster leaves people scarred deep inside. It’s nothing short of PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder). So I felt it was important to depict Neil’s struggle with his nightmares, depression, and guilt. He bore few physical scars but his inner scars lasted his entire life.
What do you hope is one thing readers take away from your story?
I hope it gives them a feeling of strength and courage in the face of a calamity. I hope they feel that, God forbid, if something awful happens to them, they can draw from the strength of Sarah, Virginia and Neil to keep going, keep striving to regain their life, to keep putting one foot in front of the other.
About Literary TitanThe Literary Titan is an organization of professional editors, writers, and professors that have a passion for the written word. We review fiction and non-fiction books in many different genres, as well as conduct author interviews, and recognize talented authors with our Literary Book Award. We are privileged to work with so many creative authors around the globe.
Posted on October 16, 2022, in Interviews and tagged author, author interview, biography, book, book recommendations, book review, book reviews, book shelf, bookblogger, books, books to read, ebook, family saga, goodreads, indie author, kindle, kobo, literature, memoir, nonfiction, nook, novel, read, reader, reading, Sarah Burning, story, Tim Ritter, true story, writer, writing. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.
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