Interview (and Giveaway) with Pamela Lynn France, Author of Life Soup, A Memoir: Testifying on the Healing Power of Jesus Christ

Today I am delighted to host my guest, Pamela Lynn France, author of 

Life Soup, A Memoir: Testifying of the Healing Power of Jesus Christ

Pamela’s story of surviving a childhood of abuse is a testimony to others of their own ability to rise above and survive. A copy of Pamela’s memoir, in ebook or pdf format, will be given away to one lucky winner.

Author of Life Soup: A Memoir
Author of Life Soup: A Memoir

Pamela L. France is an educator. She received her teaching degree at Adrian College in Michigan. She worked for a number of years in Child Protective Service for the State of Michigan. She has worked as the Coordinator of Services at Southern Utah University’s Student Support Services. Obtaining her Master’s Degree from Utah State University, she spent the latter part of her career as an Elementary and Middle School Counselor in Iron County School system. Pamela lives the retired life in Kanab, Utah with her husband and her little dog Dottie. Mother of six and grandmother of twenty, she finds great joy and loves the challenge and adventure of family. Pamela is a late blooming author. Life Soup is her memoir.

Welcome, Pamela. I am so happy you could join me today. And now to our interview:

Sherrey: Why did you wait so long to write your book?

Pamela: The healing process follows its own course. It takes years to understand oneself and when abuse is thrown into the mix, it can take even longer. I have been writing all my life and I found it very beneficial to get my thoughts and feelings out in this way. I wanted to share my testimony of Jesus Christ. My hope is that it might touch the hearts of those caught in the throes of traumatic abuse. Conveying this in a readable and inoffensive way took time.

SherreyWhat is your background that allows you to offer credibility to other people?

Pamela: I survived my father’s abuse. Throughout my life I have taken many opportunities to read, study and experience what I could that would help me to deal with its effects. Along the way, I learned much and wanted to help others in similar circumstances.

Sherrey: How have you gained your love of writing and your desire to write?

Pamela: I must admit that reading and writing in my teen years became an escape. Reading especially took me away to other places and helped keep my mind off my troubles. I love most genres of literature and have immersed myself in everything I read. My favorite categories are mystery and historical fiction. I believe writing is a wonderful way to heal wounds of the heart.

Sherrey: What gave you the confidence to write a book on this controversial topic?

Pamela: Frankly, my confidence was in the Lord. I hope that by writing my book helps repay some of the debt for the blessings He provides in such abundance. Sharing my story was not easy for me. Fortunately, I have a very loving family and friends who care. These people encouraged me to continue. I believe I had more determination and hope than confidence. Mia Angelo’s quote says it well – “There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”

Sherrey: Did you ever feel sensitivity towards those in your book whose names you included?

Pamela: When I shared my manuscript with my beta-readers, I ask if I should use real names or fictional. My sister Paula, a major character in my childhood and healing journey, said, “We are who we are.” I am so appreciative of her attitude and support. My topic is sensitive, but it is my story to tell.

Sherrey: Who has this book benefited and why?

Pamela: Since writing this book, I have been surprised at the unexpected benefits. One friend shared a wish that she could have read it many years ago. She felt it would have helped her better understand and love her own mother, who was also a victim of incest. Many have told me that they shared the book with a friends dealing with similar circumstances such as: the mother of a child victimized, a woman dealing with effects of abuse perpetrated on her during childhood and now trying to raise her own children. Other victims also shared support and appreciation that I had a voice when they had none. Abuse can make one feel so isolated. I needed to tell my story to let others know that they are not alone and that someone cares and understands.

Pamela, thank you again for joining me today to discuss your memoir. Also, thank you for sharing your story so others may learn from your experience.

And now to the book~

This is a true story told using the memories of a child – my inner child. It is a story of survival – a love story without romance, but hope. It tells of the age old struggle between good and evil, light and dark forces around us. Jesus Christ has been saving souls throughout human history. Thankfully He is a part of my story.

and to the giveaway~ 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Interview with Nina Bingham, Author of Once the Storm Is Over

No one ever told me that grief felt so much like fear. ~ C.S. Lewis

Today I welcome Nina Bingham, author of Once the Storm Is Over: From Grieving to Healing After the Suicide of My Daughter. In addition to writing, Nina is a life coach and clinical hypnotherapist. Educating not only from academic knowledge, she shares from her own hard-won life experience in a new and profound way. In private practice since 2003, she has treated individuals and couples with a wide variety of mental health issues.

Nina graciously agreed to answer a few questions about her professional life and her book, which will be out in February 2015. Additionally, I review her memoir on this blog on January 22nd.

Join me in welcoming Nina to my blog and gathering for discussion and questions in the comment section below.

First, Nina, thank you for your willingness to share such a personal story with your readers and my followers. I appreciate it is not an easy topic to discuss yet you have written an amazing book and have answered my interview questions graciously.

Nina, would you share with my readers a bit about your professional background aside from your success as a writer?

There’s a long history of mental illness in my family. My paternal grandmother was institutionalized with Clinical Depression, and my father was an unmedicated Manic Depressive (what is now called Bipolar Disorder). He self-medicated with alcohol, and was abusive as a result. Because of my family’s history, I earned an AA in Psychology. It wasn’t until I was in my 40s that I developed Clinical Depression, and became suicidal myself. When I couldn’t function anymore, I began taking an anti-depressant and rebounded. I wanted to use my experience to help others, so I returned to college and earned a BA in Applied Psychology, and had completed my academic program for my MS Mental Health Counseling Degree when my 15-year-old daughter began a downhill slide into severe depression after the death of her father. The family curse went from me to her. 

As a mental healthcare professional assisting clients experiencing grief, how do you help them find their way through the devastation of something like suicide where guilt is also an emotional response?

I normalize the experience of guilt and self-blame for them, so they understand it is the most common emotion shared among suicide survivors. We all look back and see where we could have done better or intervened sooner, or said something we wished we had said, or regretted having said things. Only people who loved greatly feel remorse greatly. And while I will forever wish I had done things differently, as time passes I can see that I did love her and I did get her help, that I did the best I could and knew to do at the time. I assure clients who are grieving a suicide, and even those who have lost a loved one by any means, that survivor’s guilt is common, and can be a heavy weight. My advice is to not grieve silently. Get support by sharing your feelings, and finding supportive people. They may not fall in your lap–you may need to go out and look for a support group or a counselor to talk to. But nobody should shoulder the burden of grief alone.

You yourself have experienced the loss of a daughter through suicide. What confounded you the most about not being able to cope with the depth of that grief on your own?

Because I’d been trained to recognize the warning signs of suicide, and had intervened to prevent client suicides in the past, it was doubly hard for me to accept that I had been unable to save my own daughter. Because of this I felt incredible, overwhelming shame. Because of the guilt and self-condemnation, it made it that much harder for me to seek support. Eventually I did find my way to a Psychologist who was very helpful in encouraging self-forgiveness. But what I feel helped me the most was to journal about my feelings, and to talk it out with a friend. I came to realize that suicide happens to every kind of person, in every culture, and mental health professionals are not immune. Today I am not hiding behind the stigma of mental illness anymore, and encourage everyone who has a mental illness to get comfortable talking about it. The more we share our own stories of our challenges and how we are coping and living successfully with these issues, the less societal stigma there will be.

Your memoir, Once the Storm Is Over: From Grieving to Healing after the Suicide of My Daughter, chronicles the lessons you learned during your grief and healing. Could you share briefly about your own healing and how it came about over time?

Key to emotional healing are the words “over time.” You’ve heard the saying, time heals all wounds. That’s true, but only if you express your pain and grief. Keeping the pain of trauma and loss too close to our chest can kill our spirits and hope for the future. Only when we give ourselves permission to be human–to make mistakes, and to see failure as part of the human growth cycle will we accept that we are not perfect, and in fact we are coded for error; making mistakes is part of how we learn and grow. Healing happens when we are willing to externalize the grief by expressing it. Not pushing it away from us and denying it or avoiding it, but looking at it squarely, facing it and saying: I am not perfect, but I did the best I knew to do at the time, and because of that, I deserve a little grace. Healing comes when we allow ourselves to stop running from the pain and to feel our real feelings.

Lastly, talk to us about writing your book and if you can, share with us any launch details.

This book was unintentional, meaning I didn’t write with the intention of sharing my story. It was my Psychologist who suggested I journal about my feelings, and get the grief on paper. To my surprise, I found that although it was difficult seeing my life and problems on paper, it was also miraculously transformative. The more I wrote the more I wanted to write, because it was like a salve that I could apply to the wound any time I wanted. Writing about my feelings was the biggest healing factor for me, because it’s difficult to deny what you’re feeling and thinking when it’s coming straight out of your pen! Journaling was like holding up a mirror in which I could see myself clearly, and that clarity really helped put things into perspective. My journal became this book where readers will be taking this journey through grief with me.

Once The Storm Is Over publishes February 2015 and you can find it on the book website, www.oncethestormisover.com and on Amazon.

Again, Nina, thank you for sharing your words and thoughts with us today.

Learn More About Nina:

Nina Bingham, Cht, AA, BA

Certified Clinical Hypnotherapist, American Pacific University, HI

Associates of Arts in Psychology, Santa Rosa Junior College, CA

Bachelors of Arts in Applied Psychology, City University of Seattle, WA

Masters of Science of Mental Health Counseling Academic Program Completed-Capella University, MN

Nina Bingham is an Author, Life Coach, and Clinical Hypnotherapist. Inspiring, sincere and whole-hearted, she educates not only from her academic knowledge, but shares from her own hard-won life experience in a new and profound way. In private practice since 2003, she has treated individuals and couples with a wide variety of mental health issues. She is the author of 3 books of poetry and one recovery workbook, Never Enough. Her fifth book, “Once The Storm Is Over: From Grieving to Healing After The Suicide of My Daughter,” is due out in February 2015. It’s the autobiographical confession of a counselor who lost her teen daughter to suicide. What she learned about love and forgiveness changed her life forever. It will change yours, too.

Connect with Nina here:

createyourlife.nina@gmail.com

www.oncethestormisover.com

www.ninabingham.blogspot.com

www.amazon.com/author/ninabingham

www.twitter.com/liv_enlightened

www.linkedin.com/in/livingenlightened