What inspired you to write your memoir?
I was in the middle of graduate school, entirely engrossed with other writing projects in the summer of 2008, when I got the call that a brother I adored had been in a car accident and died. He was recently married, a new father, who’d made the inebriated decision to hop into a car with a drunk driver. Within minutes, they flew and rolled off a curve in a country road. His death was so complicated for me–in part because we had been unofficially estranged due to family dynamics and a mother who was mentally ill our whole lives. In the months after he died, I had an urgent need to excavate the pieces of our past in order make sense out of what had happened to us–to our family–and to say all the things (if only in literary form) that I wasn’t able to say to him before he died. Dear Boy started as a fragmented collection of letters written in the most daunting season of my life, and slowly filled out into a narrative that told our story (and the story of our family) in a way that both broke and mended places in my heart.
About your Book:
In this lyric memoir of loss, the narrator’s relationship with a beloved brother disintegrates against the backdrop of her mother’s mental illness and, ultimately, her brother’s death. Part poetry, part elegy, Dear Boy grapples with the universal issues of human longing and grief while praising the unexpected beauty to be found in the wake of such sorrows.
How did you decide how to publish your book and where is it published through:
I was incredibly lucky in that a writing mentor, Judith Kitchen, believed in this piece. In 2014, she launched Ovenbird Books, an imprint of innovative nonfiction writing, and asked me if she could release Dear Boy as one of the first publications. I greatly admired Judith and was honored by the opportunity. I jumped at the offer.
Heather Weber blogs about life, faith, and parenting and writes for ForeWord Reviews. She is a credentialed minister and associate pastor at LIFEchurch in North Liberty, Iowa, where she lives with her husband and three energetic daughters. A hippie in disguise, she dabbles in organic gardening; ferments coconut milk, beets, and cabbage on her countertop (not all together!); and loves to refinish furniture in unexpected ways. Her favorite parenting activity is reading aloud to her girls in front of the fire on winter nights (Narnia, anyone?). She thrives on deep friendships (necessary as water), and she feels she’s in exactly the right place when helping to sort out the tangly bits of life with people in her community and congregation.