Blog Tour/Review: “When Ties Break”

Posted: February 20, 2012 in blog tour, Blogging, family, Life, Reading, Relationships, storytelling, Writing
Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Margaret Norton has her flaws, and she knows it. But instead of letting them consume her, she confronted them in a years-long battle to find peace within herself. Margaret’s struggle and her salvation are chronicled in her memoir “When Ties Break: Thriving After Loss”.

The Specifics

Title: When Ties Break: A Memoir About Thriving After Loss

Author: Margaret Norton

Paperbook: 260 pages, available now in e-book

Publisher: Tate Publishing (August 3, 2010)

 

Synopsis

Following her father’s death, Margaret Norton suddenly finds herself cast out of her family, chastised by an older brother for her selfish ways and questionable decisions. Set adrift with only her faith to cling to, she weathers multiple divorces, drug abuse, financial ruin, the deaths of family and close friends, a nomadic lifestyle, and conflicting personal relationships. Instead of succumbing to these trials and tragedies, Margaret eventually learns to rise above them by following the simplest of principles: trust in God then trust yourself.

Here‘s what I think…

Despite being raised in a strong Catholic family and attending eight years of parochial school, I am not a religious person. While I enjoy reading memoirs, a book with such an obvious spiritual bent would not have been the first thing I grabbed off the shelf. But Margaret’s story is well worth reading, regardless of your degree of faith, because it holds some valuable lessons for anyone who struggles. The challenges Margaret faced confront ordinary people everywhere, every day, and readers will identify with her frustration and pain, and rejoice in her triumph over them. Margaret makes many admissions in her memoir but few apologies and that’s the lesson people should relate to most about her story – that you don’t need to apologize to others for what they think of you but you do need to accept who you are and be comfortable with yourself.

Chatting with Margaret

Margaret was gracious enough to take some time to visit with me about her life and her book. Here’s the lowdown:

You began writing your story at the suggestion of your therapist. If they hadn’t suggested it, would you have arrived at that decision on your own to write your memoir?  That’s a hard one. Probably not. When I was younger I used to journal and write but somewhere along the way, I stopped doing that. I’ve had a lot of therapy through the years and a lot of times they’d suggest things like “write a letter to someone but don’t mail it”. Writing a book about your life is more than mailing it; it’s like putting it on page one of the newspaper. Something I probably would have never done, since I tend to be a little shy, without someone encouraging me.

Your story is so emotional that it would have been easy to become self-pitying in your writing yet you didn’t. How did you avoid that? I’ve had my struggles with self pity and sometimes I still feel sorry for myself. But belief in God and positive thinking got me where I am today. No matter how bad my life was I always seemed to meet people who had it worse. As I’d listen to their stories, I’d think I’m sure glad I don’t have their problems. I came to really believe that everything happened in my life as it should – that God had a plan for me – and I learned to be thankful and content even when life wasn’t going my way. It wasn’t easy. It took many years, lots of stops and starts, and much support from my friends. Self-pity is surrounded by regret and anger – two emotions that I tried to rid my life of.

“When Ties Break” has such a strong message about trusting in your faith to carry you through life’s trials. Why should readers who don’t have that close of a relationship with God read your book? That’s an interesting question that I’ve given much thought to. I think my book and my life was not only a struggle to understand God but a journey to find myself. I suspect everyone goes through similar experiences. It’s full of real, very challenging situations – things that everyone experiences – whether they believe in God or not. I think I would have survived without God, though that might sound un-Christian. There are principles, like forgiveness, that I talk about in my book that everyone could benefit from, regardless of their religious beliefs.

What advice would you offer writers who may want to share their own difficult stories but are afraid to do so? One blog that I recently wrote was titled “Writing Memoir is not for Sissies”. Writing about painful life experiences can be very healing but it’s not easy. There are all kinds of things to take into consideration. Why are you doing it? To help others or get back at someone? Should you change the names? Should you wait until certain people die? How will you handle it when people get angry with you and don’t support your writing? So many people still believe, even with reality TV that we have today, that you should not talk about your problems openly. I believe that only by talking about them openly can you begin to solve them. There are a lot of good books on writing your story. I strongly recommend following the advice of experts.

Any new projects we should look forward to from the pen of Margaret Norton? My book was the first thing that I wrote – not the way that most people start out writing. Now I’m going back to the beginning and doing short stories and articles. I’m hoping to retire in a few years and would like to do more writing then. Maybe a book of female survival stories, ones that readers have shared with me. Or maybe I’ll turn my story into fiction. That way I could control the ending. I do feel that I have much to share; I’m just not sure how writing fits in with my life at the moment. For the past seven months, I’ve been writing on my blog –  HealthyNFit Granny – and for now this seems to be a good fit for me.

Big thanks to Margaret for her comments and allowing me to read and review her book, and thanks as well to Margo Dill for bringing Margaret’s blog tour to “Hot Off The Wire”. And now, here’s the part where…

You could be a winner!

Margaret is celebrating her 60th birthday by giving away three grand prizes: a 30-minute FREE life coaching session (by phone, for U.S. residents only), her memoir in paperback (for U.S. residents only), and her memoir in e-book format (for anyone!). To enter Margaret’s Celebrate 60 blog tour contest, just leave a comment on this post.

Each blogger participating in the tour will randomly select one winner from all the comments and enter that name into the grand prize drawing. Margaret will contact the three grand prize winners for their choice of prize the week of February 27, 2012 and announce the winners on her blog on March 2, 2012.

And if you’re on Twitter, you have even MORE chances to enter. Please tweet about the contest or why you love being the age you are; be sure to use the hash tag #Celebrate60. Anyone tweeting with that hash tag will get an extra entry into the contest. For more information, contact Margaret’s publicist, Margo, at http://www.margodill.com/contact.html

Here’s the part where you comment…thanks for stopping by the Wire!

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Comments
  1. Writing an honest memoir would have to be brutally difficult. It sounds like an interesting read!

  2. Kay Vallery Young says:

    If this is the Kay you are speaking of–you definitely have my attention. From the self-pity through the belief in a Plan (throw in a few months of depression, a mugging, a tornado, a fatal vehicle accident, cancer, but also a wild ride as a national officer of a professional organization and portrayals of women of the Bible in several states) and still having the attitude of “there must be a pony in here somewhere”. Margaret is a young thing–much younger than I–but it sounds like she has told my story. I must read it!

    • Yep, you were the Kay in question! I think you’d like her story. And now since you commented, you’ve got a chance of winning a free copy of the book. Good to hear from you, as always.

  3. Margo Dill says:

    Kelly, I love what you said about Margaret’s book. I never really thought about it like that, but you are so right. She does not apologize for mistakes, but learns from them. And we can all learn from that. Thanks again for participating. You did an awesome job. 🙂

  4. Just bought this via my Kindle and look forward to reading it. I often have thought about doing this, but I struggle with not wanting to hurt others when telling the truth and not wanting to admit just how stupid I really am sometimes. But I admire others who have the courage to write their stories when there have been many struggles in their lives.

    • Rita, so good to see you! (figuratively speaking) To write a truthful memoir, you’d have to be ready to face your demons, both inner and outer. I know for myself, there’s some inner demons I’m not ready for yet. Maybe the answer is to write it for yourself first and then decide where to go with it from there. Hope you enjoy the book – thanks for commenting!

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