Barbara Claypole White Speaks Up!

 

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Everyone’s Story warmly welcomes this week ABA author Barbara Claypole White. Anyone who knows me well knows of my own family history of mental illness. I really appreciate fiction that focuses on this topic in light of reaching out to others with encouragement. Barbara is a fellow Women’s Fiction Writers Association author and is a 2017 WFWA Star Award Finalist, among receiving other awards and recognitions. Congratulations, Barbara! And on that note, please be sure to check out what Barbara speaks up about this week, as well as her BookGiveaway offer.  We’re both looking forward to hearing from you!

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BookGiveaway:

Barbara is offering 1 randomly chosen commenter  1 print and signed edition of Echoes of Family (please note that this not a Christian fiction market book and some word choices will not suit every reader). The winner will be announced between 6-7 PM EST on August 4th.

** For Giveaways: it’s not necessary to insert your private email information within comments. 

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Writing as Therapy By Barbara Claypole White

 

I write hopeful family drama with a healthy dose of mental illness. Why? Because my fictional stories come from real life spent in the trenches with an invisible disability: OCD. Some days I want to write a better story for loved ones who fight this crippling anxiety disorder; some days I want to laugh at situations I control and OCD doesn’t; every day, I need to imagine hope.

OCD creates irrational fear in the absence of true threat. As with any chronic illness, it demands constant management. Left untreated, it can prove fatal. Those are the facts. Writing through my own fear is how I process them.

The hero of my debut novel, THE UNFINISHED GARDEN, evolved out of my darkest fear as a mother: What if, when my young son grew up, no one could see beyond his obsessive thoughts and compulsive behavior to love him for the incredible person he is? Brilliant, charismatic, empathetic, and compassionate, my son’s a keeper. Fast-forward fifteen years, and he’s also a poet-singer-songwriter. The English side of the family lovingly calls him the Mad One, a title he embraces because offbeat humor is our number one coping mechanism and he never allows his illness to define him. Those are invaluable lessons I have applied to my stories: laughter is always the cure, and a person is not his or her disorder. For example, I never refer to Marianne Stokes (ECHOES OF FAMILY) as my bipolar heroine. She’s a mother, a wife, and a record producer who happens to be manic-depressive. (And makes incredibly bad decisions that drive the plot.)

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Battling mental illness demands incredible courage. Part of my journey with OCD has been to craft damaged characters, such as Marianne, who show this in small, everyday ways. Above all else, they exhibit my passion for chipping away at the stigma and stereotypes of mental illness. I love that readers reach out to say, “I’ve never told anyone this before but…” or “I’ve been feeling so isolated, but then I picked up your novel…” I love that when I visit book clubs, we often turn the conversation into group therapy. Fiction matters, people.

Back to my first hero, James Nealy, who struggles with OCD. When I was a starry-eyed author-in-waiting, a famous agent declared James too dark to be a romantic hero. My response? I made him darker. I peeled back his emotional layers to show readers the world through the lens of OCD. And as I excavated his thought process, I found my own niche in the mainstream fiction market.

James led directly to three other tortured characters: Galen, a young poet and suicide survivor in THE IN-BETWEEN HOUR; Felix Fitzwilliam, the hero of THE PERFECT SON, a father who is emotionally detached from his family until he becomes its savior; and Marianne. My stories are what we call standalones, but they share a recurring theme of the importance of community in the treatment of mental illness, and a recurring image of light through the trees. That light represents hope.

THE PROMISE BETWEEN US, my forthcoming novel with a January release date—available for pre-order!—shines a spotlight on a corner of OCD that still carries unbearable shame: postpartum OCD. This often manifests as intrusive, disturbing images of harming your baby. I’m excited to share these new characters—five good people trapped in a bad situation—because their story is a message of survival and renewal. My most hopeful story to date, it’s about sacrifice, redemption, and the power and promise of love. Another intensely personal BCW story, I hope you’ll add it to your to-be-read list.

Here’s the Goodreads link for The Promise Between Us if you’d like to mark as “Want To Read”: 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/35489958-the-promise-between-us?from_search=true

Barbara’s Ah-hahs To Tweet:

Meet bestselling #WF author Barbara Claypole White @bclaypolewhite and #OCD advocate. (Tweet This)

Author Barbara Claypole White @bclaypolewhite speaks up: Writing as Therapy. (Tweet This)

Like #WF and #FamilyDrama stories? Win Barbara Claypole White @bclaypolewhite’s #BookGiveaway. (Tweet This)

Author’s Bio:

Bestselling author Barbara Claypole White writes hopeful family drama with a healthy dose of mental illness. Originally from England, she writes and gardens in the forests of North Carolina where she lives with her beloved OCD family. Her novels include The Unfinished Garden, The In-Between Hour, The Perfect Son, and Echoes of Family. The Promise Between Us has a publication date of January 16, 2018.  She is also an OCD Advocate for the A2A Alliance, a nonprofit group that promotes advocacy over adversity.

Places to connect with Barbara:

Website

Twitter

Facebook

Goodreads

Barbara and I look forward to your comments.

~*~*~*~

Please visit me on Cynthia Roemer’s blog,

Sowing Seeds of Hope, August 1

http://cynthiaroemer.com/blog/

 

 

23 comments to Barbara Claypole White Speaks Up!

  • Anne L. Rightler

    These books by Barbara sound like my kind of book. They are going on my TBR pile, NOW! We have some issues of mental health in several ‘arms’ of our families and I enjoy reading how people cope (even fictional people!) Thank you for sharing from your heart. Here’s hoping…

  • Congratulations, Barbara, on being a finalist for the 2017 Star Award! Thank you for sharing about
    what is difficult and close to home for you. I never thought of OCD as a mental illness, but more
    of a behavior, so I have learned something from your article. I appreciate your courage in
    making bipolar disorder a part of your main character’s life as it is a part of real life for
    many people and their families. I’m sure your books are a blessing. I hope I will get a
    chance to read Echoes of Family soon.

    Elaine, so nice that you had Barbara on to share her story with your readers! Another winner!

  • I always enjoy reading what your guests share and have enjoyed being a guest on your blog in the
    past. It has a special hostess, too! 🙂

  • All of the books sound like incredible reads.

  • Thank you, Elaine, for hosting me. I’m honored to be here. And thank you, Anne and Kathleen, for chiming in. As a minister’s daughter, fiction has become my vehicle for trying to make a difference in the world. We still have such a long way to go in breaking down the walls of mental illness. By the way–if any of you have e-readers, my first two book babies, THE UNFINISHED GARDEN and THE IN-BETWEEN HOUR are currently Kindle Deals for $1.99. 🙂

  • Janet Estridge

    I worked with someone who has OCD. I never knew that this is a mental condition.
    No wonder, she almost drove me crazy, too.

    • elaineadmin

      Janet, thanks for your visit today.

    • Janet, hi. My son is in a bad place with his OCD right now, and yes, it’s incredibly hard to be around. I’m pretty much hanging by a thread, but I know it’s a thousand times harder for him. (We’re also going through a meds shift, which is a separate circle of hell.) OCD is actually the tenth most crippling disorder in the world. Not fun. And yes, it is a mental illness, and you have to work so, so hard to control it.

  • Marilyn R

    Books written about mental illness cannot be easy to write, but will benefit readers. Issues as OCD, Bipolar, ADD, and so many other mental illness diagnosis are real issues in our society today. Congratulations on your award, Barbara.

    • elaineadmin

      Marilyn, with your professional background and good, loving heart, your words are definitely not understated. I’m so glad for your visit!!

    • Thank you. No, they’re not easy to write, but it’s my world, and it’s my thing. 🙂 I think it’s actually part of my journey through the nightmare of mental illness. Knowing I can reach out to others, and they can reach out to me. Sharing stories–real life stories–can give us power and hope. I really believe that.

  • Marilyn your stories sound captivating and productive in that people of all walks of life can get a view inside the mind and hearts of your characters and, I’m sure relate them to the real world. A character, and a story that can highlight conditions and burdens of those around us and increase one’s understanding of them, fill a real need. Blessngs as you continue to fulfill your calling with these stories.

  • elaineadmin

    Thanks to my awesome and caring viewers who have visited this week and left comments for Barbara Claypole White on a subject that isn’t necessarily easy to talk about. Special big thanks to Barbara for sharing and spreading the word and writing about mental illness and families.

    Another thanks for the BookGiveaway, Barbara!! And the winner of Echoes of Family is…

    Anne R. Congratulations, Anne. Both Barbara and I will contact you via direct email. Happy reading 😊

    Blessings to all.

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