Today, please join me in welcoming author Denise Broadwater to I & R.
Denise has been a licensed professional counselor in South Carolina for ten years, treating anxiety, depression, life adjustments, and marriages. She has an MA in clinical counseling and began her career as a family therapist working with at-risk families and youth. Additionally, Denise has an M.Ed in education administration with several years of teaching experience in private education. She is a wife and the mother of three children and recently added “Nana” to her list of titles. She enjoys rowing at the gym, cooking new recipes, sewing quilts, and blogging at Life Lights Blog emptynestmarriage.com and Charleston Renovator blog www.freedmanscottagerenovation.blogspot.com. You can also follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/denisebroadh2o
Today, Denise is going to talk about her book A House With Holes and she is giving away one print copy to a lucky resident of the U.S. and an ebook to anyone outside the U.S.
Denise, welcome to Interviews & Reviews!
How long have you been writing?
Writing came as a default while trying to capture my mother's life story. Over the course of a few years, I would gather stories on our calls in hopes of writing a biographical memoir of her life and my life combined. This introduced me to the world of writing a memoir about 5 years ago, and I was hooked. My mother's book remains unpublished waiting in the wings of this debut book, a marriage memoir, A House With Holes: One Marriage Journey in a Charleston Renovation.
What inspired you to write this story about your renovation?
Charleston has been voted the #1 city in America for the past several years drawing millions of visitors each year. We have been privileged to live here for over a decade and purchased our own piece of Charleston history to renovate on the peninsula. As I wrote, I began to consider our story rehabbing a broken down mess, how we have grown together as a couple though we have faced many obstacles. The love for our city brought even more interest for such a story.
What is the central theme of the book?
Greg and I find a neglected Charleston cottage. We fall in love with the personality and history of the house. He stands across from the cottage and tells me that if I am committed to this renovation, there is nothing in the house that cannot be fixed. We fix our hearts on restoring this cottage that day. This commitment becomes parallel to our marriage relationship. As we find more and more holes in the house, I mirror this with finding holes within the marriage. As the house comes back to life, we as a couple connect on a deeper level, the neighborhood is re-born, and after all our efforts, the house will live on to bless many other families.
What other key aspects make this book unique?
A marriage therapist for many years, I use my own marriage story to share the normal struggles couples face. Throughout our story, I include "Construction Breaks" that may apply to the readers relationships. This is further emphasized at the end of each chapter where I list questions to make the lessons more personal to the reader. While the book is a marriage memoir, these breaks provide self-helps to the reader even though the story stands on its own.
Can you give one event that shows the appeal of this book?
I came home one evening and begin cooking dinner, and I spy a bushy tail disappearing through the drop cloths that hide the open construction areas of the house. I am frightened to think this animal was in the house with me, and I run into the front room of the house. Furious, I tell Greg after he arrives home, I am "done" with these living conditions. Greg quietly goes about the business of plugging all the holes that an animal would use to get inside the house. This alleviates my fears, yet I still don't think I can handle the house being this open. We are unable to afford to rent elsewhere and renovate at the same time, leaving us little choice but to press on.
What was the biggest impasse between you and Greg found in the story?
Greg is a construction professional, so he is well-qualified to undertake such a project. We are veteran rehabbers, but Greg's perfectionism caused the renovation to drag out for much longer than I anticipated. He didn't want to hire aspects of the work out to crews who could do it much faster. This created extra pressure and feelings of frustration that the renovation was taking so long. Throughout the ups and downs, we are a couple of determined empty-nesters that keep you guessing throughout the book.
What are some other authors that you enjoy reading?
I enjoys reading: Jeanette Walls, Anne Lamott, and Dani Shapiro to name a few. Their honest sharing, vulnerability with their own stories and empathetic style draw the reader in to find out more. You can relate personally to their stories. I desire knowing more about the art of memoir in order to help me hone my craft.
What are you currently working on?
My next book is a biographical memoir called An Amish Woman in an English World. It highlights my mother's life and it's impact on me. My hope is to touch others to release the hurts of their dysfunctional past in order to find peace and freedom in their current relationships. This debut book is to increase my platform to make this next book possible.
Thank you for sharing with us, Denise. And now, Dear Readers, if you would like to win a copy of A House With Holes fill out the form below. One print copy is available to U.S. residents only and one eBook to those outside the U.S. This contest is now closed.
Congratulations to Natalya Lakhno