1. What motivated you to write your book, to force you from taking an idea or experience and turning it into a book? My wife, Barb, a marathon runner, developed non-smoker’s lung cancer out of the blue in 2007. She fought it for six years before she passed away in 2013. I learned incredible lessons of courage and resiliency from her example (she never once thought of herself as a victim, or asked “Why me?) Her lessons stayed with me. When the pandemic hit, and all travel shut down, I had time to write “The Anniversary Box” as a tribute to her courage. For six weeks last summer, dawn to dusk, that’s all I did – and I got the story down on paper.
2. What is it about and who is it for? It’s a story about two people who learn to love – and find ways to make love prevail. Each anniversary they would write down a “message” to affirm their love and suggest ways to make it stronger, then seal the messages away in an “anniversary box.” As the story opens, their twenty-three-old daughter is about to get married when she gets cold feet and learns about the existence of this anniversary box. She’d love to talk to her parents for guidance, but her mom is deceased and her dad has suffered a stroke, so she sets out on her own to find the missing anniversary box and learn the secret to keeping love alive for a lifetime before stepping to the altar herself.
3. What do you hope the reader will be left with after reading it? I want readers to come away believing that love is not only possible, but it can be made to last. It’s one thing to fall in love, but the real job is to sustain it, nourish it and support it to grow. That takes action. “The Anniversary Box,” with its twenty-four messages created by the couple during their twenty-four-year marriage provides a roadmap.
4. What advice or words of wisdom do you have for fellow writers? Choose to write about things you know. Hemingway said if you can write one true sentence, you can write a book. Everything you do has to be about learning to write what’s true, and that is possible if you write about things that have happened to you. Of course, the job is to create a story out of that, but the “core” of the story should be grounded in your experience and what you feel most deeply.
5. What trends in the book world do you see -- and where do you think the book publishing industry is heading? We live in a point-and-click world, everyone wants things now, immediately. I think that applies to stories as well, people want to learn new things from stories and I think that means “short” stories are coming back. When I say “short,” I mean shorter in length – for me the novella is a perfect format. People can read the story in a single sitting and gain a powerful lesson. I think there’s a trend in that.
6. What challenges did you overcome to write this book? Nelson DeMille told me, “Some things are hard to write about.” He was talking about losing a spouse. He didn’t explain, he didn’t have to, but what was contained in his statement was the second part of that message, “But we have to try.” That was a challenge I needed to overcome, to touch that “third rail’ of emotion, but we have to try.
7. If people can buy or read one book this week or month, why should it be yours? Everyone wants love in their life. My wife, Barb, had a powerful sense of what love is and how to live in a way that filled her life with love. I would hope I was able to channel some of what she knew intuitively and put that into story form to offer a roadmap for people – so they can expand love in their lives.
Tom Murphy is the founder of The Human Resiliency Institute at Fordham University in NY. His most recent novella, The Anniversary Box: A Love Story (publish date August 2, Encircle Publications), was penned after his wife, Barb, a marathon runner, passed away following a hard-fought battle with non-smoking lung cancer. First, he created a charity beer as a tribute to her courage, and now The Anniversary Box takes all he learned from Barb about resiliency and crystalizes it so others can learn how to keep love alive for a lifetime. Tom Murphy is the author of three other books. He joined with John J. Kelley, the 1957 Boston Marathon winner, to write Just Call Me Jock, a history of the Boston Marathon as seen through the eyes of Jock Semple, the race’s colorful co-director. In 2006, he wrote a book about the aviation heroes of 9/11, Reclaiming the Sky, which led the president of Fordham University to invite Tom to create the Human Resiliency Institute at Fordham to put healing lessons from the book into programs to teach resiliency. The institute’s lead program, Edge4vets, teaches military veterans how to tap their strengths to get jobs. In 2018, Tom wrote Runner in Red (Encircle Publications), a Boston Marathon mystery novel that draws upon a real-life Boston Marathon legend about the first woman to run a marathon in America. Tom has a B.A. in English from the University of Wisconsin and an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, B.C. He splits his time between New York City and Boston. He’ll be offering workshops to help people strengthen their relationships around the themes in The Anniversary Box. See www.theanniversarybox.com for full details.
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About Brian Feinblum
Brian Feinblum should be followed on Twitter @theprexpert. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog ©2021. Born and raised in Brooklyn, he now resides in Westchester with his wife, two kids, and Ferris, a black lab rescue dog. His writings are often featured in The Writer and IBPA’s The Independent. This was named one of the best book marketing blogs by BookBaby http://blog.bookbaby.com/2013/09/the-best-book-marketing-blogs and recognized by Feedspot in 2018 as one of the top book marketing blogs. It was also named by WinningWriters.com as a "best resource.” He recently hosted a panel on book publicity for Book Expo America. For more information, please consult: .