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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Need Book PR Help?
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About Brian Feinblum
Brian Feinblum should be followed on Twitter @theprexpert. This
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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
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