Tuesday, June 8, 2021

Kirsten Mickelwait's unputdownable memoir...plus a book giveaway

Today we are pleased to welcome Kirsten Mickelwait to CLC, to talk about her memoir, The Ghost Marriage. We enjoyed reading her answers to our questions and hope you will too. Thanks to SparkPoint Studio, we have one copy to give away!

Kirsten Mickelwait is a professional copywriter and editor by day and a writer of fiction and creative nonfiction by night. She’s an alumna of the Squaw Valley Community of Writers, the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, the Paris Writers’ Conference, and the San Francisco Writers’ Conference. Her short story, “Parting with Nina,” won first prize in The Ledge’s 2004 Fiction Awards Competition. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she’s at work on a new novel. 

Visit Kirsten online:
Website * Facebook * Twitter * Instagram

At thirty-one, Kirsten has just returned to San Francisco from a bohemian year in Rome, ready to pursue a serious career as a writer and eventually, she hopes, marriage and family. When she meets Steve Beckwith, a handsome and successful attorney, she begins to see that future materialize more quickly than she’d dared to expect.

Twenty-two years later, Steve has become someone quite different from the man Kirsten first met. Unemployed and addicted to opioids, he uses money and their two children to emotionally blackmail her. The couple separates but, just after their divorce is finalized, Steve is diagnosed with colon cancer and dies within the year, leaving Kirsten with $1.5 million in debts from properties that are no longer hers. It’s only then that she finally understands: The man she married was a needy, addictive person wrapped in a shiny package.

As she fights toward recovery, Kirsten begins to receive communications from Steve in the afterlife—leading her on an unexpected path to forgiveness. The Ghost Marriage is her story of discovery: that life isn’t limited to the tangible reality we experience on this earth, and that our worst adversaries can become our greatest teachers. This is a book about life after divorce and life after death. It's a story of how forgiveness is the best revenge.

What was the biggest reward and the biggest challenge with writing The Ghost Marriage?
The biggest challenge was writing it at all; it explores a painful period of my life that I had no desire to revisit. But once I was convinced (by friends, colleagues, and others) to write it, I was amazed at how therapeutic it could be to re-examine scenes and relationships. The whole process helped me make sense of a time that previously had made no sense and had caused me a lot of stress. That was the biggest reward: seeing the arc of my own story and realizing the growth and progress I had made by the end. 

What is a favorite compliment you have received on your writing?

The memoir has just come out, but several people have called it “unputdownable.” I’d hoped people would like it, but I didn’t expect it to be a “page-turner”!

If The Ghost Marriage were made into a movie, which celebrity would be in your role? 
What a fun question! The story happened to me when I was in my fifties, so my favorite actress, Emma Thompson, has aged out of the role. But that leaves women like Kate Winslet, Laura Linney, Cate Blanchett, and Sandra Bullock. And I think Robin Wright would be amazing. Call me, ladies?

What is the last book you read that you would recommend?
Hamnet by Maggie O’Farrell. She takes a snippet of history (the fact that William Shakespeare had a son named Hamnet who died at age 11) and builds a whole world out of it. Her characters are riveting. And she doesn’t mention Shakespeare by name once! It inspired me to read several of her other books, which are quite different in style.

What is something you have learned about yourself during the pandemic?
That I’m even more of an introvert than I thought. I missed my friends and the structure of working on-site, but for the most part I was completely content. Also, I found that I’m a bit of a slave-master when left to my own devices. With all the alone time, I’m now halfway through the first draft of a new novel. I wonder how many other happy introverts now have COVID books as well.

What is your favorite thing to eat in the summer?
Tomatoes, avocadoes, and peaches. I belong to a bocce team that plays on Friday nights all summer and we’re known for our amazing food. Lots of ethnic dishes and home-baked desserts. Have you ever tried grilled avocados with pistachio butter? One of the best things I’ve ever put in my mouth!

Thanks to Kirsten for chatting with us and to SparkPoint for sharing her book with our readers.

How to win: Use Rafflecopter to enter the giveaway. If you have any questions, feel free to contact us. If you have trouble using Rafflecopter on our blog, enter the giveaway here.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Giveaway ends June 14th at midnight EST.


Mary Patricia Bird said...

My memoir would probably be about my life with fibromyalgia.

traveler said...

My memoir would include a great deal of regrets and many anecdotes from ancestors who were always fascinating characters. Life with a neurotic upbringing.

Grandma Cootie said...

About reading

bn100 said...


Cherisse said...

About the bond I have with my grandma and her words of advice for everything lol.

Anonymous said...

My memoir would be the ups and downs in my life. Thanks for this amazing giveaway. Linda May

Peggy Russo said...

My memoir would feature a painful, difficult childhood and eventual happiness.

Mary Preston said...

The roads many traveled.

diannekc said...

My memoir would be the story of my life, the good and bad and how it shaped my life.