Wednesday, September 1, 2021

Ashley Bisman's timely a book giveaway

We are pleased to welcome Ashley Bisman to CLC today. Her memoir, Chasing Butterflies, is timely, with the twenty year anniversary of 9/11 coming up soon. She's here to tell us more about it and she has THREE copies to give away!

Ashley Bisman is proud to publish her memoir, Chasing Butterflies. Ashley was inspired to share her story, having lost her father on September 11, 2001. She is honored to offer a fresh perspective, one from a new generation, about that fateful day. 

Ashley received her Master’s degree in Childhood Special Education from Hunter College with certificates in Early Childhood and Gifted and Talented Education. She majored in Journalism at The Pennsylvania State University where she received her Bachelor’s Degree. 

Ashley grew up in Melville, New York and now resides in Port Washington, New York with her husband and two children. 

Visit Ashley online:
Website * Facebook * Instagram

Ashley Bisman was in a high school history class the morning of September 11th when students whispered of planes crashing, fire, and terrorists. She bolted from her seat, sprinting through narrow school hallways leading to the main office. A television on the wall broadcast flames bursting from the skyscrapers, and her body went numb: her father worked on the 101st floor of Tower 1, and instinctively she knew she would never see him alive again. Jeff Goldflam was not found – the only surviving article discovered in the devastation was his credit card.

CHASING BUTTERFLIES, among the first published memoirs of a child of 9/11, is both Ashley's love letter to her father and the story of how a teen, and then a young adult, struggled to retain what had been her "normal" life prior to the attacks. It also recounts Ashley's fight to define herself, resisting society's inclination to simply profile her as a World Trade Center victim. As a grown woman, Ashley searches for success and love in the very city where her father was killed. Her quest to find a meaningful relationship - dating faux pas, cocktails, and girls nights out - leads her downtown to the very place she swore to never step foot in again. Would it still be possible to create a life and legacy that would make her father proud? (Courtesy of Amazon.)

What were the biggest rewards and challenges with writing Chasing Butterflies?
Accomplishing a goal of writing a book is a huge reward. It’s something I’d always dreamed about but didn’t know if I’d be able to actually get it done. Knowing that I did this, I wrote this from beginning to end, is very fulfilling. Every word and thought came from me. I’ve shown my children that it’s possible to have a dream and see it through to the end. Another great takeaway is getting emails and messages from strangers, explaining that the book helped them in some way. Whether it was getting over a break up or dealing with grief, they were able to relate and personally move forward from any pain they were feeling. To have that connection with someone through the memoir is very special. 

There were several challenges as well. Writing a book is like having another child. You put your heart and soul into it. You wake up thinking about it and go to sleep thinking about it. It’s time away from family. That part is difficult. You have to really want it. Another challenge is putting your life out there for the world to see and judge. I’ve never discussed my experience as a 9/11 victim and to suddenly do so in such a big way is a huge leap for me. That’s a scary thing. To be so vulnerable and show so much of yourself is something that I’m still getting used to. 

In one sentence, what was your journey to publishing like?
One word would be better and that’s perseverance, there were some road blocks and the best thing I did was keep going and not take no for an answer. 

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone who wants to write a memoir?
The best advice I can give is to be 100% authentic and yourself. Speak your truth and remember the overall takeaway that you want readers to come away with when they’ve completed the book. There were moments when I contemplated if my character would bring enough drama and excitement to the table. I had to take a step back and remember that this was a memoir, it was my experience, and I had to trust that would be enough. Write from the heart and what is real. That’s what people will end up enjoying the most. 

What is the last book you read that you would recommend?
The last book I read that I would recommend is Dark Places by Gillian Flynn. I like reading a mix of books: memoirs, chick-lit, thrillers and more. I’ve read all of Gillian Flynn’s books and find her writing to be so detailed and creative. 

What is something you have learned about yourself during the pandemic?
The pandemic was interesting self discovery because like many writers, I like being alone. It’s nice to have my coffee and computer and enjoy quiet time. During the pandemic, I was suddenly home all day with my husband and two children. We actually picked up our belongings and took the kids to a quiet beach town for most of the year. Watching my daughter run around the sand all bundled up in her winter coat and my husband chasing after her on the beach … those were the moments that I realized we were so fortunate to have. Suddenly we were able to do things as a family, spend consistent uninterrupted quality time together. Protecting ourselves and our children but also appreciating our lives in the moment, it was extremely heart warming. I learned that those memories will stay with me forever. It’s time I’ll never have again, that quality time with family.

What is the strangest thing in your purse right now?
Easy, baby diapers! I have such a mom purse right now. I throw random things in that the kids will need. So I have my usual keys, wallet, sunglasses, and then a few random diapers. (Pampers, size 6, in case anyone is wondering). 

Thanks to Ashley for visiting with us and 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.

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Giveaway ends September 5th at midnight EST.

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Melissa said...

On September 11, 2001, I was an 8th grader in middle school. Distinctly, I can recall sitting in my science class, listening to my teacher talk, when suddenly, she was interrupted by another teacher, a man who would become my social studies teacher the subsequent year. His expression was one I'd never seen before and it was difficult to read him and understand what exactly he'd entered the room to say. He approached my teacher, quietly conversed with her and then exited the room. The rest of what happened during that class period is fuzzy to me, but I know that the rest of the day, I was unaware of the magnitude and significance of what was actually happening. Many years later as an adult, I struggle with the notion of whether it was a good thing about being so unaware, or if my school's decision to basically keep us in the dark was an appropriate way of shielding us from all the truths and details about how life would and did change for all of us on that day.

Lindsey said...

On September 11, 2001, I was a senior in high school. I remember hearing about it at the end of my first class, but I did not think anything of it. Then I heard about it again in my second class, but we had a substitute that told us we needed to work on an assigned project. In my third class, I heard more about it, and we went to another class to watch footage about what was happening. I had never felt so uneasy about what was happening before this time, except for the Columbine High School shootings. Little did I know, that 9/11 would change things for all of us for our futures.

traveler said...

I was home watching this unfold and was shocked and horrified. My sons had left the house and were driving to their classes at university. The following days we were unable to process.

Suburban prep said...

My husband had just began a new job. His mother called me wanting to get in touch with him. I had no way of doing so but I was finally able. One my husband's brothers worked in the towers but by a blessing he was on his honeymoon.
But I was home and was going to go to work. It also happens to be my birthday and I was going to stop off at my parent's home prior to work as they were going to use my car to visit my sister who was in the hospital as she had just had a bone marrow transplant and was in isolation. She had Non-hodgkins lymphoma.
I ended up not going to work as my boss decided not to open the store for the next few days.
My sister has been in remission since then.
I watched all this on the TV and my parents did go to visit my sister in the hospital and watched all this on tv. Another blessing is that my sister was originally supposed to get her bone marrow transplant on that day but the person who donated asked to do it early and that was a blessing because the bone marrow had to be flown in---which would not have been able to be done on that day.

Kelley said...

I was at my children’s school subbing. We were all in shock.

Charlotte Lynn said...

I will never forget. It was the day that my brother in law got his badge to be a police officer. The first tower fell as we were leaving the house. The second as his mother pinned his badge on him.

diannekc said...

I was at work and one of guys from a different department where they had a radio on came into the main office and told us. I can still see the shock on his face. I don't live too far from O'Hara Airport and with no planes in the air it was eerily quiet.

Nancy P said...

I was at work. We heard it on the radio & then turned on the TV, just in time to see the second plane crash into the WTC.

Mary Patricia Bird said...

I was watching Live With Regis & Kelly when Regis made the announcement that something was going on. Eventually they cut away from the show for the day... and the rest of the month I think. I phoned my dad to tell him because I knew he wouldn't be watching tv at that hour.

Mary Preston said...

I was at work too. We turned on the television to see the news.

Cherisse said...

I was home watching the news, waiting anxiously to hear from my dad. Every morning my Dad takes the train from NJ into the World Trade Center at the same time. The time would have been when the 1st plane hit. For some reason been he can’t explain my Dad missed boarding that train. A horrible day I hate reliving.

bn100 said...


Peggy Russo said...

I was at work at my job as a teacher's aide in an elementary school in North Jersey. The staff took turns watching the news broadcast in the school office. My husband was scheduled to fly out of Newark Airport that morning and turned around and came home as soon as he heard the news. Worst day ever.