After giving you teasers of the stories included in the Shades of Pink Charity Anthology in September, this month I'll tell you a little more about the authors involved. I interviewed them with questions about their contributions, their writing life, their works in progress...
Today, Madeline Sheehan
Kallysten - First, thank you once again for being a part of this anthology. When we first talked, you mentioned this fundraiser hit close to your heart. Do you want to tell us a little about it?
Madeline Sheehan - I vehemently wanted to be part of this anthology because of how close to me this cause is. Both my grandmothers died of cancer, one from breast cancer and the other from brain cancer and then in my early twenties my mother developed metastasized breast cancer that spread to her lymph nodes, her lungs and her brain; she was considered stage four. After years of brain and lung surgeries, chemotherapy and radiation treatments, she’s still alive and doing very well but that didn’t mean I hadn’t lived with the fear of losing her every day for years. Treatment for breast cancer in a lot of cases has proven effective and if I am able contribute to the cause in any way, so that other women will be able to spend many more years with their mother as well, I can and I will. Always.
K - Thank you for sharing this with us. Now about your contribution. If I had to sum up ‘Olivia’ in one word, I’d say ‘whirlwind.’ Her life seems to rush at a hundred miles an hour, and you take the reader right along for the ride! Can you tell us a little how the idea for the story came to you?
MS - Olivia is…a little bit of how my life was like growing up and in my twenties. I took off at a very young age, I did things my way with little concern for the people around me, I have many, many stories of adventure after adventure and it wasn’t until my mother grew sick that I finally stopped what I was doing and looked around… My life took a very different turn after that, I guess one could say I, settled down. But if my mother had never gotten sick, I’m almost positive I would be in a very different place right now. Olivia is obviously a fictional character with a fictional life but some of her journey’s run parallel to mine.
K - Your story is about home, and what makes it ‘home’. What is home to you?
MS - Home, to me, is wherever I feel loved.
K - You write in several genres. Do you have a favorite, or is it a ‘as the mood strikes’ kind of thing?
MS - I’ll happily go with “as the mood strikes”. My brain goes a mile a minute, so fast, no end in sight, that most nights I only get a few hours of sleep. I’m constantly day dreaming and creating that no one genre is safe from my warped and twisted mind.
K - Can you tell us about your current writing project or next release?
MS - I’m about to release the third book in both my series. UnAttainable (The Undeniable Series) and The Lost Souls (A Holy Trinity Novel) I have also recently begun working on UnBeloved (Undeniable #4 ) and a new series, The Crack Whore Diaries.
K - Would you care to share an excerpt from it?
Have you ever been inside of a dream so incredible, you never wanted to wake?
Every night I dream of a picture perfect childhood, I never had.
Of unforgettable teenage years, I never experienced.
Of a worthwhile life, I’ll never live.
Why? Because I spent the first fifteen years of my life beaten down and the next eight years beating myself down.
The last four years, I’ve spent in recovery.
But every smell, every stranger’s glance, every street corner, every drop of rain, every sunset and sunrise, holds a nightmare inside, a key to my past, I won’t ever outlive.
Clutching my cup of lukewarm coffee, I slowly stood. “My name is Andrea,” I said. “And I’m a drug addict, an alcoholic and a whore.”
The sad, tired faces of the others glace up at me. Some smile distractedly, others stare with sympathetic, yet glazed over eyes, but most are lost inside their own memories, their own addictions, their own beaten down lives they can’t seem to outrun…
“Hi Andrea,” They replied in unison.
“It’s my birthday,” I continued, as my voice began to shake. “I’m twenty seven today and four years clean.”
Meghan, my best friend, my roommate, my sponsor, is seated across the circle of people, smiling warmly at me. She knows all my secrets. She knows how hard this is for me. She is the sole reason I am alive today. Most days I don’t know whether to thank her or hate her.
I focus on her, inside her dark brown eyes and some of my fear begins to subside.
“And it’s still so fucking hard,” I said, my voice stronger now.
All eyes are on me now, some young, some old, all of them broken. All of them commiserating. Heads nod, lips press together, hands are held.
“I want to be normal,” I told them. “But I don’t know how. And, it’s so…fucking…hard.”
Rick, an older man, balding and overweight, chokes back a sob. More heads nod. Other look down at the white tiled floor, stained yellow from years of housing smokers and coffee spills.
“But most days,” I continue. “I still…want to die…”
- The Crack Whore Diaries
© Madeline Sheehan Books
(Publication Date: Unknown)
K - Thank you again for being a part of Shades of Pink. Any last word before I let you go back to your writing?
MS - I’ll end with a favorite quote of mine, one that pertains to any struggle and one that I often associate with my mother’s tireless battle against cancer.
“She stood in the storm, and when the wind did not blow her away, she adjusted her sails.”
- Elizabeth Edwards
Find Madeline Sheehan at www.madelinesheehan.com