Grace Purcell Interview: Part 1

(Paul Rogers) Grace, Reflections On Lives Lost is a non-fiction book. The events depicted actually happened to you, and, of course Nelson. To protect your privacy, Grace is a pseudonym. How about the other characters who appear in the story? Did you change their names, too?

(Grace Purcell) Actually all of the characters in the book are pseudonyms. This story was started by Nelson who hoped to share it one day in order to help other people suffering from depression. After he died, I wanted to finish what he started but was concerned that some people involved would prefer to maintain their privacy and keep identities confidential. For that reason, all names in the book were changed.

(PJR) How did the project come about?

(GP) As I mentioned, the book was actually started by Nelson and it was his dream to publish it. He died before his dream could be realized so I felt it was something I wanted to do in order to honour his memory. I actually began writing my part of the story only weeks after Nelson died. It allowed me to express my emotions which were raw and encompassing. In the end, the book was a healing process for me that allowed me to start to cope with and understand my loss in some ways.

(PJR) So, when did you realise that you had to finish what Nelson had started?

(GP) I actually realized this within a few weeks of Nelson’s death and started working on the story right away. Over the next year, I worked on editing and making changes as needed to the story. However, after the story was completed I put it aside for a year before publishing it. I think I needed time to come to terms with publicly sharing a story that was so devastating to me.

(PJR) Was it difficult to go back over such painful memories?

(GP) When I initially wrote the book I think I was still in shock and hadn’t fully accepted Nelson’s death. The book was cathartic and helped me cope by giving me a purpose. A year later, after I had put the book aside, I began to complete the final steps and read it a few more times before publishing it. At that time, it was difficult to rehash the painful details of Nelson’s death. I found myself feeling overwhelmed with emotions again and realized this book was one of my last tangible ties to Nelson. It was difficult to finally let go.

You can read the final part of Grace’s interview next week. Her book is available in various formats on the The Book Rack.

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