Coping with a Widow's Grief: An Interview with Nita Beshear
Your Name: Nita Beshear
The title of the book:
Beyond the Grief: A Widow’s Survival Guide
Published by Bear and Butterfly (my own company), Self-help and inspirational book.
How long have you been a writer?
Good question. I started writing for money in 1981 for our newspaper. Took a long break for personal reasons. Returned to writing for pay/publication in 2009 when I wrote my first book, Devoted to Quilting.
What was your biggest obstacle in getting your book published and how did your overcome it?
I was my biggest obstacle. My insecurities slowed me down the most. I didn’t think the book was well written (grammar rules and I don’t often hang out together), I didn’t know anything about self-publishing; was afraid of it. How did I get over it? I hired an editor to polish my prose. Not to say there aren’t still glitches we missed, but I felt better about sounding professional. A couple of friends encouraged me to just go ahead and “hit send.” In the early morning hours, after my good sense went to bed and I was still awake, I published it.
How did you end up getting your book published?
I went with self-publishing because I wrote the book to be an ebook first, and a print book second. I had a mentor/teacher who encouraged me to write the ebook.
How did you get the idea for your book?
Several of my widow friends encouraged me. They would ask me questions about how they were feeling, or how they should handle a certain issue. While I was no expert, I could tell them what I or others had done. I thought maybe other women might need the same encouragement. Also, after my husband died, I didn’t have access to the internet, and our local library only had clinical, doctor-type books on grief, I wanted something more personal. That’s what I tried to write, a personal book of suggestions, from one widow to another.
What is the most important lesson you learned as an author?
Schedules are important, in life and in writing. They don’t have to be carved in stone, and they can be fluid, but to have some sort of schedule to fall back on helps. A schedule, even a loose one, keeps me moving forward.
What genres do you write in? If more than one, how do you balance them?
I write both fiction and nonfiction. The fiction, to date, is what I call women’s western. They are more western than historical. They are set in the 1870-1920’s in the western part of the United States. Most often in Indian Territory or Oklahoma (for the later years) and I’m not against the woman handling a gun if the need arises. My nonfiction tend to be inspirational, the quilt devotionals and this self-help. I balance by writing one thing at a time. If I must work on two projects during the same time period, one gets its own day, or at least time of day, morning for one, evening for the other.
What are some of your other books we might want to check out?
Devoted to Quilting, Devoted to Quilting 2 and the anthology, Romance, The Spice of Life, which has my story, "Muskadine Love."
What else do you do besides write books?
You mean, besides being a mom and grandmom? I sew and quilt. I am the Southeast Oklahoma representative for Quilts of Valor. I’m a member of Toastmasters International, I read, in the summer I enjoy time in the pool. When it becomes necessary, I do housework.
It’s common knowledge that writers are also readers. What kind of books do you like to read?
Books in print. I’m always surprised by the books I read. I enjoy women’s inspirational, and mainstream women’s books. Some romances, westerns, and (surprising to me) mysteries. When I read fiction, I read to relax and enjoy, I don’t want to have to think too hard. In nonfiction, I’m the opposite and want to learn so most often I’m reading some sort of self-help, whether it’s something simple, like recipes, or more complicated, how to build something. Sometimes I enjoy a nonfiction book written like a novel.
Do you read book in the same genre you are currently writing in? No. Why or why not?
I don’t want to be influenced by someone else’s words and inadvertently use their words or scenes in my story.
What can we expect to see from you next?
Next up is my western/historical, Blood Child. After that will be a memoir of my beginning of life as a widow, tentatively titled, “What do I Do Now?”
What is your advice to a writer trying to get a book published?
Write the story of your heart. BEYOND THE GRIEF was written because I knew it, I was living that life, and I knew others needed to read proof they aren’t alone. In addition to writing the book of your heart, decide what your goals are and write toward them. Do you want to be published by a traditional publishing house, or a small publisher? Find out what they are looking to publish and write your story with that in mind. Don’t try to follow a trend. It takes time to write and publish a book. By the time you finish writing a story following today’s trend, there will be something new grabbing everyone’s attention.
Bio: Nita fell in love with writing in middle school when she realized her answers on the essay questions often saved her grades. Later, she and a cousin would make up stories to entertain themselves. Today she writes books that answer essay questions, and shares the stories in her head.
Blogs: http://nitabeshear.wordpress.com/ and http://devotedtoquilting.wordpress.com/
Dealing with the death of a loved one is never easy. For the spouse it’s made hard by the fact that no longer is he there for breakfast and morning coffee, or the evening news. There’s no one to bounce ideas off of, and no one who understands those private jokes. After the death of her spouse a wife/widow must learn to do everything, including doing those things she always handled. Alone everything is more difficult.. A widow is never truly alone. Not only does she have memories, she has a whole sisterhood of widows and a book full of friends and ideas.
If you’ve ever flown, you’ve heard the flight attendants stress that in emergency, passengers MUST put on their own oxygen masks before tending to others. For many, this is a hard concept to accept. When traveling with young children, the elderly, or someone with disabilities, people want to care first for those less able.
However, the airlines are correct. We must take care of ourselves before we can tend to the needs of others.
We need to be able to breathe.
The same is true in life. We can’t help someone else in need if we haven’t taken care of ourselves first.
Taking care of yourself first doesn’t mean you have to be healed or “over” the death. It just means you have to take time every day to take care of yourself so that you can be available for your children or others, both physically and emotionally.