Lizbeth Meredith to my blog this week. Hello Lizbeth and thanks for giving up your valuable time to be here all the way from Anchorage, Alaska! So, please tell me, what is your current release?
LM Pieces of Me: Rescuing My Kidnapped Daughters by She Writes Press is about my two year struggle to recover my internationally abducted daughters, taken from Anchorage Alaska to Thessaloniki, Greece, an effort that was fueled by the aftermath of my own childhood kidnapping. While the book is focused on the monumental effort that relied on the kindness of both friends and strangers across the globe, it also covers glimpses of my past as a child impacted by family violence and child kidnapping who promised to be a very different kind of mother one day, only to repeat the very patterns I had so despised being subjected to as a kid. Pieces of Me also covers my daughters and my long journey to recovery to reach our Happily Enough Ever After.
AW What first got you into writing and why?
LM When I was a little girl, trying to shield myself from some of the chaos and shenanigans that were happening in my home, I would take paper outside and write tragic poetry while perched on my swing set. In each poem, I died at the conclusion. J But I found that if I wrote about what was happening, I viewed life as a story rather than something I wished would end. It helped me detach enough to compartmentalize experiences and then be able to manage them.
AW You write nonfiction. Do you also undertake research?
LM I kept a journal when my girls were missing, and made voice recordings upon the girls’ recovery upon my arrival home so I’d have my details in order when writing the book. Still, I was fortunate to have an amazing fact-checking editor, who caught errors when I described, for example, the population of Greece at the time my daughters were kidnapped. She also helped me clarify legal matters better so the typical reader wouldn’t struggle to understand my story.
AW And what about other types of writing? Have you ever dabbled with short stories, for instance, or other genres?
LM I’ve written a book of fiction that I’m presently revising. I hope to complete a children’s book I’ve toiled over on and off for several years, and I’ve written essays, one that was published in the UK in an anthology A Girls Guide to Travelling Alone by Gemma Thompson.
|Kaladi Brothers Coffee Shop where Lizbeth writes|
LM Sadly, I do not have one of my own. I live in a thimble-sized townhouse in Anchorage, Alaska. I drive up to my local coffee house and write there, sometimes for hours. Kaladi Brothers Coffee is my shed.
AW Finally, if you had a whole afternoon to yourself and could choose to spend it with any one individual, living or dead or a character from a book, who would it be, and what would you want to discuss?LM I’d love to meet with the songwriter Leonard Cohen and ask him about his incremental transformation in middle age to reach a period of contentment instead of chasing happiness. I once saw an interview of him in which he spoke about reaching an acceptance of that gap between what he had always hoped for his life and what actually happened. I was in a low-grade depression at the time, and his words resonated with me.
Her memoir, Pieces of Me: Rescuing My Kidnapped Daughters, published by She Writes Press in October, 2016, recounts Lizbeth’s struggle to bring home her internationally abducted daughters from Greece to Alaska. It’s the story of a 29 year-old woman whose own life was marked by family violence and childhood kidnapping who then faced her own $100,000 problem on a $10 an hour budget. It’s the story of the generous community in Anchorage, Alaska, and of a welcoming community in Greece who joined Lizbeth’s efforts to make the impossible a reality.
Lizbeth has published When Push Comes to Shove: How to Help When Someone You Love is Being Abused on Amazon, and is a contributor to A Girls’ Guide to Travelling Alone by Gemma Thompson.
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Buy link for Pieces of Me