About the Book
Book: I Can’t Believe They’re Gone
Author: Karen Brough
Genre: Children’s Picture Books
Release Date: June, 2023
The mouse family has lost someone dear.
Come follow each one as Bear helps them understand all they are feeling and how each expresses it in their own unique way. Tiny is so quiet, I wonder if Bear will be able to help him too?
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I received a complimentary copy of this book and all opinions given are my own and not an endorsement of all author’s opinions.
1. Why did you want to become an author?
I feel like it chose me.
Since childhood, there hasn’t been a time I didn’t write. (except maybe when my kids were babies, I was so sleep-deprived writing was far, far away.) I used to publish my own books in Elementary School. When others were out having play dates, I was inside illustrating stories I had written.
I spend most lunchtimes in the library, so I’ve always felt a connection to books.
When I was diagnosed with an autoimmune condition over a decade ago, I found myself with oodles of the very thing I needed in order to become a writer-time.
It was therapeutic, healing and helped me step into a higher, better place than I was physically experiencing.
I actually started writing during that time, as a result of a dream I’d had.
2. What was the most challenging part of the writing process for you and why?
I sometimes find sticking to one topic difficult. I have so many ideas, and so many projects, it can be hard for me to stay on task. If the passion isn’t there in me, for the project at the time, I don’t tend to work on it. I move on to something else, until the passion returns. My brain feels like it already has the next few books in being written, but I have the tension of having to release and market whatever I am working on. It’s something I love, but also find it difficult.
Being a social introvert, the marketing side of things can often leave me bamboozled and tired.
I am actually looking to redeem that, by writing a book of marketing strategies for Introverts. lol
3. What did your research process look like for this book?
I always felt drawn to write a book about loss and grief, because it was something I felt ill equipped to deal with at times. In Australia culture, grief is largely hidden, and it was a mystery to me.
I felt drawn to the idea of writing a book that helped people in their grief because it is what I needed. I couldn’t find a grief book that shared grief tools, without making me sadder, or traumatizing me in my time of sadness.
My original idea was to write something that inspired adults in their time of loss.
I’d done a lot of research for myself leading up the 2022. Had many grief experiences from the age of 10. I marvelled at other cultures and how they honored the loss.
After several inner prompts to get on with writing the grief book, I had a dream about doing it.
At the start of 2022 I felt a gentle prompt to meet with a licensed counselor in the US, purely to study grief for the year.
I felt learning from someone who was a specialist in grief would be a more fruitful use of my time and energy, than doing a psychology course (which I considered).
We met weekly for almost a year. Then we lost a dear friend in a tragic accident, which was the catalyst for this story.
4. What was something new you learned while writing this book?
You know, I learned a LOT in the lead-up to writing this book.
I had always struggled with grief and loss, not knowing what to do with all the BIG feelings inside me. I would look around and feel broken, because everyone else seemed to be able to hold it together.
The process of writing this book, actually gave me some much needed scaffolding for grief. And when we lost our dear friend in November, after having studied grief for a year, I found myself coping a LOT better than I ever had.
I had understanding, meaning, and strategies for any kind of loss. And this is what made it’s way into the book..
5. What audience did you have in mind when writing this book?
That’s a very good question. I wrote this book as a children’s book. I wrote it for children, to give them language and the scaffolding that I was missing when I was their age. But since writing it, I realize that the story resonates with adults and helps them too.
It really is a children’s book for children and adults alike.
6. How did you balance keeping your book informative yet engaging as non-fiction?
The book is actually a work of fiction, but is largely based on the real-life events of our family. We lost a treasured friend in a car accident in November of my year of study. That was the catalyst for the story. The story brings together the grief stages, common responses, and outlets for grief. It reassures the reader that, “Emotions aren’t good or bad, or right or wrong, they just are.” And all along, the mouse family members are being helped, so it feels hopeful all along.
Once I had my main characters in place, I loosely based their personalities on my family. I say loosely because there were a lot of tweaks.
7. Did you have to step out of your comfort zone to write this book? If so, how?
Absolutely and no. Yes, because I was actually grieved about the loss of my dear friend and dealing with that.
But by writing it, it helped me so much. As I wrote it, I felt as though it was helping me heal and see the hope in all the mess that was around me.
8. How did you celebrate when you completed your book?
That’s a good question. Celebration is a key part of my writing process usually, but this book was a little different.
I celebrated by taking the rough draft around to our close friends (who were also grieving) and asking if they’d like to hear it. They sat in their ezy chairs and listened, and at the end, they had smiles on their faces and tears in their eyes. That was as good a celebration as my heart needed at the time.
When I finally officially release, we will go out for a delicious steak dinner and celebrate in a different way.
9. Do you have a favorite drink or snack for when you’re writing?
ugh….I used to enjoy eating corn chips, but have since realised they were sabotaging my fight-the-flab goals. lol. So I have a cup of tea and a piece of banana cake. This book experience has needed many weak black teas with one sugar.
10. What message do you hope readers take away from your book?
My hope is that readers would recognize themselves in this story, and feel comforted, hopeful, and reassured. Grief is something that impacts us all in life. If we love, then we will encounter loss. It doesn’t have to be the death of a loved one for us to experience a sense of loss. Relationship breakdown, financial loss, emotional turmoil, and so many other things can leave us feeling grieved. My hope is that ‘I Can’t Believe They’re Gone’ will give language, comfort, and strategies to those who feel emotional, but are unsure what to do with them all.
About the Author
Karen Brough is an award-winning author who calls Australia home. As a wife, mother of three and former teacher, she writes with a teacher’s heart for children. Karen always knew she would write a book about processing loss and grief, so she became a student of the science of grief. When Karen lost a beloved friend in 2022, she turned to writing as part of her grieving process. This story is the result—a hope investment from her heart to yours. She believes it will help others know they are not alone in their loss and reassure those who don’t know what to do with all their big emotions.
More from Karen
This book has been a story of the heart and was written, well before my pen hit a page.
I had a gentle whisper of an idea to study grief, knowing that I would write a book about it at some stage, I began. At the end of my year of study, we sadly had a dear friend, taken from us far too soon. The story came to life as I processed my own grief and its words tended to my own heart.
I wanted to write a book that didn’t focus on the loss itself, but rather, gave children/adults some gentle encouragement and hope, in their own loss. A book that invested hope and reassurance about big emotions in times of loss and
It has been written in such a way, that the loss is never given a name, so the reader can adopt and relate to the mouse family as part of their own. The readers of ‘I Can’t Believe They’re Gone,’ can download their own grief activity
sheets at www.karenbrough.com/kids/
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To celebrate her tour, Karen is giving away the grand prize package of a $50 Amazon gift card!!
Be sure to comment on the blog stops for nine extra entries into the giveaway! Click the link below to enter.