Interview by Danielle Garity
We had the chance to catch up with local author Terese Luikens who contributes articles for Mother Earth News, The Secret Place, Decision Magazine, The Upper Room, Hearts at Home, and the Epoch Times and also publishes her own blog, Why Bother? She just published her brand new book A Heart’s Journey to Forgiveness: A Memoir.
How long have you lived in Bonner County? What initially attracted you here? Has living in this area influenced your writing?
In 1976, shortly after graduating from high school, I left Lincoln, Nebraska and moved to Twin Lakes, Idaho and attended North Idaho College. In 1979 when I graduated from NIC, I was hired by the State of Idaho to work at a preschool for handicapped children in Sandpoint.
Living in North Idaho has influenced my writing because I grew into adulthood while living here. Also, North Idaho has become my home, a place where I know I belong. Knowing I belong to a particular community also inspires me as a writer.
Can you tell me a little bit about your book, A Heart’s Journey to Forgiveness: A Memoir.? What inspired you to write on such a personal topic that most find extremely difficult to even talk about?
A Heart’s Journey to Forgiveness is the story of my journey through my early teen years, the initial years after my father’s suicide, until my late thirties, when I finally came to the conclusion that what I needed to do was acknowledge my pain and forgive my dad for abandoning me. The story harbored itself in my brain for quite a few years until I began to write it down. I finally committed to getting the whole story out on paper and with the help of my writing group, completed it. Writing my story was actually quite cathartic.
What do you want readers to take away from your book?
When suicide happens, I believe that as much as possible, the family needs to be honest about it. My mother did not tell me the truth about my dad’s death, nor did my family speak candidly about how my dad had died. Lying, and remaining silent about the truth only complicated and stalled the process of my healing.
One of the ideas I hope my readers can take away from reading my book is that if you have been affected by someone’s suicide and you wonder about how to process the pain and confusion, then ask for help. Those who are left behind are not responsible for the suicide, but we are responsible for our healing in the aftermath.
What is next for you? How can readers find you?
I can be found at tereseluikens.com where you will find my blog, Why Bother. I write about relationships, communication, and faith. My next project is to complete The Grieving Well, a book to help suicide survivors with their grief.
You can find Terese Luikens’s new book online or here at the Library.