Memoir Readers: Leila Summer Discusses her memoir: It Rains In February, A Wife’s Memoir of Love and Loss
About The Book
It Rains In February: A Wife’s Memoir of Love and Loss, is the true story of my husband’s suicide. The book begins when Stuart arrives home from work a year before his death, and unexpectedly confesses his love for another woman. Over the following year Stuart spirals downwards in depression and talks persistently about ending his life. I spend that year torn between my own heartache and trying to save him. After several suicide attempts, Stuart took his own life in February 2007, leaving me widowed and grieving with our two young daughters, Rose and Jane, aged four and six.
Q: Tell me a little about yourself?
A: I’ve always been a natural storyteller, though it was never my goal to become a writer. This occurred somewhat naturally, after I began journaling my way through the pain and grief. After I published my book at the end of 2011, I moved to a tiny country village in South Africa where I now live contentedly with my two daughters and our six pets. I have just started writing my second book.
Q: What was your true inspiration for writing your book?
A: Ultimately, I wrote my story for my children. During the traumatic year leading up to Stuart’s death, I kept a journal, a space to simply pour out my pain. After he was gone, I typed up the scribbled tear-stained pages to keep as a record for my daughters so that they would one day know the story. More words poured out as the story expanded and became a part of my healing process until I realized that I had the skeleton of a book. Another three years went by as I worked for hours at night, the story growing and evolving as I filled in all the spaces. Through writing, I walked through all my fears and questions, my grief and hurt, into a voyage towards discovering myself.
Q: Is there a message you want to give your reader after they’ve read the book and what is the message?
A: To be honest, I tried to keep away from including a ‘message’ in my book, and simply shared my story. I believe that stories have the power to heal, not only ourselves, but others who come across them. Not all stories have happy endings. But the depth that comes from within them, the powerful feeling they leave us with, reminds us that we are all connected. Each of us has our own story, our own heartache and our moments of joy. Mine is a story of love and loss, but also hope. Hope because no matter what any of us have been through, we know that someone else has been through hard times too, and has survived. I have survived.
Q: Who would you recommend your book to?
A: My book is for readers who enjoy true stories and affliction memoirs. Though all emotions are universal and so any human being may find a piece of my story to relate to.
Q: What do you think makes your book unique?
A: No story in and of itself is unique. Yet there is only one person who can tell a particular story, their story in their own voice, and that is unique. My book also includes all the letters and emails from my late husband in his last year, giving the reader a insight into the mind of one suicide victim.
Q: Was your book dedicated to anyone?
A: My book, even before it became a book, was dedicated to my two daughters.
Q: What is your reason for writing?
A: To try and make sense of the inexplicable.
Q: Is there anything else you would like your reader know?
A: Yes, there are many readers who do not understand how I could put up with as much as I did. I would like to add, that I didn’t plan my story, it simply unfolded before my eyes, and I dealt with it in survival mode on a day to day basis. In retrospect, I have no regrets. My daughters and I are now living the life of our dreams in the country, and in spite of our loss, we have found much happiness.
I want to thank Leila for sharing her story with me, I really enjoyed the experienced!
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