Wednesday, August 25, 2021

NBTM Virtual Book Tour + #Giveaway: Zandra: My Daughter, Diabetes, and Lessons in Love by Janet Hatch @GoddessFish



by Janet Hatch

GENRE: Memoir


In this truly inspiring memoir, Janet Hatch shares her compelling story of raising her strong-willed daughter who, at age eleven, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. From the beginning of her life, Zandra experienced being different as a result of dietary restrictions, but nothing would prepare her for the tumultuous feelings that Zandra's diagnosis would bring. Janet's story chronicles the day-to-day life of raising a child through the teen years and into young adulthood, while reconciling her own insecurities.

After experiencing complications and additional illnesses from diabetes, Zandra's life became uncertain and bleak. When she learned of the death of her friend from diabetes, she began to spiral downward. This is a love story between a mother and daughter and demonstrates that although the bond may be challenged, it was created to endure. From travelling to Iceland in support of the Canadian Diabetes Association to receiving her beloved diabetic alert dog, Cinnamon, this story is one that will encourage all those who love a child, to look beyond fear and see beauty in every challenge.

NOTE: This book will be free during the tour.


When the finish line was drawing near, I could see the swell of supporters ready to high-five the finishers. I was excited to be amongst the people being cheered and felt personal satisfaction with my run. I knew that Zandra must have already passed through, as I didn’t see her or pass her on my way. I was excited to hear about her experience and compare stories. She would have no doubt seen the supporters and taken notice of the same panoramic views as I had along the way.

Once I reached the end, reality stabbed me like a knife. I didn’t see Zandra anywhere. I had expected she would remain alongside the finish line to welcome me across. I could feel panic getting the better of me, twisting in my chest and pounding against my ribs. I searched frantically across the crowd for a Diabetes Canada volunteer, looking for the same race tank that I had on. I commanded myself to come across calm, yet I’m sure that my fear betrayed me. I managed to locate one of our volunteers and they appeased me, telling me that Zandra had finished a while ago and shouldn’t be far. I knew from experience that after an activity, when the adrenalin wore off, her blood sugars could plummet and she wouldn’t even notice. I was calculating timelines and trying to anticipate her blood sugars. I knew she didn’t have juice stands anymore or money on her to purchase any if she needed it. I had to find her immediately. I started walking around the crowds, growing more frantic by the step.

The race ended near the parliament buildings and I desperately began to scour all of the lawns in the surrounding area. After about fifteen long, uneasy minutes, I found her. She said she wasn’t sure where to find me and had decided to hang out past the crowds. She didn’t appear bothered by my anxiety, which struck an immediate nerve. I was angered that she hadn’t waited or offered an apology, as she could see I was visibly distraught. I had to see past my emotions quickly and insist she test her blood. I was still concerned that she was low and needed the sugar I was holding. After testing, we found that Zandra’s levels were remarkably good, reminding me that I could never know when my concern would be validated—not that I ever wanted it to be.

Interview with Janet Hatch

What book that you have read has most influenced your life?

Answer: This is a tough question. I feel as though I take a little away from everything I read, even if I just feel inspired to put on makeup or try a new wine. As I sit at my computer in my office to reply to this question, I can see the books that are on my shelf. These books have made the cut where ninety-five percent of the time I pass my books on. The book on my shelf that continues to encourage and influence me is The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls. Jeannette’s book is such a reminder to me of how I have the power to create my own destiny. We all have stories that tell of how we got here and what stood in our way and hers inspires me when I feel the cards are stacked against me. Jeannette’s book was really a love story of how she grew connect with and love her family, despite her dysfunctional upbringing. I feel as though that is a goal each person would be wise to aspire to.

Tell us something about your book that is not in the summary?

Answer: When I was writing my book, I felt as though if my story was going to connect with readers, I needed to include a little about my life growing up. We often hear of the factual story, in this case, my daughter being diagnosed with diabetes and how I managed it, however I wanted to connect with readers with why I was fearful and how I felt going into my daughter’s diagnosis. I grew up in a house where mental illness leeched into nearly every aspect. My mom was often not around as she wasn’t able to manage at times and was in a hospital for many of my teen years. Then, when I just turned twenty-two, I lost my dad to suicide. His death was so sudden and the trauma had me always waiting for disaster to strike. I had insecurities and a first marriage that ended in divorce. Although my early life wasn’t the subject of the book and didn’t make the summary, I know it can connect intimately with others who have lived similar events.

When writing a book do you find that writing comes easy for you or is it a difficult task?

Answer: When I write, the words flow most of the time. Where I get hung up is the edits and sometimes the edits come as fast as the initial words. The backspace button is overused that’s for sure! The other way I can get caught on words is when I have an idea yet find the story writing itself in another direction entirely. I’m learning to be a creative writer and see where the story takes me!

What is your favourite childhood book?

Answer: I have so many favourite childhood books. I’d say that my favourite ones were the collection from Berenstain Bears – any one of them! I loved reading to my little brother (pretending to be a teacher) and the Bear family gave me the perfect opportunity to learn how to manage difficult situations and be entertained at the same time.

What were your goals and intentions in this book, and how well do you feel you achieved them?

Answer: When I set out to write my book, my main objective was to share my ups and downs as a parent of a type one diabetic. I knew that I wasn’t alone in my concerns for my daughter and I wanted to write a book that connected with the parents as well as supported them. I was able to do a lot of amazing things with my daughter because of her diagnosis, including travelling to Iceland and training with her diabetic alert dog. I wanted to encourage parents to seek help and provide a space for them to release the fear and heartache I know comes with raising a child. I have received some beautiful and supportive messages from readers who shared that they cried as well as laughed throughout the book, and felt genuinely lighter for reading it. That’s the best news I could ever hear.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

JANET HATCH is a mother of four who lives in Camrose, Alberta. She is passionate about using her experience of raising her diabetic daughter to support parents and caregivers through the emotional twists and turns of what can be a difficult journey of having a child with a serious illness. She is a lover of animals and enjoys spending time in nature with her dog, Axel.



Zandra: My Daughter, Diabetes, and Lessons in Love





$15 Amazon/BN GC

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