Monday, October 3, 2022

Virtual Book Tour + #Giveaway: The Story That Made Us Stronger by Iris March @GoddessFish

The Story That Made Us Stronger

by Iris March

GENRE: Women's Fiction/Cancer Journey


An abandoned building. A motivated runner. A Hodgkin's Lymphoma cancer survivor.

Connor Jackson has been training for a half marathon for the past six weeks. Katie Brandt has been training to beat cancer for the past 50. When Connor discovers an intriguing secret in a tiny, abandoned building on his running route, Katie finds that the mystery is what she needs to help her get through her three-week stem cell replacement procedure. Together, Conner and Katie must find the strength to achieve their personal goals and, in the meantime, expose the many past lives that the tiny building led.

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The Golf Course Manager

Katie Brandt

After Connor left for the day, I was amped up as I always was after chemo. My body was worn out and aching, but my mind wouldn’t stop. I tried to take a nap but couldn’t find sleep, even with the blinds closed and all the lights off. I just kept thinking about my kids, having conversations with them in my head about why I was away from them. I was doing this stem cell replacement ordeal for them: so that their mommy wouldn’t get leukemia later in their lives. I’d promised that I’d never leave them.

No matter the time of day, I usually had a hard time getting to sleep in this bed, in this hospital room. I dragged myself across the room and found my computer. After I settled back into bed, I searched Google Maps and found the area that Connor had pointed out before. His excitement was contagious, and now I wanted to know more about that building too. I saw the golf course and some of the trail through the trees on the satellite images. Once I clicked on the road view, I could see the building itself that Connor was talking about. It really looked old despite the grainy picture, yet somehow familiar. I wondered if I had driven past it before. I looked up the golf course and poked around their website and then the Park District’s website.

Someone has to know something!” I said to myself. There was a list of historical buildings that the Park District managed, but nothing about one being on or near that golf course. After twenty minutes of not finding anything to give me a single answer, I decided to just call the Park District itself. Why not? It was still only 3:45; they’d be open. I dialed the Administration Office downtown first.

Hello, Park District Administration Office. This is Tammy. How can I help you?” Her spiel sounded very rehearsed and overly chipper.

Hi, Tammy. My name is Katie. I’m a resident of Hawthorn Heights and was wondering if you guys can tell me more about an interesting building that sits along a trail I frequent. I have a bet with my friend about who can find out info about it fastest.” I could really turn on the charm when I needed to, even when I didn’t feel well. Call it a gift. When you used a person’s name and told them they were doing you a favor, they wanted to help most of the time. I was also good at seeing everyone as a person, not just someone in my way. I knew everyone had their own thing going on and tried to respect that.

What an interesting request, Katie!” Tammy exclaimed. She was really excited about this, too, and we were both name users. I hoped she didn’t see through my charm. “Let me see if I can find it on our maps.”

Interview with Iris March (real name: Maureen Wise)

    How did you become involved with the subject or theme of your book?

    My book has a few themes: running, an abandoned building, and Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I’ve been a runner since high school which is somehow more than 20 years ago! Running helps me feel sane and I miss it so much when I can’t run (usually due to an injury). The abandoned building is based on a real building on my running route so those two are directly related. My sister had Hodgkin’s lymphoma a few years ago and I was thrown into that world with her. I started writing this book mostly to work through the anxiety I was feeling about with her illness and the worry I had for her and her family.

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

    This is the first book I wrote but the second to get published. I never – ever! – thought that I could write a book but I always wanted to. I never felt like I couldn’t commit to characters or a long story but this story was for my sister and about her so I already had the commitment. I think my first goal was to finish it and I certainly did. My second goal was to tell my sister’s story and to honor her. Also done!

    What was the hardest part of writing this book?

    Authors always talk about the “murky middle” and this one had just that. I didn’t know what to do in the middle but knew where I wanted all the characters to end up. I just pushed through and made them do the stuff that I felt like was a bit more boring. I also didn’t have two points of view initially and so going back figuring out how to change scenes and add scenes was not easy. I’m really glad I added scenes in my sister’s head and love how it turned out.

    What did you enjoy most about writing this book?

    I am a freelance writer and have always been the main content writer for each team I’ve worked on: grants, websites, social media, newsletters - I wrote it. So I write a lot. But I haven’t written anything creative like this since college and it was really fun.

    Where there alternate endings you considered?

    I did have a bit of a hard time wrapping up the story. I thought I was done with it and then added two more chapters six months later. Also, my sweet Aunt (a very early first reader!) knew it needed more and wrote an alternative ending for me which I didn’t use but it helped me know there was more that needed to be said.

    Can you share some stories about people you met while researching this book?

    I really needed to figure out what was up with this tiny budling on my running route! I contacted the golf course right next to it but they didn’t know anything. I thought maybe that the big pole on its side had something to do with measuring wind so I contacted a few wind power nonprofits. They said I was wrong. I thought maybe it had to do with a lightning rod and contacted some lightning professionals and they also told me that my pictures did not depict anything they had seen before. In the end, it was my 70+ year old neighbor who has lived here forever who knew the answer. I won’t spoil the story and tell you what it does (but I want to!).

    What genre of books do you enjoy reading?

    I love cozy mysteries but read lots of other genres too. I was a huge fantasy fan in high school.

AUTHOR Bio and Links:

Iris March grew up the oldest of three sisters whose names all began with the same letter. Her sisters are still her best friends. March works in the sustainability field and also writes cozy mysteries in the Succulent Sleuth Series. She lives in Ohio with her husband, young son, and three cats.

Connect with Iris March

Website ~ Instagram ~ Facebook ~ Goodreads



$25 Amazon/BN GC 

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Goddess Fish Promotions said...

Thanks for hosting!

Rita Wray said...

I liked the excerpt.

bn100 said...

looks interesting

marisela zuniga said...

I love how colorful the cover is

Stormy Vixen said...

Congratulations on the release of The Story That Made Us Stronger, Iris! Great interview and excerpt your book sounds like an interesting and captivating story for me to read and I like the cover! Good luck with your book and the tour!

Thanks for sharing it with me and have a terrific day!

Sherry said...

Sounds like a good book.

Dana banana said...

Thank you for sharing, this sounds excellent!

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