Holmen, Wisconsin, U.S.A.
Christy Wopat’s award-winning memoir, Almost a Mother: Love, Loss, and Finding Your People When Your Baby Dies, was published by Orange Hat Publishing in 2018. A 4th-grade teacher, busy mama, and wife, Christy has always relied on writing as a way to cope. Recently she decided to use that strength as a way to help others, so they don’t have to feel alone, especially in grief. Always Ours, an illustrated picture book about remembering our loved ones, was released in May of 2020 by Orange Hat. Her forthcoming book, After All, will be released in May of 2022.
Christy also writes middle-grade books and is a member of SCBWI. She also chairs the Events Committee for the Wisconsin Writers Association. She lives with her husband and kids in Holmen, Wisconsin.
Q & A
Tell us why you wrote this book. What were you hoping
to achieve? Have you always wanted to be a writer?
I have always loved writing, but my love for it started because I was a book lover first. Reading and writing are both like therapy for me. I can escape, find someone to relate to, figure myself out, and learn. I’ve kept diaries my whole life and have always felt most comfortable relying on my words.
After my twins died, I immediately went to the library to find books about death and grieving looking for something that would ease my pain, help me through it, and maybe even find some hope. The library has always been a safe space for me, but I was SO disappointed with what I found. Most of the books were written by psychologists and just listed the stages of grief. Some were really old and just made everything about grief seem so calm and peaceful. For me, grief was the opposite of that. It was painful, brutal, raw, and devastating, and trite cliches and cookie-cutter “how to heal” books just weren’t for me. I decided then and there that someday I would write the book I was looking for. I hope this book provides comfort and honesty for someone else so that they, too, don’t feel alone.
Who will want to read your books, and better
yet, who will recommend it to friends?
I mean, for sure people who have lost a baby will want to read this. But I truly think that anyone who has experienced any kind of loss will relate to my experiences in this book. To be clear, loss doesn’t have to mean death. We grieve so many things in so many different ways, and we all grieve differently But in that grief it’s easy to isolate yourself. I want people who are suffering to find community, to find friends who support them, and to know that it’s okay to be angry and mad. We just can’t be angry and mad all by ourselves. We need each other.
I also think it’s just an overall great book for everyone to read because we’re always trying to figure out how to take care of our people when they’re hurting. I unabashedly tell you what I needed (and still need!). My goal is that anyone who reads it will recommend it to someone because it reached them on some level. That’s what great books do for me. They touch my soul and inspire my heart. My hope is that I can provide this for others. We’ve got this!
Which author or book has influenced you as a writer?
The author who has influenced me the most is a romance writer named Colleen Hoover. She is a social worker turned Indie author turned best-selling author of almost twenty books. Her books are great, don’t get me wrong, but at this point, I read them because of who SHE is. She helped me see that getting a book published has to be done for the right reasons, and that I need to rely on my voice to speak for me. She is also one of the most giving people I have ever met in my life, and she gives without fanfare or publicity. I actually flew to Texas to visit her charity bookstore and was lucky enough to meet her. She didn’t know me at all and she changed my life that day!
Were you afraid to write it? How did you find the strength to put something so personal down on paper? Were there ever moments you wanted to throw in the towel?
In the beginning, I was writing it just for me, so I wasn’t afraid. However, early on I started thinking, “Wow, other people might want to read this,” and that stalled me a little bit. I never wanted to throw in the towel, but there were several times that I needed to take long breaks from writing because of my own emotions. It was hard to take care of myself emotionally and write my truth at the same time. It was often very exhausting.
Also, when my publisher sent me the interior of my book, all formatted to look like a book instead of a document, I ugly cried for about two hours because I suddenly wondered, “What in the world am I doing? This has to seriously be insane, to want the world to read my whole soul.” I have to keep reminding myself that my purpose is to help people, and my feelings may have to be sacrificed a little (but, you could still be nice about it, HA!).
Tell us about your other projects.
I blog at Um, You Guys, where I write about a little of everything, and it also has a Facebook community where I share funny stories and try to help you know you’re not alone.
I've written a middle-grade book (for ages 8-12) that has nothing to do with grief! And my book, After All, is about pregnancy after loss and will bet out spring of 2022.
One last thing I’m up to is working as a book coach. You can hire me to help you get YOUR important story down into a book. I'm having SO. MUCH. FUN. working with others and their important messages.