Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Guest Post by Teri Coyne, Author of The Last Bridge



Today I have the honor of welcoming Teri Coyne to Jo-Jo Loves to Read!!!  The Last Bridge was one of the most powerful books that I read this summer that dealt with domestic abuse and alcoholism.  If you missed my review you can still read it here.

Here is what Teri wants to share with us today:

As a debut author of a novel dealing with abuse, addiction and domestic violence, it is hard for people to believe I used to do stand-up comedy but if you met me (which I hope you will someday in a bookstore or at a library!) you would probably understand how that is possible.  

I guess the best place to start is to explain that although I am not a survivor of abuse, I did grow up around domestic violence and alcoholism so I have a firsthand knowledge of the emotional toll it takes on families and individuals, including myself.  While each of us has our own ways of coping and processing the events of our lives, mine was to use humor.  I guess you could say I have a dark sense of humor, not as dark as Cat’s but pretty close. 

As a child I learned that the easiest way to be honest was to be funny, so I expressed my deepest feelings through humor.  I lived the expression, “the truest things are said in jest” and I believe it is what has gotten me through the toughest times of my life.

Performing stand-up comedy grew out of my experiences as an actor and a love of the performing arts.  It combined the best of all worlds for me, I was able to tell stories and perform for an audience. Imagine being able to reveal your truest feelings to a room full of people and make them laugh?  It was like having my cake and eating it too!  Through humor I was able to talk about my scary, intense, charismatic father and not only would people respond, they would relate.   People often came up to me after shows to tell me about their experiences and to share their stories with me.    Instead of being put off by it, I was intrigued and inspired.   

I started writing THE LAST BRIDGE after I had a vision in my head of the opening scene and a woman’s voice saying the opening line, “Two days after my father had a massive stroke my mother shot herself in the head.” The woman who began speaking to me was Cat and the story was an intense and emotionally charged journey of discovery that asks the question, “Are we a product of our experiences or of our choices?” Cat has her challenges and is running from severe trauma, but she is also a vibrant and funny woman struggling to find meaning in a life that has almost destroyed her.  She is an extreme version of all of us at different times.

Over time, my passion for the truth evolved from doing stand-up to writing fiction.   It was in the form of the novel I found my greatest challenge and satisfaction, as my need to speak the truth was no longer just about me standing on stage talking about my life, it was to give voice to the experiences and feelings of other people, to show that although the world is filled with a lot of darkness and pain, humor, love and compassion is the light the leads us through it. 

Since THE LAST BRIDGE has been published I have received many emails from readers who have graced me with their stories, some have survived situations worse than what Cat has endured and many have said their life was similar to Cat’s, still others write to say they could relate to her feelings, or felt grateful for their own lives.   Each of the emails reminds me of how important it is to share our stories with each other and to listen.  Humor is a way of lightening the load, and for me, there is no greater triumph over pain than laughter.   

That’s my story, what is yours?  I would love to hear your comments about humor and how or if it has played an important role in your life, and as a reader do you like stories that are funny or characters that have a humorous perspective?




Thanks for stopping by today Teri and sharing with us your experience with domestic abuse. October is Domestic Abuse Awareness Month, so I think it is very important for all of us to recognize what a problem this has become in our country.  So many victims are out there right now that are afraid to reach out for help and we need to let them know that we are there for them when they are ready to take that step.  The Last Bridge stresses the importance of seeking help even after the abuse is over.  Because the abuse will continue on in your mind until it is dealt with in a healthy manner. Thanks again for stopping by today Teri, and I wish you the best of luck with your future endeavors!

294 comments:

1 – 200 of 294   Newer›   Newest»
Diane said...

What an interesting interview. This book has been getting great reviews. It is on my shelf, and I need to fit it in. Thanks for the great interview!

bermudaonion said...

Wow, I find it interesting that the author turned to humor (and stand-up) as a coping mechanism, yet wrote such a serious book.

Ti said...

I knew about her stand-up comic background but what she said about the truest things being said in jest is so true. A lot of people turn to humor to get themselves through a tough situation (myself included!)

Great interview! Also, she seems very personable. I would definitely walk up to her if I saw her at the bookstore.

Lisa said...

Wonderful post! I'm prone to say "if I didn't laugh, I'd cry" so I completely relate to what Coyne is saying.

stacybuckeye said...

This book is on my wish list and this post has made me want to read it even more!

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