Get Waves of Change: How Tennessee’s Thousand-Year Flood Changed the Lives of a Survivor, a Rescue Professional, and a Family Grief Counselor for FREE on Amazon.
Here is an interview with one of the authors – MJ Plaster.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
I’m freelance writer, editor and accidental author. I’m also a chaos magnet, and every time something unusual happens, family and friends have said, “You ought to write a book about [fill in the blank]. Tennessee’s Thousand-Year Flood provided an opportunity I could hardly refuse.
How much of yourself, your personality or your experiences, is in your books?
What you see is what you get, and that comes through in the book. The other authors are equally genuine. We bared our souls for others who will travel our road because no one should feel alone when disaster strikes.
Have you started your next project? If so, can you share a little bit about your next book?
Yes. One of my clients commissioned a piece based on my experiences at TWA and then encouraged me to write a book. I’ve started the project, a travelogue featuring some of the recipes that I begged, bought with a gargantuan tip, or recreated after many failed attempts. Seasoned travelers know that food is a window on the soul of the people and their culture.
What is the best and worst advice you ever received? (regarding writing or publishing)
The best advice I have ever received about anything I have ever wanted to do or be was, “You can do anything you want to do if you set your mind to it.” Thanks Mom. People have learned not to discourage me once I’ve made up my mind. I might talk about something for years, but eventually, I will do it. I don’t have time for negativity. The flood helped me winnow a lot of dead wood and negativity from my life. Who would have thought!
Please tell us about your current release.
Waves of Change is a nonfiction account of Tennessee’s Thousand-Year Flood as experienced by a survivor (me), a rescue professional (Melissa Riley) and a family grief counselor (Pam Hernandez-Kaufman). Our lives intersected during the aftermath of the flood, and we have remained friends. The reader will alternately laugh and cry, but none of it is by design—the story wrote itself. Much of the book reads like a story, but it’s all true. We’ve received comments that it’s really a manual on life. I suppose that’s because you can apply the lessons learned to any crisis. Ours just happened to be a flood.
What inspired you to write this book?
Certainly not a publishing a credit! I had just lost both parents. Sixteen months before the flood, my mother died unexpectedly. My father died four months to the day before the flood. So the flood was the final straw. Losing everything that remained of my life in the blink of an eye was devastating. I wrote as therapy. When Melissa and Pam suggested that we should write a book, I said, “My part’s already written,” or so I thought. I rewrote my portion twice as the anger dissipated—and it did—completely, thanks to writing.
What kind of research did you do for this book?
Not a scrap. I researched my options before the book came on my radar. The same is true for Pam and Melissa. They’re trained professionals, so they had the background to deal with this professionally, but you’ll learn that they were affected emotionally just like everyone whose lives were touched.
Can you tell us a little about the black moment in your book?
It was the moment the rescuers pulled me into the canoe and I realized Miss Fluff, my cat had bolted and drowned. It’s in the first chapter, and you can read it on Amazon.
If this book is part of a series, what is the next book? Any details you can share?
The next version will include interviews from other survivors, rescue professionals and grief counselors.
What was the most difficult thing/scene to write in this story?
The first chapter, which describes the morning of the flood up to the point where my rescuers drop me near the main road that runs through our condo development. I cry every time I read it. If you’ve ever seen one of those scenes where you’re in the front car of a roller coaster, that’s what the first chapter does. You’re right there in that rescue canoe, dodging lightning bolts on the way to safety, sobbing your eyes out, knowing that if you had only prepared properly…
Did the story turn out the way you planned from the beginning? If not, what change happened that you didn’t expect?
You touched on one of the major themes of the book. We can’t know what’s going to happen to us. It brings to mind the quote attributed to Dwight D. Eisenhower, “Plans are useless, but planning is indispensable.” Nothing illustrates that quicker than a natural disaster. Beyond that, you either use an experience such as the to grow—or not.
Waves of Change: How Tennessee’s Thousand-Year Flood Changed the Lives of a Survivor, a Rescue Professional, and a Family Grief Counselor
In the early morning hours of May 2, 2010, Tennessee experienced the worst and most costly non-coastal disaster in the history of the United States, dubbed the Thousand-Year Flood.
Waves of Change portrays the struggles and triumphs of a flood survivor, a rescue and recovery professional, and a family grief counselor as their lives intersected during the aftermath of the flood.
You’ll laugh at their tales, weep at their frustrations, and leave with a sense of empowerment, secure in the knowledge that natural disasters, in all their fury, are just a milestone along the path of life.
About the Author
MJ Plaster spent more than two decades traveling throughout Europe and North Africa, and she’s at home wherever she lands. Today, she spends her days spinning yarns as a brand journalist and weaving tales out of whole cloth, based on her experiences.
She became an accidental author when she co-authored Waves of Change, the story of Tennessee’s 1000-Year Flood from the perspective of a survivor, a rescue professional, and a family grief counselor.
When she’s not researching, writing, or editing or hounding editors, clients, or authors, you can find her practicing alchemy in her Nashville kitchen and garden, pretending to work out on her Total Gym, or chasing her next adventure somewhere between here and Timbuktu.
You can download Waves of Change for FREE from Amazon July 2-4, 2014.