About Breaking the Silence:
Secrets. Lies. Silences. Stories told by parents and their families to protect themselves. A father who defends his wife despite her damage to their daughter’s health and welfare. A mother, shielded by her husband, who perpetuates murderous acts of violence against the daughter, and keeps secret her husband’s sexual “play” with the young girl.
And yet … Nancy King, determined to learn the truth of her childhood and the heartbreaking effects it has had on her adult life, uncovers the secrets. Sees through the lies. Breaks the silence.
Empowered by the stories she told herself as a child, she learns to use stories as part of her work as a university professor teaching theater, drama, world literature, and creative expression. Gradually, with the help of body work and therapy, she finds her voice. Says no to abuse and abusers. Reclaims herself and life. Writes a memoir.
She climbs mountains. Weaves tapestries. Writes books. Makes friends. Creates a meaningful life.
This is her story.
Publisher: Terra Nova Books (July 2020)
Paperback: 386 pages
Breaking the Silence is available for purchase at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Bookshop.org. Make sure you add it to your GoodReads list.
About the Author:
I was born in Brooklyn, NYC. From the time I was 8 years old, until I left for college at 17, I traveled by myself into Manhattan to take a dance, theatre, or music lesson. After class I was free to wander about the City until I had to leave for home at 4:30. I ate in small Mom & Pop ethnic restaurants, savoring food I could neither spell nor pronounce. Theatre and dance tickets in the balconies were cheap and museums were free. All I needed were two nickels for the train rides, a nickel in case I had to make a phone call, and a quarter for lunch. The City was mine to explore. These years made an indelible impression on me in many ways: I enjoyed being with a diverse group of people, attending a variety of arts performances, and making my way in unfamiliar worlds with confidence and curiosity.
Early experiences with abuse both at home and school led me to becoming a teacher, writer, playwright, and essayist, always focusing on issues of empowerment. I have taught creative writing, storymaking, drama, and literacy workshops in schools, universities, professional development programs, prisons, Head Start, mental hospitals, recreational centers, programs for children and adults with learning differences, and older adult programs in the US and abroad.
In 1985 I was diagnosed with a rare and anomalous form of leukemia. When treatment allowed me to think in terms of years rather than months, and ten years after becoming a full professor at the University of Delaware, I received my PhD, in multi-disciplinary studies focusing on literature, psychology, and philosophy.
As an award-winning author of seven books of nonfiction, my focus has always been on developing creative expression, arts-based approaches to learning, and student-centered learning. I have also written five novels, one of which, The Stones Speak, has been optioned for a movie. The focus in all of my writing and teaching has always been on empowerment. My newest book, a memoir, Breaking the Silence, is about the healing power of stories.
Visit the author's website at www.nancykingstories.com.--- Interview by Crystal Otto
WOW: Thank you Nancy for choosing WOW to help spread the word about Breaking the Silence! I'm looking forward to your tour and I know readers are as well. I'm always curious about the behind the story story - so let me ask: How did Breaking the Silence come about? Did you always set out to write a memoir? Tell us more!
Nancy: The short answer is no, but how I came to write the memoir is a story in itself. I have lived most of my life disconnected from myself, a coping mechanism that helped me survive the murderous violence, abuse, and molestation, I experienced as a child and adult. For years I tried, without success, to understand why I made so many bad decisions as I grew up, knowing they were bad choices at the time, but not able to not make them. When I had the opportunity to do a vision quest, as part of a celebration of my 80th birthday, four days and four nights in the wilderness with no tent, phone, or computer, only a pen and journal to record the experience, I signed up, thinking this was an opportunity to reconnect with myself, and possibly better understand how and why I’d chosen abusive partners. During the four days and nights, with no distractions, whatever barrier I had created to avoid knowing the truth of my life, softened. I was able to separate the lies and denials told by my parents and other family members from what I was remembering. Memories from early childhood flowed as if water from a dammed river had been released—painful, clear memories, each one triggering another. By the time I returned to Santa Fe, I thought I would use what I’d learned to write a new novel, my sixth. Instead, what came out were stories of my life. I tried to fictionalize them without success. Disgusted at my inability to write what I thought I wanted to write, about people who weren’t me, leading lives I’d never lived, I sent about 30 pages to a former student asking if what I was writing was worth reading. She wrote back that she was having a hard time, feeling alone, but when she read my writing, she felt comforted, less depressed, less alone. Would I please keep writing and send her more pages? After working with an editor and copy editor, I sent the manuscript of Breaking the Silence to a friend who worked in publishing. She sent it to Terra Nova, a press in Santa Fe, who asked to publish it. It’s now out as a paperback, ebook, and soon, an audiobook.
WOW: Journaling is so important in so many behind the story paths of memoir; thank you for sharing! I know you've done a lot of healing and self-care through all of this, so would you be willing to share some advice for others on how you deal with stress and self-care?
Nancy: I have a nervous system that’s always on high alert—the result of so much trauma. At a very young age I realized that vigorous activity, preferably outdoors, helped stave off depression, anxiety, and feelings of not being good enough. Since moving to Santa Fe when I was 65, to keep my body, mind, soul, and spirit, healthy, I have continued to lead an active life, hiking in the mountains three times a week, as well as other outdoor activities, depending on the season. I have regularly scheduled massages, acupuncture, and osteopathic treatments to aid in my sense of wellbeing. We live in a stressful time. If one is sensitive, which most writers are, I have found that it’s important to find activity that reduces stress and creates a sense of wellbeing.
"We live in a stressful time. If one is sensitive, which most writers are, I have found that it’s important to find activity that reduces stress and creates a sense of wellbeing."
WOW: Fabulous advice - thank you! My friend heather is a massage therapist and yoga instructor. She's always encouraging me to make more time for that! She's going to love this particular part of the interview! Let's keep going with advice since yours is so helpful: What's the best life or writing advice you've received and how has it helped you?
Nancy: When I was in London working on a new book, a colleague told me, “Don’t fuss over your first draft. Just get it done. You never know who you want to kill off.” Although the comment made me laugh, what I learned is that my early drafts lack nuance. As I work with my editor, who asks challenging and complicated questions, my writing deepens with each revision. Since I write from a theatre in my head, my editor’s comments and responses make it possible for me to take what’s in my head and put it on the page.
WOW: I love how you describe that - thank you. This is going to be a great question for you as well: What would your current self say to your younger self?
Nancy: I would tell my younger self to keep telling herself stories because they are a source of comfort and empowerment. I would hope this encourages her to keep going despite all the horrors she is and will be experiencing. I don’t know how my younger self survived my mother’ murderous violence, my father’s sexual abuse, my uncle’s molestation for almost a year—all before I was five. I would tell her not to expect her father to protect her—he will always choose her mother. I would be sure to tell my younger self that when I was able to get away from the family, life would get better, that I would have a wonderful professional life, that when I unexpectedly found a triangle house in Santa Fe, I would move there and create an stimulating, meaningful life, where I developed rich and nourishing friendships.
WOW: Those stories certainly paid off - now you're an accomplished author! Your younger self and your current self should be proud! When did you know you wanted to be an author? What sparked this fire within you?
Nancy: I was told many times not to tell, but no one ever said not to write. I’ve been writing and telling stories all my life. When a publisher offered to publish my MA thesis, I realized that I could write and be published. After leaving the University of Delaware, where I’d taught for 34 years, and published many professional books, and essays, as well as plays for children, and moved to Santa Fe, I had the time and space to write what I chose—no longer needing to publish professionally. Since then, I’ve written essays, five novels, a book about my work with stories here and abroad, and now, my memoir, Breaking the Silence, which was published in 2020.
WOW: That's incredibly impressive - congratulations! I'm sure it hasn't always been an easy road - so how do you deal with rejection?
Nancy: Oy! Rejection is difficult. Always. But, early on I had an experience where one agent panned my novel and another, loved it. Same book. I learned that taste and experience affect judgment, that having my writing rejected is not the same as me being rejected. I tell myself that what matters, and all I can control, is to write as best I can, and deepen my work with the help of a knowledgeable editor and friends’ frank and honest comments.
"Having my writing rejected is not the same as me being rejected."
WOW: That's incredible insight. What is the most important take-away you want readers to have after they finish Breaking the Silence?
Nancy: I hope readers will think about their lives, the stories told about them by family and friends, and ask themselves: who tells what stories and why? In my case, the stories told about me were fabrications, made up by people who blamed and shamed me for their actions. I hope readers will feel it is never too late to recover one’s authentic self, that it is never too late to create a meaningful life with people who care about you, that it is never too late or wrong to say no to people who treat you badly and refuse to take responsibility for their words and actions. I hope readers will find the experience of reading Breaking the Silence enriching, thought-provoking, comforting, and nourishing.
WOW: Thank you so much for this beautifully thought provoking interview - as our time comes to a close, I know readers will want me to ask: What's next for you?
Nancy: I am exploring the power of world tales in my life, writing them in a way that I hope inspires readers to think about their lives. Each month I post three Monthly Stories and a world tale on my website: www.nancykingstories.com. I think my next book will be a collection of short stories.
--- Blog Tour Calendar
November 29th @ The Muffin
Join us at The Muffin for an author interview, giveaway, and blog tour launch post for Nancy King's memoir, Breaking the Silence.
November 30th @ Mindy McGinnis
Mindy McGinnis interviews Nancy King about her recently published memoir, Breaking the Silence. Don't miss this engaging interview!
December 8th @ Lost Wisp of Cosmic Dust
Sreevarsha Sreejith shares her review of Nancy King's memoir, Breaking the Silence. Stop by Instagram to learn more!
December 9th @ KnottyNeedle Creative
Judy reviews and shares her thoughts after reading Breaking the Silence by Nancy King. Find out what she thinks about this recently released memoir.
December 10th @ Madeline Sharples Choices
Fellow memoirist Madeline Sharples spotlights Nancy King's Breaking the Silence on her blog today. Readers will be inspired by this newly released memoir!
December 13th @ Lisa Haselton Reviews and Interviews
Lisa Haselton reviews memoirist Nancy King about her recently released Breaking the Silence. Readers won't want to miss this opportunity to be inspired!
December 16th @ Word Magic: All About Books
Today's book spotlight at Word Magic is Nancy King's memoir Breaking the Silence. Readers will also hear from Wisconsin student Carmen Otto as she shares her thoughts after reading this insightful story.
December 17th @ Bring on Lemons with Crystal Otto
WOW!'s very own Crystal Otto shares her insight into the beautiful and inspiring memoir, Breaking the Silence by Nancy King.
December 20th @ Author Anthony Avina's Blog
Author Anthony Avina spotlight's the newly released memoir Breaking the Silence by Nancy King. Find out more about this moving memoir and it's inspiring author today!
December 24th @ The Faerie Review
Lily at the Faerie Review shares her book review of Breaking the Silence by Nancy King. This is a memoir about a mountain climbing author who has inspired many (despite all odds)!
December 26th @ Author Anthony Avina's Blog
Author Anthony Avina reviews Breaking the Silence by Nancy King. Find out more about this moving memoir and Anthony's thoughts after reading it!
December 27th @ Christy Flutterby
Fellow author Christy O'Callaghan reviews Nancy King's Breaking the Silence and shares her thoughts with readers on her blog. Find out more about this moving memoir and it's resilient author!
December 28th @ Bring on Lemons with Michelle DelPonte
Wisconsin mother and healthcare worker Michelle DelPonte couldn't wait to get her hands on Nancy King's memoir Breaking the Silence. Today Michelle will share her review of this touching memoir. Stop at Bring on Lemons to learn more!
January 1st @ Boots Shoes and Fashion
Readers at Boots Shoes and Fashion will be enlightened as Linda interviews Nancy King about her newly released memoir Breaking the Silence. Don't miss an opportunity to learn from someone who has overcome the odds!
January 2nd @ Linda Appleman Shapiro
Fellow memoirist Linda Appleman Shapiro hosts Nancy King and Breaking the Silence as today's feature book on her blog!
***** BOOK GIVEAWAY *****
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