Hope Always Rises by Kathie Giorgio: Blog Tour & Giveaway

Monday, April 24, 2023

Welcome to the Hope Always Rises blog tour! This book by Kathie Giorgio is perfect for anyone who has ever known someone who wanted to end their life, or anyone who has ever felt that way themselves. The blog tour starts today and lasts through May 21st!

Enjoy this excerpt of Hope Always Rises...

    I never knew God slept. I certainly never expected him to wear pajamas or have rumpled hair. But if he looked like the God I always imagined, the God with long white hair and a beard and a mustache and a serious, serious face, I never would have been able to rest my head on his shoulder, like I was able to do now.
    I was very glad he wore blue flannel pajamas.
    “You knew you couldn’t expect them to be happy, right, Hope? You knew that,” he said, and wrapped his arm around me. “It was part of your choice to end your life.”
    I turned my face into his chest and wept.
    It had been my choice. I didn’t expect them to be happy.
    But I never thought I would witness their sadness.
    For the first time, I regretted Heaven. I wished for the black void that I thought death might be, that day that I swallowed each pill with a gulp of wine.
    “It’ll be okay, Hope,” God said. Not a booming voice from a burning bush or a dark cloud. A soft voice that soothed me as I cried.

“Giorgio's Hope Always Rises leaves the reader with the one thing it promises: hope. While tackling an emotional subject, suicide, Giorgio doesn't shy away from the pain that brings her characters to the brink, but rather dives into the fragility, confusion, and motivations that accompany the human spirit on that difficult journey. Rich with empathy, humor, and imagination, Giorgio paints a beautiful picture of the afterlife that is a balm for anyone who has ever lost someone.” --Marisa Dondlinger, author of Open and Gray Lines


About the Book

In Heaven, there is a gated community for those who end their lives by choice. This is a complete surprise to Hope, who ends her life one morning on the banks of the Fox River in Waukesha, Wisconsin.

Hope has always dealt with deep sadness. From childhood on, she visited therapists, doctors, alternative medicine practitioners, Reiki artists, etc., to no avail. In Heaven, God reassures her that he knows what caused the sadness, but he won’t reveal it yet.

All community residents are required to attend weekly group therapy. Hope’s first group is led by Virginia Woolf. Several of the book’s chapters tell the stories of other members of this group.

Filled with many moments of striking humor, uplifting realizations, and difficult challenges, Hope finds her way in Heaven. She meets many people like herself, who help her restore her forgotten artistic talent and passion, and God himself, who is amazingly human in the most inhuman of ways. Hope finds understanding and forgiveness, and most importantly, friends.

"In Hope Always Rises, Giorgio’s detailed, surprising afterlife is populated with happiness, heartbreak, and small mercies in loving, ever-unfolding measure. Hope’s story, along with those of others in her section of Heaven, offers an intriguing variation on the theme of salvation, this one with a fallible God who enjoys a sangria." – Angela Bier, author of The Accidental Archivist  

 "Hope Always Rises is a beautiful, heartfelt, and surprisingly funny take on the normally uncomfortable topic of suicide. Kathie Giorgio manages to balance Hope’s newfound peace and the harsh reality of the pain she left behind, so that the reader is happy to be pulled into the ups and downs with her. – Nora Murray, author of Kingdom Come

Publisher: Black Rose Writing

ISBN-10: 1685132421
ISBN-13: 978-1685132422
Print length: 342 pages

Purchase a copy of Hope Always Rises by visiting Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or Bookshop.org. Make sure you also add Hope Always Rises to your Goodreads reading list.

About Author Kathie Giorgio

Kathie Giorgio is the author of seven novels, two story collections, an essay collection, and four poetry collections. Her latest novel, Hope Always Rises, released on February 28, 2023. She’s been nominated for the Pushcart Prize in fiction and poetry and awarded the Outstanding Achievement Award from the Wisconsin Library Association, the Silver Pen Award for Literary Excellence, the Pencraft Award for Literary Excellence, and the Eric Hoffer Award In Fiction. Her poem “Light” won runner-up in the 2021 Rosebud Magazine Poetry Prize. In a recent column, Jim Higgins, the books editor of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, listed Giorgio as one of the top 21 Wisconsin writers of the 21st century. Kathie is also the director and founder of AllWriters’ Workplace & Workshop LLC, an international creative writing studio. Visit her website at www.kathiegiorgio.org.

---- Interview by Michelle Cornish

WOW: Hi, Kathie, and congratulations on the release of Hope Always Rises! There are so many amazing messages in this book. Could you share one or two of your favorites and tell readers how the lesson came about (ie. Did you plan it to be part of the book or did it develop organically as you were writing.)?

Kathie: Without a doubt, the biggest message in Hope, and the message that caused me to write the book, is that we need to stop treating people with major depression as criminals. One of the most common things we hear when someone chooses to end their own life is, “I didn’t know he/she was so sad! I thought everything was fine!” That’s because the depressed person who is feeling like they might not want to be alive anymore can’t talk about it. If they do, the reaction is fast and sharp – a trip to the psych ward. Even the language we use, “committed suicide,” makes suicide a crime. There are those who believe that if someone chooses to end their life, they will go straight to Hell, not Heaven. 

The other most common thing we hear when someone chooses to end their own life is, “That’s so selfish. How could they do that?” Instead, we need to be asking about what kind of pain that person must have been in, to consider suicide as a viable option. I definitely planned this as part of the book when I overheard a conversation between two women who were talking about a “friend” who’d recently chosen to end her life. They talked about how awful she was, a monster, what a terrible thing to leave her husband and family behind. I was in a coffee shop, and before I left, I turned to them and said, “Did it ever occur to you to think about what kind of pain your friend must have been in to make this decision? To make it seem viable and the only way out?” And then I left.

I went home and began to write this book.

WOW: And thank you for doing that! This is such a powerful book that includes so many wonderfully descriptive passages, many of which evoke strong emotions. Do you ever feel what your characters are feeling during the storytelling process? If so, how do you keep going through the more emotional or difficult scenes?

Kathie: I think writers are intensely empathetic people, which is what allows us to go into our characters’ lives and describe them as if they were our lives. Yes, I definitely feel what my characters are feeling, and it can be difficult. The best way to write the more difficult scenes is to not do it one sitting. Take a break. Get a cup of coffee. Take the time to write something else entirely different (I often stop writing a novel to write short stories). Maybe don’t write at all. Read. Go for a walk. 

And then get back to it.

WOW: Did you get any interesting reactions from people when they found out you were writing about God and Heaven? Can you share any with us?

Kathie: I get a lot of raised eyebrows when I describe what this book is about, where it’s set, and mention that God is a main character. I just had a reader, who happens to be a lay minister,  email me. She praised the book, said she had to read it all in one day, but she said she struggled a bit with my concept of God. I thanked her, and asked her why she struggled. She said, “He is all living and all caring. You made me see how human he is, that is what the struggle was. It is a good thing.  Helps me be a bit more open-minded, which I need to be.”

I love that.

WOW: It seems like you aren’t shy about writing about challenging or controversial topics. What advice do you have for other writers wanting to take on these kinds of topics?

Kathie: Brace yourself. Criticism is something we all have to deal with as writers, but if you’re writing on a hot topic, that just invites people to yell at you. Some readers have difficulty separating the writer from what’s on the page. They think you are the character. So if you have a character doing something that you would never do, but you want to talk about the issue, you will likely be accused of doing that very thing, or at the very least, agreeing with it. It can be very hard. It’s always amazing to me how some readers immediately think the fiction writer is writing about themselves, but that the memoirist is making the story up. 

But if the topic is important to you, if you really want to be a part of change in this world, buckle down and write it. Everything helps. 

WOW: So true! Certainly nothing will happen by not writing about these topics. I know you don’t believe in writer’s block. I would love to hear more of your thoughts on this. (I know, that’s not easy in the short time we have here!)

Kathie: No, I don’t believe in writer’s block. I believe in writer’s fear, or writers editing themselves so severely, nothing gets done. There was a New Yorker comic years ago, that showed a writer sitting at his typewriter (see how long ago???). All around him were crumbled-up pieces of paper, where he’d started to write something, then ripped it out and threw it away. At the end of the day, the writer said, “I haven’t gotten anything done all day. I must have writer’s block.”

But he didn’t. He just never gave any of his ideas a chance.

Today, we have a delete key which makes it all too easy to just back out of what we were thinking. Don’t. If you find yourself thinking, Well, that’s just stupid, follow it anyway. Often the “stupid” ideas end up being the best. At least two of my books were “Well, that’s stupid,” books. But I didn’t hit delete. I followed the storyline and it grew into something wonderful.

WOW: Many of our readers write on the side. What advice do you have for writing as a career or business (I know, again, a hard question to answer in such a limited space)?

Kathie: First off, throw away the phrase “full time writer.” You don’t have to write 8 hours a day to be full-time – in fact, it’s pretty damn difficult to write for that many hours in a day. Just say you’re a writer. And then write whenever you can. Write during your lunch hour or your coffee break. Write during your commute, if you’re not the one driving! Give up the idea that writing means spending big chunks of time with it. It doesn’t. Grab fifteen minutes here, a half-hour there. Treat writing seriously, treat yourself seriously. And then don’t give up.

WOW: Did you always want to be a writer? What are some of your favorite things about writing as a career?

Kathie: Always. I don’t remember ever not wanting to be a writer. I’m told I used to take carbon paper and trace the pictures out of my picture books and rewrite the story the way I felt it should be written. 

I feel like, because I’m a writer, I’ve experienced so many things without ever leaving my home or my skin. My empathy and my mind’s eye have allowed me to experience the lives of thousands of characters, all lives different than my own. Most people, when they grow up, give up pretending and imagination. A writer doesn’t. We are always playing, even if our games become more serious as we get older. 

Writing has given me a rich life. I’m grateful for that.

WOW: Thank you so much, Kathie! It's been fun getting to know you and your book. Here at WOW! Women on Writing, we wish you all the best with Hope Always Rises and your continuing author career.

---- Blog Tour Calendar

April 24th @ The Muffin
Join us as we celebrate the blog tour launch of Hope Always Rises by Kathie Giorgio. You'll have the chance to read an interview with the author and win a copy of the book.

April 26th @ Lisa Haselton's Reviews and Interviews
Stop by to read Lisa's interview with Kathie Giorgio.

April 27th @ A Storybook World
Join Deirdra as she features Hope Always Rises.

April 29th @ The Faerie Review
Join Lily as she shares a spotlight of Hope Always Rises.

April 30th @ Madeline Sharples' Blog
Stop by Madeline's blog to read a guest post from Kathie about selling 14 books to traditional presses in 13 years. 

May 1st @ The Mommies Reviews
Join Glenda as she reviews Hope Always Rises. 

May 3rd @ Michelle Cornish's blog
Read Michelle's interview with Kathie Giorgio.

May 5th @ The Mommies Reviews
Join Glenda as she shares a guest post from the author about balancing a writing career and raising children.

May 6th @ World of My Imagination
Stop by Nicole's blog where Kathie Giorgio is a guest for "Three Things on a Saturday Night."

May 8th @ Mindy McGinnis’s blog
Stop by Mindy’s blog to read a guest post about writing the hard stuff.

May 10th @ Create Write Now
Stop by Create Write Now to read a guest post by Kathie about having your books banned. 

May 13th @ Boots, Shoes, and Fashion
Join Linda as she interviews author Kathie Giorgio.

May 15th @ Life According to Jamie
Join us as Jamie reviews Hope Always Rises.

May 16th @ Michelle Cornish's blog
Stop by to read a guest post about how and why Kathie is both a plotter and a pantser.

May 18th @ Freeing the Butterfly
Read a guest post from Kathie Giorgio about dealing with depression.

May 19th @ Nikkie's Book Reviews
Stop by Nicole's blog to read her review of Hope Always Rises.

May 20th @ Freeing the Butterfly
Check out Michelle's review of Hope Always Rises.

***** BOOK GIVEAWAY *****

Enter to win a copy of Hope Always Rises by Kathie Giorgio! Fill out the Rafflecopter form by May 7th at 11:59 CT for a chance to win. We will choose a winner randomly the next day and follow up via email. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Angela Mackintosh said...

Wonderful interview! Thank you so much for writing this book, Kathie. I actually teared up just reading your synopsis! I have to read your book. Being able to talk about suicide is an important issue for me. I wrote an essay about it here. I still remember one of my Sunday school teachers at my mom's funeral, standing over me while I sat, saying it's too bad my mom wasn't going to heaven because she committed suicide. I was thirteen, and couldn't believe that was the view of the church. That wasn't my view since my mom was very religious, and she was also from Okinawa, where suicide has a different cultural view and it isn't as stigmatized. I admire you for tackling this topic in such a creative and powerful way. :) Best of luck on your tour! It looks like a great one.

Kathie Giorgio said...

Thank you for commenting, Angela, and I'm so sorry you had that experience. What an awful thing to say to a child, and what an awful thing to say to anyone who has lost someone who chose to end their life. I hope you do read the book. I do talk about this belief in it.

rockinbookrevews4u@gmaik.com said...

This sounds like an interesting, much-needed book.

Kathie Giorgio said...

Thank you!

Heather Swanson said...

Perfect for summer veranda reading

kywave said...

Interesting take on a non purgatory status for suicide

Kathie Giorgio said...

Heather Swanson - or the porch or the beach or the hammock or in bed...

Kathie Giorgio said...

kywave - no purgatory and no hell in my vision. In an earlier novel, Rise From The River, there is no limbo either.

Linda Fast said...

The books sounds really interesting and a heart breaker.

Andrea said...

True about 'writers fear' and editing yourself. You hear so much about writers block, but I bet editing yourself while writing is so common and can be just as frustrating.

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