My Crazy Big News

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Two things I knew with absolute certainty.
First, I was falling apart...
the brother I'd relied on so heavily had vanished.
And second, there would never come a moment
when I'd understand why I'd been set on this journey.

Those are the opening words on the back cover of my upcoming book release.
I know, I know! Crazy, right? Never did I imagine I would have the opportunity to publish a book...but there it is.
My big secret...finally out in the open.
Now you know why I've been absent in the blogging community (which I've missed like crazy, by the way). I signed a book contract just three weeks after I started blogging, so I feel I've never really had the time to focus on making Kristina J. what I wanted it to be. Interacting with all of you quickly became my favorite thing about blogging, and writing this book seriously cut into my social blogging time!

(My brother, Nathaniel and me, 1998)

Those of you who've been with me from the beginning already know my eighteen year old brother drowned when I was a teenager. In the summer of 2009, I wrote out the emotional guts of my story...after Nathaniel died, I disappeared into silence and I wanted to explain, to have something tangible to hand to my parents, and then to my children in the hope they might one day understand the part of me they've never known.
I never planned on getting my manuscript published. When I was contacted by an admissions editor at a publishing house, I walked forward with a lot of trepidation. I had written it for me and my family as a way to process what I'd experienced, to get those emotions out of my head, and the details seemed too personal. I didn't try to white-wash the emotional fallout of those years following Nathaniel's death, so it's written in a way that's really candid and transparent. Even now, the thought of people reading about the half-lit years of my life makes me feel completely vulnerable.

My book is not a self-help book. It isn't me saying, "I've experienced grief and this is how you deal with it."
It's a narrative account of my struggle to redefine normal in the aftermath of tragic circumstances.
I know my brother's death wasn't the most noble or tragic in the rest of the world, his exit from human existence was unremarkable. But for me, no other death could have so abruptly altered my life.

I've spent the past seven months working with an editor to fill in details that I didn't originally include in the first draft, to sort of flesh out the narrative a bit, and as of a few weeks ago, I completed the final draft of my manuscript which is currently being typeset. I've been sneaking you little excerpts from my book for a couple months now, and if you read this blog, you've read more of my book than what's included on the official After Nathaniel website!

Change is an inevitable part of life, bringing bright skies one day and dark storms the next. Life can be comfortable, and then, without warning, tilt to a place that is completely unrecognizable. This blog is evidence that my life is in a pretty comfortable place right now. I feel free to design a space that is beautiful just for the sake of beauty--to learn. But that pure, white-hot freedom--that absolute comfort we feel when life is as it should be is what makes the pain of the unforeseen so awful. This book is my story--of a time before life was compounded by tragedy and of what came after....


  1. WOW those are HUGE news. Congrats on the book. I didn't know about you loosing a brother. I'm very sorry I know this is very tough and almost impossible to get over. I also lost my oldest brother when he was 25 to HIV and some days is hard not to be mad about why things like this have to happen and how unfair sometimes life is.

    I would love to read your book and as someone who has gone through similar circumstances I would like to know how you have manage to go through this. I know how hard and sad this is. Writing about it, it's a beautiful tribute to your brother and of course, a soul healer.

  2. I was going through a box of "treasures" the other day...and stumbled upon the journal I kept while we were in Ukraine...and the sweet notes from you and Nathaniel...along with the other members of the team. I'm so glad I kept them and I sat there for a while and remembered our times together.

    I'm so glad you're able to share this experience. I believe that it will really make a difference in the lives of many people.

    Love and Blessings,
    Your friend from long ago...
    diana d.

  3. Wow, Kristina! This is incredible! You are one amazing woman! It takes courage to publish what has been on your heart. So happy for you and excited!


  4. Reading this blog has made me cry Kristina. I am very sorry for your family's lost and for the pain it has caused you. But I am so very happy that you have decided to be as vulnerable as possible and put it out there. I thing the one thing to keep in mind is that there will be people out there who will one day read your book and feel alive again, because I am sure that you will be providing for these people those words that they were not able to share.

  5. Congratulations! I'm sure your story will be able to help many people, I'm so glad you've been given this opportunity to share this story!

  6. Congrats on your book!! You've got a natural gift for writing. I'm sure your story will help lots of people.

  7. Congratulations on your book!
    Writing about something so painfully personal is extremely difficult.
    Well done!

  8. Sharon Shirley (Makcen)June 22, 2011 at 6:02 AM

    Dear Kristina:
    The tears are certainly flowing this morning as I read your news and so proud of you for all that the Lord has done in your life and the way He is using you. The memories flooding me now are amazing. I know the Lord has been your strength and look forward to reading your book with my box of kleenex nearby. Love you and your family so much and you are always in my prayers.

  9. What awesome news, about your book!! You are an amazing writer, just from reading your blog, something that seems to come naturally :)

  10. Very cool! I look forward to reading it. I have enjoyed your prose on your blog so I'm sure your book is very well written.

  11. Thank you for sharing and for being willing to be vulnerable. My brother was killed four years ago in circumstances that I still struggle with. I grieve with you blog friend and am eager to read the book that you have written. Perhaps, some day I will do the same.
    May God meet you in your grief and may His presence comfort you and strengthen you.

  12. This is amazing!!! Congratulations!!! :)

  13. Congratulations! I am so happy for you and can't wait to pick up your book!(:

  14. congratulations! i am sure the book will be as beautiful as you are.

  15. Kristina J. - I am blown away by your news! This is an amazing and lasting contribution you're making to the lives of every person that reads your penned pages. I thank you for commenting on my Blog and for so encouraging this writer - I am in debt to you for one amazing smile that you've handed me today. Encouragement when I needed it most? Yep. I found that here. I can't wait to read 'After Nathaniel' and smile again. <><

  16. Kristina, what a huge accomplishment! I have so enjoyed reading your blog. I admire your strength and love seeing how God is working in and through you! Looking forward to reading your book.

  17. this is such amazing news. i've always dreamt of getting published - what an accomplishment. how incredibly brave and honest of you to open yourself up to the public in such a personal way. i wish you the best, and i will definitely pick up a copy once it's published.

  18. This is such a tragic story. The sadness of it is overwhelming.
    The way you write about it and your journey after it though is an inspiration of strength and hope.
    I'm sure your book will be wonderful.

  19. This is amazing. I love reading and plan to read it!!! Congratulations! I've been writing a book for 4 years and now this encourages me to work on it again (only typed 53 pages and wasn't halfway though). I look forward to reading more about what you went through in the loss of your precious brother.

  20. Wow. I came across your blog on Anthroholic. I recently lost my older brother who was named Nathaniel too. I would love to read your book. I'm sorry for your loss, it was only a year and a half ago for me, but it still feels like yesterday.

  21. Congratulations Kristina! You are one remarkable and multi talented lady...and so inspirational!


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