Unfinished by Suzanne Gravelle Virtual TourWe’re glad to have you participating in the virtual tour for Unfinished by Suzanne Gravelle. Suzanne has an interesting story about how she tackled a major crisis in her life. Many people have said they would like to pack it all in and hit the road. Suzanne actually did that – she sold her house, left her job, packed her bags and hit the road. Now she wants to share what prompted her to do this and how its working out so far. She’s working on the sequel to Unfinished, which is aptly called Finished.
Welcome to my blog Suzanne. Thank you for taking the time to answer a few questions about your life and your writing. Congratulations on the publication of your book ‘Unfinished’.
I have not read your book but would like you to give my readers and I a little peek into ‘Unfinished’ and what inspired to write this book.
Q. Suzanne, I understand that you have given up everything in your life. Please tell my readers and I what led to this major change your life?
A. It all started two years prior (2007) to my youngest child graduating high school (2009) and I was standing looking at the wood siding on my home. Parts of it were twisting and the closer I looked the more I realized, that soon the whole outside of the house was in need repair and re-staining. It overwhelmed me. Then I got a pen and paper and started to list all the repairs that were looming on this giant house and I no longer wanted to be the one to take care of these things, which was my first indication that I was changing, because in the past I enjoyed almost every aspect of maintaining my home, gardens and property. Then I started thinking about the changes that were going to happen for me, that had no choice but to happen. I got excited about the freedom thoughts I suddenly found myself thinking but these thoughts soon escalated to, "What if I had no home at all? What if I just drove away from everything for a while to think about what it is I really want for my life now that I am done the 30 years of raising children and looking after everything and everyone?" I suddenly saw myself free from property tax, grass to cut, power bills, gardens to maintain etc. Then, once I got this vision in my mind, I could not change it. It became a feeling and I formed an emotional attachment to having no responsibility for what I thought would be a short period of time. I thought, "After my home sells I will go on a short journey, maybe a month or two, take some time off from my career, reflect on my own life and what I want for myself, then go back home, buy a smaller home and resume the conventional life. What I did not count on or know was going to happen, is a stranger walking into my life and the heartbreak that came with this man that ripped my strong, safe world, my vision, and my plans apart. It sent me into the deepest darkest time of my life, and I am fifty! How could that be? It surprisingly consumed my body, mind and soul which I could not stand anyone seeing, especially my children and it propelled me into embarking upon this "Self Imposed Exile," (Chapter one of Unfinished,) this incredible journey of self exploration to heal from this heartache, which in hindsight I can now say was only the catalyst for me to really be able to be alone and find out who I am and who I am supposed to be... (Sounds so cliché.) It is now 18 months later and over 60,000 kilometers, (40,000 miles) and I am still driving. I still have no desire to go back to conventional living, I am not sure I want to stop, or know how to anymore.
Q. What was the most difficult part of your life before to leave behind?
A. If I am reading this properly, the most difficult part to leave behind was the safety net of having a home to retreat into. I do not include my children or grandchildren; they were and are the most difficult parts of being alone. I miss them every day. But I know when I go back I will be the strong woman they know once again.
Q. Has your experience as a single parent been part of your motivation to change?
A. Absolutely! I was exhausted and did not even realize how exhausted I was. There was never any time to dwell on my own life, until my youngest child started gaining independence then I was able to stand back and ask my self...what do I want for me?... in an unselfish way.
Q. What part of these changes made you want to spend so much time on the road?
A. I could not stand being around people in the frame of mind I was in. It was embarrassing to me to suddenly be so consumed by unknown fears and pain and being unable to shake it.
Q. Did you have a career that you left behind also?
A. Yes I did. I was a Realtor and I enjoyed my career. I thought I would be helping people in this way for the rest of my life.
Q. What did your children and grandchildren say when you told them of your decision?
A. They were shocked at first, apprehensive about their own lives and wondered how they were going to be without me around. They were concerned about me being alone going to so many places alone. It actually became a test for them and for me, to ensure they can take care of themselves without me. What if I died? It is not the same but kind of is...I am not there physically day to day to help them make decisions. They have grown so quickly to understand they are so capable. They have passed this test with flying colors, I am so proud of them.
Q. Have you seen your children and grandchildren since you’ve been travelling? If not, how difficult has that part of your life been?
A. I did not see my children or grandchildren for 13 months. It was so incredibly lonesome I wanted to fly home many times. But I knew once I got there I would just want to leave again so I could not go until I was ready and even when I did go, this past summer I was not ready hence why I left again. Plus they have their own lives, work and friends. We keep in such close contact via cell phone, text and Skype that anytime they need me or I need them we get on these devices and it helps a lot.
Q. Please tell us why you wrote a book about your experience?
A. It became apparent to me while speaking with friends, family and strangers that I am doing something so many people only dream about. Plus I am experiencing so many emotions that we all experience and it appears that people are curious about other people’s pain and how they deal with it. After all it makes no difference what has caused our pain, it is our pain and it feels as if no one else could be hurting as much as we are and it helps to read that others suffer too and we can heal, to some degree, or at least learn how to live with the pain that is invisible.
Q. Has the writing of you book ‘Unfinished’ helped in your healing?
A. Yes and No. Writing Unfinished has kept me in the place of despair. It continues to remind me of all the moments in my life that hurt. At the same time it has helped me to work through the confusion of why my life that appeared to anyone looking in, to be so full, why I no longer desired to live the same way anymore and why it suddenly fell apart.
Q. Have there been any Authors in particular that have influenced your writing?
A. Not really. I like detective novels, Agatha Christie was my first influence when I was 10. My daughter and I pass books back and forth and the book club I belonged to in Halifax would open me up to many different authors and styles of writing.
Q. What is the most positive experience in your writing process?
A. That I can share with others that anything you truly desire to have happen for you....can!
Q. As you have been travelling so much have you been able to find a special place where you like to write?
A. I have been blessed to be able to stop at friends and families homes along this journey. And I find corners of their homes to sit and write. They tend to forget I am there, in the nooks I create for myself. I write where ever I am that I get comfortable with. As I do not sit still very well or stay one place for very long I have learned to blend in quickly to get in the zone to write. It was easy to get in the zone to write Unfinished as it was therapy to sit, write, consume myself with my feelings and put it on paper. It would keep my mind and hands occupied at the same time have people around when I needed to be social, which I did not want to do for over a year. One of the strangest places I wrote was last winter in Calgary when I was offered a condo in Calgary that was going to be unoccupied for 100 days, but my friends and family thought I would continue to lose my mind if I went there because it belonged to the object of my affection who broke my heart. But I knew that I needed to go there, surround myself with his stuff to be able to write and heal at the same time. I admit it was a risk and very weird but it worked. I was able to feel the feelings to be able to be raw in my writing and it surrounded me with enough of him without him being there to allow me to heal in my own way. I hope this makes sense.
Q. Where do you stay when on the road?
A. A I answered in my last question, I have been blessed to have many friends and family all across the country but often I do not want to stay with anyone so I drive to a town that I like the name of, find a motel and curl up for a few days until I felt rested enough or strong enough to drive some more. If I stay with friends and family I very quickly get a feel for how long I can stay and when it is time to go. Over the past 18 months I have been writing in quiet corners and become part of the furniture. I know that I am ok doing this because when it comes time for me to leave it has been my decision and we cry when I leave.
Q. How do you deal with the extreme weather in your travels?
A. The weather is always a factor in Canada. Summers are short and winters are long, cold and brutal. I just drove through the Prairies and it was violent hurricane winds, blowing semi tractor trailers and cars off the road. Blowing snow, white out conditions for days! I thought I would eventually drive out of it but it took 3 days of 11 hours each because I had to go so slow. I just trust myself, my truck and I make sure I have enough supplies in my truck should I get stuck somewhere for a few days. I am not afraid of weather. Living on the East Coast of Canada prepares us for most everything mother nature can fling at me.
Q. What other projects are you currently working on or about to start?
A. When I first fell to the floor with my own despair, I picked up a file that had a story I had written for my children in 1996 titled "The Lippy Cats." I came across it one afternoon after I asked the Universe to bring me something to keep my mind and hands occupied until my home sold because at this point I was unable to leave my home to do anything except get groceries which I really had to work myself up to let alone leave the house to go to work, that is how far on the floor I was, I was a puddle. I started to write more adventures of The Lippy Cats and then started researching publishers for children's books. When I contacted my current publisher he told me he does not publish children's books but he suggested I write about the personal journey I am on. Writing my children's books 8 out of 52 of them are written and ready for editing, is all I want to do and I will do that when I get these books done.
B. I am currently working on my second book aptly titled...Finished which will be released in March 2012. I would like to think I am finished with "that" part of my life. It is not just about me and my sorrows, it is about people who have shared their lives and stories with me and stories of people who are a part of my life and how their pains and grief have changed them. Unfortunately I could write about other people pains for ever...the stories are endless. So much sadness and grief but I am happy to say they do provide me with some happy endings. I have started to see a third book happening as I am not finished my journey and I will not be until I get back home....whenever that is.
Q. What kind of activities are funfor you when not writing and travelling?
A. Fun? Well fun has not been a part of me for so long but laughter is slowing starting to come out of me naturally again. While traveling I turn left when most people say to turn right, I want to explore the unknown. When I had a conventional life and a home I took part in many activities. I like to swim and dive and my dive gear (except tanks) travel everywhere with me, I love music and would like to be able to play the guitar and piano better than I do and I will get better. I read almost every day, crossword puzzles, and board games with friends and family. Friendly competition in almost any sport.
Q. Suzanne, can you please give some words of encouragement to women who are experiencing similar feelings as you?
A. Oh my god could I? Yes! Please, please understand whatever it is you are experiencing, if you truly do not want to feel this way anymore or go through whatever it is you're going through day after day, it is important to visualize the life you see for self in a very clear way. Put a picture to the life you desire...add a lot of very precise detail, I say this because I got tired of my vision showing up with missing parts. Write it down, cut out pictures in magazines, paste them up where you will see them often, of where you want to live, the people you want in your life, the places you see yourself going. I cannot express strongly enough how constantly seeing and reinforcement of your goal will eventually get you to exactly where you never thought you would or could get. The goals and dreams I have for myself....I write about in the chapter titled Manifestation in Unfinished because we do have the ability to manifest the life we "truly" desire. More importantly it is the removal of what we do not want. Increase the good to great and remove the bad to no more!
Unfinished is available on Amazon.com and Finished, the second book of the series is available for pre-order on Amazon.com now.
Thank you Suzanne for a very interesting interview. Good luck with your journey in life, your current and future publications that result from your journey.
For more information about Unfinished by Suzanne Gravelle, visit http://www.amazon.com/Unfinished-Suzanne-Gravelle/dp/192700506X and you can follow her journey on her blog – http://ontourwithsuzanne.blogspot.com.About Unfinished
This is a true story of a woman who experienced such a profound awakening that she could no longer live the same way, the same life she was just one week before. She could no longer ignore the woman who was screaming to be set free from the ties that bind her to a life she no longer desired or recognized. The transformation to become the woman
she really wanted to be has propelled her upon the most remarkable self-discovery journey of her life. She sold her home, gave up her career, kissed her children, grandchildren and friend’s good bye, got into her vehicle and just drove away…ALONE. Where was she going? 30,000km later she finds herself in the most unlikely place to try to piece her life together, trying to make sense of the constant feeling of being UNFINISHED. (To order your copy – http://www.amazon.com/Unfinished-Suzanne-Gravelle/dp/192700506X)
About Suzanne Gravelle
Suzanne Gravelle is 49 Years old and has 3 children, 2 grandchildren who live in Nova Scotia. At the time this book goes to print she is single and homeless by choice, still travelling, seeking that place of comfort she will eventually call home.
She spent most of her life living in Nova Scotia but her formidable years aged 10-25, were spent living on Vancouver Island, British Columbia. She resigned as a Real Estate Agent in Nova Scotia, to embark upon this most incredible journey, driving, exploring Canada and writing this book. To read Suzanne’s extended bio, visit http://bookpromotionservices.com/2011/11/10/suzanne-gravelle-bio/
Suzanne’s Links –
Find out where Suzanne is and listen to current interview on 1290 CJBK London, Ontario on Suzanne’s blog….. http://ontourwithsuzanne.blogspot.com.
Suzanne’s own radio program Wednesday mornings 10am EST on http://Blogtalkradio.com/ontourwithsuzanne
Twitter @tourwithsuzanne - http://twitter.com/tourwithsuzanne