Elizabeth Walker is represented by Pump Up Your Book Promotion, an innovative public relations agency specializing in online book promotion.
Elizabeth Walker calls her memoir, The Tablet of My Heart, a journal of loss, abuse, and healing. “It begins in the heart and mind of a six-year-old girl facing the reality of death as her father battles with a fatal illness,” she says. “During the most devastating stage of his illness, a friend of her uncle’s begins sexually molesting her.”
The Tablet of My Heart is the journal of that little girl. In it she writes about the hardships along with poetic entries that lead the reader through her father’s death, an extended battle with sexual abuse and her mother’s refusal to acknowledge the abuse as she remarries and has children with the perpetrator.
We interviewed Elizabeth to find out more about this compelling memoir and to learn a little more about Elizabeth’s publishing journey.
Thank you for this interview, Elizabeth. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
I have been writing since I was a little girl, which is where the majority of the poetry in The Tablet of My Heart came from. I am a former victim of child abuse, and while that certainly does not define me (please take particular notice of the word former) it has a lot to do with my growing involvement in the fight against child abuse, and a lot to do with why I view writing (and art) as a counselor of sorts. I love to write when creativity starts tickling my fingertips – but there was a time when writing was my closest friend and had an important role in carrying me through the most difficult times in my life. Writing, believe it or not, helped me find victory over victimization.
Do you write full-time?
Well, no. At least not to make a living, but I write all the time. Almost every day in fact… just because it suits me. It’s like visiting a friend.
At what point in your life did you make up your mind you were going to become a published author?
I knew from the time that I was nine or ten that I wanted to be a published author one day, but the reality of putting together a complete manuscript and getting the process in motion did not really come to fruition until about two years ago.
Can you tell us a little about your latest book?
I’d love to! As a matter of fact the most difficult thing about talking to people about The Tablet of My Heart is that I want to tell everything about the book. I’ll try to be brief. The Tablet of My Heart is the story of the abuse and, more importantly the victory over victimization of a little girl who found herself in a whirlwind of loss, abuse, and neglect at the very vulnerable age of eight-years-old. While the foundation of the book is built from poetic excerpts from the journal that she kept during years of abuse that were endured, the excerpts are narrated so that it reads like a story rather than a journal or book of poetry. That little girl was me.
Why did you feel a need to write it?
My children were the inspiration behind this book. While I had always planned to publish, I never would have dreamed that the first book I published would have been about my childhood abuse. My sons were dealing with a great loss, as was I, at the absence of their father who was enveloped in a cocaine addiction. His addiction ended our marriage and caused a great emptiness where his relationship with his sons was concerned. I knew there would be no telling them that this pain would not last forever, so I decided instead to show them. I started sharing my childhood journal with them so that they could see the pain that I once experienced and then see how I moved beyond it. They were responding. Then, it just snowballed. I thought, what better way could there be to show them how to heal, then to lead them to help others in their healing. That is when I decided to publish the journal and give of the proceeds to a foundation that helps abused children: Childhelp USA.
What message are you trying to convey with this book?
The publication of this particular story is very liberating for me because it is pieces of a journal that I kept as a child that were the very secrets that bound me and kept me from happiness for years. Telling those secrets loud enough for the whole world to hear is empowering because I believe with my whole heart that it will empower other victims, that it will educate concerned people, and that it will encourage healing by revealing the shame of victimization as a farce created by the abuser. Of course, counselors tell victims this all the time… to people who have reported it. Unfortunately, statistics tell us that over 30% of victims never report. The Tablet of My Heart is encouragement to do just that. It is honest about the fears and true life consequences of telling, it is honest about the difficulties in healing from and coming to terms with abuse, and it is honest about the freedom from the secret, and how that freedom alone outweighs both fear and consequence, from the lips (or pen) of a victim herself who overcame.
How do you deal with rejection?
Plainly, I didn’t. Not with publishers any way. I self published. I figured – heck, I’m not writing this to be on a best seller list, I am writing this to make a contribution. I didn’t want to wait, with my manuscript in a pile, to be able to make my mark. Where I have dealt with rejection is in trying to get my book into the hands of influential people, which has surprised me somewhat. How I deal with the rejection for reviews and interviews because of not having an agent or major publisher to endorse me is by reminding myself that, though I get frustrated at times, ultimately my goal has been reached. I have not just preached healing, I have illustrated it. Since the publication of this book my sons have earned incredible insight into the ability that people have (even when they think they are weak) to fight against circumstance. They have begun to demonstrate genuine compassion towards others, and they see me as a person who has had experiences beyond theirs, and they trust me with their feelings more. Beyond that, four people so far have come to me in thanks for my story – and shared a secret with me that they had not ever formally reported. This is going in exactly the direction it was meant to and I feel honored to reach out so dramatically – even if to only a few.
Do you have a website? Do you manage it yourself or do you have someone run it for you?
I do have a website: www.Tabletofmyheart.net. One of my big brothers manages it for me. He’s been incredibly helpful and encouraging.
Thank you for this interview, Elizabeth. Do you have any final words you’d like to share with my readers?
I would just remind everyone never to lie down and let circumstance have you. You’re stronger than you think you are. I’ll close with a quote from the book, “…although a heavy rain can bring destruction, it’s on a watered path new growth is found…”