Winner of Benjamin Franklin Award silver medal from the Independent Book Publishers Association and Indie Book Awards finalist medals in both memoir and women’s issues. The Benjamin Franklin Award is regarded as one of the highest national honors in small and independent publishing.
What is it like to spend 11 years of your young womanhood in the convent? Why would you feel you had to leave in order to save your soul?
Karen Leahy takes you along on her life-changing journey, through her heady first years on the outside, through triumph and heartbreak, to the surprising turns in her search for authenticity, intimacy and meaning. It is at once a spiritual journey and a very human one.
“It’s beautiful. A work of art, all of it.”
“A terrific book! Completely fascinating and engaging!”
Behind the Book
When you’re swept along in the first excitement of writing a book—gathering memories from the dusty corners of your brain, getting a good idea in the middle of the night, bringing people who have been important to you back into your emotional life—it’s all good, and exciting.
But the day comes when you have to decide: is this just a fun thing for me to do, or will I actually publish it? For me, that step took several years while I argued with myself about whether anyone else would really care about my life story. I walked all around it, deciding yes, then no, then just wanting not to think about it for awhile. Putting a book you’ve written out into the world is a bold gesture—almost embarrassingly bold, especially if you’re 72 and this is your first book! I wouldn’t have had the courage to do it if it hadn’t been for the many friends this book has gathered during its long gestation, friends who got excited about it, who said, “You must get this book out!”
And then you start to worry about whether you’ve been fair to the real people who are depicted. Even though you’ve changed their names and proclaimed in the beginning of the book that you know your memory won’t be reliable, you worry, and even warn some it’s coming. Then all you can do is take a deep breath and proceed. It’s your story, after all.
“There is hardly anything more sacred than when a human being tells his or her story, and that’s especially true when it is told beautifully, thoughtfully and with a deep sense of honesty. That’s how I felt after reading Karen Leahy’s book. Engaging. Liberating. Forthright. This book will have you turning page after page, while at the same time moving you more deeply into your own journey of faith. I loved it. More importantly, I experienced a deep sense of gratitude for her courageous storytelling.”
R. Scott Colglazier, Senior Minister
First Congregational Church of Los Angeles
As you’ll see from the sample on the Excerpts page, between that first good idea and publication, you rewrite and rewrite and edit and then change some more, making connections between chapters, rearranging, finding better ways to explain something, digging deep for emotional truth, cutting, rearranging, retitling—and finally a more experienced writer-friend reminds you that a book is never really finished. You just decide one day that it’s time to cut bait and let it go.
So here it is. I welcome your comments.
With warm best wishes,