Monday, October 26, 2015

#MMBBR: Showcase with review: Beautiful Affliction: A Memoir by Lene Fogelberg @LeneFogelberg

Lene Fogelberg is dying—she is sure of it—but no doctor in Sweden, her home country, believes her. Love stories enfold her, with her husband, her two precious daughters, her enchanting surroundings, but the question she has carried in her heart since childhood—Will I die young?—is threatening all she holds dear, even her sanity. When her young family moves to the US, an answer, a diagnosis, is finally found: she is in the last stages of a fatal congenital heart disease. But is it too late? 
Unflinchingly honest and often harrowing, Beautiful Affliction is an inspiring account of growing up and living on the verge of death―and of the beauty, harshness, loneliness, and, ultimately, unbending love that can be found there.

Lene Fogelberg

About Lene Fogelberg

Growing up in a small town on the Swedish West Coast, Lene Fogelbergdeveloped a love of poetry and reading, nurtured by the enchanting surroundings of her childhood; deep woods, fields, and ocean.
Always curious, Fogelberg has embraced opportunities to study and live abroad, in France, Germany and the USA. Shortly after moving to the US it was discovered, by luck of circumstances, that she was in the last stages of a fatal congenital heart disease. Within weeks she underwent two life-saving open-heart surgeries and began the long battle of recovery. Now she is well and grateful for every day with her husband and two daughters. She is currently living in Jakarta, Indonesia.
An award-winning poet in Sweden, Fogelberg has always felt drawn to writing in English and switched language when writing the memoir Beautiful Affliction, published by She Writes Press, September 2015.
Fogelberg is now working on a novel taking place in Jakarta.

Wow, just wow!  There are times when a memoir totally moves you and Beautiful Affliction was one of those times when I was moved so deeply.  It such a honestly written story that causes the reader to think about ones life in a grander way.  It also makes one think about their own struggles, heart breaks and hard times in a different way.  I applaud Fogelberg for writing this memoir and sharing her story with us.  I am so pleased that I was able to read this book and think it will resonate with all readers that wants to re inspired to live life to the fullest at every moment in life! 
5.0 stars

Q.  What inspires your writing?

A. I am inspired by a lot of things: nature, people, something I read or overhear, music, art, movies and poetry. I think I am always "collecting" while I'm taking in the world around me. Sometimes I can really feel like something is falling into place inside me, like a piece I have been missing without knowing it. I am also inspired by injustice, secrets, pain, especially when it is something I feel is falling between the cracks, something generally overlooked. Then I feel a need to write about it.

Q.  What is your favorite thing about being a writer?

A. My favorite thing about being a writer is that I can start writing as soon as I wake up, and continue the day in my own pace. I have breakfast while I write, and I go to the gym, while thinking about how to continue the story. I often notice that exercise triggers ideas, so I try to go for a walk, or go to the gym when I feel stuck. I write some more, take a shower, and write some more until my girls come home from school. During the afternoons and evenings I like to be there for my family.

Q.  What is the toughest part of being a writer?

A. It can get a bit lonely at times, and it takes a great deal of discipline, but I love it all the same. I love the feeling of having a brand new idea, and also the feeling of having it written down, it is incredibly rewarding. I also love to read, and it is wonderful to have a job where reading is included!

Q.  If you could not be writer, what would you do/be?

A. I would be an artist. I used to paint big paintings, and I even sold some through a gallery in Sweden, but eventually, as my undiagnosed heart disease progressed, I didn't even have the strength to hold the paintbrush to the canvas. It sounds crazy, but that is how weak I was, before my congenital heart disease was discovered.

Q.  What is your favorite book of all time?

A. It is pretty crowded on the first place of my list, but a few of them are: The Book Thief by Markus Zusak, Life of Pi by Yann Martel, Intruder in the Dust by William Faulkner, and everything by Swedish poet Tomas Tranströmer.

Q.  Which character from ANY book are you most like?

A.  Perhaps Liesel Meminger in The Book Thief. My mother has often told me that when I was little I would continue to read no matter what happened. She watched me being overrun by a baby stroller pushed by my older sister, but I didn't even take my eyes from the book I was "reading". I was three years old.

Q.  Which book would you love to take a weekend vacation inside of?

A. Pride and Prejudice, or really any book by Jane Austen. I would absolutely love to go to one of those balls and wear a beautiful gown and dance all night!

Q.  What is your favorite season?

A. I have always loved summer, since I am always cold during the other seasons. Here in Indonesia it's perfect for me, well, truth be told it is often a little too hot.

Q.  What inspired your book cover?

A. My publisher and the cover designer did a great job with the cover of Beautiful Affliction. I was a little shocked initially, but now I love it. I think it captures my story perfectly, with the paper heart mended by needles and the stitches in the mannequin. I love the occasional letters in italics, symbolizing that something is off, like an irregular heartbeat. The random letters in italics were picked up by the interior designer and continue inside the book in a genius way, which I love.

Q.  Tell me something funny that happened while promoting your book.

A. I had a very funny episode on Facebook. Beautiful Affliction had just been released and an acquaintance did a shout-out that went something like this: "This is a book for all you ladies out there..." My friend really got me laughing since I feel both women and men can read my book and enjoy it. But it didn't stop there, in a comment he wrote that he would order the book for his mother! He did, and a week later he wrote another comment that his mother loved it! He ended up writing a glowing review on Amazon on behalf of his mother! I was really happy and he gave me some good laughs, since not once did it seem to cross his mind to pick up the book for himself!

Q.  Are you working on something new?

A. Yes, I am working on a novel, taking place here in Jakarta. It is a hilarious and heart-breaking story where I mix East and West, and ancient myths of Java with modern, urban life in Jakarta. The first draft is nearly finished.

Q.  Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?

A.  Take care everyone and thank you for stopping by to read my interview, I am truly honored to be here, thank you Emily for having me!


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