Twentyone Olive Trees by Laura Formentini will be making it’s debut on January 11, 2022. We’re excited to be helping with this publishing project and can’t wait to share all of the details with you. This is one book you don’t want to miss! Today, we’re bringing you a behind the scenes look at Twentyone Olive Trees through an interview with the author.
About Laura Formentini
Laura Formentini is an author, nonprofit photographer, and activist who has worked with countless NGOs from around the world and seemingly ordinary people who have accomplished the extraordinary. Two years ago, her journey hit a major turning point when she received word that her 21-year-old son had taken his life on the other side of the world while she was in Ethiopia working on one of her books.
Please tell us a little about Twentyone Olive Trees.
While arrangements were being made for my flight home to Denver from Addis Ababa, a stranger named Assefa stayed by my side that whole day and held my hand the entire time. When I thanked him for his kindness, he wanted no thanks. He told me that taking care of me was simply his “human responsibility.” His selfless act helped a light appear during my darkest hour, and stayed with me during that terrible journey home, and long afterward.
Assefa’s act of kindness toward me was one of the things that prompted me to write my upcoming book, TWENTYONE OLIVE TREES: A MOTHER’S WALK THROUGH THE GRIEF OF SUICIDE TO HOPE AND HEALING. A fanciful chronicle of my personal pilgrimage of healing and transformation told through poetry and fables, the book is a gift to my son and fellow empaths.
Why did you write the book?
Because I found it extremely cathartic to express my feelings on paper. Letting out all the pain in the form of poetry, notes, and eventually fables helped me to heal. It wasn’t my initial intention to write a book. I just wanted to heal myself somehow. And I was going through all of that during the beginning of the pandemic. When people started telling me that this could potentially be a book, I realized that it could be an opportunity to share my feelings with the rest of the world. The book turned out to be an enormous learning curve about myself and the power we all have to self-heal. It is now my intention to to hold as many hands as I can, just like Assefa held my hand on that day. This book is the friend who sits there with you during your hardest moments, and lets you grieve.
Who is this book for?
For anyone who has gone through any traumatic personal loss, be it death, divorce, natural or man-made disasters. It is my hope that it will act as a balm for those going through their grief and dark moments, as well as to encourage them to believe that healing is always possible. I wrote this book after my son’s passing and during the full-blown Covid pandemic.
What is YOUR favorite part of the book?
The poems, since they are deeply personal, but also because they show my entire process of grieving and finally, of acceptance and healing.
When did you start writing books?
I started writing three and a half years ago, when I was working at an orphanage in Kenya as a fundraiser. The book I had planned to publish was originally on my experience working with the orphans.
How is this book different from other books in your genre or niche?
This is a deeply personal book of acceptance and healing. The other books that I have either written or that I am planning to write are about my experiences working with ordinary people who have beaten all the odds and accomplished the extraordinary.
What challenges did you face writing your book during a pandemic?
It was deeply challenging to write this book. The subject was especially difficult to work with, and there was literally no one, besides my partner, who was there for me because we were in lockdown. However, the lockdown gave me the unique opportunity to forcefully make myself write every day for hours. I saw the positive in this. Had the pandemic not started, I would have probably never been able to sit and write everyday. I had no other choice, and I made the best use of all the time I had.
Do you have any other books? Where can they be found?
I just finished writing another book, “Coming Home”, which I am planning on publishing towards the end of next year, and I am getting ready to write another one, “Sponsored,” in partnership with Plan International. It will be on the positive impact of child sponsorship and I will be interviewing the adults who had been previously sponsored as children in countries such as Bangladesh, India and Nepal.
Where is the best place for readers to connect with you?
My website – www.LauraFormentini.com
Instagram – @authorlauraformentini
Facebook – Author Laura Formentini