Friday, October 19, 2012

Author interview: Caroline Flohr and Heaven's Child

An interview with Caroline Flohr, author of Heaven's Child: a mother's story of tragedy and the enduring strength of family. 

Heartbreaking and heartwarming, Heaven's Child explores the spiritual journey of loss and love. Immersing readers into the raw emotions of a fatal car accident, Caroline Flohr details the many phases she and her family and community moved through on their path to accepting--and embracing--a grievous loss. Flohr challenges the reader to consider death not as the end of the journey but as a beginning. She discusses the power of family, love and faith as related to death and healing; the importance of connecting with family, friends, communities, Nature and the Universe; the significance of our intuition and the synchronicity in our lives; the imprint of our inner strength when faced with adversity; the intersection of choices and accountability; and the celebration of life so lives can expand in the present.

Heaven’s Child is truly a riveting memoir of life and unforgettable testament celebrating the courage of the many, many families who face tragedy every day.

Reader's reactions  and excerpts

“Your strength has been an anchor not only to your family, but to a community much larger than you know.” Dean (retired, Vice principal of Bainbridge High School)
“Heaven’s Child is a lovely heartbreaking and heart lifting tale-- a beautiful expression for your family, friends and strangers alike--all of us human and able to relate to your pain, your curiosity, your passion and your courage…Most days I do take a deep breath in--quiet and still, and feel really lucky to be alive.”Marjo
“You so carefully walk the reader through the valley of grief and the emergence from the darkness, which offers hope and shows how one is changed but can still survive on the other end.  It is an honest book that openly discusses the impact of a sudden death on both the parent and the family...i just need to open my eyes and be more aware of those magic moments.” Katie Fanning
“One thing that continues to resonate with me is how everyone in our life is on loan and to operate on a daily basis with that in mind.  It is so easy to get caught up in the details and the stresses of life and this story is a monumental reminder of staying grounded enough to find the love, compassion, and gratitude in every day.” Rachael

From the Author: Why you wrote the book or what you hope the reader will get out of it?

Like most women my age with five children, my life was busy. Three children from a first marriage and two from a second, I was focused on family and living a quiet life on Bainbridge Island, just a 35-minute ferry ride from downtown Seattle. Nothing could have prepared me for the early morning knock at our front door in August 2004. That morning our lives changed. Unbeknownst to us, eight teens had packed into an SUV and took a midnight joyride on our dark island roads. My 16-year-old twin daughter, Sarah, was dead. No details were given. The coroner called 4 hours later. No one was asked to identify her body.

When five years passed, we knew it was time to release Sarah, that she needed to journey on, that we would be okay, and that now...Sarah lived within each of us, her Light shining bright. It was then that I took pen to paper and began crafting my story from five years of scribbled notes and jottings in journals so that my children who live could walk beside their mother during this epic period of trauma and growth. Heaven’s Child was published in June 2012.

When I read my story, these three universal truths stare back at me:

1. Tragedy is inevitable in our lifetime but our inner strength and resilience are stronger than tragedy. I now know it is how we weave adversity into our lives that allows our lives to expand in the present.
2. I believe that there is significance to my intuition and the synchronicity in my life. Maybe it is the work of a higher power, maybe magical processes. I choose to see and feel that which cannot be explained as God’s presence. More than ever before, I am trying pay attention to life--asking, noticing and responding to the beauty of each day.
3. What I do know for sure now is that death is not the end but a beginning, that what matters in the end are the connections left behind. No matter what we believe, if we can find beauty in death and live with love left behind, our lives will strengthen in ways we never dream possible.

Heaven’s Child is a raw and real story that dares you to open your mind and your heart and inspires you to live life a little differently. I hope the truths of the story will speak to readers comfortably in expected as well as unexpected ways.

Behind the scenes - something of interest that happened while you were writing the book 

I cannot deny the many coincidences--or magical processes as some may which to call them--which have occurred since Sarah’s death. One in particular I’d like to share is the last paragraph of the chapter titled, “Tolo Road,” which is the one chapter narrated in Sarah’s voice.

“Death doesn’t happen instantly. For a little while, you hover around your body, confused. What you want more than anything is to go home, to be safe, to know you’re okay. But my life was over.”

This paragraph seemed to write itself. Today, when I read those four sentences, I am still captivated.

Aabout the author: Born and raised in Seattle, Washington, I spent my childhood summers at our family cabin in the San Juan Islands watching ferries pass, digging for clams, crafting collages with driftwood and shells, and fishing. I graduated from the University of Washington with an engineering degree. With three children from a first marriage, two from a second, and a business designing and building houses and landscapes with my husband, I keep busy.

Although educated as an engineer, I have always been drawn to writing. My brief escapes to quiet places and quickly jotted notes always provided calm and comfort, like spending a few minutes with a close friend, a good listener.

Little did I know that ultimately my writing would be my survival during the most traumatic, harrowing time of my life, the death of my daughter, Sarah, a 16-year old twin.
Today I live full-time with my family on Bainbridge Island, Washington, in Puget Sound watching the ferries pass to and from downtown Seattle. I claim inspiration from combing the beach for sea glass and treasures, running the island’s trails with my yellow lab, tending my perennial garden, skiing in the Cascade Mountains, reading good literature, traveling, biking and hiking, tennis, and writing.  Besides exploring the intersection of religion and science, I have begun work on a second story, part memoir and part fiction based on my high school years at a boarding school in Southern California. 

Just in…I am thrilled to be a featured author at Seattle University’s “Search For Meaning” conference in March 2013!

Author's blog, website and other links : and

Friday, October 12, 2012

#kindleFree #freebook Available for download: A child lost in flight

"A Child lost in flight" is available for #free #download to #kindle this weekend Friday 12th Oct to Sunday 14th Oct
UK Amazon:

Recent Amazon review

Poignant and touching, October 11, 2012 By Author Way Limited 
This review is from: A Child Lost in Flight : Moving on after tragedy on Flight 229 (Kindle Edition)
I found this a difficult book to read and by that I mean no criticism. Far from it, it was beautifully written and came straight from the heart describing the actions and emotions of a grieving father, trying to find some answers following the untimely loss of his child. It is impossible to digest such raw emotion without sharing a small piece of the despair he endured. Poignant and touching.
Mohan K's search for truth raises some serious questions about airline procedures and aviation safety.

4.0 out of 5 stars A Tragic Tale, October 10, 2012
By  J. Kong "Galaxy Rider" (REAL NAME)  
This review is from: A Child Lost in Flight : Moving on after tragedy on Flight 229 (Kindle Edition)
A Child Lost in Flight written by Mohan K. is about the worst tragedy an individual could ever experience. The loss of a child is like losing a part of yourself, a part of your soul. That void can never be refilled, no matter how many children you have, or how long you live. However, if given the time to grieve properly, then the pain would lessen.

This grieving period is not the same for everyone, nor do we grieve alike. Each person must find their own path to inner peace. For some it would take a few months before they could move onward, for others a few years. Eventually one learns to live with the loss and move forward.

A Child Lost in Flight is about the loss of Mohan's firstborn child and the path he was thrown onto in search of inner peace. This story engages the reader from the beginning. Any parent with a sympathetic heart would be touched by this incident. How can they not be? We have all flown with small children. It could happen to anyone.

I, myself, have three children, and children are my weakness. Normally, I stay away from stories with sad plots that involve children. They give me nightmares and haunt me for several days. For this reason only, I give this book four stars. DO NOT allow my personal feelings keep you from reading `A Child Lost in Flight'. I feel EVERYONE SHOULD READ this book. Knowledge is power. And this book opens your eyes to many things that we take for granted on a daily basis.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Overcoming a Parent’s Worst Nightmare

Bereaved mother offers tips on her most important Life Lesson

Perhaps the worst thing that can happen to a parent is experiencing the loss of a child. However, as one mother shares, it’s possible to turn one’s devastation into spiritual enlightenment and to weave the tragedy into the fabric of your life and your family.

“I don’t think any parent ever gets over the loss of a child,” says Caroline Flohr, whose memoir “Heaven’s Child,” (, recounts the transformative death of her 16-year-old twin daughter, Sarah.
“Through the web of pain, I have been amazed by the power of family, love and faith in healing. I have learned that death defines not the end of the journey, but a beginning.”
Flohr reviews some of the milestones in her journey to inner peace:
  • Deeper meaning: Through the death of someone so important, you will be changed. The question is how you will be changed. Will you grow, or become diminished? Flohr grew with the realization that death – so often viewed as an end – is just the beginning of another phase of existence. “One of my favorite quotes is from poet Rabindranath Tagore: “Death is not extinguishing the light. It is putting out the lamp because dawn has come.”
  • Celebrate life: When the bereaved are able to look at the life of a person who has passed and see more beauty than pain, they should rejoice. The reality of a person’s absence will always have an element of sadness, but the joy of  wonderful memories is even more powerful. When loved ones leave this Earth, graces are given to those relationships left behind. These are gifts. When we can acknowledge them, our lives can expand in the present.
  • Ready for anything: Once you’ve experienced the worst and pulled through, you know you will be able to weather just about any adversity. Maya Angelou wrote, ‘“You may encounter many defeats, but you must not be defeated. In fact, it may be necessary to encounter the defeats, so you can know who you are, what you can rise from, how you can still come out of it.” Have faith in that inner strength we all harbor, Flohr says.
  • Appreciate what you have: Life as we know it will come to an end. This includes everyone we know, love and care about; it’s a fact that we often forget, and it’s as startling to remember as it is true. Come good or bad, we do not know what the future will bring, which means we should take every opportunity to fully embrace the present, and our loved ones.

About Caroline Flohr: Caroline Flohr was a busy wife and mother to five children when her 16-year-old twin daughter, Sarah, was killed in an accident. She was forced to dig into the deeper meaning of existence and came away with profound edification. Flohr lives with her husband and children on Bainbridge Island, a suburb of Seattle.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Should Authors Respond to Critical Reviews? Yes

It has been a few months since my book “a child lost in flight” was published. The book has been steadily gathering reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. As any writer would, I have been reflecting on the reviews, especially the critical ones. The reviews seem to fall into a few broad categories.
Favorable Reviews
Review category 1: OMG, yet another book on grief and death. These reviews generally start by reviewer feeling sorry for my circumstance, and ends thanking me for the “happy ending”
My response: To this my response would be “thank you for sharing my journey”
Review Category 2: Accidental reviewer. Reader generally is not sure why they picked up a book on death and grief – perhaps motivated by a blog post or other reviews. They too generally end with a “thanks for the happy ending”
My response: To this again my response would be “thank you for sharing my journey”

Neutral Reviews
Review category 3: It was a fast read. In this review, the reader generally begins thanking me for the narrative without being verbose.
My response: In the book, I could have delved a bit more into the gory details of my experience. I realize I kept the narrative intentionally short.  Wonder if expanding the book from 60 to over 100 pages would leave the reader more “satisfied”?

Critical Reviews
I appreciate the fact that some reviewers have taken the time to be critical about this work. And even while being critical, they have taken pains to point out the critique is about my narrative and not about my experience or the ordeal I went through.
Review category 4: The book was focused on me (the author), my grief and how I tried moving on. It did not highlight how others around me reacted and felt.   
My response: This is right. My original intent was to focus on highlighting “my” story, my viewpoint and perhaps my grief and moving on. Even Suja, my wife, who kindly agreed to proof read it remarked how I had completely omitted her perspective and viewpoint from the narrative. After all, weren’t we in the journey together?

Review category 5: Book feels a bit unfinished. Perhaps could do with some editorial help. The narrative has a ‘blog like’ feel to it.
My response: absolutely right. I would love for a publisher to assign a good editor to work with me and help me make the narrative more readable. My guess is that the genera – story of grief and death – perhaps doesn’t have a mass market. Even folks who might read fiction about death or paranormal might shy off a real-life story of grief and redemption. If there is no market for such book, it is unlikely that a publisher will ‘invest’ in the book.

Bottomline: A heartfelt thanks to all reviewers. Please keep the reviews coming. At some point, I may revisit the book and ad a few more details. And make sure the flow and narrative reads better.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Book Reviews by Courtney Bauman: A child lost in flight

Book Review by Courtney Bauman

It was one of the saddest books I have read in a while. It is a non-fiction memoir about the loss of a child. It is very heartfelt and touching, and I am sure it will hit home to all young parents who worry about their newborns. While, hopefully, the occurrences in the story will not happen to them, having a newborn child always leaves parents with a small sense of paranoia with everything they do.

This book was very well written. It was short – only 60 pages but took you basically through hell and back. Overall, it is a story about recovering from a terrible tragedy, and while time may heal some wounds, you need support from friends, family, and sometimes religion to be able to heal enough to move on with your life. This story is very inspirational, and reminds you not to take the simple things in life for granted.

Overall, this book receives a 5/5 for me. It was very well written, and I was hooked from the first page. I needed to know what was going to happen.  I encourage everyone to pick up this book. It is very short and inexpensive, and the struggle that Mohan and his wife went through needs to be brought to light. You will not regret this purchase.

Thanks for the review Courtney

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

#BookChat A Child Lost in Flight by Mohan K. #memoir

Rachelle Ayala, author, blogger and top reviewer has kindly featured "A child lost in Flight" on her blog today (3rd October)

"Mohan, as a parent who has lost a child I can totally empathize with the tragedy that happened to you. You are indeed brave and inspiring to write about such a painful subject. I do look forward to reading your memoir. Thanks for sharing it with us. -Rachelle"

Thanks for the opportunity and kind words Rachelle!