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

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