Tag Archives: Kevin Quirk

The Memoir "Finding Jill" Will Make Your Jaw Drop and Your Heart Open to Possibilities of Healing After A Devastating Loss

Imagine the unimaginable. You are living a great adventure in the beautiful country of Italy with your husband and two young children. Your mother, sister and niece fly out for an extended visit, and you excitedly map out the grand tour, showing them exotic and historic places and eating delicious Italian food. And then as you’re driving from Venice to Florence, a semi crosses the median and strikes your minivan head-on…and when you wake up in the hospital, barely alive, you are told that the five people you loved most are gone.

That’s what happened to Jill Kraft Thompson ten years ago in Italy. At first, she didn’t see any possible way that she could live without her husband, her two “angels” that were her sons, her mother and her niece. Once she even attempted suicide so she could go be with her loved ones in heaven. Then, aided by an Italian Sister, a grief specialist counselor, devoted friends and family, and her own deep soul-searching, she found her will to live. She discovered that while she will never forget her loved ones who have passed on, she could renew her faith and find room in her heart to live, and even to love again. “Finding Jill” is the memoir that tells her story:


Jill recently hosted a book launch and signing and was interviewed by a Boise TV station. She shares how she keeps a vital presence of her love for those who have passed away. Remarried with a 4-year-old son today, her wedding ring has the birthstones of her husband and two sons who died ten years ago:


If you or anyone you know has suffered an unbearable loss and seeks encouragement and support from someone who has been there, this book can help. If you are writing your own life story, and it happens to include how you faced the challenge of going on when the storm clouds from a major loss or life challenge were darkest, this book will offer you ideas on how to give voice to the pain…and the joy.

Jill Kraft Thompson of Boise, Idaho has courageously written an account of her dramatic experience in an honest, heart-felt, and real way. She knows the grief recovery journey and is dedicated to helping others navigate their own. If you’re ready to have your own heart opened, you are invited to share her journey.

– Kevin Quirk, author of “Your Life Is a Book And It’s Time To Write It,” is a memoir and autobiography ghostwriter, as well as a book coach and teacher of Writing Your Life Story classes in Charlottesville, Virginia.


"I'm gonna make you work on Labor Day!" Bruce Springsteen announced to us in Philadelphia

I just got back from spending Labor Day with Bruce Springsteen. Well, we had company, of course: the E Street Band and several thousand women and men attending his concert at Philadelphia’s Citizens Bank Park. He was serious about that announcement. When you see Bruce Springsteen live, he expects you to at least try to work as hard as he does in responding to his passionate, intense music and the powerful emotions behind it, and even on this steamy, humid holiday night, he expected us to engage with him in the raw experience of his performance.

As I did my best to keep up with the hollering and singing along, I came to see there was more he was inviting us to do. He was engaging us on a mini-exploration of thoughts and songs about what it means to seek, to find, to do, and to maintain work that has meaning, purpose, and integrity. Work, as Springsteen sings in one of his latest songs, to set our hands and our souls free. He also gives voice to the struggles and the suffering we may endure when that purposeful work that sustains us is taken away or is somehow unattainable, or is not taking us where we want to go.

I won’t pretend to review the concert, and I’m not seeking to send any political message about these ideas about work in our lives. But speaking from my own experience, I was struck by the example Bruce offers as one person who long ago discovered work that stirred his heart and gave him purpose, and he stuck with it for many years when it just wasn’t setting his soul free – or paying the bills. But he kept working and working and working and…some 40 years of astounding success and popularity later, he’s still out there sweatin’ and struttin’ for 3 1/2 hours on Labor Day – and much of the whole work calendar. What really impresses me is that he always seems legitimately thankful to have found this work and that he still has the opportunity in his early 60s to do it.

I’m not quite up there in Bruce’s years though I’m getting pretty darn close, and I hope that I can still maintain that passion and commitment about the work that I do for many, many years to come. Helping people tell the most important stories of their lives as a ghostwriter for autobiographies and memoirs, as well as teaching Writing Your Life Story classes, has provided me mounds of joy and satisfaction since I steered my work path this way. I am appreciative to have the opportunity to serve ordinary men and women in bringing their life stories to light. I relish the moments when they hold in their hands a book that gives voice to their life story. It doesn’t matter a bit if the stage they have walked upon in life has been shared by only a handful of others, instead of Springsteen’s crowds of 25,000 or 50,000.  They have made a statement: I stood on this earth and my life mattered.

Often, the work they have done is a significant part of their life story. I see their unique sense of purpose and integrity that shaped and energized their work for years, or decades, or an entire adult life span. And as I reflect upon this Labor Day moment, I tip my hat to people that I have met through my own endeavors, and I salute their work.

– Kevin Quirk helps people tell their life stories as a memoir and autobiography ghostwriter and life-writing book coach. He is the author of “Your Life Is a Book and It’s Time To Write It!”

Use "Bifocal Vision" When Writing about a Dramatic Life Experience, Advises Autobiography Ghostwriter Kevin Quirk

As a ghostwriter and book writing coach for autobiographies and memoirs, I work with many clients who seek to capture a dramatic life experience. It may be dealing with the sudden loss of a loved one. It could be surviving a tragic accident or severe illness or disease. Sometimes it’s about rising above a painful and destructive childhood. On the other end of the spectrum, some dramatic life experiences touch upon astounding good fortune or the opportunity for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure.

I enjoy assisting authors write these kinds of life stories, and I’ve made a discovery that may be helpful to anyone in the midst of writing about their own dramatic life experience: It helps to cultivate a certain kind of “bifocal vision.”

Here’s how the term applies in writing your auotbiography or memoir. You, or the writer working with you, will need to have a sharp and clear close-up view of what happened and how it impacted you. You will want to zoom that “camera” in tight to bring in all the physical details that make the experience vivid and real, and you will be called upon to openly and honestly reveal all the emotions that come with the territory, both while it was happening and today in the retelling of it.

That’s just one lens. The other lens, and just as important, is a more distant view. By that I mean that in one way or another you’ll want to try to rise above the scene of what you lived through and are writing about so that you can offer a perspective about it that will make sense to readers. You are putting yourself in your readers’ shoes and asking yourself questions like these: what else do they need to know to fully understand what happened to me and how I came through it? How can I add something to help them see, feel, and identify with my story? Where should I take them next in relating the story?

This second lens of the “bifocal vision” often takes some time and patience to develop. It’s not easy to stand above the fray of your dramatic life experience and tune into what someone else may want to hear about it. It’s all so personal, and often highly charged.

This is where a ghostwriter or book writing coach can be especially valuable. We are already witnessing your story from the perspective of a reader, so we can report what we are experiencing when we read your account. We can invite you to share this important view from outside the eye of the hurricane. And we can help you bring an added dimension to your story so you will be will better positioned to reach, touch, or inspire more people in an even more profound way.

So you may want to consider hiring a ghostwriter to write the story for you, so that you can just sit back and tell the story of what happened to you and watch it emerge in a memoir or autobiography. Or you may want to call upon a book writing coach to help you cultivate that second lens and keep on writing your story yourself. Another option is to seek out a trusted family member, friend, or ally who can look at how you are telling your life story and offer input into what a typical reader may need from you.

Whatever resources you choose to bring to your life story writing process, remember that what you are doing in writing about your dramatic life experience is inherently valuable. You may be offering support, encouragement, healing, inspiration, or understanding to many people, some of whom you already know and others who will find their way to your memoir or autobiography because it’s just what they need.

– Kevin Quirk, author of “Your Life Is a Book and It’s Time to Write It,” has been a book writing coach and ghostwriter of memoirs and autobiographies for 15 years.

World War One Memoir "The Great Promise" Shows Us That It's Never Too Late to Fulfill a Sacred Vow

They used to call World War One “The Great War,” and yet, as we approach the 100-year anniversary of this major world conflict, it often seems that WWI has become the “forgotten war.” While the last 10 to 20 years has seen a much-deserved heightened awareness of World War II history and personal stories of those who served in it, little attention has been paid to remembering the long and deadly war that came before it. Few stories of those who served have been told.

Will the tide turn once the 100 year anniversary of WWI arrives in 2014, so that those who served will be honored in the spirit their memories deserve? Many of their families hope so. Rick Coxen is among them, and he’s actively doing his part to help rally support around the cause.  A few years ago, Rick stumbled upon his grandfather’s detailed, engaging journal from World War One. His grandfather was a British soldier who found himself in several of the bloodiest and most renowned battles early in the war. Though several comrades all around him were killed, this soldier somehow survived. Rick has brought that journal to life in his recently released book, “The Great Promise: A Grandson’s Mission to Finish an Unfulfilled Promise.” Here’s a link to learn more about it: http://www.wwone100yearanniversary.com/

The journal entries alone make “The Great Promise” a great read. Frederick Coxen was a bright, articulate, and thoughtful journaler, and he paints pictures through his writings that we can vividly see and feel. He literally walks us through a slice of history. But there’s much more to the story – a recent development that makes it even more alive and relevant. You see, Rick discovered a fascinating revelation in his grandfather’s journal. At the start of the war, his grandfather made a promise with three chums: whoever was fortunate enough to get out alive would find the families of the others and tell them stories of who they were and how they served with dignity and honor.

Rick’s grandfather was the only one of the four who survived. And though he lived for decades after the war, building a successful business and raising a family in the U.S., he never fulfilled that promise. He acknowledged his regret over that in a journal entry many years after WWI.

This discovery saddened Rick, but it also stirred his thinking: maybe he could pick up the baton and seek to fulfill his grandfather’s promise now! And that’s exactly what’s he’s trying to do. After all, it’s never too late to find a way to address an unfufilled promise, even if it wasn’t yours to begin with. So Rick hopes that through the publication of this book, he might hear from the families of his grandfather’s three chums. If he does, he knows they will have much to talk about.

– Kevin Quirk, memoir ghostwriter, teacher of Writing Your Life Story classes, and author of “Your Life Is a Book – And it’s Time to Write It!”

Ruth Silver's Memoir "Invisible" Illustrates How We Can Inspire Others to Face Major Life Challenges by Writing Our Life Story

I just came across an article about Ruth Silver, author of the new memoir “Invisible: My Journey through Vision Hearing and Loss.” Here is the link:


Ruth is 81 years old, blind and mostly deaf. She is the founder of the Center for Deaf-Blind Persons. She begins her story at the moment when she learns as a 16 year old that she would go blind.

This memoir is certainly an inspirational story. Ruth says that she seeks to help people see her and others with disabilities as they are: “full, three-dimensional human beings who laugh and cry and get angry.”  In that regard, those with disabilities and their loved ones have a strong voice in Ruth Silver’s life experience.

As a ghostwriter and book coach for memoirs and autobiographies, and a teacher of Writing Your Life Story classes, I believe there is a further value in this kind of life story. We all can be reminded of our fullness as human beings. And when we set out to write our life story, we can keep our eyes and heart open to how we can portray the full spectrum of what it means to be a man or woman living at our time, with our challenges, with our achievements, setbacks, challenges and breakthroughs.

Ruth Silver reveals that she felt compelled to write her story, both to make sense of her life and to give encouragement to others who struggle. Perhaps, in one way or another, any of us who may choose to write our life story can offer the same gift?

–  Kevin Quirk teaches women and men of all ages to capture their most important life experiences in his role as a ghostwriter and book writing coach for memoirs and autobiographies. He is the author of “Life Is a Book And it’s Time to Write It: An A-to-Z Guide to Help Anyone Write Their Life Story” (www.yourlifeisabook.com).