COVER LETTER FROM THE AUTHOR
Everyone knows that parenting a teenager can be difficult, but when the teenager has severe mental health challenges, an addiction, and is repeatedly trying to kill himself, it is life altering. Cutting the Soul educates readers about mental illness, a topic that needs to be shared and discussed openly and without stigma.
A mother tells her gripping suspense tale of caring for a mentally ill son with the hope of guiding and inspiring others. In Cutting the Soul, Larsen shares real-world experiences and provides a helpful guide for any parent who is struggling with a child’s mental health.
This is an extremely important book for anyone who cares for someone suffering from mental illness. If you haven't been touched by this disease, you will be touched by one mother's determination, will, and love for her child to do what was necessary---even when necessary was heartbreaking. Cutting the Soul is an honest, open, and emotionally jarring read with the power to offer hope and resources to those who need it and don't know where to turn.
Title: Cutting The Soul
Author: Theresa Larsen
Release Date: 7th January 2015
BLURB from Goodreads
Theresa Larsen’s son, Matthew, comes to her with a cut on his hand, explaining it away as an accident with a pocket knife. But as she cleans and treats the wound, she discovers dozens of slashes covering both of his arms. Thus begins Larsen's compelling personal memoir about what it's like to be the parent of a mentally ill teenager.
A little about the Author . . . .
Florida native Theresa Larsen graduated from Florida State University with a degree in elementary education and a minor in psychology. She taught school in England and Wales while living in the United Kingdom for twelve years. Her writing credits include a Welsh children's book with English translation, and an educational article published in the Cardiff Advisory Service for Education manual in 2002. She has a daughter and a son and resides in Jacksonville, Florida with her husband and German shepherd. Learn more about her and Cutting the Soul, including excerpts, at http://www.theresalarsen.com/
My name is Theresa Larsen. I was born in West Palm Beach, FL and grew up in Jupiter, FL. I now reside in Jacksonville, FL. I lived in the U.K. for 12 years, residing in outer London, England for 6 years, and Cardiff, Wales for 6 years.
Did you always want to be a writer? If not what did you want to be?
I have wanted to be a writer for about 25 years. I taught elementary school for 12 years, before becoming a stay-at-home mom. It was still several years after that, before I seriously started writing.
What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
My book is called Cutting the Soul: A journey into the mental illness of a teenager through the eyes of his mother. In Cutting the Soul, Larsen shares real-world experiences and provides a helpful guide for any parent or mental health professional.
Do you have plans for a new book?
I am working on the biography of Dr. Erik Larsen, a man whose life spans nine decades. Born into a working class family in Denmark, Erik Larsen would have become a civil servant or tradesperson, with no hope of higher education. Luckily his family immigrated to the United States when his was two years old. Dr. Larsen later went to medical school and was drafted into the army during the Korean War, where he served as a surgeon in the first M.A.S.H. unit. He continued to deliver outstanding medical service in the United States over the next fifty years and was eventually knighted by the king of Denmark.
What genre would you place your books into?
What made you decide to write that genre of book?
I began writing Cutting the Soul after my son was diagnosed with a mental illness. I wrote what I knew, for therapeutic purposes initially, but then it morphed into something more.
How do you come up with the Title and Cover Designs for your book/books? Who designed the Cover of your books?
The cover of my book is a self-portrait of my son. He is an amazing artist and I felt that the picture conveyed a dark mood and feeling. I choose the back cover picture of a phoenix because this is how I see my son, “a powerful being with the strength and ability to rise above harrowing and tragic circumstances and recreate himself.” The covers have a mixture of dark and light, creating an element that is a thread throughout the book. I had specific ideas of how I wanted the cover to work and the graphic design team at CreateSpace helped me with the final product.
Do you choose a title first, or write the book then choose the title?
I always make up a title first and then start writing, changing it as I go along. I started by calling this book Matthew’s Book (name has been changed to protect the privacy of my son) just to put a name on it when I saved it on my computer, then I changed it to Striking the Match, and finally honed in on Cutting the Soul.
Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"?
I have come to points in writing when I’m not sure which direction to take, during these times I tend to do research or edit what I have already written. This gives my mind an opportunity to focus on other information. During the writing of Cutting the Soul there were times when I had to physically get up and walk away from my computer because the subject matter or episode I was writing about became overwhelming.
What do you do to unwind and relax? Do you have a hobby?
I love to read, but I don’t do it often enough. I am a member of a book club and read at least one book a month. I can become an obsessive reader, not wanting to put the book down, so I have to limit myself. I also play tennis and love to go out and smash the ball.
Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them? ie. Your partner, children, friends, and reviewers you know?
My husband is my biggest supporter. He read many versions of this book. I also have a few select friends who read Cutting the Soul and gave me advice and input.
Do you have a favourite genre of book?
My favourite genre is Young Adult fiction. I especially love magical YA fiction, where the characters have special powers. I do enjoy a good mystery. Agatha Christie was my favourite author as a teenager. I read all of her books. I also enjoy a well written romantic, historical fiction. My favorites’ are Kate Morton’s The Forgotten Garden and The Secret Garden by Francis Hodgson Burnett.
You can find more information about me and
my upcoming books on my website