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A Gradual Grace

Book cover of A Gradual Grace


Author name: Christina Marigold Houen

Book title: A Gradual Grace

Genre: Fictional Memoir

Launch date: 05.01.2024

Website: Memory and You

Buy links

Audiobook: Audible

Ebook: Booktopia

Print: Memory and You


Can shattered memories be pieced together into a story seamed with gold? Can broken lives be made whole again? Anna’s guilt and grief over the abduction of her young daughters and separation from them throughout their childhood are transformed, gradually, into forgiveness, unconditional love and grace.

Let's talk about it

Tell us something about yourself that not many people know.
I am a cupboard romantic. All my life, I have held the vision of finding a soulmate, someone who would see me and know me as I am and whom I would see, know, and honour. I sought it in the costume of romantic love, and was disappointed, again and again. Now, I have found it in a man who is my spiritual and intellectual soulmate. We don’t express it physically, because there is no need. Our bodies are part of us and of our friendship, but they don’t crave expression. They are just the costumes we wear. Our friendship is one of unlimited curiosity and discovery, and we go on magic carpet rides when we meet.

Why did you choose the themes in your book and were you aware of them from the start?
The themes of my book were latent in the first two memoirs. Many who read my second memoir asked me “What happened next? How did you go on living with that loss [of my children]?” I knew I needed to complete the trilogy, even though it is a neverending story. The story will go on unfolding in my daughters’ lives after I die, and in their children’s lives, and so on. I still live my mother’s story. I knew this when I began the trilogy, and that is why I began it with her story. There is a heritage which I share with my children and this is what I seek to share, in part, with a wider audience who may find resonances with their own lives.

How difficult was it for you to write this book? Did you face any obstacles?
The hardest thing for me in writing A Gradual Grace was the story of my second marriage, which is ended, but he is still alive and we have a deep, affectionate friendship. So it was very hard to write about why our marriage didn’t work. And I felt a responsibility to our son, who was the gift of our union. So I had to give myself permission to tell that story, or part of it, from my point of view, while honouring him and his gifts to me.

Do you always write in this genre or do you like to break out of the box?
I have only written memoir. I considered writing fiction after the 3rd one, but I found I couldn’t fully imagine a time and a place I hadn’t lived in. I don’t have a visual memory… it’s called aphantasia, and is a genetic condition. It means I don’t see images in my head when I imagine scenes. I have written a PhD thesis and a Masters one, where I braided theory and memoir, but I don’t want to go back to that. It was a stage on my journey. So memoir is my chosen genre.

What are your writing habits or idiosyncrasies?
I don’t map out my story when I begin it. I write whatever comes up for me and then let it unfold from there. Sometimes I am surprised by what comes up. It’s like a magic carpet ride… I’m never sure where I’ll end up.

If you worked with a professional editor, what was the experience like?

I had an excellent editor for the written memoir, one who respected my voice and was able to suggest some ways I could expand the writing, without being intrusive. A gentle, but disciplined guiding touch. In the creation of the audiobook, I was very appreciative of AJ’s attention to some issues, like copyright and other relevant things, and her willingness to fine-tune some of the audio files. Also her sense of responsibility and attention to timeliness, and guidance on the publishing process. It was, again, a gentle and disciplined guidance, for which I am most grateful.

What’s next for your writing?
I doubt I will write another memoir, though I have an idea of a novella about the architecture of desire… how stories of desire are often situated in secret, hidden or forbidden rooms, gardens, castles, towers, labyrinths, even caves – reflecting on some of the stories I have read, and how this theme touches on my own life. Other than that, I look forward to an audiobook of my first memoir, This Place You Know

Author Bio

Author Christina Marigold Houen Head Shot

Author biography: Mid-life on a broken path through two failed marriages and the loss of my three daughters from my first marriage, I changed course and went back to uni, where I made sense of the patterns that had shaped my life experience and began to write my story. This was the beginning of a long and gradual healing journey, through the publication of three memoirs and a successful late career as a freelance editor, helping others to find their voice and publish their writing. Now, in my eighties, I look back and see the gold in the losses I experienced, the hidden gifts that have given me the courage to be myself, to live in truth and grace.

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