PE mom’s first novel draws on tragic experiences of own family
A Port Elizabeth mother has drawn on her own tragic experiences of losing two children to write her very first book, A Mother’s Sin.
Self-published under Author- House, Mia Henry’s novel is based not only on the death of a child but also on her own mother’s “sin”.
The novel asks the question: do a mother’s actions affect a family, and lead to tragedy? The first-time author returned recently from a trip overseas, where she attended the New York Screen Pitch Festival and was invited to present her book as a movie idea to producers.
“I started writing in 2010 but it was actually around another story and, although it is fiction, it is based on a true story, my own life experiences,” she said.
“But then in 2012, I lost my 21- year-old daughter and somehow I wanted to involve her in the book and write about her death.
“I thought writing the book might be a healing process for me and possibly be a catalyst towards healing for someone else reading it.”
Henry is married to Port Elizabeth GP Dr Mike Henry and they have two surviving children, Chelsi-Kay and Trevor Curtis. Though fiction, her book tells the story of how she survived the deaths of not one but two daughters.
Henry said she lost her first child when she was just an infant and then had to deal with problems falling pregnant again.
When she finally gave birth to her daughter, the little girl was born with a heart condition.
“The whole story is based on the guilt my mom felt as she fell pregnant out of wedlock, and after her family was hit with multiple tragedies, she thought maybe she was being punished,” Henry said.
Looking back, Henry said she often wondered how she survived the deaths of her children and it was due to “trying to make it one second at a time, which turned into a minute, a day, a week, a month and year”.
“Getting over the loss or moving forward is like I mention in the book, it’s like a scar that is there forever.
“You learn, with time, to cope with it but you have such a deep pain and, after some months, it starts to subside and you realise you don’t have that deep pain any more, but it all begins with acceptance.”
Henry said her surviving children were instrumental in keeping her going.
“There were times I didn’t want to wake up, didn’t want to breathe, didn’t want to live, but then I thought I had to do it for them.”
Henry said she had cried frequently while writing the book – more than at any other time since losing her daughter. “It was healing, it was cathartic and at times even now when I read my own passages I still cry, and crying is also healing. “It’s a dedication to my daughter because losing her was really traumatic,” she said.
Even though the writing process began back in 2010, Henry only finished the book in September last year after getting back to the writing process in March last year.
The author said while pitching her book in New York they were not allowed to know which companies the reps represented. “My publishers, AuthorHouse, were very impressed with the book.
“They invited me to go to New York and pitch to several production companies from Hollywood and now there are two companies that are interested,” Henry said.
“If they like your book, you get optioned and they negotiate with you and you then have to give them the rights to your book,” she said. The book is available at Fogarty’s and also at Amazon.com.