Updated: Jan 26
Kathy K. Norman's newest book, Practical Priorities for Fibromyalgia Recovery: 12 Simple Strategies for Creating a Chemical-Free Life, Revving up your Immune System, and Improving your Symptoms is a must-read for anyone who has suffered the debilitating pain of fibromyalgia.
The ebook version of the book is available from SCWC Books, and can be purchased on Amazon. (LINK HERE.) A printable PDF download of the book can also be purchased from SCWC Books; email firstname.lastname@example.org to get a copy.
I recently talked with Kathy about her experiences with fibromyalgia, and also her thoughts on writing and faith.
Tell me a little bit about where you got the idea for your book.
Fibromyalgia turned my world upside down. Before the diagnosis, I was vibrant, active, energetic, and enthusiastic about life. Afterward, I was racked with horrible pain, debilitating fatigue, and crushing despair. I morphed into a semi-invalid who rarely left the house. I wasted an entire year feeling sorry for myself before I got so sick and tired of being sick and tired that I decided to quit complaining and take action. I embarked on a personal research project looking for ways to improve my fibromyalgia symptoms and create a healthier life. I clicked my way through reams of data in cyberspace searching for ideas. I found a ton of helpful information that led me to make a ton of lifestyle changes. I concluded I needed to create a chemical-free life and find ways to boost my immune system. I got rid of chemicals in my home, ditched processed food, and started eating a lot of real food full of antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients. I was blessed that my husband, Vic, is a family physician and medical educator. He was a great sounding board for the validity of the information I found online. It took me a year to figure out everything I needed to do. My fibromyalgia symptoms improved little by little until they completely resolved. When I shared with others what had happened to me, folks asked numerous questions. It’s a lot of information to try to condense into a conversation. Friends and family who knew I was a writer encouraged me to write a book about my experience.
What main point do you want readers to get from the book?
Every person I’ve met with fibromyalgia feels hopeless because they have been told over and over that this is a chronic lifelong diagnosis with no possibility for recovery. I want
readers to know that they have the power to change the trajectory of their illness by decreasing their exposure to toxic substances and increasing their openness to making smart lifestyle choices. I also want readers to know that even if they don’t have fibromyalgia, the book is a great resource for anyone interested in creating a chemical-free life, boosting their immune system, making real food recipes, and designing a personalized healthy living plan.
From a writing standpoint, tell me a little bit about your writing background, What else have you written? And are you working on anything else right now?
I’ve always loved to tell stories. Working on my high school newspaper showed me how much fun it can be to write stories for other people to read. I have written poetry, Bible studies, Christian living pieces, and devotionals for a variety of Christian publications including Home Life, Living with Children, Confident Living, and The Upper Room. I wrote multiple pieces for the WMU magazine, Contempo, based on my experiences as a missionary in Colombia. I took a hiatus from writing to publish to focus on other projects. Even then, I continued to write poetry, devotionals, volunteer mission team protocols, and Bible study material for various groups.
Currently, I’m working on two fun projects. I’m writing super short devotionals to publish on all my social media platforms. Each Dash Daily Devotional consists of an image, a Bible verse, and a thought about the verse - and it’s all short enough to fit on a meme! It’s a creative challenge to distill the essence of a scripture passage down to one specific take-away. I’m also working on a humorous southern mystery novel. I’ve written only nonfiction previously. I’m having a wonderful time diving into fiction. I constantly add possibilities to my idea file for future writing projects. I’ll have to live well into my hundreds to complete all of them!
How does the writing process work for you? How did you go about writing this book?
I’m more of a pantser than a planner. I started with the idea of writing a memoir about my battle with fibromyalgia and how it impacted my faith. Along the way the book became a creative fusion of memoir and self-help, Vic added his medical perspective, and I created a reader call-to-action at the end of each chapter. I worked on the book off and on for five or six years and did about a million rewrites. I’m pretty sure it wasn’t that many. But it seemed like it! I had a lot of unanticipated interruptions and sometimes I put the whole project aside for months at a time. Friends and family kept encouraging me to finish the book. A couple of years ago I created a writing schedule and stuck to it until I finished.
What advice would you give to writers who have an interest in writing nonfiction books?
Write the story that you have a passion to tell. Thoroughly research your topic and adequately footnote all information. Learn everything you can about how to write, market, and build a platform. Hone your craft by attending writers’ conferences, workshops, and reading everything you can about the specific type of book you want to write. If you want to write a self-help book, study how to write self-help books. If you want to write a devotional book, study how to write the best devotional book possible. It’s never too late to start and it’s never too late to finish. Go for it!
Please tell me some personal facts about yourself.
Vic and I grew up in Birmingham, Alabama. After Vic finished his residency in Huntsville, we served as international missionaries in Barranquilla, Colombia for six years. We have lived in the charming and friendly little town of Red Bay, AL for 36 years. Vic was a family physician in private practice in Red Bay for almost thirty years. I taught high school Spanish at Red Bay High School for a few years and then worked in Vic’s office for fifteen years. We have two children, six grandchildren, and an extended family that we enjoy visiting. Since retirement, we have been traveling all over the country in our motorhome. We love to camp in and near National Parks. So far, we have been to Yellowstone, Glacier, Mesa Verde, Painted Desert, Petrified Forest, and Grand Canyon National Parks, and to three national parks in the Canadian Rockies. I love to play competitive Scrabble. I used to participate in Scrabble tournaments all over the country. These days I enjoy competing with fellow enthusiasts online.