Prior to becoming a published author, Walls admits that she was always in love with writing. “I’ve grown up always being a writer of some sort,” she says. “I like people. And therefore, when you put the two together I like storytelling because they kind of go together. I like to write about people, what I hear, and what I see.”
Although Walls had written two manuscripts about the tragic event, she never felt that it was the right time to publish her work. About five years ago, Walls attended a writer’s conference in New Mexico and had her work critiqued.
“I met some American publishing groups and they were all sort of giving me the green light, ‘Go ahead. This is good,’” she explains. “And yet I came back and really felt I had to sit on it. I really felt like it was not my time to tell the story yet.” With 2017 marking the 10-year anniversary of her son’s death, the author admits she “found her voice” and felt that it was ultimately time to share her experience.
After her other son left for Berlin following New Year’s Day, Walls immersed herself in writing this book. From January to May, the difficult writing process forced her to recall the heartbreaking memories.
“I didn’t think it was possible to have so many tears,” she says. “After ten years of letting go of my son, I was actually amazed at how much emotion it evoked. There would be some days that I would be going deep into my memories to craft a story because I had written the book in a series of snapshot stories to tell his life. There were days where I would really have to lay my head on my desk and just sob until I let go of some of that pain that had found me.”
Walls hopes readers feel the emotion and honesty in the story. Losing a child is something that is rarely written about, yet Walls isn’t the only parent to endure that kind of nightmare. She hopes her experiences can help people who are going through similar situations.
So far, the reactions have all been extremely positive and supportive. “People would tell me it was honest and that they could feel the pain,” she says. “They sort of felt like their own emotion had a voice which was really good for me to hear.”
Despite the tears she shed through the writing process, it hasn’t stopped the writer from sharing her story. In fact, Walls says that she has a second book in the works. “I can really hardly wait to jump in so I’m going to start the research on it early in January of 2018,” she says. “It will definitely be sort of a continuation of the non-fiction book of death and dying. On loss particularly. I’ve got some interesting things to infuse into it.”
Now, Walls is on a book tour promoting her work across Canada with book signings and author readings. Fans of the book wanting an interactive experience can drop in for a taste of the raw emotion that was put into the book.
“Standing up there and reading about some of the greatest pain I’ve ever experienced, I have to really steady my nerves,” says Walls. “It is very difficult to read from my book but after the fact, I’ve had people come up and say my book is so powerful when it’s read aloud. I’m glad I’ve done it.”
For those that missed their chance to see the author read an excerpt, Walls will be doing another tour in the Spring. She is hoping to hit cities like Vancouver, Red Deer, Kelowna, and Calgary. Her book is currently available online but they will be available in Chapters & Indigo starting next year. And if you happen to live in Calgary, booklovers can pick up a copy at Shelf Life Books, Appleseed Book Store, and Ambrose University’s bookstore.
If you are curious to see if Walls will be making a stop in your city, you can find information on her upcoming readings and signings on her website. And for readers that are looking to purchase Nightfall to Daybreak, it is currently available on Amazon, Chapters & Indigo, and Barnes & Noble.