Felicia Thai Heath joins Let’s Talk Memoir for a conversation about growing up on the run to help keep her father, a notorious Vietnamese kingpin, safe from capture, the power of dialogue to tell our stories, beginning scenes in the middle, orienting the reader in time and space, and making the decision to share the family history she once tried to hide.
Also in this episode:
-Crafting interludes to give readers a break
-Writing the most emotional scenes first
-Depicting fraught relationships
Books mentioned in this episode:
On Writing by Stephen King
The Hate You Give by Angie Thomas
Felicia Heath is a triple-board-certified critical care anesthesiologist, blogger, and debut author. She spent a month alone in a studio in the heart of Philadelphia to write the original manuscript of Spirit of a Hummingbird: Memories from a Childhood on the Run, just seventy-two hours after delivering her third child. This left her husband with their two-year-old, one-year-old, and newborn as she drank pinot noir and wrote for days on end. All of it was his idea, which is exactly why she tattooed his name across her shoulder and eloped with him on a South African safari six years ago. Felicia now lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and four children. She practices medicine as she anticipates a shift in the universe with the release of her memoir.
Connect with Felicia:
Find Spirit of a Hummingbird on Amazon here: https://www.amazon.com/Spirit-Hummingbird-Memories-Childhood-Run/dp/1632995700
Ronit Plank is a writer, teacher, and editor whose work has been featured in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The New York Times, Writer’s Digest, The Rumpus, American Literary Review, Hippocampus, The Iowa Review, and elsewhere. Her memoir WHEN SHE COMES BACK about the loss of her mother to the guru Bhagwan Shree Rajneesh and their eventual reconciliation was named a 2021 Best True Crime Book by Book Riot and was a Finalist in the National Indie Excellence Awards, the Housatonic Book Awards, and the Book of the Year Awards. Her fiction and creative nonfiction have been nominated for Pushcart Prizes, the Best of the Net, and the Best Microfiction Anthology, and her short story collection HOME IS A MADE-UP PLACE won Hidden River Arts’ Eludia Award. She is creative nonfiction editor at The Citron Review and lives in Seattle with her family where she is working on her next book.
More about Ronit: https://ronitplank.com
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More about WHEN SHE COMES BACK, a memoir: https://ronitplank.com/book/
More about HOME IS A MADE-UP PLACE, a short story collection: https://ronitplank.com/home-is-a-made-up-place/
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Background photo: Canva
Headshot photo credit: Sarah Anne Photography
Theme music: Isaac Joel, Dead Moll’s Fingers