Check it out! Author PJ Trebelhorn stopped by to talk about her latest release, Trusting Tomorrow. It’s available now from Bold Strokes Books and, because PJ is super cool, she’s giving away a signed copy here at Women & Words! Woo!
Now, about that free book…
To enter the drawing, leave a comment in the space below. I’ll pick a winner on Friday, 8/23. The winner will be notified via email and it will also be posted here at the top of this blog. Good luck!
Does Everything Happen for a Reason?
by PJ Trebelhorn
When Jove asked me if I’d be interested in writing a blog, I panicked a bit. I’ve only written one other blog before, and I had no idea what I’d write for this one. Of course, my latest book, Trusting Tomorrow, is out this month from Bold Strokes Books, and I hope you’ll all buy it and let me know what you think about it. But what could I possibly write about to tie it all in with the book? I mean, Logan is a funeral director. What would you write about that?
Have you ever watched Storage Wars? For those of you who haven’t, I’ll explain a little. When people have their stuff in a storage unit and then don’t pay their bill, the units get auctioned off to the highest bidder. It really isn’t that simple, but it suffices for my story here. My partner, Cheryl, and I have been going to storage auctions for a few years now.
Last year in Rochester, New York, we went to a storage auction where one of the units was actually the corner of a warehouse. There was no way all of it would have fit in a real storage unit. In fact, we had to rent a semi-trailer to store the stuff and it almost filled that. But I digress. As you’ve no doubt concluded, we were the high bidders. The only reason Cheryl decided she really wanted that particular unit was because during my research for Trusting Tomorrow, I learned about many things involved in the funeral business, including embalming machines. I pointed one out to her amongst the chaos we were looking at.
I’m not sure anyone else there knew they were looking at the contents of a funeral home. In fact if they had realized it, I’m not sure the bidding would have gone as high as it did. A surprising number of people have been creeped out by it when we tell them. Especially by the salesman’s sample of a coffin we have. It’s just the corner, but it’s1/8 of a real casket. People either love it or hate it, but one thing’s for sure—it’s a conversation starter.
There’s really only a couple of units we’ve bought that we made money on, and this was one of them. We even got new living room furniture for Cheryl’s parents out of it. Heck, we made almost four times our money back on that embalming machine alone. Who knew something like that would sell on eBay for so much money?
Anyway, I’d like to say I got the idea for Trusting Tomorrow from that storage unit, but the fact is I was already writing it. I’d spoken to a funeral director in Pennsylvania and gotten most of my information from him before we moved to western New York State. But there were quite a few blank forms (death certificates and such) and pamphlets (pre-planning your funeral, etc.) in that storage unit that helped a great deal too.
Actually, Logan and Brooke had been in the back of my mind for years leading up to this. When I was younger, I briefly thought about becoming a funeral director. But as I wrote in the book, it’s a lonely profession, and not many people want to be friends with someone who buries people for a living.
There are parts of me in this book too, and I never really intended for that to happen. Without giving away any spoilers, my last relationship ended the way Brooke’s did. Almost exactlylike Brooke’s did. I haven’t shared that with many people, and it was surprisingly easy to write about. Of course, I’m almost twenty years removed from my break-up while Brooke’s emotional wounds are still fresh.
The biggest difference between my situation and hers, though? I moved from Oregon to New Jersey with the woman who left me less than two years later. All of my family was three thousand miles away and I was stuck on the east coast with only a couple of good friends. And honestly—I wouldn’t change a thing.
If I’d pursued becoming a funeral director, I probably would have ended up like Logan and would have stayed in Oregon. Instead, I found myself on the east coast and ended up like Brooke. If I hadn’t come to New Jersey, I never would have met Cheryl, and we just celebrated our seventeenth anniversary. I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason.