If you haven’t already ordered a copy of Lene Fogelbergs memoir Beautiful Affliction, now’s your chance to win a FREE copy signed by the author herself!

Last week I had the opportunity to talk with Lene on Literary Speaking hosted by the Vividlife Network. She spoke about her journey as a double open heart surgery survivor and published author.

Listen to the podcast episode here

WIN A Free Signed Copy of Beautiful Affliction.


Enter To Win By Following These Guidelines:

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We will announce the winner Monday January 4th at 12pm EST on my Facebook page. (Contest closes Sunday January 3rd, 2016 11pm EST)


After The Show Q&A With Lene Fogelberg


Lene, we spoke on the show about your writing process, but let’s dig into some details about your journey to becoming a published author. When did you decide to write this book?

I attended The Stockholm Academy of Writing and I wrote a couple of assignments about my experiences and got such heartfelt response that I started thinking maybe I could really do this-tell my crazy story.

Did you set up a daily routine to write?
Yes, I worked hard to write at least two pages every day while my girls were in school. It was a goal that didn’t feel intimidating and would often make me end up with four or five pages.

Did you give yourself a deadline?

I used many deadlines – it is a strategy that really works for me, to finish a chapter, a part of the book, have the ending ready and then the editing.

When you finished the book, it was originally written in your native tongue, Swedish. How did you have the book translated?

I translated it myself, well, that was what I set out to do, but only a few chapters in I realized it would really be a re-write. I embraced this and enjoyed working in the English language, which I love.

In our interview you spoke about how different the querying process is in Sweden compared to Canada and the U.S. – in Sweden you can approach the publishers directly. Did you have a lawyer or anyone you could consult with to look over your contract before agreeing to it?

The contract with She Writes Press was pretty straightforward and I didn’t feel I needed a lawyer.

Tell me a little about She Writes Press. What has it been like working with them?

It’s been wonderful, I have gotten so much support for my book throughout and I have learned so much about the publishing industry. I feel this was a very good way to publish a debut book and in addition, She Writes Press has a wonderful community of wonderful authors supporting each other, so one does not feel alone on this journey that can be pretty overwhelming at times.

You are now working on a second book, what is that one about?

It is a novel taking place in Jakarta that is hilarious and heartbreaking, where I mix the ancient myths of Java with modern urban life and East meets West.

What would you say is the most important thing for authors to remember when they start to send their book out to agents?
Make sure you have a strong elevator pitch. Take a step back from your manuscript, rest your brain after all the editing. Then look at your story with fresh eyes and ask yourself “Why does this story matter?” “What is it that will draw people in?” From these answers build a solid presentation that is to the point, in as few words as possible. Polish your “elevator pitch” until it is squeaky clean. Be sure you know exactly what your story is about and why it matters.

Did you work with an editor at She Writes Press? What was the experience of editing the book like? (You can detail here how edits work with the publisher and how long they took).

I have two wonderful editors and my publisher at She Writes Press felt my book was ready without further editing.
(I would suggest working with your own editors no matter how you plan to go ahead with your book. These days the competition is very fierce and agents and publishers usually don’t look twice at an un-edited manuscript.)

I know She Writes Press have excellent editors that their authors work with. She Writes Press did excellent proofreading of my manuscript, which is a very different thing than editing. We worked on first, second and third pages over the course of a couple of months. Then the “final pages” was signed off and sent to the printer’s for Advance Reader Copies. You always find more errors in the actual book. We fixed those last design, layout and spelling errors, signed off again and sent to the printer’s. Finally the final book! It was a long process, but totally worth it.

How did you celebrate your book birthday? (the day it was available for purchase)

I had a virtual global e-party! J So many congratulations poured in that I stayed up all night answering messages and receiving hugs, cheers and hoorays.

I pre-ordered a copy, how does the pre-ordering process work, are you given the numbers as they come in from your publisher?

Sales numbers take a long time to come in, at the earliest three months after the sale. All authors love pre-orders, because they help giving the book that first boost in the system on Amazon and retailers. So to pre-order a book is an excellent way of supporting a favorite or a new author. Thank you Crystal-Lee for pre-ordering!

Your memoir really speaks to the reader in terms of trusting your intuition, for anyone out there that may be experiencing the same symptoms you had, what would be your advice? What are the warning signs of congenital heart failure and what can someone do to have this checked out by a doctor.

Usually it is enough to have a doctor listen to your heart. My heart disease should have been discovered long before it was detected. My heart murmur was very loud and the doctor who sent me to have it checked said it was impossible to dismiss as normal. The warning signs are severe fatigue, shortness of breath and a feeling of constant pressure on your chest. Also fainting and being cold (cold hands and feet) can be signs of heart disease.

Lene, thank you so much for our radio and written interview here. The book was so beautifully written and it is a wonderful mix of poetry and prose. I am looking forward to your next novel.

Thank you so much Crystal-Lee for having me!

Lene Fogelberg is an award-winning poet and double open-heart surgery survivor. Her debut memoir, Beautiful Affliction is a Wall Street Journal Best-Seller and, finalist in the 2015 USA Best Book Awards for Autobiography/Memoir. lenefogelberg.com