Sometimes divorce happens. Sometimes it’s not the end as Cathia Leonard Friou so beautifully describes in her new book, Rock Paper Scissors: Scenes from a Charmed Divorce. Cathia takes readers through an intimate series of vignettes from her marriage, separation, divorce, co-parenting, and re-entry into the dating world. Each chapter stands alone as a piece of clarity, as an appreciation for the good, the bad, and sometimes the absurdity of life. Together, these pieces offer readers hope that a family can remain whole and beautiful despite divorce.
Cathia on working with SPARK Publications:
I knew I wanted a beautiful, professional, and polished end product, and thankfully I chose SPARK Publications to make that happen. The team captured my vision for things early on and overdelivered at almost every turn. It is no exaggeration to say this book couldn’t have been birthed without the SPARKlers.
We asked Cathia a few questions about her book and publishing journey.
What inspired you to write this book?
I had been kicking around writing a book for years but wasn’t sure how serious I was. I finally decided I definitely wanted to write a book and (reluctantly) landed on the topic of my divorce journey. While I was committed to a finished product—a real book I could hold in my hands—I wasn’t sure I was going to actually publish it. I originally thought of it as a legacy project, primarily as a gift to my children. But the deeper I got into it, the more I felt compelled to share it. And I began hearing from other people who read parts of it that I should seriously consider sharing it with a wider audience. I was scared to death to put myself out there like that and decided to do it anyway.
What is your primary goal for the book?
My goal for the book is to add something positive to the divorce conversation and provide hope that one can divorce without destroying a family. I think the story is a paradigm buster for the ugly divorce. Divorce is always tragic in my mind, but it doesn’t have to be toxic. And while it was incredibly disruptive, we are still very much a family.
Another goal for the book is to allow folks contemplating divorce a chance to try it on from afar and reflect. The message is neither “come on over; divorce is awesome,” nor is it “don’t even think about it; you will destroy your life and the lives of your children.” While there are no easy or clear answers, I think our story offers both hope and a model for a healthy divorce if splitting up is the path you choose.
What surprises did you encounter on the road to writing and publishing the book?
The biggest surprise for me was the amount of work that goes into publishing a book once the manuscript is finalized. There is the sense of “I’m done!” once you finish the writing/editing phase, but in some ways, it’s just begun. It’s like thinking you’re halfway to Florida when you’ve only just left your hometown.
What role(s) did SPARK Publications play in publishing your book?
SPARK Publications was the midwife. I couldn’t have done this without them. Not only did they create a beautiful book for me, which I went in knowing I wanted, but also they encouraged me to share my story with the world. What started as a personal legacy project grew into something much bigger, partly at their prodding. And I’m so grateful.
Do you have any advice for other authorpreneurs?
My advice is to keep at the writing projects that gnaw at you. You know the ones. It may not be the book you want to write; it might even be the book you don’t want to write, but keep at it. And invest in professional editing and a professional book designer. You need to be proud of both the inside and the outside because people may very well judge your book by its cover! My book designer at SPARK Publications, Genna Hardgrove, nailed my vision so precisely that I cried the first time I saw it, and it still gives me a blip of joy every time I see it.
What’s next for you?
While I don’t see a second book in my future, never say never. For now, I am enjoying the incredible sense of accomplishment with having written my book and the new experience of being a published author on a deeply meaningful topic.