Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Out from the Underworld by: Heather Siegel Review Blog Tour & Giveaway

Book Description:

Heather Siegel was six years old when her mother disappeared, sending her father into a tailspin that took Heather and her siblings down with him— from a comfortable suburban home to a barely habitable basement apartment, a dark world they soon found themselves fighting to return to from the exile of foster care, then fighting even harder to escape.

Forty years later, Heather Siegel tells the remarkable story of how she and her siblings, Jaz and Greg, banded together to find out what happened to their mother and fight their way Out from the Underworld with nothing but their wits, determination, unbreakable bonds and gifts for humor and compassion to sustain them. A wrenching, inspiring story filled with heartbreak, hope and love, Out from The Underworld will move you to laughter and tears.

Author's Bio:

Heather Siegel holds an MFA in nonfiction writing from The New School. Her work has appeared on and in The Mother Magazine and Author Magazine, as well as in various trade publications. She was a finalist for the 2010 Pacific Northwest Writers Association Literary Award in Nonfiction Writing, the 2011 San Francisco Writers Conference Nonfiction Writing Award, the Carolina Wren Press 2012 Doris Bakwin Award and the 2012 Kore Press First Book Award. A multi-creative person with interests in the arts, nutrition, health and beauty, she has founded several independent businesses, including a coffeehouse, a café, an organic juice bar and a natural beauty bar. She currently lives with her husband, Jon, and daughter, Julia, in the woods of Long Island in a house filled with light.

Connect with Heather: Website ~ Facebook ~ Twitter


Where I Like to Write
by Heather Siegel

My favorite writing chair sits by the living room window; it is chocolate brown, faux suede, one of two, with a matching rectangular ottoman between them that acts like a coffee table if you position a book just so that a tea mug can stabilize on top.

Mine is the left chair, as its worn seat will attest. Its twin feels just as cozy, but its angle to the window doesn’t offer the shot through the trees of the driveway that I like. I don’t know why I like looking toward the asphalt. Maybe it’s because I am hoping—or expecting-- that any day now someone other than my husband, or Daniello & Sons Garbage Company, will sputter up with some life changing package or news.

Writing in the woods can be boring and lonely, if not mentally punishing.

Sometimes, I give in to the fact that the only excitement that will happen will be created in my brain. Keeping my pajamas on, teeth unbrushed, I see my daughter off to the bus, then climb back into bed like a sick child who needs to fulfill her required coursework

In warmer weather, I rebel against my self-inflicted punishment and take my laptop into the sunlight. The screen is hard to read, and so mostly I end up just taking in some Vitamin D, which turns out to be a good thing for my writing when I return to it. In fact, anything I can do to take care of my body helps to keep the momentum going. On the other end of the spectrum, eating too much sugar or drinking too much wine stops the flow. As does, ironically, sitting too long. This is when I walk. A half hour in, the sludge clears and I can resume sitting.

I like to write on a laptop; I don’t like being tethered to a desk. I used to write longhand in the early days of writing, and plan elaborately to do so, even try to create a ritual out of it. I would go to Staples and buy pencils and sharpen five or six of them to lethal, pointed triangle tips. I would unwrap cellophane to reveal a clean yellow pad. It became a sort of superstition—one I hoped would work-- as I scratched away. Now writing long hand feels odd and antiquated.

Maybe I have made connections with the keyboard the way a piano player does with her keys. My mind seems to communicate with the symbols moments before thoughts consciously form. I am not a fast typer. Maybe I can do 40 words a minute?—and this while partially looking as my fingers dance. I regret dropping out of computer class in the ninth grade and switching into Home Economics where I learned to make microwaved tuna melts, a skill I haven’t used since, while my former computer classmates learned the much-needed skill of how to spread their fingers over “Homebase” and type without looking at the keyboard.

I like to write when I am calm. I don’t write when I am sad anymore. Nothing good has come of that for me. I can feel tragic while writing about something sad but I like to begin writing from a more balanced place—even when I am feeling naughty as I write, it’s a sober kind of naughty: a purposeful and targeted recklessness.

I like to write at night when the house goes to bed or in the morning before anyone is up; it feels like I am doing something good for myself. I like to write at work when no one is looking; I pretend that I am tallying inventory when in fact I am reworking a sentence for the ninth time. I don’t feel guilty about it anymore. I embrace that my passion—my real job-- is writing, even if I haven’t figured out a way to earn a full-time living at it yet.

I like to write texts in full sentences. I don’t send texts like, “where r u?” Especially to my daughter, who at 8 years old, has taken to texting. When she was smaller, I never said things like nap nap instead of napkin. I didn’t want her to have to relearn the same thing then, and I don’t see why I should start now. (Perhaps this stems from my “Homebase” issue?) Although I still haven’t figured out a perfect alternative to LOL. What is the sound of my laughter? Hnnn hahahaha hnnn hnn? I’m not sure she—or anyone—will appreciate that.

My best writing, however, comes to me when I am not writing. When I am in fact silent. Lying in bed, dozing off—in that space between sleep and dreams-- walking the neighborhood, not listening to music, but instead connecting to the sound of my breath, the silence of words not written, the slip of pebbles under my sneakers, one rogue rock breaking from rubber and bouncing down the street.

That’s when the magic begins to happen.

Where to buy the book:
Barnes & Noble

My Review:
Heather Siegel will really make you stop and think, and more then likely thank your lucky stars for the life you have had. You will run the gamut of emotions with this book. You will cry, not only in sadness but fear, anger, relief, and happiness. You will be mad, sad, scared, horrified, happy, glad, and more.
This book is inspiring also. What Heather and her siblings went through and still pulled out of it, is just amazing. I could of made a hit list from this book, their Father, grand parents, the foster parents, they didn't deserve to be walking free enjoying the aspects of life. They all needed to be locked up, or better yet treated just the same as they treated these girls.
But the best part is How Heather puts her life together and shines.
This book will keep you from page one, and almost make you feel lost when you read the last word. You will think about this book for a while after you finish reading it.
I have to commend her for putting her story out for the world to read. 

I was given my copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.


Prizes: ​ Win one of five print copies of Out from the Underworld and a music CD from Greg Fine (Open to USA & Canada)

1 comment:

  1. I want to win the book and the music to see how well they go together. Pairing the two is such a cool idea.