A Life-Changing Journey through Adoption,
Adversity, and a Reading Disability
Genre: Inspirational Memoir
Publisher: Gathering Courage Media
Date of Publication: January 19, 2016
Number of Pages: 222
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Why do some people find success despite hardships and others sink into a pit of despair?
Gathering Courage: A Life-Changing Journey through Adoption, Adversity, and a Reading Disability by T.A. “Terry” McMullin is the author's incredible, award-winning memoir meant to inspire hope and encouragement to those who are going through tough times.
Terry dusted off the hurt from abandonment, rejection by her adoptive parents, dyslexia, shock of placement in a foster home, and a life-altering accident. Her faith and tenacity along with the internal desire to overcome is thought provoking as Terry worked her way through Texas A&M University. Terry’s life transformed from a broken-hearted child who could barely make out words in elementary school to a distinguished educator and writer who encourages young people to work hard and achieve their greatest aspirations.
Any reader who loves a true story with a Christian focus should definitely read this book. Learn about the special love for rescued animals and how they played a part in healing hurts and encouraging success.
PRAISE FOR GATHERING COURAGE:
*North American Book Awards, 2015 Winner
"Gathering Courage is an American story filled with adversity, triumphs, heartbreaks, and great personal victory. . . I give this epic book five stars. I held my breath after every chapter and you will too! -- Charmaine Carraway, writer for the HUFFINGTON POST
"Overall, this memoir is a testament to the endurance of the human spirit in the face of emotional and physical pain. The author consistently notes the need for love and encouragement when dealing with both people and animals as well as the necessity of prayer and thankfulness; it's almost a rhythmic incantation in the text. Readers will feel as if they're walking alongside McMullin as she tells her story and advises readers how they, too, can survive setbacks. -- KIRKUS REVIEW
"Gathering Courage is a truly moving read that will touch many hearts and positively inspire them to touch the lives of others.” -- Faridah Nassozi, READERS' FAVORITE
Author Interview 1: T.A. “Terry” McMullin
Was writing your book easy?
My determination to write a book was not centered around a computer in a quiet room, writing and writing until the final project was perfect and complete.
Instead, Gathering Courage was a long three-year project of reminiscing from the heart and the hurts of the past for the sole purpose of encouraging others. Notes and thoughts were scribbled on paper before sentences and paragraphs were ever formed. The sentences then shaped the chapters until the book was completed.
Because of a reading disability—dyslexia—my words had to be carefully thought out, read over and over, until the sentence structure and spelling was accurate.
After the completion of Gathering Courage it was proofread by at least ten different readers. To my complete amazement, in less than 30 days after printing the proof copies, Gathering Courage won first place in two categories in the 2015 North American Book Awards.
Was self-publishing your book the right decision for you?
Lots of thought went into not only the production of the book itself but also in a marketing plan. My decision to self-publish led me into uncharted territory. The cover needed to draw attention to the book. The title, Gathering Courage: A Life-Changing Journey Through Adoption, Adversity, and a Reading Disability, was designed around a unique picture of the Snake River, in Wyoming. I chose a picture taken by a friend who was paddling in a canoe through the shadows of the majestic Grand Teton Mountain range.
The picture on the back cover included my handsome horse Sonny who has a personality as big as Texas. Sonny enjoyed being the center of attention and certainly made the back cover come to life.
After printing the book and having it proofed over and over, a final copy was produced. Gathering Courage was then ready for honest reviews. The comments were amazing and I was humbled by all the outstanding five stars reviews from readers all around the world. These reviews along with a positive Kirkus Review helped me to know self-publishing was the right choice for me.
What are some day jobs that you have held? Did any of them impact your writing?
I became a teacher in 1982 and my passion for teaching continues today. My professional career involves teaching agriculture, science, developing material for science and science fairs, working with students in an alternative school setting, and teaching students with visual impairments.
What brings me the most joy is mentoring students with the same reading disability that I have. Dyslexia is why I was called stupid and labeled a slow learner in school. Dyslexia is why I struggled in school. Dyslexia is why I tell my story to a group of young students who are working hard to learn strategies that will help them be successful in school.
Identification and early intervention is the key in helping to overcome dyslexia. I am thankful that today, students with a learning disability have access to programs that help to teach phonic alphabetic coding, visual recognition, fluency, and reading comprehension. These key ingredients provide tools for managing dyslexia, and in developing positive self-esteem to help deal with the struggles of dyslexia.
I have to start by saying my faith in the Lord is a source of inspiration in everything that I been through and in everything to come.
My friends encouraged me to write. They helped me to proof sentences and paragraphs. My friends laughed and cried with me when the last sentence brought the entire book together.
Together in 2015, we cheered when the book won a North American Book Awards award. Today we are amazed at the positive reviews and stand looking over the horizon to see where Gathering Courage is headed.
The dyslexia students that I mentored silently influenced me to write. I wanted to show each of them that, “We may have dyslexia but it doesn’t have us. We may have a reading disability but with hard work and determination, goals and dreams can be accomplished”.
As I begin to write, I slowed my pace and looked around to see struggles on the faces of so many strangers that I will never meet. I wanted each of them to know that struggles can be turned into success and that living a life of compassion and purpose is gratifying and rewarding. I wanted to stand and shout, “Encouragement does make a difference. Let’s encourage one another today.”
Terry was born in an orphanage, then adopted, and made a foster child by her parents. Because Terry struggled with reading, comprehension, and spelling, she was placed in a foster home at the age of nine. As a child in the 1960s, hardly anyone recognized the learning issues related to dyslexia. The struggle to learn continued through high school.
From her deep faith in the Lord, Terry developed an internal desire to excel, no matter the obstacle, no matter the situation. Pushing adversity and a reading disability aside, Terry enrolled in college. While attending college and working full-time, Terry taught herself how to read and study. With pure grit and determination, Terry succeeded and earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees from Texas A&M University.
At crucial points in her life, Terry found people who showed her unconditional love and encouragement. Terry gained gratification, emotional, and spiritual support from working with horses and dogs. The encouragement from others made Terry’s life better so she vowed to be a champion for others who needed help.
Terry lives on a small ranch in Texas, a forever home, with her horses, donkeys, and rescued border collie dogs.
GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY! GIVEAWAY!
October 3 - October 17, 2016
October 3 - October 17, 2016
CHECK OUT THE OTHER GREAT BLOGS ON THE TOUR:
Author Interview 1
Guest Post 1
Author Interview 2
Guest Post 2
Author Interview 3
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