About My Heart Stopped Beating
Fourteen year old Italian girl, Chamed, is a living miracle after fighting illness since birth to live a normal life. Now fourteen years old, she feels a thrill of freedom when she convinces her parents to let her stay home alone while they go on holiday. She soon regrets that decision when she receives a call from her aunt Patrizia that the worst has happened: her parents have died in a car accident.
Things only get worse for Chamed as she mourns the deaths of her parents and suffers under the care of her aunt and uncle. Her aunt repeatedly abuses her and convinces others that she is an evil child. When Chamed’s best friend’s father sexually harasses her, the blame is placed on Chamed. Deeply depressed, she attempts suicide, only to find herself waking up in a mental hospital. Her nightmare is only beginning as she is subjected to electroshock therapy against her will – and worse from the nurses and doctors.
Finally she finds hope again in Dr. Franco, but will he be enough to save her from this living nightmare?
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“Why am I here? I am in a mental hospital! Dad, would you have thought it? Help me.”
I dragged my body out of that mortal icehouse.
With great effort I started walking, but my energies abandoned me and I ensconced myself on the ground.
Don’t remember where, but I was out, in the garden.
A man approached me, staring at me and crying. In his eyes I could see his soul shining.
He said: “You fell from the sky. And men have cut your wings!”
Weeping, I replied: “I’m afraid! Tell me why I’m here. How do I go?! Can you help me?”
“Angels are not afraid.” And he went away.
Hi Chamed, welcome to Paperback Writer.
Would you briefly introduce yourself?
It is a pleasure to be with you!
Chamed is not my registry office name, yet it is not a pseudonym. I live in Tuscany and work mostly abroad as a painter on canvas and porcelain. Some of my porcelain works are displayed in exhibitions in Italy, Sweden and Poland, France, Portugal and Brazil. My Heart Stopped Beating is my first novel. My second novel is forthcoming.
My Heart Stopped Beating is my memoir.
Q: Would you share with us how you came up with the idea for your book?
This book originated from my teenager diaries and from my memory. If I sit and try to revive my memories, I find that it is not much so much to do with bringing to bringing things to life; it’s like a noose that tightens my throat without even realizing it enhances the love of who did not live.
I wish that all the past pains – the moral poverty that poisons my life and will, and all the things that I still think about, particularly the internment in the asylum – disappear from my head, but they are full of consequences; they free many ghosts that often come to see me. My memories sometimes makes me feel very lonely even in the moments when I don’t expect to be lonely at all.
Q: How did you find an agent?
I did not know how to move to find an agent and that is the question I am asked most often by people who want to get published. In Italy, many authors still send their manuscript directly to the publisher. I did so, but I also wanted to explore different options.
What I did was very simple: I went on the internet, and I looked on Google. I do not even know what I was looking for because it was my first book. I did not know anything about the literary world. I hit a site which included tips on how to submit a manuscript. The first step was sending an email explaining my project. The agent told me he appreciated my letter and wanted to read the draft of the manuscript. I sent the manuscript.
Three days later, he answered and said, “reading of the manuscript has confirmed my expectation on the great importance of your book”. This answer made me literally jump for joy.
Q: How long did it take you to complete the first draft?
I was so absorbed in writing the draft of the manuscript that I did not spend even a full month to complete it. I just paused occasionally to paint and to not go crazy. I have written it in one go and stayed home until I finished it.
Q: What’s your favorite time of day to write?
I like to start in the morning, knowing that I have all the day before me. I don’t have to be disturbed, so I unplug the phone and put on the music to rule out the rest of the world. Then I take a deep breath … and I start writing.
Q: What is the golden rule in writing?
In writing you should have a genuine passion for your topic. Only this will push you to find also the best way to express it. Only when you write a story that’s important to you, you have a deep desire to find the right shape and to learn new writing techniques.
Q: With all that you have encountered on the road to publication what advice would you give to new authors?
My main advice is to have patience and work hard, trying to protect yourself and not making deals with publishers for a fee or making deals with unscrupulous publishers who do not work for the author and his or her future.
Thank you, Chamed, for stopping by Paperback Writer. I wish you continued success with your tour.
Thank you for your hospitality.