Hey Gail! I’m so glad you are taking a little time out of your day to hang out with me. Let’s start with a few easy questions.
What do you drink when you’re writing? Coffee or water
Do you have any pets? Not now.
Beach or mountains? Beach 😊
PC or Mac? PC
What was the last book you read? We Go On by Regina Walker
Awww. Shucks. I don’t even know what to say. Thank you.
What author(s) has/have really influenced you? Jolynne Whitaker, Shamieka Dean, Stormie Omartian, and Regina Walker
What does your family think of your writing? They have been very supportive and proud of everything I’ve done so far. They are my biggest supporters.
How does your faith influence your writing? God is my everything. I am a scripture person so most of my writing is based on His Word and scriptures.
How did you come up with the title for your book? Honestly, God gave it to me. One day I was driving, and God told me I was going to write a book. He said name it A Three-Year Journey on Strength. I remember pulling over on the side of the road and calling my sister in tears. I had prayed for justice for my son and never did I think to write a book about it.
What gave you the idea for this book? On August 31st, 2014, I was not prepared for the death of my son, Mikhail. For three years, I was the mother and caregiver for a child who was born with special needs. Mikhail’s medical condition required a shunt and he endured several surgeries. Even then, he was so resilient and strong. I was always in awe of his strength. In three years, Mikhail had twelve brain surgeries, revisions included, many doctors’ appointments and hospital stays, yet he overcame. Mikhail went to school and loved being a big brother. When Mikhail passed, it took my heart away. To say I was floating through life was an understatement. I was dead inside. The pain and hurt I felt for years after his death was unreal. I was once a happy go lucky person, but I was faking every smile and lying every time someone asked me was I okay after his death. What do you do when you lose a child? How can you move on when you feel cheated by the loss of a loved one? How does the heart heal after tragic loss?
What do you hope readers gain from this book? This book will walk readers through the process of having a child with special needs and my journey I walked through after Mikhail’s passing. A Three-Year Journey on Strength is based on the lessons I learned throughout his life that continue to give me strength and the wisdom I gained after his passing. This book is my blueprint on how to heal after tragic loss. For those who understand, this book will help those who are mourning and/or grieving the loss of a loved one know there is life after loss. God can heal and restore your heart. This is I know.
How did you stay motivated to write this book? God and the memory of my son.
How long did it take you to write the first draft? It only took me three weeks to write the book, but I already had his story written previously from when I was looking for an attorney to take his case.
This final question will wrap up our interview:
What is your dream writing space and do you have it already? My dream writing space is to have an office with a bay window overlooking a lake or water. I love water and the serenity it brings
My name is Gail Cato, author of A Three-Year Journey on Strength; The life and death of Mikhail Lee Strong and How to Heal from Tragic Loss. I am a licensed professional counselor here in Oklahoma and owner of the non-profit organization in honor of Mikhail, The Strong Foundation. The purpose of the Strong Foundation, LLC is to help create or maintain a support system for parents who are caring for a child or children with lifelong/long term medical and/or special needs. I am also the owner of my own private practice, Glow Stars Counseling and Coaching. I am the mother of three boys whom I love dearly.
Where can we find you online?