EXPECTING SUNSHINE: A Journey of Grief, Healing, and Pregnancy After LossAfter her son, Zachary, dies in her arms at birth, visual artist and author Alexis Marie Chute disappears into her “Year of Distraction.” She cannot paint or write or tap into the heart of who she used to be—too caught up in mourning not only for Zachary but also for the future they might have had together. It is only when Chute learns she is pregnant again that she sets out to find healing and rediscover her identity—just in time, she hopes, to welcome her next child.
In the forty weeks of her pregnancy, Chute grapples with her strained marriage, shaken faith, and medical diagnosis, with profound results. Glowing with riveting and gorgeous prose, Expecting Sunshine chronicles the anticipation and anxiety of expecting a baby while still grieving for the child that came before—enveloping readers with insightful observations on grief and healing, life and death, and the incredible power of a mother’s love.
Alexis was nice enough to answer some questions about her book and life!:
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
As a child, I always wanted to be an artist and author—exactly what I am doing right now. I also wanted to be an actress and big business woman. I’ve always had many dreams and still think it would be a great challenge to be a lawyer or a firefighter. I don’t subscribe to the idea that we have to pick one career and stick with it. Life is more fun with adventure, change and challenge.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer? Or what first inspired you to write?
I have been writing since as far back as I can remember—and even before I could hold a pen. As a child, I was very creative and cerebral. I was always coming up with stories and adventures. Fortunately, I didn’t lose that trait as I grew up. I find writing inspiration everywhere, at all times. My brain is a sponge for my environment and stimuli. Sometimes this is overwhelming, but most often I use this hyper-awareness to my advantage.
When you are struggling to write/have writer’s block, what are some ways that help you find your creative muse again?
Free writing is the best tool I have found to break out of writer’s block. I sit down and simply start typing, no matter what it is. Getting my fingers moving and the mental juices flowing always opens the floodgate eventually.
What inspired your story?
My memoir, Expecting Sunshine, arose out of the anxiety and introspection of my own life. I wanted to survive my pregnancy after loss and not go crazy in the process. Coming out of it on the other side, sane and with a living baby gave me hope that perhaps I had done something right. I wanted to share that hope with others who struggle with loss and growing their family in the midst of grief.
What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
I learned that books are so hard to make and yet so rewarding and fulfilling. Creating books, for me, is akin to getting tattoos. I am terrified of needles, and thus do not have a tattoo of my own (One day!!), but my friends who get tattoos always tell me it’s addictive. You can never only get one.
What person(s) has/have helped you the most in your career?
My mom has been a relentless force in teaching me business and determination. My husband, Aaron, has taught me self-care.My children have taught me to shut off and be present.
What was your favorite book as a child?
Too many to count! I was always reading. I loved the Sweet Valley Twins series. And Goosebumps
How do your spouse/significant other/friends/family feel about your writing career?
All the close family and friends in my life have realized I am quite eccentric and am going to do what I want no matter how they object, so they have defaulted to being amazing cheerleaders instead—which I am beyond grateful for!
This is a beautiful story about love and loss that I think everyone will enjoy. If you are interested in buying the book, check it out on Amazon.