Tuesday, November 14, 2023

Q&A with Chrissy Holm



Chrissy Holm is the author of the new memoir Finding Sunlight: A Coming-of-Age Memoir about Love within the Wreckage of Purity Culture. Holm is also an editor, podcast host, and project manager. They live in Minneapolis.


Q: What inspired you to write Finding Sunlight?


A: Since I was little, I always wanted to write a book and often started many (never quite finishing). When I was hiking in the Grand Tetons in 2018, I realized life is short, and if I truly wanted to pursue my dream, I had to dedicate myself to it.


From exploring different writing classes and events like NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month) to attending writing conferences, I immersed myself in the writing world to help spark some inspiration for the “book I wanted to write.”


Throughout those experiences, I created my first writing group and received some feedback that helped shape the beginnings of Finding Sunlight.


Q: How was the book’s title chosen, and what does it signify for you?


A: When searching for titles, “sunlight” kept coming to me. As the story continued to deepen and develop, I folded in more symbolism and metaphors (sunflowers and the sun), which ultimately helped me process some of the things that happened in my life.


To me, Finding Sunlight means finding my “sun” or partner, but it also means coming out of the metaphorical dirt. Just as a sunflower sprouts and faces toward the sun, I have grown into myself and learned about forgiveness, love, and how to embrace my bisexuality.


Q: What do you hope readers take away from Finding Sunlight?


A: I would love for readers to take away that restrictive religious teachings (such as purity culture) have a significant impact on our perspectives, choices, relationships, and events in our lives.


I would love for people to be open to talking about what makes us human (love, sex, forgiveness, and more), in all its messiness, without shame or judgment.


Ultimately, for those who have been through a similar experience, whether within the LGBTQ+ community or not, I want them to feel validated and understood.


Q: What impact did it have on you to write the book?


A: Writing this book had a significant impact on my mental health. The actual process of writing helped me to reflect on all that I experienced and some of the choices I made.


It also helped give me a voice to the things I’ve been afraid to say out loud, which provided me a sense of relief and liberation.


When I was unclear on parts of the story or needed more input from others, interviewing family members and friends gave me a deeper understanding of those situations and relationships and helped me consider all the different perspectives. 


Q: What are you working on now?


A: Right now, I’m working on promoting Finding Sunlight with podcasts, readings, and more. In November, I will continue some of that work but will also have a much-deserved celebration and spend the rest of the year taking a short mental break.


Starting in the new year, I will continue to host my podcast, Stirred by Words, and work on book number two. 


Q: Anything else we should know?


A: I’m passionate about helping others tell their stories, whether in book form, podcast, or anything in between. If anyone is ready to dive into the process, I’m happy to help support and provide services ranging from project management to proofreading (contact@chrissyholm.com).


Finally, I want to write more books and step into other stories, whether it’s another memoir, fiction, or beyond. I’m excited to see what’s to come!


--Interview with Deborah Kalb

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