It was love at first sight for Kim Pierce. She had noticed a man, Gregory, attend Father A.A. Taliaferro’s services at St. Alcuin Community Church. Pierce didn’t have a chance to speak to him until she saw him at a mutual friend’s pool party. Pierce remembers him as being social and chatting with everyone.
He only remembered talking to her that night.
They were together for five years before they were engaged. In 1998, Pierce was sitting at an airport when her friend rushed to tell her the news. Her fiancé had died. Pierce, a long-time journalist who worked at Buddy Magazine, Dallas Times Herald and Dallas Morning News, decided to sit down and write her own story 20 years ago. Her novel My Dead True Love is her tale of mourning and searching for the answers to why.
WHAT WAS LIFE LIKE IN THOSE FIRST FEW YEARS?
Grief is a journey of a lot of pain. And there’s just no way around it. Much of the first part of the book is taken from what you would call my grief journey. We didn’t really have support groups back then. And the way we do now, we didn’t have the Internet to connect. Joan Didion hadn’t written her wonderful book, My Year of Magical Thinking. At least for me, I wasn’t going to find what I needed in a church. I turned to friends and my writing and just spent a lot of time being sad and crying.
WAS THERE ANY POINT IN YOUR EXPLORATION THAT YOU FELT RELIEF?
I really felt that way with the reading. It was such a release of so much pain and burden. And unfortunately, I shared it with a friend of close friend who basically said to me, “you know, those people are fake, they have ways of finding things out.” And because he was such a close friend with whom I’ve shared so much, it was just like deflating a balloon.
WHEN DID YOU START WRITING YOUR NOVEL?
I started writing it almost immediately after he died. I would write to Celtic music. And I got it up about 13 chapters. And this was probably over a couple of years. And then I did what so many fiction writers do. I got to a point and said to myself “Now what?” because I didn’t understand how to develop the story. So, I got in the writer’s course, and really learned some of the nuts and bolts of construction. I was also able to develop it as a narrative, outside of the constraints of having everything be factually accurate. This is very hard when you spent your whole career verifying facts. It gave me the freedom to fictionalize it and make it into a true novel, without sacrificing so much of the information.
AT WHAT POINT IN YOUR GRIEF PROCESS DID YOU START EXPLORING?
Almost immediately, in one of my one of my counselors that I went to, told me about a medium she had encountered with a group of professionals that she knew. And she said, “I think this might help you. And I think this woman is legit.” And she was right. It was a remarkable reading. As it was as good as they get. And this was before we were ever talking about what are called evidentiary mediums, which are mediums who asked for information that can be verified when they work as a mediums.
HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO PROCESS AND EXPLORE THOSE FEELINGS?
I think I’m still doing it. That’s as far as coming to some sense, I know I’m on the right path, I will put it that way. I now really take a lot of my direction from Suzanne Giesemann, who is both a mystic and a medium, but not airy fairy in any way. She used to be a naval commander. So she certainly doesn’t come at this from any sort of, shall we say “woowoo” direction. I feel the scale is tilted towards something being out there for all of us.
WHAT’S IT LIKE SELLING YOUR BOOK?
While I’m still doing, it’s hard. It’s not something that comes easy to a journalist. I’m lucky that my partner now is a retired salesman. So, he’s always helping me find ways to promote it. I just want to get it out there for people who need to read about this kind of exploring, and so it’s very comforting to certain people. It’s also a lovely story about women bonding.
AFTER SOMEONE HAS READ YOUR BOOK, WHAT DO YOU WANT THEM TO WALK AWAY WITH?
I want their heart to be open. I want them to feel a certain elation. And I hope they feel some curiosity about some of the seeds I planted in the book and desire to find out more about what I wrote about.