‘Because of Yesterday’: A Chat with Grecia Chasteen
“Today I was introduced to a new kind of love,” author Grecia Chasteen read aloud to an attentive audience. “A love that I’ve heard about and wished upon a star for.”
On Saturday, March 10, at the Blush event loft in downtown Cincinnati, a crowd gathered for the opportunity to hear Chasteen read, sign autographs, and answer questions about her novel. Because of Yesterday, Chasteen’s first book, was released on January 31.
“I’ve always been shy, but I’ve always had an easier time writing myself into the paper.”
The novel is based on Chasteen’s experiences as a social worker and volunteer with a domestic violence shelter. The novel details a woman dealing with adolescent sexual abuse, domestic violence, divorce, sexuality, and rape through eight therapy sessions. It’s a story of healing and forgiveness, of overcoming all our yesterdays and tackling what lies ahead with perseverance.
After Chasteen read three excerpts, music flowed through the room as people took advantage of the opportunity to have Chasteen sign their own copies.
Meandering around and noting the yellow and blue decorations, I could feel the admiration and happiness in the air as people lingered, laughed, and offered Chasteen their heartfelt congratulations. When asked about the significance of the colors, Grecia said, “They’re happy. Like a new day.”
Like a new day. I smiled in response. So often, we lose ourselves in the day; what needs to be done, what we haven’t accomplished, and who we argued with. It’s hard to take a step back and acknowledge that we still have the opportunity for tomorrow, for a new day.
I was lucky enough to be able to sit down with Chasteen and ask her a few questions about her writing.
With your book, what do you think the hardest part was to write? Was there one moment that was more difficult than all the rest?
I just think acknowledging some of the traumatic events I went through was the hardest part for me. ’Cause I knew I went through them, but to emotionally feel some of those events – I knew that in order to write my book, for others to be able to understand it and be there in that moment, I had to get into it. So that was hard.
Who is a woman that inspires you in your day to day life?
You know how each woman kind of plays a certain part? So it’s hard to try to pick one woman that has inspired me. I look up to my sister, even though she tells me that she looks up to me. She’s a person that’s always there if I need somebody to talk to or question what I’m doing [laughs]. Just like that second opinion person.
Is there a daily routine or a guilty pleasure you have to help get you through anything?
I like snacking all the time. If anybody knows me, I have snacks in my purse, in my car, my desk at work. Snacking makes me happy [laughs].
What advice would you give to other writers?
I would say, write an outline first. I know I had to sit down and actually write an outline first. And just deal with that, that particular situation, so you don’t overwhelm yourself with a whole bunch of situations all at once.
As I was getting up to leave, she said something that stuck with me: “I’ve always been shy, but I’ve always had an easier time writing myself into the paper.”
Afterwards, I drifted through the crowd, watching as people’s faces lit up with hope for Chasteen’s novel and its future.
Seeing everyone openly happy, I finally understood: Today is a new day, but because of yesterday, we made it here.
You can purchase your own copy of Because of Yesterday here.