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A Saving Solace

Bauden's newest book bursting with emotion

Diane S. Bauden is known for writing intensely emotional stories about friendship, family and love. Her third and newest book, A Saving Solace, cements that reputation with an extremely personal, heart-wrenching tale of two women who struggle to overcome loss and open themselves to feel again.

Bauden, a Chicago-area native, grew up as the seventh of eight children and took up writing when she got to a point in life where nearly everything was an inspiration for a story.

"I write because I have so many ideas and stories in my head, I would burst if I didn't," she said. "I like being able to touch people with the stories I write. Everyday life inspires me. I've seen and felt many things in my thirty-five years. They say the best writers will write what they know and I'm trying to be no different in that aspect. I tend to get my best ideas from driving or dreaming. Something I see will spark my muse and she just runs free."

For A Saving Solace, the inspiration was her mother's illness and ultimate death and Bauden's need to honor her while documenting her own emotions.

The book tells the story of Kelly Cavanaugh and Susan McGovern, two women living on opposite sides of the tracks. Kelly is regional manager of a posh clothing chain. She's wealthy, stylish and in charge, but devastated by her mother's death. Susan is a social worker trying to get back on her feet after being rejected by her family and left homeless for years. She's scraping life together with the barest of essentials. What they have in common is loss of family resulting in fear of letting anyone get close. Together they embark on a journey to battle old and new obstacles and try to love again.

"It's a very personal piece for me," Bauden explained. "I lost my mother to ALS (Lou Gehrig's disease) in December 1998. This story reflects a lot of my own experience and emotions from that time. I needed an outlet to come to terms with a lot of that and writing this has been extremely cathartic."

Because the book is so intense, it took Bauden nearly two years to write. Part of the story is told through Kelly's flashbacks of her mother's illness and death. Bauden relied on her own experiences for the story and found them so emotionally charged she would have to walk away from the story after each of those sections.

"As a child, I thought my mom hung the moon; so to watch her deteriorate into nothing before my eyes was the hardest thing I've ever gone through. I've immortalized her story with Solace because I will never forget how she fought just to spend one more Christmas with us, nor will I ever forget how precious she was to me. This was my gift to her in return for her giving life to me," she said.

The response Bauden has received from readers has made the time and trauma she spent writing the book worth it, she said.

"People lose loved ones all the time; it's just a fact of the circle of life. Sometimes though, a loss can be so traumatic that it changes everything in your life. But, unfortunately, life goes on when we least want it to and I guess I just wanted to let others know that they aren't alone in their feelings," she said. "I've heard from numerous people about how this book helped them through their grief, old and new. I was overwhelmed with the amount of letters I received. It was truly wonderful."

Before readers get the impression the book is all grief, rest assured it is not. Bauden is a sucker for a happy ending, even if she makes her characters suffer immensely to get there.

"My biggest reward with Solace was that I brought to life many aspects of loss and recapturing one's self with it. I've heard from many readers who had similar experiences losing a loved one and were so grateful to know they weren't alone in their sufferings. I've also had people call their mothers who hadn't talked to them in ages, because they were so moved by the story. That is the biggest reward I could ever hope for with my writing," Bauden said.

A Saving Solace is Bauden's third book, following the popular A Sacrifice For Friendship in 2002 and Nurturing Souls, which was released in February.

All of Bauden's books focus on love and finding a soul mate.

"That story to me is the greatest story ever told. I also tend to touch on death/loss and abandonment, since they appear in all of our lives at one point or another. Everyone feels alone sometimes and I like letting people know the opposite is also true: You don't have to feel that way. There's always going to be someone that knows what you are feeling, and maybe my writing will help them in their grief or healing. That would truly be wonderful."