On What Comes Next: My Second Book Project

It occurred to me the other day that I really haven’t talked much about my second book here. At one point last year I made a conscious decision to remain quiet about it for a while, at least until it had fully taken shape, but that time has already come to fruition and I’ve been actively talking about the new book at my readings and in interviews, so I thought I’d share a bit more about it here.

My second book is about the afterlife. It’s a kind of spiritual memoir (I detest that term, but have yet to come up with something better) about what happens next. I’m approaching the subject from the standpoint of having no clear beliefs about what happens when we die, and my goal is to emerge from the experience with a solid foundation for what I believe. Out of nowhere Vera has begun asking me about where my parents are and why they died. Not only do I want to have some worthy answers for her, but I want to have some for myself as well.

In approaching this book, I’ve been delving into all kinds of interesting experiences that include anything from seeing psychic mediums who have attempted to contact my parents, taking lengthy Kabbalah classes, doing past life regression therapy, to meeting with rabbis, priests, and intuitives.

(Side note: I’m really open to hearing ideas of people I should talk to, books I should read, places I should visit, etc. Some of the coolest things I’ve done so far have been at the suggestion of others.)

I officially began working on this project almost exactly one year ago and I can definitively say that my beliefs have changed, or at least expanded to a much greater degree. The very first thing I did when delving into this project was fly to New York for a meeting with psychic medium John Edward. He was the first medium I’d ever seen, but has not been the last. I had never done anything like this before, and while I’m going to save recounting the actual experience for the book, I will tell you that all of the mediums I’ve seen have been utterly fascinating.

But really, it’s all been fascinating so far. From weekly morning meetings with an orthodox rabbi last fall to a visit to hear Bill Wiese speak about the experience he writes about in his book 23 Minutes in Hell, I couldn’t be more thrilled to be working on this book. I recently had an astrologer (who knew nothing about me) refer to me as a psychopomp — essentially someone who helps others navigate their way into the afterlife. I’ve been thinking about that idea ever since.

When I wrote RULES, I did so with the intention of creating something that would be helpful to others. I have the same intention with this book. I sincerely hope that all the work I’m putting into this project is something that is useful to others who are struggling with the same questions as they move forward in life.

I recently wrote an essay for Barnes & Noble entitled What I Know. It expands a bit on what I’ve written about here, if you’d like to know more.

Anyway, I’m excited to share about this book here finally, and I look forward to hearing your thoughts as well.

[booksellers] Want to buy my book? Do so at any of the above!




  • Posted April 3, 2012 at 3:23 pm | Permalink

    It sound fascinating! I can’t wait to read it. (Your first book is next on my To Read pile!)

  • Posted April 5, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Sophie!

  • Aunt Sue
    Posted April 3, 2012 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    Did you read, Heaven is for Real?

  • Posted April 5, 2012 at 2:25 pm | Permalink

    Not yet, Sue! But it’s on my list.

  • Posted April 3, 2012 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    There’s so much we don’t can’t possibly understand about the ways of the world and the “thereafter”. One time when our younger son was right around three, he and I were outdoors looking up at the sky, and when a bird flew by I casually said “Wouldn’t it be fun to be a bird”? He looked at me with the most amazing all-knowing expression for a moment, then said, somewhat derisively “Mom, you won’t ever be able to be a bird.” Assuming he was speaking in material not metaphysical terms I called his bluff and said something kind of smart-alecky like “Oh yeah? Why not?” “Well, you could only be a bird if you were one before” (Thinking fast and furiously as I realized this was not just a casual conversation after all and not wanting to influence his train of thought…) “Hmmm. So…how do you know that?” To which he matter-of-factly replied “I learned it before I came here — while I was with God.” (OHMYGOODNESS! WEDON’TEVENGOTOCHURCH!! WHERE DID HE PICK UP ON THE CONCEPT OF GOD, LET ALONE THE WORD???!!!) “Hmmm. Really? What was that like?” “It was kind of like being in a really big school with lots and lots of people, but it was all really peaceful” (BOGGLE!) And then a lizard popped into view and the moment was gone.

    Needless to say, I will be most eager to read about your discoveries in this realm, Claire. What an amazing adventure.

  • Posted April 5, 2012 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    Carroll, I love this story! And it’s not the first like it that I’ve heard. I tried to ask Vera recently if she remembered anything from before she was born but she said no.

  • Bryce
    Posted April 3, 2012 at 5:02 pm | Permalink

    Claire– You should do an astrology reading with my dear friend Ophi (astrostyle.com). There is a bit about past lives that she does that is super cool. Also have you read that new book, Dying to be Me by Anita Moorjani?
    Looking forward to this new book!

  • Posted April 5, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Bryce, I’d love to do a reading with Ophi! And I just downloaded Dying to Be Me. Thanks! xo

  • Posted April 3, 2012 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

    I can’t wait to read your next book! This is such a fascinating topic for me, as well. I had a reading with a medium several years ago, and it blew me away. I find it incredibly poignant that this is the next chapter for your writing. I’m sure it will be a fascinating journey.

  • Posted April 5, 2012 at 2:29 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Nadine! The medium experiences have definitely been the most interesting part of this journey so far.

  • RzDrms
    Posted April 3, 2012 at 7:35 pm | Permalink

    Sincerely curious why you detest the term “spiritual memoir.” I assume it’s the “spiritual” word and not the “memoir” part. Meaning, will you be writing about the spirit, the soul, the “being” of someone/people when writing this memoir? Spiritual doesn’t have to be synonymous with Religious, although that’s how some (me included) equate the two. Maybe you can mean the literal spirit, soul, being of a person, and those of us who take it beyond a…singular?…personal?…individual?…sense can then extrapolate it to a “heavenly”, “Godly” sense. The book could speak to all of us, and each of us, separately, together. Just some thoughts.

  • Posted April 5, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for inquiring RzDrms. It’s actually the other way around — I’m not shy about the word spiritual. In fact, I’d much rather refer to myself as spiritual than religious. It’s more the whole term itself — spiritual memoir seems to connote a real Eat, Pray, Love kind of eye-rolling in the literary community…that’s what makes me cringe.

  • Aeshna
    Posted April 4, 2012 at 4:30 am | Permalink

    Claire, you must read this book called ‘Dying to Be Me: My Journey from Cancer, to Near Death, to True Healing’ by Anita Moorjani, published by Hay House.
    It’s the true story of a woman who after suffering from cancer for four years starting having organ failure and was rushed to the hospital in a coma. Here she had the most extraordinary near-death experience where she realized the causes of her disease, and then woke up to be totally recovered within WEEKS.
    I read it recently and it blew my mind. Perhaps it may give you some relevant insights!

  • Posted April 5, 2012 at 2:31 pm | Permalink

    I just downloaded it, Aeshna! Thanks!

  • Karen
    Posted April 4, 2012 at 7:17 pm | Permalink

    I am almost finished reading “Dying to be Me” and have found it to be thought provoking, especially in terms of why we’re all here to begin with. I think Anita would be someone interesting to speak to about her near death experience. Good luck!

  • Posted April 5, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Karen! Three of you now posting about this book. Excited to read it!

  • Lori Webber
    Posted April 4, 2012 at 7:29 pm | Permalink

    Claire: I LOVE your idea for your next book. I immediately thought of the book I am reading “The Art of Racing in the Rain” which is somewhat related. I just started it and I am loving it. It is told from the point of view of a dog who cannot talk (of course) but he narrates the story and you know his thoughts, one of which is that he is going to come back as man!

    Secondly, I know why you feel hesitant about the word “spiritual” but it then made me think about how in the 1800’s, early 1900’s, how so many people were influenced by “spiritual” charismatic people (people who were talking about the afterlife, talking to spirits, ouji boards etc.) and how many people were interested in seances and conversing with spirits. I think I’ve read something about some sisters (the Fox sisters?) who were superstars in that day regarding this type of “spiritualism.” So I think you may have the right term for it. As RzDms said, “spiritual” and “religion” are not interchangeable words. But religion can definitely dictate one’s spiritual beliefs and beliefs in the afterlife. Such an interesting topic! Oh, it just made me think of that scene in Downton Abbey where all the servants are sitting around a Ouji Board, communicating with spirits!

    Didn’t Emily Dickinson write poems about immortality and the afterlife? Just throwing some ideas out there for you.
    Have fun with this! We are all already impatient waiting for your book!
    All the best, Lori

  • Posted April 5, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Lori! Glad you’re as excited as I am. And like I told RzDrms — I’m all for the word spiritual. It’s just whole “spiritual memoir” phrase that feels silly coming out of my mouth. Mostly out of fear of snobbery from the literary community.

  • RzDrms
    Posted April 5, 2012 at 6:46 pm | Permalink

    Ah, okay! I understand now what you were saying. Thanks for the insight! Can’t wait for the second book (SECOND BOOK…goosebumps)!

  • Christie
    Posted April 8, 2012 at 5:34 pm | Permalink

    Hi Claire,

    I read a book a while back called “Your Soul’s Plan” by Robert Schwartz that I found fascinating. He talks about pre-birth planning, a contract our soul makes with others before we decide to come to this plane. He worked with four mediums/channels on different case studies, sharing the stories and giving information on who he worked with.

    The concept is one that I have thought about more recently due to the fact that I am getting older and experiencing more people passing as well as a horrific accident that happened to one of my best friend’s little girl who was not yet three and was hit by a car, leaving her brain injured. She was adopted and I was trying to make sense out of how that could have happened – it seemed so random and yet I found myself thinking that maybe it wasn’t.

    Anyway, it may be something to check into to see if it resonates with you. If not, no worries, I wish you the best and look forward to reading your book. If it is anything like Rules, I know I will really enjoy it as I love your writing style and your ability to share your story in such a way that touches me deeply.

  • Posted April 8, 2012 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

    Thanks, Christie! Someone else *just* told me about this book. Sounds like a sure sign that I should read it!

  • Posted January 14, 2013 at 10:06 am | Permalink

    Hello Claire,
    I read your article in our Sunday paper in Charleston SC. I thought it was very insightful. You have seen much sadness and loss for someone so young.
    I love how you have used your experience to help others and shed a light on how a person is feeling and the stuggles and hardships that loosing loved ones brings.

    I hope you look at my website that my daughters friends set up basicaly for us. I write a blog and we have posted Ramey’s music as well as my husbands songs. He wrote them after our daughter died of a brain tumor.

    I, like you would like to write a book on grief- There didn’t seem to be much out there when we were going through our hardest times. It will be 5 years this July and it’s still hard to talk about loosing and missing her with out crying.

    I have read “Heaven is for real” and would suggest that book to you.
    Do you have any suggestions on how we would start the process? All help and suggestions will be appreciated.

    God Bless you,

Post a Comment

Your email is never shared. Required fields are marked *