Rowan’s Memoir Shares Healing After Abuse

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Joining us today is Jane Rowan, author of, The River of Forgetting: A Memoir of Healing from Sexual Abuse.

Welcome Jane. Can you start off by telling us a bit about yourself?
Like so many people, I’ve had a bit of a journey in life. I always did well in school, so I went on to college and got a degree in mathematics, then into Peace Corps in Africa, then graduate school in science, followed by thirty years of teaching in a private college. You might not think this would be a good preparation for writing an extremely intimate memoir about trauma and healing, but life has ways of teaching us. I was always tuned into my students’ lives and I heard a lot over the years. In addition, I kept a journal for decades and secretly wrote poetry.

What is this book about and what inspired you to write it?
The story begins the moment I woke up one morning with a persistent, troubling memory from when I was three years old. The body-memory didn’t make sense, but I knew immediately that my parents had lied to me about it. I was afraid the memory meant I had been abused. The book shows my journey over the next five years as I wrestled with doubt, worked with my therapist on dredging up more fragments of memory, and most of all came to terms with my family dynamics, how the parents who loved me could also be the ones who abused and allowed the abuse. It is a detective story of the soul.

I was inspired by sheer gratitude for the marvelous work that happens in therapy and for my therapist’s particular skills and caring. These five years opened up my heart and my creative spirit. Writing and artwork became central, and new friendships sprang from these interests, relationships that are healthy and sustaining.

Were there any obstacles or challenges you faced during the publishing process?
Oh, indeed yes! I queried more than ninety agents. It was a strenuous process. Several of them told me the book was very well written but that they simply could not sell “another book about incest.” (I see it more as a book about the human spirit.) In the end, I turned to a small local publisher, Booksmyth Press of Shelburne, Massachusetts, and I was impressed with the craft and care that my publisher brought to the work, so I’m very happy with it.

If you only had the time to tell readers one thing about your book, what would it be?
This book invites you to come right inside my soul and come along with me in the process of healing. Readers tell me it’s incredibly intimate and healing to read.

Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?
It’s available through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Amazon Kindle, and other ebook sites such as, as well as directly through my website.

Where can readers find out more?

What is up next for you?
Right now I’m mostly doing legwork to get The River of Forgetting out into the world and into the hands of people who want or need to read it. I see my audience as made up of three strands. The first, obvious group consists of people who had difficult childhoods and who want to read about how one survivor grew and healed, by therapy and facing the demons. The second group might be therapists who want to understand what their clients are going through. The third consists of people who just want a good read, including the most intimate description of the therapy process that I’ve seen anywhere. Tons of people are interested in therapy—it’s a fascinating aspect of modern human experience.

But in addition, I am writing poetry and I am doing abstract paintings. Painting is such a challenge for me and I love being able to approach it with seriousness and with childlike curiosity, both. I enjoy both the freedom to do anything and the discipline of trying to make a painting that speaks to me and to others.

Is there anything else you would like to add?
I want to wish all your readers creative, growthful, and happy lives.

Thanks for spending time with us today, Jane. We wish you great success. 


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