- Kathryn R. Biel
My Favorite Book
There, I said it.
Like most authors, I get asked often which of my books is my favorite. In all honesty, there's something I love about each and every one of them. But it's true; I have a favorite.
Ready for Whatever, Book 1 in The UnBRCAble Women Series.
The reasons for loving it are not what you may think. Sure, it's funny. Yes, my heroine has the great name of Millie. And true, there's a hot British hero. Those are all good things, but not why the book is my favorite.
It's an important book.
Despite the funny title and the illustrated bras dancing across the cover, it's an important book.
Take a look at the cover. Really look. It's okay, I'll wait.
Yes, my cover designer, Becky Monson, is a genius. Also genius is superstar author Kristan Higgins who suggested that we remove one of the bras from the clothesline. And when Kristan Higgins makes a suggestion, you follow it.
So take a minute, and look at that empty spot.
That spot is for every woman out there who lost her breasts to cancer or to prevent cancer. There are a lot of missing breasts out there.
This is an important book because it educates the reader about genetic/hereditary cancer risks (like those from the BRCA gene mutations). It teaches the reader about what it's like to undergo a mastectomy and reconstruction and why the phrase, "pray for my nipples" isn't silly in the least. It talks about what going through surgically-induced (and age-induced) menopause can entail. It lays it all out there about losing fertility without choice.
Oh, and it's totally funny.
It has to be. The reality women go through when faced with any sort of health crisis, but especially those that attack our very womanhood, is no laughing matter. So we have to laugh at it to take away its power. Shortly before publication, a blogger who'd received an advanced review copy of Ready for Whatever reached out to me, saying the story resonated with her. She'd faced a different type of cancer at the age of 29 (the same age as Millie in the book) and instantly felt connected. In her blog post, Kimmy states that this book is an "great vehicle to promote health awareness and education, especially women's health."
Then someone left this quote in their Amazon review: "I'm scheduling a mammogram right now."
My hope is that the women on this journey connect and relate and hopefully laugh, while those women who don't have this cross to bear can learn. Learn how to support our sisters. Learn how to advocate for our own health issues, no matter how small they might seem. You can only hear so many stories about a "hernia" that turns out to be Stage IIIb Ovarian Cancer and "irritable bowel" that is really colon cancer before you know we need to get loud and get seen.
If my dear friend, author Erin Huss, hadn't gotten loud she'd be a cancer patient instead of a cancer previvor (Cancer previvors are individuals who are survivors of a predisposition to cancer but who haven't had the disease). Also, if her husband hadn't given her her phone while she was still heavily under the influence of narcotics after her prophylactic mastectomy, she might not have texted me in the middle of the night telling me I had to write a romantic, funny story about a woman who is BRCA positive and meets a guy with a kid and a crazy ex-wife. Sound familiar?
So if you are reading this, and you haven't already, I'd suggest you take a moment to consider reading (or listening) to Ready for Whatever. Share it with your friends. Let's get loud together.
And remember, #BeUnBRCAble.