Michelle Paris Hopes Debut Novel, New Normal, Will Help Readers Dealing With Grief The fictional story of how middle-aged Michelle Paris dealt with her grief after being widowed is told in New Normal.
Michelle Paris, a writer from Maryland, is of the opinion that laughter can heal the heart. Her first book, New Normal, is loosely based on her own early widowhood experience. The Wall Street Journal’s front page featured her personal story of overcoming grief. Additionally, numerous editions of the Chicken Soup for the Soul inspirational book series as well as other media outlets have included her essays on grief and dating in middle age. She is a member of the Maryland Writers Association and Romance Writers of America. Michelle is currently enjoying the second chapter of her life with her new husband, Kevin, who, on the surface, prevents her from being a cat lady.
Michelle Paris found writing to be very cathartic after suddenly becoming a widow at 40. Ms. Paris decided to write her own happy ending because she was always a sucker for one. Paris’s own grief journey is fictionalized in the novel New Normal. Through relatable characters in situations that range from devastating to heartwarming and comedic, it tells a story of loss.
Emilie Russell just wants to feel normal after her husband’s sudden death. However, being a middle-aged widow does not come with a set of instructions. Viv, a friend with good intentions, believes that there is only one solution to everything: a new person. As a result, she matches Emilie with Colin, a widower, her new charming neighbor. The plan is flawed only in one way: Colin is gay.
With Colin as her best friend and mentor, Emilie sets out on an exciting journey of self-discovery. Emilie reenters the dating pool with results that are both humorous and soul-crushing, from learning to swipe right without cringing while midlife dating in constricting shapeware to cougar moments in Key West.
Emilie begins forging a new life with the support of her friends, including a new furry friend, and a little therapy. This new life will allow her to laugh more than cry, and it might even give her the courage to find love once more.
The novel was written and edited by Ms. Paris for more than ten years. She pitched it to editors and agents, who initially expressed interest but ultimately turned it down. She listened to feedback during that time to refine her manuscript until it was the perfect blend of personal experience and invented characters that tell a heartfelt and funny story. When Baltimore’s Apprentice House Press agreed, Paris was overjoyed. Ms. Paris credits the lesson of resiliency she learned when dealing with the sudden death of her husband with the process of finding a publisher for New Normal.
Michelle Paris said that she was confident in both her own story and herself. She never gave up, just like the message she shares in New Normal.
In 2010, the Wall Street Journal featured Ms. Paris’s personal journey through the grieving process on the front page. She explained that all she wanted when her husband passed away was for someone to assure her that everything would be alright. She hopes to be that person for other people. Her ultimate objective is to remind readers not to give up hope even when life is extremely difficult.
The nation’s first and largest publisher of books entirely managed by students is Apprentice House. Every step of the publishing process, from acquisitions to design and publication, is the responsibility of Loyola University Maryland students. Our primary objective is to inform students about the publishing process.
Apprentice House’s acquisitions, design, and marketing departments each employ students in these courses.
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New Normal will be available May 2nd, 2023