M.J. Flood holds a copy of his memoir, “Where Are You? Finding Myself in My Greatest Loss,” in his Seaford home. Credit: James Carbone In 2008, M.J. Flood and his wife, Tara, had a stillborn child. For years, the tragedy left him “emotionally stuck,” even after the births of two daughters, Charlotte, now 13, and Judith, now 9, Flood said. But when a friend asked if he had thought of writing a book about the stillbirth, Flood realized that such a memoir wouldn’t just be a cathartic experience — It would help him achieve a longtime goal to be a published author. “I always wanted to be a writer but was struggling with what to write about,” said the Seaford resident, 47, who teaches English and writing at Kellenberg Memorial High School in Uniondale and has a master’s degree in creative writing from Hofstra University. “Now, I had something to write about.” During the summer of 2018, Flood hammered away at his computer. He showed the manuscript to a friend, Kenneth Frank, a filmmaker whose “wow” response made Flood confident about getting published. And after reading his account of their shared tragedy, his wife, 43, declared, “It’s good, it’s really good,” Flood said. Her words were the “permission and validation” he needed to hear to send the manuscript to publishers. An acquaintance at a major publisher loved the memoir, but ultimately rejected it because Flood lacked a social media following to promote the book, Flood said. More rejections followed. “Rejection is humbling and discouraging, but in my heart, I believed in what I wrote,” Flood said. “And I told myself that I had to submit [the manuscript] again and again until someone else believes in my work as well.” At a cocktail party, Flood met a writer who suggested he contact En Route Books and Media, a small Catholic publisher in St. Louis. And in August 2019, En Route turned Flood’s 30,000-word manuscript into the 130-page book, “Where are You? Finding Myself in My Greatest Loss.” “One of the proudest moments was getting the bound copies,” Flood said. “Creating […]

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