Book Giveaway & Author Interview: So Far Away by Christine Hartmann

Welcome to Author Christine W. Hartmann


Christine W. Hartmann is a researcher in the Veterans Health Administration and an assistant professor at Boston University. She received her PhD at the Bryn Mawr Graduate School of Social Work and Social Research. She has published numerous articles on healthcare quality improvement, focusing particularly on long-term care. To learn more about Ms. Hartmann and her work, please visit her website at

If you were stranded on a desert island, what 3 things would you want with you?
Unlimited paper, unlimited pencils, and a huge dictionary (my terrible spelling would drive me crazy without spell check).

If you could have any superpower, what would you choose?

Night owl, or early bird?
An early bird who doesn’t drink coffee.

Please tell us, in one sentence only, why we should read your book.
It’s about things that affect all of us: how we fear losing what we love most, and how we survive when we do.

Any other books in the works? Goals for future projects?
I’m in the process of writing a book about glaucoma from the patient’s perspective, which Vanderbilt University Press will publish.

Tell us your most rewarding experience since being published.
Hearing that my father’s relatives have gotten together in Germany to have a little “book club” to read through my book together and discuss family history.

What was your favorite book when you were a child/teen?
James Herriot’s series of books about being a country vet in Yorkshire, England.

If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
Those cottages on stilts above the baby blue sea in Bora Bora seem awfully appealing…

What’s the craziest writing idea you’ve had?
Wanting to write historical fiction, because I can never remember much about history. Maybe that’s why this is still just an idea?

What’s the best advice anyone has ever given you?
When I finally admitted to my husband—who has published 8 books and counting—that I too wanted to write a book, I said I felt overwhelmed by the enormity of the project. He told me, “Don’t think about writing a whole book at once. Make an outline of all the chapters, and then just think about writing one chapter at a time.” One chapter at a time I could do.

Favorite Food?

What do you do in your free time?
Write. I have a full-time job, so I have to do my writing in my free time.

What’s your favorite season/weather?
When I was a kid, I loved fall, because my birthday is in the fall. Lately, spring appeals to me most, with the scent of promise always lingering in the air and the tantalizing increase in daylight hours.

What TV show/movie/book do you watch/read that you’d be embarrassed to admit?
I watch the movie Love Actually at least once a year, and I cry just as hard every time.

So Far Away

Christine Hartmann’s mother valued control above all else, yet one event appeared beyond her command: the timing of her own death. Not to be denied there either, two decades in advance Irmgard Hartmann chose the date on which to end her life. And her next step was to tell her daughter all about it. For twenty years, Irmgard maintained an unwavering goal, to commit suicide at age seventy. She managed her chronic hypertension, stayed healthy and active, and lived life to the fullest. Meanwhile, Christine fought desperately against the decision. When Irmgard wouldn’t listen, the only way to remain part of her life was for Christine to swallow her mother’s plans–hook, line, and sinker.

Christine’s father, as it turned out, prepared too slowly for old age. Before he had made any decision, fate disabled him through a series of strokes. Confined to a nursing home, severely impaired by dementia and frustrated by his circumstances, his life epitomized the predicament her mother wanted to avoid.

So Far Away gives us an intimate view of a person interacting with and reacting to her parents at the ends of their lives. In a richly detailed, poignant story of family members’ separate yet interwoven journeys, it underscores the complexities and opportunities that life presents each one of us.

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Giveaway Details
1 copy of So Far Away
Open to US only
Ends 12/15/11