Starting at age three, my life was filled with sorrow, neglect and abuse—a life no child should ever experience. Hurt time and again by people who claimed to love me, I grew up in the shadow of fear, uncertainty and hate. I lived a life on the run, starving, abused and terrified.
My first book that started the trilogy, Bitter Memories: A Memoir of Heartache & Survival, took 40-plus years to complete. Each time I sat down to write, the memories became overwhelming and I couldn’t continue. For years, I tried to write my story as “fiction” because I wasn’t ready for the world to know those bad things happened to me. But, that didn’t work. I wasn’t telling the truth, and truth meant so much to me. I’d lived a life of nothing but hurt and lies, so how could I tell my story if it was all a lie? I also had to keep the strong language I heard day in and day out, and I had to keep the explicit content as I remembered it actually happened, because there is no way to "sugarcoat" child abuse.
Deep down I always knew I needed to tell what happened. I needed to admit I was a survivor of child abuse. I needed to find a path toward healing my shame. Yes, shame. I blamed myself for what happened. I felt ashamed and dirty. I felt I was a “bad” kid and that’s why Daddy, his brother and so many more did those things to me.
The things he did to me…things he allowed others to do to me, were unforgivable.
The day I decided to change my name in the story so I could write what really happened, everything began to come together. I'd given everyone else a different name to protect their identity, so why shouldn’t I have a different name too? By changing my name to Sarah I was able to pull back and look at what I was writing through Sarah’s eyes.
Although unnerving, Bitter Memories is a gripping account of the extremes a child can undergo—and survive. Written from the heart, taking on a life of its own, I relived those memories of heartache, sadness, extreme hunger, and intense fear in hopes of helping other adult survivors find a path toward healing their “hidden” scars. My story deals with explosive topics that former child victims of mental, physical, and sexual violence will understand.
NOTE: Bitter Memories is not a cozy, feel-good book. It is a true story of extreme and horrific child abuse and the will to survive.
1) Bitter Memories: A Memoir of Heartache & Survival (non-fiction) is written like a novel for easy reading as I begin the true story of my life after being kidnapped by my father.
2) Trophy Murders (creative non-fiction/crime fiction) mixes fiction with truth for an action-packed crime story as I take you further on the journey of true events after going to live with Uncle Henry (the cop) and his heavy-handed wife, Olivia. A life I wouldn’t wish on any kid.
3) Cutter's Revenge (psychological thriller/crime fiction) mixes about five percent truth with a lot of suspenseful fiction. However, anyone who has read the other two books will know truth from fiction instantly. Using many of the same characters, I introduce several new characters — many you’ll love, some you’ll love to hate:
My Newest Book:
From The Heart (non-fiction) is a collection of fifteen inspirational poems from events in my life. It also includes short stories that inspired the writing of each poem. Starting with a little background, then moving into my first poem written at age nine after the death of my mother, I expose feelings I've never shared with anyone before now.
To learn more about the bitter memories trilogy, and my book of poetry, please visit my website: Sue Julsen