HerStory is a collection of short stories – true tales of heartache, triumph, imperfections, joys, sorrows, and the lessons we’ve learned from our unique experiences. From excruciating breakups, to discovering bravery through global travel, to French fries flying across the airport terminal and beyond, these stories will make you kneel over in laughter, grimace in anger, and maybe even shed a tear of sadness. We are 29 women, forever connected through a bond of sisterhood, formed in college who endeavored to pen an introspective reflection of the paths we’ve traveled as we’ve navigated unique journeys to womanhood. This is a snapshot of ever-evolving narratives with twists and turns, triumphs and challenges. We invite you to sneak a peak at the pages of our journals. We told our stories… What’s yours?
We caught up with the creators of HerStory and learned more about their inspiration for this AMAZING project! Check out the interview below!
What’s the background of HerStory? Where did the idea come from?
The idea for HerStory was born in the mind of Mary Underwood, one of our creators and editors. After attending a technology conference, she read a popular book written by one of the key note speakers. The book details personal stories of struggle and success of women in corporate America. Tiffany and Tomara read the book as well and after much debate among the three of us, we came to the conclusion that while all of the stories were inspiring none of them seemed to depict the challenges that we faced as minority women. Then it clicked, “Why don’t we write a book to address our concerns?” Ultimately the idea evolved and a new concept was born: HerStory – Heartache, Happiness and the Hiccups Along the Way. We would put together a compilation book and invite our sorority sisters to participate by writing stories categorized in certain themes which included the following: heartache, sacrifice, honesty, self-worth, courage, and happiness.
After long nights and early mornings, conference calls, disagreements, tears, multiple rounds of edits, moments of defeat, highs and lows; HerStory – Heartache, Happiness, and the Hiccups Along the Way is finally here. We are extremely excited to share a sneak peek at the pages if our journals with the world.
The project took about 2 years. There were several layers including bringing the potential authors together to explain the idea and process, creating the legal structure, forming the publishing company and accounts, and several rounds of editing for each story. It was a lot of work, but we are proud of the finished project.
Was it difficult to collaborate with so many people? So many different voices?
It was certainly challenging to collaborate with several authors. Thankfully we knew each other well, and were able to have candid conversations about what we were looking for and what needed to be changed. However, as you can see from our website bios, we are very busy women! We aren’t full-time writers. We’re doctors and attorneys, and teachers, and corporate execs, and accountants, who are managing our own lives and family responsibilities, so just finding time to connect with different schedules and capacities for involvement was a challenge. Additionally, there was a balancing act to create a body of work that flowed well as a collective book, but also kept the tone and personality of each of the authors.
How did you come up with the different categories of stories? (Were the stories first or the categories first?)
The categories were first. We created a list of what we thought would be good chapter headings, but as the stories evolved, we changed a few to better reflect the stories within the chapter.
Why is it important for people, particularly women of color, to read this collection of stories?
These stories reflect the diversity of women within our circle, but is also a reflection of women all over! Women are sometimes held to an unattainable standard of perfection that can be unrealistic, and we wanted to share our experiences and our flaws, and our poor decisions, and our amazing accomplishments because they are all apart of the story of womanhood. Each woman is unique, and each life journey, though not without its challenges can teach us important lessons that ultimately make us better, stronger, and more courageous. We wanted to share those with our sister friends and say that it’s okay to not be perfect! You can be amazing with imperfections. It’s perfectly normal to have anxieties or to not know all of the answers. None of us do. There is a magic in sharing your story that may encourage someone else have the courage to share theirs.
Who do you hope to affect with this project?
We initially hoped that the book would be an ode to our coming of age and transitioning from college kids to adults in the real world, and celebrating a milestone ten years in our amazing Sisterhood. We thought that young women would read the book and see themselves in the stories, and hopefully avoid some pitfalls or challenge themselves to be better and greater and strive for more than they ever imagined they could. However, after the book was published we found that not only young women were reading and finding value in the book, but also older women as well! They were telling us that they saw themselves in certain situations and that some stories were emotional triggers as they began to reflect on their own situations. So, we hope this book affects every woman who picks it up! For young and more seasoned readers – we hope you find something in our stories that encourage, inspire, and maybe even just entertain you!
What’s next with HerStory?
Oprah’s book club! Is that still a thing? Currently, we are having a great time promoting the book, meeting women who find the stories fascinating at book signings and other events. We have a few promotional events in the works and we’re looking forward to the year! We have been so inspired by the outpouring of other women sharing their stories there may even be a part II in the works!
Where can people find you?
We’re on Facebook at Facebook.com/readherstory
On Instagram and Twitter at @readherstory
Our website is www.readherstory.com