LAURA'S NEW BOOK:
The Burning Light of Two Stars
A Mother-Daughter Story
Coming November 9, 2021
Available Now for Preorder!
This riveting memoir by The Courage to Heal author Laura Davis examines the endurance of mother-daughter love, how memory protects and betrays us, and the determination it takes to fulfill a promise when ghosts from the past come knocking.
Welcome! I'm Laura Davis.
I write books that change people's lives and help people tell stories that matter.
I am the author of seven non-fiction books, including The Courage to Heal, Becoming the Parent You Want to Be and I Thought We'd Never Speak Again. My groundbreaking books have been translated into 11 languages and sold more than 1.8 million copies. In addition to writing books that inspire and change people's lives, the work of my heart is to teach. For more than twenty years, I've helped my students find their voices, tell their stories, and hone their craft as writers. I love creating supportive, intimate writing communities online, in person, and internationally.
Subscribe to my mailing list and I will immediately give you a beautiful eBook: Writing Toward Courage: A Thirty Day Practice.
Look Mom, I Got Published in The New York Times!
This past summer, on a whim, I distilled my soon-to-be-published 89,000-word memoir down to 100 words and submitted it to the Tiny Love Stories column in The New York Times. They said yes to publishing it. My mother, Temme Davis, antagonist and co-star in my forthcoming memoir, The Burning Light of Two Stars, did the New York Times crossword every day for more than 50 years until dementia took away her capacity to fill in those little boxes—always in ink. I’m sure she’s looking down from heaven right now, smiling at my 100 words and this wonderful picture of us.
Classes and Retreats
Experience the incredible power of finding your voice and honing your craft in a supportive circle of your peers. Weekly online classes include include writing practice classes and feedback circles. Click the "classes" button below for more information.
I also run writing retreats online, around the US, and internationally, from daylong and weekend workshops to weeklong retreats on writing through grief and uncertainty, to international travel adventures that combine writing with ecotourism in beautiful places around the world. To learn more, click on the link below.
The Burning Light of Two Stars: A Mother-Daughter Story
"Caregiving an elderly parent, especially against the backdrop of a difficult shared past, can be a bruising spiritual ordeal. We who must travel this territory don’t need any more sentimental narratives about it. What we do need is the healing medicine of truth-telling, and Laura Davis brilliantly and generously gives it to us. I literally could not put this book down."
—Katy Butler, bestselling author of Knocking on Heaven’s Door and The Art of Dying Well
My riveting new memoir examines the endurance of mother-daughter love, how memory protects and betrays us, and the determination it takes to fulfill a promise when ghosts from the past come knocking.
The Making of a Memoir Blog
Did You Ever Wonder What Goes into Making a Great Memoir?
Let me take you behind the scenes and show you what it takes to create a compelling book and get it into the hands of readers.
As a special bonus, you'll get a sneak peek at some deleted scenes from The Burning Light of Two Stars: A Mother-Daughter Story, like the time I dropped acid with my father…
Featured Retreat: Writing, Relaxation, and Adventure in Tuscany Next Spring
Tuesday, June 14 - Thursday, June 23, 2022
Journey to sun-soaked Tuscany for a ten-day retreat at a majestic 15th century estate seated on the rolling hills of the Italian countryside. Located just 45 minutes away from Florence, the Villa I Bonsi is a vineyard and olive farm ideal for relaxing and exploring the cultural wonders of a region celebrated for its history and food. Writing and yoga will be at the heart of the retreat and will help us bond as a group. This intimate and magical vacation includes an olive oil making tour, truffle hunting, a wine tasting tour, cooking lessons, and a day trip to San Gimignano with its medieval tower houses, encircling walls, and the unforgettable view from its hilltop setting. Spouses and non-writing friends are welcome to join in on the fun.
Upcoming Events with Laura Davis
Sponsored by Elliott Bay Book Company in Seattle:
Monday October 25, 2021
6 PM PDT | 7 PM MDT | 8 PM CDT | 9 PM EDT
Over thirty years ago - 1988, to be precise - Laura Davis coauthored The Courage to Heal: A Guide for Women Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse - a book that has had an extraordinary life, as it continues to be read and used, even as it helped prompt the publication of similar books and accounts, and, even more, helped change the language and perception surrounding women’s childhood sexual abuse itself. In her autobiographical new book, The Burning Light of Two Stars: A Mother-Daughter Story (Girl Friday Books), she tells a story of mother-daughter reconciliation and love to powerful ends.
“From the opening moment when Laura Davis is called into life by her mother, to their braided, sometimes twisted, often beautiful, long life together, The Burning Light of Two Stars takes us on a journey of two unforgettable, larger-than-life characters. We are pulled into their story and their struggles and read on to know if they will find it within themselves to make peace together. A tour de force of indelible scenes woven together in an innovative structure, it seemed to me that the pages literally turned themselves. Laura Davis’s first book in nineteen years is a major publishing event, not to be missed.”—Carolyn Brigit Flynn.
“Caregiving an elderly parent, especially against the backdrop of a difficult shared past, can be a bruising spiritual ordeal. We who must travel this territory don’t need any more sentimental narratives about it. What we do need is the healing medicine of truth-telling, and Laura Davis brilliantly and generously gives it to us. I literally could not put this book down.”—Katy Butler.
Joining Laura Davis this evening in virtual conversation will be her co-author of The Courage to Heal, esteemed poet and teacher Ellen Bass, whose most recent book is Indigo (Copper Canyon Press).
Come Celebrate with Laura and her Local independent Bookstore, Bookshop Santa Cruz.
This will be a digital launch - Zoom in from anywhere!
Tuesday October 26, 2021
7 PM PDT | 8 PM MDT | 9 PM CDT | 10 PM EDT
VIRTUAL EVENT: Bestselling author Laura Davis will join us online for a discussion of her riveting new memoir The Burning Light of Two Stars: A Mother-Daughter Story examines the endurance of mother-daughter love, how memory protects and betrays us, and the determination it takes to fulfill a promise when ghosts from the past come knocking.
Join Laura’s hometown crowd for a traditional Santa Cruz launch (lots of reading, lots of questions from you) at Laura’s favorite independent bookstore, one of the true jewels of our community: Bookshop Santa Cruz.
Sponsored by the San Miguel Writer’s Conference and the San Miguel Literary Sala in Mexico
Wednesday October 27, 2021
4:30 PM PDT | 5:30 PM MDT | 6:30 PM CDT | 7:30 PM EDT
A Book Launch on Zoom
Laura Davis achieved international renown for her first book, The Courage to Heal, which has sold over a million copies and continues to be considered a classic in the literature of healing from trauma. The Courage to Heal was followed by three more books about healing, a parenting sourcebook, and I Thought We’d Never Speak Again, a roadmap of the path from estrangement to reconciliation. For the past 25 years, Laura has been helping writers find their voices, tell their stories, and hone their craft. A beloved teacher at the San Miguel Writer’s Conference, Laura is delighted to celebrate the launch of her first book in nineteen years with members of the San Miguel Sala community.
The Burning Light of Two Stars tells the deeply personal story of Laura’s embattled relationship with her mother, Temme, their determination to love one another, and the surprising collision course they ended up on at the end of Temme’s life. In page-turning detail, Laura reveals how she was able to reconcile with the mother who betrayed her, and ultimately care for Temme at the end of her life. The reading experience is intensely emotional and immersive because of the deep compassion and vivid description Laura brings to every page.
In intimate, candid conversation with fellow memoirist Angie Abdou, Laura will share her ten-year-process — challenges, dead ends, and breakthroughs — bringing this gripping and at times hilarious family story to life. The focal point of the discussion will be on craft, but Laura will also share the deeply transformative nature of writing memoir and the lessons learned as daughter, mother, sister, spouse and writer.
Friday October 22, 2021
11 AM PDT | 12 PM MDT | 1 PM CDT | 2 PM EDT
In The Burning Light of Two Stars, Laura Davis tells the story of her embattled relationship with her mother, their determination to love one another, and the dramatic and surprising collision course they ended up on at the end of her mother’s life. For the millions of readers of Laura’s first book, The Courage to Heal, the new book serves as both prequel and sequel, revealing in intimate, page turning detail how Laura reconciled with the mother who betrayed her, and came to care for her at the end of her life.
Laura says: “This story was burning inside me and had to come out. I tried to walk away from it multiple times and it always insisted on being told. We all have core stories that live inside us; this is one of mine. It explores, from a deeply personal perspective, themes I’ve explored in my earlier non-fiction: the long-term impact of sexual abuse, healing from trauma, the mother-daughter knot, how to move from estrangement to reconciliation. As author and protagonist, I was searching for the answers to the following questions:
- Is it possible to caretake a parent who has betrayed you in the past?
- Is it possible to open a heart that’s learned it’s safer and easier to stay closed?
- What does healing from trauma look over the course of a lifetime? How healed do we actually get to be?
“Although this is the story of one mother and daughter, one relationship that went from an impossible estrangement to a surprising state of reconciliation, I believed it would resonate with anyone who struggles with someone they wish they could make peace with. And so, I persisted.
“It took ten years to finish the book for a multiplicity of reasons. I didn’t know how to write it or what form it should take. Despite teaching writing for 20 years, I had to level up my skills to do so. I knew how to create non-fiction books that teach and inspire but crafting a story that kept people turning pages required a whole new skill set. It took years and many false starts to find the story arc, to write across time, to learn to build momentum and create complex, flawed, and human characters—most challenging in my depiction of myself. It was thrilling to learn so much about the craft of writing this late in my career.”
In this presentation, you’ll learn:
- How our relationship to our core stories evolves and changes over our life cycle
- How to deal with the uncomfortable realization that your long-held, oft-repeated stories about your life are just that: stories—rather than “The Truth.”
- How to move from flat black and white depictions of the “hero and the villain” to complex, multifaceted characters on the page
- About the ethics and cost of writing about family
- How to find both compassion and courage in dealing with family members who may hate what you have written