Kenilworth woman hopes new book inspired by personal tragedy will help others

Katy Colins (right) and Nikki Whiting, who was the inspiration behind the main character in her new book.
Katy Colins (right) and Nikki Whiting, who was the inspiration behind the main character in her new book.

A Kenilworth woman hopes her recently published book ‘How To Say Goodbye’ will not only engage, but help people deal with the loss of a loved one.

Katy Colins created the story and its characters based on her own personal experiences of dealing with the tragic death of her father.

Katy and her father

Katy and her father

Already a four-time published author, Katy decided to change genres from romantic comedy travel-themed series she’d previously written.

Several years ago Katy sold everything she owned after being jilted at the altar and booked a one-way ticket to south-east Asia. She started a travel blog called Not Wed or Dead, which later led to the publication of The Lonely Hearts Travel Club series. As those books were published she became known in media reports as the ‘Backpacking Bridget Jones.’

Katy said the following about her new book: “I wanted to write something different. It’s a bit more grown up... I had a whole fifth book finished, but when I lost my dad I think I had a whole new outlook on everything. I feel very removed from that girl who went to Bali.”

Her father, 62-year-old Colin Gough, collapsed as he walked Katy’s baby daughter through a Kenilworth park in November 2017.

Katy and her new book

Katy and her new book

She said: “My dad was looking after Everleigh and he was walking her through the park and he just had a massive heart attack. They were going to Kenilworth Library. He was walking through Castle Farm and had a huge heart attack. Paramedics were called. They couldn’t do anything.”

Her daughter, who fell out of the pram, was found by authorities and was unharmed. But her father didn’t have any ID on him so it delayed how quickly she and her husband John found out what happened.

She added: “It was just the most horrific day. My dad lived in Kenilworth for over 40 years. He was a real Kenilworth man. He was a very healthy 62-year-old who had just retired and shockingly just cut short with no warning.”

Around 18 months later she dedicated her new book, published on Thursday June 13, for her father.

Katy said: “It just opened me up to this new world I had never experienced. The book would’ve never have existed had it not happened. I wanted to talk about my experiences of grief because we don’t as a society.”

The story within ‘How to say goodbye’ involves an unconventional female funeral arranger. The lead character, Grace, is inspired by Nikki Whiting, who works at Co-op John Taylor Funeral Home, who looked after her father’s funeral.

Katy said this of Nikki: “It was the passion she gave in giving my dad the best goodbye. I don’t think they get enough credit for what they do in the funeral industry.”

The emotions the characters feel in the book come from her own experiences of dealing with grief and loss.

Katy said: “I hope by creating the story others will realise they’re not alone and that by talking about it they’ll be able to come to terms with it.”

The book is on sale at Kenilworth Books, Talisman square, where Katy will hold a book signing event on Saturday June 22 from 11am – 1pm.

She added: “The more I can try and get the word out there not to just to buy the book but hopefully it will help people too.”