‘Great love’ story, told from beginning to end
“Promising tennis players Chad Warren and Megan Williams met on the court when he was 26 and she was 16. Just a few days later, Chad was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, an incurable cancer of the blood.
While it would be more than three years and a bone marrow transplant before Chad and Megan finally kissed, it was the beginning of a love story you will never forget – and of a battle they shared and fought together.”
It is the official synopsis of Megan Williams’ book — Our Interrupted Fairy Tale.
But it is far from the whole story.
When Williams was 25 years old, she lived in a “mini-castle in the sky” a tiny condo on the North Shore, with Chad Warren, the love of her life.
The couple, who’d met nearly 10 years earlier, talked about getting married and what forever looked like for them.
But their ‘forever’ was short-lived. Chad died that year, at 34.
Four years ago, while she was cleaning a closet, Williams found Chad’s diaries in the bottom of a bag filled with old household manuals.
They were dated from the time he’d first been diagnosed with cancer, nine years earlier.
She knew the story well, so she flipped through to the end.
On the last page of his diary, Chad left one simple instruction: Publish this when the time is right.
“So that’s what I’ve done,” said Williams.
“Combining Chad’s diary entries with mine, love letters and blog entries; the story of “us” has been published; uniquely written from both Chad’s perspective and mine. It seems to be the real-time, his/her perspective that is proving to be a good story for “guys-guys” as well, putting the book on a local bestseller list in the first week it was launched.”
The author, who will be in Langley this weekend, took a few minutes to chat with The Times about her book and the story that inspired her to create Our Interrupted Fairy Tale.
LT: Were you aware that Chad had been keeping a diary while he was ill, or were you surprised to discover it in the closet?
MW: I knew he had one when he was first diagnosed, but I never thought to look for it. I also didn’t know there was a second diary.
LT: Was there ever any question that you would publish a story, as per his instructions? Or was it a given, simply because he’d asked you to do it?
MW: Chad and I had talked about sharing his story with the intention of helping others and raising awareness. Some of that brainstorming included fundraising (Chads1Million.com) and the topic of a book had also come up. That being said, it was a very fleeting discussion; but it was helpful in my decision to go ahead with it.
LT: How much time passed between Chad’s death and your finding the diary? How did you handle revisiting, in great detail, what was no doubt a terrible time in your life?
MW: Chad was diagnosed when he was 26. He died when he was 34. A few months after he died (2009) was when I found the diaries.
Recalling his life and our relationship through diaries and blogs was equally as difficult as it was enjoyable.
Yes, there were some days that I couldn’t stop crying, but there were many days that I fell in love with him all over again as I recounted our courtship; leaving me to feel we were dating again.
LT: What does having this story out there in the public realm mean to you?
Why is it important to tell the world about Chad?
MW: I believe that Chad and I had a great love — one that was bigger than just diaries and letters, and having the story out in the public realm is a way that in 40 years from now, someone can pick up this book on a dusty bookshelf and learn about this great love we were fortunate to have, and about this great guy, Chad.
I love that people have been reading Our Interrupted Fairy Tale and coming back to me and saying that they feel as though they know him.
Having the book out there for others to read is a way that Chad can outlive us all.
LT: You mentioned the book is proving to be a good story for “guys-guys.”
Are men turning out to be an unexpectedly large portion of your audience? What do you think it is about the format they find appealing?
MW: Chad was a real alpha male, and his writing reflects that.
While being positive, he didn’t sugar-coat his struggles and the the toll illness can take on the body.
I believe it’s the uncensored documentation in his words, and in mine, that is seeming to appeal to both male and female readers from all different audiences.
I also think our story has a universal theme we can all relate to — whether you’re a man or a woman, we look for a great love, someone we can spend our life with — and once we have that love, there is the fear of losing it.
On Saturday, April 5, from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. Williams will be at the Langley Chapters store, 20015 Langley Bypass, signing copies of her book.
She is also promoting Chads1million.com — a website dedicated to spreading awareness about multiple myeloma and to raising $1 million to aid in the fight against the incurable blood cancer that claimed Chad’s life.