Thursday, November 7, 2019


If you dropped by here last month, I hope you got to know author Antoinette Truglio Martin during her WOW! Women on Writing Tour for her latest release, HUG EVERYONE YOU KNOW.

Well here’s a brief reminder of what the book is about and then the author joins us to answer some of my questions about her book and writing.

During 2017's National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, She Writes Press published Antoinette Truglio Martin’s touching memoir, Hug Everyone You Know: A Year of Community, Courage, and Cancer. It is a 2017 USA Best Book Awards Finalist in Non-Fiction: Narrative and a 2018 Next Generation Indie Book Finalist: Non-Fiction Women's Issues.

In 2007, Antoinette believed her call back doctor appointment was routine, maybe a scare, nothing worse. Her shock at receiving a Stage I breast cancer diagnosis was instantly compounded by her own deep fears. As a self-described wimp—afraid of needles and uncomfortable with sedation—how was she going to get through this?
Antoinette started her fight against cancer with words. She began by journaling and by writing emails to Her Everyone—the large close-knit family and circle of beloved friends wanting to offer their support, especially those who were fighting breast cancer alongside her. The emails not only helped to keep Her Everyone informed, they gave cancer less of a presence in Antoinette’s life, since she wasn’t repeatedly updating people or saying the word “cancer” over and over. The practice of writing calmed her and also gave her space to focus on living: on the house that wasn’t selling, an exciting new job, daughters in college, and summer beach plans. She signed every email with the reminder to “hug everyone you know.”
Those emails and journal entries are at the heart of this memoir, which gives the book an immediacy and raw power.

Now join me in welcoming Antoinette back to Thoughts. Welcome, Antoinette.

What compelled you to share your writings in a book?

I journaled through the first year of Stage 1 breast cancer treatment in a shabby notebook. Cancer didn't deserve a pretty journal. Because it was so difficult to talk about and repeat what was going to happen and would have happened, I found that emailing my family and friends to be so much easier. I did not have to articulate or hear the cancer words. The writing also helped me see what was important and strive to be part of the story rather than a sad sidebar.
I saved the journal and emails with the plan that I could write a light, whimsical book about breast cancer. The problem was when I started to compile and begin the process; I re-lived the fear all over again. Cancer was not a whimsical journey.  So I put everything away, never wanting to face cancer again.
Almost five years after treatment, cancer did return.  I now have metastatic breast cancer—Stage IV. There is no cure. It's forever. I was really scared and so much wimpier. I dug up that shabby journal and those emails. I disregarded the idea of whimsical. I focused on being honest and included the authentic voices from the emails.

What was the most difficult and/or easiest part of putting this book together?

It was hard to write. I didn't want to confront that fear again especially now that it is so much more serious, and I am going to have to live with it. But it was a good exercise. I understood what I needed to do. And I have been very fortunate, so very fortunate that this new tumor was caught so early before any real damage. So far, treatment has not been debilitating nor does it intrude on every day too much. I can make the cancer a story in my life; not the story of my life.

What would you encourage people not to do or say when talking with someone who has or has had cancer?

No one wants to hear of an aunt, neighbor, or the supermarket cashier who had lost all of her hair, or whose husband left her, or who died from breast cancer. It is more important to be a listener. Hugs work really well, too.

What one thing do you wish people would ask you, that no one has?

“What do you want to do?”

What's your favorite way of relaxing?

I like to walk the beach, sail, and watch a sunset over a body of water.

HUG EVERYONE YOU KNOW is now available to purchase on   Amazon.comBarnes and Noble, and  IndieBound.

Author Antoinette Truglio Martin
For those who aren’t familiar with the author, here’s a bit of background on her.

Antoinette Truglio Martin is a life-long Long Islander, teacher, wife, mother, daughter, and friend. She is the author of Hug Everyone You Know: A Year of Community, Courage, and Cancer—a memoir chronicling her first-year battling breast cancer as a wimpy patient. Personal experience essays and excerpts of her memoir were published in Bridges, Visible Ink, and The Southampton Review.

Antoinette proudly received her MFA in creative writing and literature from Stony Brook/Southampton University in 2016. Antoinette had also written the children's picture book, Famous Seaweed Soup (Albert Whitman and Company), and was a regular columnist for local periodicals Parent Connections (In a Family Way) and Fire Island Tide (Beach Bumming).

Her blog, Stories Served Around The Table, tells family tales and life's musings. She lives in her hometown of Sayville, New York with her husband, Matt, and is never far from her “Everyone” and the beaches she loves. Since being diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer in 2012, she strives to not let cancer to dictate her life. 

You can foll her at Facebook and her website.

Thanks so much for stopping by today. Have you started hugging those you know?


  1. Telling someone with cancer that they know someone who died of it is a really crappy thing to say anyway!

  2. Thank you both (so much) for this follow up.
    I volunteer on a crisis line and have learned the importance of listening. Really listening.
    And have to ask Antoinette, What DO you want to do? And wish her luck with whatever it is.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on today's post. Thanks for dropping by.