Author’s Corner: Kingsport woman writes book to fulfill promise to late father

Holly Viers • Jan 3, 2019 at 3:31 PM

About a year and a half ago, Kingsport resident Chelsey Owens made a promise to her father that one day, she would write his story.

Though her father has since passed away, Owens never forgot her promise. The resulting book, “Because His Heart Was Strong,” focuses on the special bond she shared with her father and aims to encourage those who are grieving over lost loved ones.

What is your background?

Owens was born in California but raised in Kingsport. After attending Sullivan County schools through middle school, she received her high school diploma from Tri-Cities Christian School and graduated from King University in 2014.

After that, she worked as a teacher for a few years before beginning her current career in health care administration.

What inspired you to write this book?

Owens said she’s always enjoyed writing, but it wasn’t until she had a conversation with her father, Ricky Owens, that she decided to author a book.

Her father, well-known for his all-star basketball career at Sullivan Central High School under coach Dickie Warren, battled leukemia in the last years of his life and passed away in July 2017.

“This book came about when (my dad) was in the hospital,” Owens said. “He asked someone to write his story, and nobody else in my family really likes to write but me, so I asked him, ‘Do you really want me to write your story?’ He said yes, so I told him I would. Then he took a turn for the worse, and I told him the day that he died, I said, ‘Even though the ending’s going to be different, I’m going to finish your story.’ ”

That conversation led to a months-long writing process that culminated with the release of the book last month.

Describe the book

Owens said the book covers the last 10 years of her father’s life. It begins in 2006, when her father was first diagnosed with leukemia, and ends with his passing.

“It’s the story of me and my dad, our relationship,” Owens said. “It’s my story from my point of view, but it all centers around my dad.”

The book’s title, “Because His Heart Was Strong,” also holds significant meaning, Owens said.

“My dad was in a coma for a long time at Vanderbilt … and a nurse told (my mom), ‘The only reason your husband has survived everything he’s been through is because he has a strong heart.’ They were talking about the physical heart,” Owens said. “He underwent so many harsh things, and every time we thought, ‘This is it, he’s not going to make it,’ a nurse or doctor would say, ‘His heart’s strong.’ We heard that up until the very end.

“The book is not about his physical heart; it’s about the love he had for his family, and that’s why his heart was strong.”

Where can it be purchased?

The book is sold online through major retailers, such as Amazon and Barnes & Noble, and is available in hardcover, paperback and electronic versions, Owens said. The book can also be purchased through the publisher, Westbow Press.

What’s next?

Owens will hold a book signing Thursday, Jan. 10, at 6 p.m. at Wolfe, Williams, and Reynolds Attorneys at Law, located at 8 Sheridan Square, Suite 310 in Kingsport. Refreshments will be provided.

As for whether she’ll write another book, Owens isn’t ruling out the possibility.

“I could see myself writing again, but I don’t have anything on my heart to write about right now,” Owens said. “This wasn’t just a book to write because I wanted to. It was also fulfilling a promise.”

For more information, search for “Because His Heart Was Strong” on Facebook.