Independent mental health publisher Trigger has acquired the first book of TV presenter, Simon Thomas, about coping with the death of his wife Gemma.
In the book, the former Sky Sports and "Blue Peter" presenter will explore themes of loss, bereavement, depression and faith. It begins on the day his wife died, and takes readers through the next year in his life as he tries to come to terms with her loss.
Gemma Thomas died when she was aged just 40, three days after she was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukaemia. In his book, Thomas addresses the question: 'how do you carry on when the love of your life is taken from you at such an early age?' Left to bring up their young son alone, he had to find ways to cope with his own suffering, and somehow learn to function as a single parent to his son, Ethan.
Thomas' story is described as "heart-breaking, desperate at times, but also shot through with immense warmth" and "ultimately, a story of courage, resilience, faith, and love". While Thomas has experienced the greatest loss, he has also found joy in the kindness of strangers, and the support of his community, explained Trigger.
Said to be "as much about life, as it is about learning to cope with death, the book will include flashbacks exploring the couple's relationship, as well as Thomas' inspirational “snackbox notes” to his son Ethan, and contributions from Ethan himself.
Thomas said of why he wrote the book: "I knew for sure that I wanted to write a book of some kind – maybe for the family, or something bigger. When I started blogging, I found it cathartic, and without even meaning to, I started to hear that my writing was helping others too. That’s when I knew I needed to write a book – not just to help others, but to tell Gemma’s story. And most of all, because I wanted to show that, even in the most desperate situations, you can still find light in the darkness. I chose Trigger because with the mental health issues I’d experienced, I wanted to work with people who really understood mental health; and that’s the embodiment of Trigger."
Trigger’s senior editor, Chris Lomas, said the "truly life-affirming" book pulled no punches. "What struck me most about Simon’s writing was his absolute honesty," he said. "Simon doesn’t hold back from telling his story, exactly as it happened. But that doesn’t mean that this is a book that will revel in darkness; Simon has captured so much joy as well as pain. The story of Simon’s life with Gemma and Ethan will connect with so many people. This is going to be a truly life-affirming book, and a real celebration of Gemma’s life."
Trigger’s m.d. James Waller added: "Simon's powerful and heartfelt writing immediately struck a chord with me; one can't help but be affected by the enormity of what he and Ethan are going through. Trigger publishing is all about telling the most personal, honest stories, to try to help others experiencing similar mental health and emotional difficulties. Simon's exploration of bereavement, grief, faith and love will offer hope and inspiration to readers. Of course, this is a significant and major signing for Trigger publishing and shows the ambition we have to be the leading publisher of mental health books. This is still only the beginning for us."
The book will publish in 2019. World rights were secured from Luke Sutton of Activate Management.