Daughter Unravel The Secrets of Mother's Past

Laurel Saville’s decision to tell her mother’s story was not an easy one. Once a figure of legendary charm and success in the glittering world of 1950s Los Angeles, Laurel’s mother Anne died an alcoholic street person, brutally murdered in a burned-out West Hollywood building in 1983. After 20 years of seeking answers to the heartbreaking trajectory of her mother’s life and the mysteries of her own eccentric childhood, Laurel finally gave herself permission to share her journey with readers in the memoir Unraveling Anne.

“After all, this is my mother we’re talking about. As her daughter, I belonged to her; as my mother, she also belongs to me. I don’t have her anymore, but I still have her story.” Laurel’s unflinchingly honest memoir ended up exposing surprising truths about both mother and daughter, revealing how compassion and love for a difficult parent can be a bridge to a better life.

Laurel had a well-known agent who shopped the book around for several years. There was deep praise, but no takers. One editor held up the manuscript for a full year only to reject it. Having been a professional writer for a decade, Laurel found this process maddening. “If the product was so good, what was the reason for rejecting it? I never got clear answers.”

Fed up, Laurel abandoned traditional publishing and took matters into her own hands. She self-published her book and made it available on Kindle, which led to a book deal with Amazon.

“Amazon puts the author, who is after all the creator of the product, at the center of the process,” says Laurel. “I am the object of envy from so many writers, not just because of the contract, but because of Amazon’s author-centric approach.”

Since its release on Amazon in November 2011, Unraveling Anne has sold over 11,000 copies worldwide, won the memoir category of the Indie Book Awards, and climbed to #4 in the Women's Memoirs category on the Kindle bestseller list. The overwhelmingly positive response from readers has left Laurel “thrilled and humbled.”

“I’ve received emails and calls from people who knew my mother well and loved her. My mother's cousin has given the book to patients in her therapy practice who reportedly have found it ‘healing.’ I have received letters from strangers who report the same. And then there are the letters from aspiring writers who are heartened and emboldened by the story of how this book has come to publication.”

Laurel says this new-found connection to her readers is all any writer wishes for. “Seeing my memoir published has given me—and all those people who are enjoying the book—quite the gift. Every time I read the word ‘algorithm’ used as an epithet directed at Amazon, I think of all of the incredibly nice, warm, living, breathing book lovers there, and just have to laugh.”

Laurel Saville is one of thousands of authors being discovered by Amazon customers.


I must not fear.
Fear is the mind-killer.
Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration.
I will face my fear.
I will permit it to pass over me and through me.

~Bene Gesserit Litany Against Fear