When Karen Foster was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer and later told she only had a few weeks to live, her sister, Lori Turley, said that the first thing Foster said was: “Darn I didn’t get my book published.”
Turley said that at that moment, she and her siblings (six in all) promised Foster that they would do everything in their power to make that happen.
Not only was Foster’s novel “Reasons for Waking” published, but it recently was awarded the Readers’ Favorite Award, Silver Medal in the “Fiction-General” category.
Turley, who currently lives in Pennsylvania but lived in Coronado for 24 years with her husband Craig and their children, presented her late sister’s book to a packed room at the Coronado Public Library on Nov. 2.
Foster an inspiration
At the event, she said that her sister was an inspiration to all of them.
Foster was born blind from congenital cataracts.
“In the late 50s, she had six surgeries before she was two years old,” Turley said at the book event. “Those surgeries restored only 3% of her vision.”
Turley said Foster was always an avid reader, and could often be found holding a magnifying glass up to the pages of a book, deciphering the shapes of the words.
Even towards the end of her life, Foster was reading up to 60 books a year.
She was a technical writer and editor, but considered herself a creative writer first. It was her lifelong dream to write a novel.
Started writing book in 2018
Turley said the family believes Foster started writing the book in 2018. Foster told them they couldn’t read the novel until it was published.
In October 2020, Karen was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer. In November 2021, Karen called her siblings, ecstatic that her novel was going to be published.
Shortly after that call, her health took a sudden turn for the worse, and she was unable to complete the final edits. Her siblings promised her they would do everything possible to get the book published.
Support from the community
Among those hearing Foster’s story was Coronado resident Debbie Bell.
Bell said she came to the book event for two reasons: She had read Foster’s book and has known Turley for 20 years.
They first met when Turley was Bell’s commanding officer at Naval Consolidated Brig Miramar.
“It kept my interest all the way through,” Bell said about the book. “I’m from Virginia and went to the same college the author went to; I recognized my college in the book.”
At the event, Turley spoke about the bits and pieces of the book that reminded the family of their childhood, such as the types of cars she chose to include or the childhood home of one of the main characters.
She shared the details of finishing getting the book published, which was a difficult task for the siblings who had no experience in that realm.
“You know, this really has been a journey. A lot of people have asked me how it’s changed our family, and I think for one thing, it’s helped with the grieving process.”-Lori Turley, former Coronado resident.
“You know, this really has been a journey,” Turley said. “A lot of people have asked me how it’s changed our family, and I think for one thing, it’s helped with the grieving process.”