Friday, October 14, 2022

Virtual Book Tour and Giveaway: The Story That Made Us Stronger by Iris March

Welcome to my stop on the book tour for The Story That Made Us Stronger by Irish March. This book tour was organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. On my stop, I have an excerpt from the book as well as a fun guest post from the author. There's also the tour wide giveaway for a chance to win a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card. Be sure to visit the other stops on the tour for more content. Enjoy!
Title: The Story That Made Us Stronger
Author: Iris March
Publisher: Wandering Gingko Press
Publication Date: September 23rd 2022
Print Length: 236 pages
Genre: Women's Fiction
An abandoned building. A motivated runner. A Hodgkin's Lymphoma cancer survivor.

Connor Jackson has been training for a half marathon for the past six weeks. Katie Brandt has been training to beat cancer for the past 50. When Connor discovers an intriguing secret in a tiny, abandoned building on his running route, Katie finds that the mystery is what she needs to help her get through her three-week stem cell replacement procedure. Together, Conner and Katie must find the strength to achieve their personal goals and, in the meantime, expose the many past lives that the tiny building led.

The Golf Course Manager
Katie Brandt

After Connor left for the day, I was amped up as I always was after chemo. My body was worn out and aching, but my mind wouldn’t stop. I tried to take a nap but couldn’t find sleep, even with the blinds closed and all the lights off. I just kept thinking about my kids, having conversations with them in my head about why I was away from them. I was doing this stem cell replacement ordeal for them: so that their mommy wouldn’t get leukemia later in their lives. I’d promised that I’d never leave them.

No matter the time of day, I usually had a hard time getting to sleep in this bed, in this hospital room. I dragged myself across the room and found my computer. After I settled back into bed, I searched Google Maps and found the area that Connor had pointed out before. His excitement was contagious, and now I wanted to know more about that building too. I saw the golf course and some of the trail through the trees on the satellite images. Once I clicked on the road view, I could see the building itself that Connor was talking about. It really looked old despite the grainy picture, yet somehow familiar. I wondered if I had driven past it before. I looked up the golf course and poked around their website and then the Park District’s website.

“Someone has to know something!” I said to myself. There was a list of historical buildings that the Park District managed, but nothing about one being on or near that golf course. After twenty minutes of not finding anything to give me a single answer, I decided to just call the Park District itself. Why not? It was still only 3:45; they’d be open. I dialed the Administration Office downtown first.

“Hello, Park District Administration Office. This is Tammy. How can I help you?” Her spiel sounded very rehearsed and overly chipper.

“Hi, Tammy. My name is Katie. I’m a resident of Hawthorn Heights and was wondering if you guys can tell me more about an interesting building that sits along a trail I frequent. I have a bet with my friend about who can find out info about it fastest.” I could really turn on the charm when I needed to, even when I didn’t feel well. Call it a gift. When you used a person’s name and told them they were doing you a favor, they wanted to help most of the time. I was also good at seeing everyone as a person, not just someone in my way. I knew everyone had their own thing going on and tried to respect that.

“What an interesting request, Katie!” Tammy exclaimed. She was really excited about this, too, and we were both name users. I hoped she didn’t see through my charm. “Let me see if I can find it on our maps.”
Iris March grew up the oldest of three sisters whose names all began with the same letter. Her sisters are still her best friends. March works in the sustainability field and also writes cozy mysteries in the Succulent Sleuth Series. She lives in Ohio with her husband, young son, and three cats.

- Which character from your book was the most interesting to write and why?

My most recent novel, The Story That Made Us Stronger, was released in late September, just a few weeks ago. It’s about a nurse named Connor who’s training for a half marathon and becomes obsessed with a tiny abandoned bulling on his running route. He shares his building discoveries with one of his patients in the stem cell replacement ward where he works. That patient along with other people in his life help him research the building and encourage his training.

There are a lot of meaningful characters in this novel. I wrote this book to honor my sister, Meg. Her story of having cancer with pregnant with twins is told within Connor’s story. She’s the encouraging stem cell replacement But the kids in the story were the most fun to write. June and Chloe are Connor’s nieces – his brother and sister-in-law’s kids. Connor’s relationship with these little girls is so sweet – adoration goes both ways. Writing about how they interact together was fun. The girls both really want to hang out with Connor as often as they can and he’s happy to schedule time with them and frequently has dinner at his brother’s house anyway. June told him all about her first day of school while she rode her “purple sparkle bike” while Connor ran alongside her for three miles while he was training for his half marathon. During this bike ride/ run she told him all about the kids in their neighborhood and who had the best playset - and totally assumed he’d remember all the details. When the girls hear about Connor’s new love interest they oooh and make fun of him a bit. Writing about the girls’ excitement and their exasperation was just so funny. I didn’t mean to, but most scenes with them ended up being a little humorous. Kids are just the best and I had a fun time writing about these little girls in the novel.
Iris March will be awarding a $25 Amazon or Barnes & Noble gift card to a randomly drawn winner via Rafflecopter. Good luck!

(All the Ups and Downs is not responsible for this giveaway, its entries, or the prize. Goddess Fish Promotions and the author assume all responsibility over this giveaway.)

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. Hello! Thanks for hosting me on your blog!

  2. Sounds like a great read!

  3. Sounds like an interesting book.

  4. congrats on the book this sounds interesting

  5. I love these kind of books. Thank you

  6. looks like a fun one

  7. I really like the cover and look forward to reading more.

  8. This women's fiction book sounds fun to read and the colorful cover is very eye catching.

  9. Sounds like a good book. I like the cover and excerpt.

  10. Happy Friday! Thank you for sharing your guest post, bio and book details, I hope that you have enjoyed your book tour as much as I have enjoyed reading about you and your work throughout this tour. The Story That Made Us Stronger sounds like a wonderful read and I am looking forward to that as well. Have a great weekend!

  11. Looks like an entertaining read!

  12. I would love to read this one this fall season.
    heather hgtempaddy

  13. This sounds like a good book! What’s your favorite season?

  14. after reading the book excerpt-I am hooked-thank you!

  15. I did read this book. I am going through a hard time in life now and it gave me faith in human nature. The characters are grounded in their families. The main characters meet and support each other with true kindness. I needed this book now.