July 28, 2011
Opportunity Over Obstacles
Widely known as author of the bestselling Seabiscuit and current summer must-read and bestseller Unbroken, Laura Hillenbrand is no ordinary career woman.
She is confined to her home, rarely leaves her bed and once explained the severity of her condition – chronic fatigue syndrome – by saying that if her house was on fire she would still be unable to lift her head.
Like those she features, her own story is one of great obstacles and triumph. Seabiscuit was made into an Academy Award nominated film. Her second book, Unbroken, is a biography of World War II hero Louis Zimperini.
It’s clear why Hillenbrand, through months of thorough research and a detailed-oriented writing style, chooses to write about subjects who employ great strength.
It’s their mental perseverance that makes the difference. And that’s something Hillenbrand knows better than most.
PINK: How has writing helped you deal [with CFS]?
LH: One thing I have always found a way to do was write, even when I’ve been stuck in bed, so that’s one part of my life for which I allow myself to dream a little. I allowed myself to imagine writing Seabiscuit and in four years I was able to do that. And when the story of Unbroken came along, I gave myself that dream too. My literary aspirations extend only to writing the story: I don’t set my heart on being able to promote a book, or anything else.
PINK: What was your best career move?
LH: The best decisions I’ve made in my career have involved the people I've chosen to have around me. My literary agent, my editors, my foreign rights agent, my film rights agent – all are brilliant and wise, but also kind, compassionate people who always have my back. They guide me through the difficult times in my career, share their wisdom, cheer me on, and look out for me. I’d be nothing without them, and I’m grateful for them every day.
Bonus PINK Link: Want more inspiring stories from top women? Check out our Profiles section.
By Caroline Cox
"Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder. Help someone's soul heal." Rumi