Laura Munson

Haven Writing Retreats
: Come with me on a journey of creativity and word-play in the hills of Montana…For more info, click here.

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Hi, I’m Laura Munson and I’m a writer. I wrote an essay for the Modern Love column of the New York Times (published on August 2, 2009) called “Those Aren’t Fighting Words, Dear.”

The reaction stunned me. It was the number one most read article on the New York Times website for the days following the essay’s publication; the top searched for two months. It crashed the New York Times website comments section, and created a firestorm all over the internet, around dining tables, at offices, and book groups across America and internationally. It was reproduced in The Week and on Oprah Online, and in many newspapers. I am the face behind that essay.

The essay was the short version of a memoir I wrote during a rough time in my marriage because I needed that book on my bedside table—one which would speak to me from the trenches, letting me know that I could be powerful and even happy, especially in a crisis. Mine could be a different reaction than what we see so often in our society. I didn’t have to be reactionary. I didn’t have to play victim. I didn’t have to suffer. But I couldn’t find a book like that—a simple story of a woman’s journey that wasn’t specifically spiritual or self-help, but like sitting with a gentle friend who is willing to be vulnerable and share her world so we don’t have to feel so alone. I couldn’t find that book, so I wrote it. That’s what we writers do. We write what we know. We write for ourselves and we write to provide relief for others. We write our way through life, and in some cases, we write our way to life. That’s how it happened for me during that challenging time.

My agent, Tricia Davey (Davey Literary & Media) went out with the book version that Monday morning, and after writing for twenty years, having completed fourteen novels and endured countless rejections…within forty-eight hours, I had a book deal.

The book is called “This Is Not The Story You Think It Is: A Season of Unlikely Happiness,” and it came out in April 2010 by Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam.

Both the essay and the book are ultimately about how to be responsible for your own well-being, especially during a crisis.  Plug it into any crisis.  Plug it into any and no religion.  It’s a powerful way to live.

It is my deepest hope that my book helps people! It landed on the New York Times bestseller list and the Book of the Month Club just named it one of this year’s best books. It’s a bestseller in Australia too, so I believe it is doing just that.


Before all this happened in my career, I was so sick of being frustrated with not getting my work out there to the reader that I started this blog. Here is where I share my musings of what it is to live in Montana as a city transplant, raise children, write voraciously, love well, and screw up. I try to post two times a week and I lead an annual contest in which I turn These Here Hills over to you.  The winner gets a scholarship to one of my Haven Writing Retreats in Montana. I’m also blogging for the Huffington Post so you can find my work there too. It’s such a privilege to finally have readers. Thanks for being one of them.


Once a month, I send out a newsletter in which I select a theme and write about it. Then at a designated time, date, and web address, I meet you to live chat about that theme. I want to create a safe haven for vulnerability and sharing. To sign up for “HAVEN NEWSLETTER” go to my website: The sign up is in the left margin. Each month I randomly select someone from the live chat to receive a free signed first edition hardback version of THIS IS NOT THE STORY YOU THINK IT IS. I’d love to see you there.



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