Diana DeAndrea-Kohn’s writing was ready for a breakout.
For a long time, the Kirkland businesswoman kept her stories inside, not even showing them to her husband.
But about 1 1/2 years ago, she set a goal: to get one of her pieces published and share it with the world.
The 41-year-old business owner not only achieved that goal, but now has two stories — “My Gift From God” and “Here I Stand” — secured within the pages of the popular and “inspiring” Chicken Soup for the Soul series.
“Here I Stand” is one story that is especially close to the writer’s heart, she says.
On page 291 of Chicken Soup’s “Find Your Happiness” edition, DeAndrea-Kohn writes about being pregnant at age 19, marrying her boyfriend and having everyone tell her that they’d never make it.
She proved them all wrong over time.
“As I’m writing it, I’m typing and bawling and wiping away a tear — there’s just so much emotion in it,” said DeAndrea-Kohn, noting that she raised a young man, started a business in Kirkland and found her place in life.
“To kind of come through the other side and be able to reflect back and go, ‘Look, everybody told me I would never amount to anything because I was pregnant and young and all these things’ — and I did. I’m successful to me, I’ve done everything that I have set out to do.”
DeAndrea-Kohn wrote the story for her son, Kenny Gregory, who’s now 21 and living away from home in a house of roommates. She wanted to tell him that life can be rough, especially in one’s early 20s, and if he applies himself, he can do anything in life.
She’s excited that the Chicken Soup editors found “Here I Stand” to be a worthy inclusion in their book.
The story flowed onto her computer screen without any revisions, said DeAndrea-Kohn, who’s lived in Bothell since 1992 and remarried a couple of years ago. She owns FLAIR in Kirkland, which was designed to help business owners develop the tools they need to grow.
On watching her son grow into a man, she noted: “I can’t believe this, but he’s 21. It’s just crazy to see him at his age now and the things that he’s doing, compared to what I was doing when I was his age — because I had him.”
She says that “Here I Stand” is now an important part of her son’s life.
“It’s affected me greatly. Seeing how she did everything has made me into who I am today,” said Gregory, who added that his mom has provided invaluable support and advice since he moved out on his own at age 19.
DeAndrea-Kohn’s other story, “My Gift From God” in the “Answered Prayers” edition, tells of how she got caught up in running her business, strayed from her faith and received a gift from a woman in the mail that got her back on track.
Next up for DeAndrea-Kohn are two more Chicken Soup stories in the “Messages From Heaven” and “Here Comes the Bride” editions and maybe even her own book in the future.
“Now it’s just been flowing and now I’m feeling, ‘Oh yeah, I can submit anything,'” she said. “If you have a goal, go for it. Even if you’re scared — because I was terrified to submit (stories) — go forward.”