Lee Woodruff knows all the sudden twists of fate that can send our lives careening in what seems like nanoseconds. Her husband, ABC’s Bob Woodruff, suffered a devastating head injury after an IED exploded nearby while he was embedded with the U.S. military during the Iraqi War. The couple explored the aftermath of the explosion which included a portion of Bob’s skull being replaced with plastic in their book In an Instant and Lee followed up with a collection of her essays in Perfectly Imperfect.
Now Woodruff has taken these theme of loss, grief and resiliency in her latest work, a novel titled Those We Love the Most (Hperion/Voice, $26.99).
“Writing a novel is what I always wanted to do so,” says Woodruff, the mother of four and a part-time on-air contributor to CBS This Morning as well as a blogger. “But it’s earlier than I thought I’d do it.”
The impetus for the novel occurred when Woodruff received a phone call from a friend about a 17-year old driver who had accidentally hit and killed a kid riding a bike..
“That was my son’s age at the time,” says Woodruff who was immediately struck by how the tragedy encompassed everyone – the young driver and his family as well as the family of the teenager who died. “It was a nightmare for everyone and I thought I could do a 360 about everyone and their fear, their uncertainty and their sorrow.”
Now of the characters in her book are straight from real life though she does use a pastiche of events in her own life including her 80-year-old father’s struggle with Alzheimer’s.
“There’s bits of me all over the book in the different characters,” says Woodruff. “I found that I could write those moments authentically.”
Though the subject is sad (Woodruff says there’s no greater loss she can imagine than losing a child) she also wanted to show readers the necessity for resiliency, the need to come together and the importance of family.
“There’s a quote I love though I’m not sure where it came from – loss is not the end, I’s merely an invitation to change,” says Woodruff. “That’s how I look at it.”
What: The American Cancer Society and the Women’s Board of North Shore present Lee Woodruff at a benefit luncheon
When: Friday, September 28; 11:45 am
Where: The Glen Club, 2901 West Lake Ave., Glenview, IL
Cost: Tickets ($75 individual; $100 patron) include lunch and a book
FYI: Reserved at nsauthorevent.org or 312 960-2331.