Cassopolis author publishes first book

Published 10:17 pm Thursday, July 9, 2015

B.E. Ditsch will be signing copies of her first book “The Retirement Curse” at Barnes & Noble on Grape Road in Mishawaka July 17. (Leader photo/SCOTT NOVAK)

B.E. Ditsch will be signing copies of her first book “The Retirement Curse” at Barnes & Noble on Grape Road in Mishawaka July 17. (Leader photo/SCOTT NOVAK)

For years, B.E. Ditsch had a story inside her head that was begging to get out.

So when the AM General employee, who was laid off at the time, found herself sitting at home while her husband Terry was working nights plowing roads, she decided to let the story out.

The result was “The Retirement Curse,” a novel set in South Bend and Mishawaka.

The book follows a group of women who began working together in the twenties, raised families and were hoping to retire. As they begin to retire they begin dying.

Panic sets in as the women struggle to find out whether or not the deaths are coincidental or if someone is murdering them.

In their pursuit to find out the reason for the deaths, Ditsch delivers humor, thrills and suspense in a book she hopes “will entertain readers while showing them the dangerous effects of greed in society.”

Ditsch drew upon real-life experiences from her mother and her own personal life, which includes 11 grandchildren, but says the events in her book are not real.

“What I really wanted to do was get it out of my head,” Ditsch said about writing the story, which was composed completely on her iPhone. “I couldn’t stop thinking about it, so I said here we go. I just started writing. I had Terry help me put it into a Word document because he is the tech one. I just do the writing.

“We published it ourselves, which I am in a couple of writing groups and they all said that is the way to go anymore. You don’t have to bow down to these big publishers. Just do it.”

Ditsch went with LifeRich Publishing for her first book and has been extremely pleased with the results.

“I am happy with them because they put the book out there once they approved it,” Terry said. “They went through their process and then they put it out there on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Kindle. So I am happy with that. We found out since then that there is a lot more to being successful than just writing a book and getting someone to print it for you.

“In the last few months I have sent emails out to various people because if you want to be successful you have to get the word out.”

“It has taken both of us,” Ditsch said. “You have to be aggressive. You are the one who is saying, “have you read this book?” You have to be the one to say read this book, I think you will like it. You have to sell yourself as much as you do the book.”

Terry pointed out that the original goal was to just write the book. It was something he knew his wife wanted to do. And he couldn’t be more proud of the fact that she followed her dream and turned it into a reality.

“When people start saying they liked it, that made it all worth it,” he said.

“I have a couple of friends I would send it to as I was writing and they were telling me to keep going that they wanted more,” Ditsch said. “That right there in itself fuels you.”

Originally, Ditsch plan-ned on writing 20 chapters.

She ended up with 64 chapters.

“They are short chapters, so the book is easy to read,” she said. “When you have 11 grandchildren you don’t have a lot of time to sit down and read long chapters.”

Ditsch is already working on a couple of new books. But for now, she and Terry will be working on promoting the book.

“The Retirement Curse” is available at Barnes & Noble on Grape Road in Mishawaka, as well online.

Ditsch will be signing books at Barnes & Noble beginning at 6 p.m. July 17.