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St. Paul grad writes 'therapeutic' novel on infertility

Cary Ashby • Dec 3, 2019 at 1:00 PM

What began as a self-declared “therapy session” for John Rossman eventually became his first published book.

The 1994 St. Paul High School graduate has written “Our Second ‘Child,’” published by Southern Oaks Publishing in Loxley, Ala. It is available on Amazon and at the Star Diner in Norwalk. Rossman said he hopes to have his book in seven independent book stores by mid-January.

In the case of “Our Second ‘Child,’” Rossman said it’s based on his family’s life, “but there is some imagination involved.”

The St. Paul graduate was asked about the meaning of the title.

“It’s kind of a play-on-words,” Rossman said.

Due to the infertility he and his wife Marlo experienced after the birth of their son Kaden (St. Paul class of 2018), Rossman said he and his wife’s “love for each other became our second child.”

The Rossmans recently celebrated 20 years of marriage.

“Being together that long is kinda rare,” he said.

Born and raised in Norwalk, Rossman refers to his book as a “non-fiction novel,” a term Truman Capote used to describe his book, “In Cold Blood.” Published in 1966, Capote’s story centers on the 1959 murders of the Herbert Clutter family in the small farming community of Holcomb, Kansas.

Before he started writing “Our Second ‘Child,’” Rossman’s son was going through some health issues, his wife was waiting on cancer results and Rossman himself was recovering from a bicep surgery.

“We just had been through a lot as a family,” he said. “It started out as a therapy session for me.

“It took me about six weeks to write. It came gushing out,” added Rossman, who believes he was able to write about his feelings and experiences more than he could talk about them.

“I couldn’t verbally explain the pain I was feeling so, again, (my wife) begged me to write. Once I started, I couldn’t stop. Instead of going to sporting events that we had prepared for Kaden’s whole life, I sat in my den and wrote and wrote and wrote,” he said.

Kaden played football, basketball and track his senior year at St. Paul.

“Six weeks later, I had this body of work that resembled a book/memoir/therapy session. It felt like a thousand pounds had been lifted from my chest. It was so therapeutic. When I was finished it was like, now what? Long story short, I went through the painful process of turning the thoughts in my head into an actual book,” Rossman said.

Almost two years later, “Our Second ‘Child’’ was published Sept. 14.

“I just signed with a publicist (about) two weeks ago,” said Rossman, who now lives in Orange Beach, Ala.

His mother, Donna, of Norwalk, said she thinks “it’s wonderful” her son, who always has had a love for writing, has published his first book.

“He’s following his dream,” she added. “He’s very good at what he does. He doesn’t do anything halfway.”

One of the important issues in “Our Second ‘Child’” is secondary infertility. Rossman said it’s a concept that is gathering attention now, in which a woman is able to have one child, but not a second. According to the blurb on the back cover, “Our Second ‘Child’” draws from “past experiences and flashbacks” and “is a voice for families suffering from secondary infertility and health issues.”

About a year after Kaden was born, Rossman and his wife Marlo, who grew up in Tiffin, tried to have another child. He said they wanted to have four kids, but instead experienced about 10 years of unexplainable infertility.

“It’s kind of an inspirational story,” Rossman said. “It ends up being a feel-good story of the trials and tribulations that you find in everyday life.”

Rossman’s publicist told him that since he’s a man writing a love story, he has a unique point of view on issues such as infertility, relationships and the associated emotions, which usually are addressed by woman. 

“It’s a different voice,” Rossman said. “It’s a love story, a comeback story, a story that touches on numerous subjects that most people don’t talk about.”

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