Jonestown Survivor Speaks Out After 30 Years

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Teri O’Shea’s new memoir ‘Jonestown Lullaby’ remembers the lost, unveils story of survival.

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I have a spirit that lives. Many books are read and cherished because they reflect a certain time or event in history. I hope this book will be one of them.

Teri Buford O'Shea was the last person to escape Peoples Temple, three weeks before the Jonestown massacre that killed 918 people in November 1978. Now, she’s speaking out about the tragedy and her own survival in her new bookJonestown Lullaby: Poems and Pictures” (published by iUniverse).

Written over the years in journals and on scraps of paper, hidden away and later found by O’Shea’s daughter, “Jonestown Lullaby” is bringing to light years worth of personal, revealing poetry and vivid photographs of life in the Peoples Temple community. O’Shea, a personal confidant to leader Jim Jones for seven years, brings readers a look into Jonestown with poetic passion, recounting stories of innocent lives lost and remembering those who helped her live again after her flight.

“My story starts at the beginning of my life, not Jonestown,” says O’Shea. “My life didn’t begin with Jonestown, and it will not end with it. The book is a testament to this, and is really a tribute to survivors from all walks of life.”

When O’Shea began writing poetry at the age of 7, she never imagined her talent would lead her to compose pieces reflecting tragedy, fear and survival. In addition to losing her community, O’Shea struggled with the guilt of survival, living in hiding for years following the tragic event.

Turning to her writing for help along her journey back to a normal life, she says poetry is how she becomes one with her emotions. Providing a rare account of post-traumatic stress, O’Shea’s poems reflect her nightmares of the past 30 years, her moment of terror at gunpoint when she refused to tell Jones she loved him, and also about her journey toward piecing her life back together.

“I am not the sum of my traumas,” says O’Shea. “I have a spirit that lives. Many books are read and cherished because they reflect a certain time or event in history. I hope this book will be one of them.”

For more information, visit the Jonestown Lullaby website.

“Jonestown Lullaby”
By Teri Buford O'Shea
Softcover | 6 x 9 in | 124 pages | ISBN 9781462037377
E-Book | 124 pages | ISBN 9781462037384
Available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble

About the Author
Teri O’Shea left home at age 19 and found herself in California, soon living on the streets. She joined the Peoples Temple, which offered her a home, a job and assistance with college expenses. O’Shea remained in the Peoples Temple until she was 26, fleeing three weeks before the infamous Jonestown massacre.

O’Shea holds a degree in journalism from the University of California at Berkeley. She now works as a benefits consultant serving those with a wide range of physical and emotional disabilities, and continues to speak about her experience and survival of Jonestown.

iUniverse, an Author Solutions, Inc. self-publishing imprint, is the leading book marketing, editorial services, and supported self-publishing provider. iUniverse has a strategic alliance with Indigo Books & Music, Inc. in Canada, and titles accepted into the iUniverse Rising Star program are featured in a special collection on BarnesandNoble.com. iUniverse recognizes excellence in book publishing through the Star, Reader’s Choice, Rising Star and Editor’s Choice designations—self-publishing’s only such awards program. Headquartered in Bloomington, Indiana, iUniverse also operates offices in Indianapolis. For more information or to publish a book, please visit iuniverse.com or call 1-800-AUTHORS. For the latest, follow @iuniversebooks on Twitter.

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