Mitch Albom: The Voice Is How We Connect - FOX 35 News Orlando

Mitch Albom: The Voice Is How We Connect

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Mitch Albom's life changed when he met a dying man named Morrie...it changed again when he wrote a book about their relationship called "Tuesdays With Morrie". Now Mitch has a new book out called "The First Phone Call From Heaven". It's about people in a small town who begin getting calls from deceased love ones in heaven. He talked to Steve about the new book and his Tuesdays With Morrie.

"I only wrote it to pay Morrie's medical bills actually, it was only supposed to be a tiny little book and I was going back to being a sports writer and things changed...and it did change my perspective but in a good way...I had written some sports books prior to that, after that all the books I have written have been in some way tangentially connected to the time that I spent with Morrie and the things that I learned while he was dying from ALS and I was sort of taking a last class in what's important in life."

So where did Mitch get the idea for his latest book?

"I was inspired because my mother unfortunately suffered a very debilitating stroke about 3 years ago and lost the ability to speak and I haven't heard her voice now in about 3 and a half years..I used to say to her 'ma they have email, you should get this thing called email' and she said 'I'm never gonna get that' and I said why not? She said 'because you won't call me and I want to hear your voice', she said 'I can't tell if your all right or not when you send me messages'".

Mitch says even though the book has only been out a few days, he's already heard from people who say his story rings true for them.

"I've actually had people come up to me at some of these book signings and say 'I got one of these call...my mom died and she had been dead for hours and yet my phone rang and she said', and they always tell the same story, 'she said I'm okay don't worry about me, everything's fine'...and then a couple hours after they find out that she died. It gives me goosebumps, I didn't know that this stuff was real, I thought I was making it up."

"The First Phone Call From Heaven" is in stores now.

Fun facts about Mitch (Source: Wikipedia)

1.) He is an American best-selling author, journalist, screenwriter, dramatist, radio, television broadcaster and musician. His books have sold over 30 million copies worldwide. Having achieved national recognition for sports writing in the earlier part of his career, he is perhaps best known for the inspirational stories and themes that weave through his books, plays and films.

2.) Albom's breakthrough book came about after a friend of his viewed Morrie Schwartz's interview with Ted Koppel on ABC News Nightline in 1995, in which Schwartz, a sociology professor, spoke about living and dying with a terminal disease, ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Lou Gehrig's disease). Albom, who had been close with Schwartz during his college years at Brandeis, felt guilty about not keeping in touch so he reconnected with his former professor, visiting him in suburban Boston and eventually coming every Tuesday for discussions about life and death. Albom, seeking a way to pay for Schwartz's medical bills, sought out a publisher for a book about their visits. Although rejected by numerous publishing houses, the idea was accepted by Doubleday shortly before Schwartz's death, and Albom was able to fulfill his wish to pay off Schwartz's bills.

‘The First Phone Call From Heaven' is out now.

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