Kyle is ready to tell the rest of the story.
North Texas-based widow of Chris Kyle, the Navy SEAL who
became a household name because of the book and movie,
"American Sniper," is sharing her memories of
life with and without her husband of 10 years.
Wife: A Memoir of Love, War, Faith and Renewal,"
published by William Morrow, was written with Jim
DeFelice, who co-authored Chris Kyleís "American
Sniper" autobiography, which was a 2012 bestseller
and inspired the blockbuster 2014 movie starring Bradley
Cooper and Sienna Miller.
Chris Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield were murdered
at an Erath County gun range in February 2013, Taya went
through a difficult grieving and healing process that is
still ongoing. (The gunman, Eddie Ray Routh, was
convicted of capital murder by a Stephenville jury in
ultimately felt compelled to write her story of life
he was widely known as the most lethal sniper in U.S.
military history, with 160 confirmed kills, Taya
experienced "so many more layers to him"
beyond that of celebrated soldier, she says.
was so much to love about him," she says. "I
wanted to do something to let people know the other
sides of him that were equally great."
powerful motivation to write "American Wife"
was Tayaís hope that the book might comfort others
like her who are coping with devastating loss.
might be healing for some readers to know that theyíre
not alone," Taya says. "Even if the book helps
only one person in that way, then itís worth it."
chatted with Taya Kyle, a Midlothian resident, last week
about the book, which is almost certain to become a
bestseller in its own right.
You write that, when asked if working on his memoirs
helped heal him after his haunting Iraq War experiences,
Chris would say no. You reveal that, if anything, it
"reopened old wounds, maybe including some Chris
didnít even realize he had." But did your book
help you heal?
I agree with Chris that his book didnít help at first.
Writing it was hard. Only later, like every time we did
a book signing, when people kept coming up and saying
how much the book meant to them and how it helped them
in some way, only then did it help him. Because he saw
that people could be blessed by it.
me, with this book, it was a little bit different. Yes,
it was hard, but it also allowed me to put things down
on paper. No longer would I have to try to remember
every single detail of our lives together.
that way, I could feel a weight lifting, knowing that
now these memories can be preserved forever, not just
for me but also for our kids.
Do you think itís necessary for someone to have read
American Sniper and/or seen the movie to follow and
enjoy American Wife?
I donít think thatís necessary, because there are
aspects of our story that are universal. Itís
everybodyís story in some way or another. Itís every
veteranís story. Itís every married coupleís
think one of the main reasons Chrisí book connected
with so many people is that itís real and relatable.
Itís not picture perfect. It hasnít been airbrushed.
Itís just raw.
think thatís why people responded the way they did.
The tagline with this book is "Love, Faith, War and
Renewal." In some form or fashion, we all have
those components in our lives.
How important was it to you that you wrote the book with
Jim DeFelice, someone who had had a productive working
relationship with Chris?
It was hugely important. It was almost a deal breaker on
whether I would do it or not. Because he knew Chris and
me together. I felt like that was important to have
somebody who already felt like family.
youíre telling your life story, itís essential to
have somebody you trust. So to have him was vitally
important while going through so many personal and
painful and important moments in our lives.
You write in the book about fame and how surreal it was
when Chris became famous. Are you prepared for how much
more famous you probably will be as a result of this
If thereís one thing that this journey has taught me,
itís that weíre all still people at the end of the
day. Some aspects of my life might change, but who I am,
hopefully, will never change.
friends are the same. My family is the same. Maybe I can
use whatever celebrity status I have to do some good
with it. Other than that, hopefully, it will never be
any different for me.
Is there any chance there could be a movie based on
gotten some calls on that already, which is interesting.
Itís something I never expected. I donít know if
anything like that will happen. Itís one thing for
people to talk about making a movie. Actually getting it
made is a whole different animal.
thereís enough interest or if people think thereís a
need, we will certainly look into it. But I definitely
donít have any expectation of it.
In the book, you list dozens of life lessons from the
past two years. They range from common-sense maxims
("Celebrate every wedding anniversary") to
humorous observations ("Donít expect a miniature
pig to be an easy pet") to heavy thoughts
("PTS is not an excuse for murder").
will you expand on one in particular? The one where you
say, "Donít be afraid to ask about a loved one
who has passed." Did people often treat you with
kid gloves and go overboard in NOT talking about Chris
after his death?
Iíve been in both sides of that conversation. I have
been with widows or family members or friends who have
lost somebody and I know that awkward feeling you have
because you want to do whatís right and you donít
want to upset someone who is in pain, so you donít say
anything at all.
Iíve found, not just from my own experience but also
from talking to people who have lost someone, most of us
will tell you itís OK to ask about them. So take it
from me. Itís OK to ask about the person whoís gone.
You donít have to be afraid to say something.
You (an Oregon native) moved to North Texas years ago
because it was Chrisí home. What keeps you here?
Texas is the first place Iíve ever lived where I truly
felt at home. I just really love it here. Itís the
people, itís the atmosphere, itís the land. Itís
just a beautiful place to be.
heard a great quote once from a military person. She
said she cried when she found out she was being
stationed in Texas and later she cried when she found
out she had to leave. I thought, "Thatís
gets in your blood. Itís just a good place.
Healing and recovery being an ongoing thing, are you in
a different place today from when you actually finished
writing the book?
Itís still a process. I am continuing to heal and I am
continuing to find my way. Some things have changed. I
donít have all the answers. But this is going to be a
long journey. Itís a marathon, not a sprint.