This week, I’d like to welcome author Kevin Barnett to The Happy Self-Publisher blog. 

Q: Tell us a little bit about your book Living My Shadows: Dreams Do Come True

Kevin: It’s about my journey growing up in foster care and the adoption system, and ultimately about joining the Armed Forces and finally finding my birth parents at the age of 56. It is raw and written from the heart. It’s my wild ride through life, but people see themselves in my story and can relate to the universal need to belong.

Q: Why did you decide to write this story?

Kevin: First, I did this for therapeutic reasons. I wanted to chronicle my journey and make sense of it all. I experienced abuse in the foster care system and felt abandoned by my birth parents. And although I was told over and over I would accomplish nothing worthwhile in my life, I managed to reign in the anger and hurt to become a respected officer in the Army; I transitioned well to civilian life, and didn’t give up until I found my birth parents and the many, many other family members lost to me. At times, I was beaten down by negative emotions, and at others, I was transformed by hope. I wrote this book as a way to sort out the feelings and see how far I had come. 

Second, I wrote this book to help others have the hope of finding out who they are—and never give up their dreams, no matter how big, or small they might be.

Q: What kind of impact do you want to have?

Kevin: I want to take my experiences and the ups and downs of my journey to help others overcome obstacles in their lives. I do author talks at libraries, bookstores, and other venues to share my story and at schools and youth organizations to help young people to find their full potential, no matter what that may be.

Q: What surprised you most about sharing your book?

Kevin: It surprised me how many people can relate to different parts of the story. People approach me who are adopted and others with their own experiences in foster care. I hear countless stories from members of the military or veterans wanting to share their experiences. There are a lot of other people who are just curious about me finding my birth family and how it feels to know my roots.

Q: What do you like most about being an author?

Kevin: I love talking to people. I love sharing my journey and how it sparks other people to share their stories. We’ve all got one. That’s definitely the best part.

Q: Are you writing another book?

Kevin: Yes. I’m, writing about what has happened since I found my birth family. I explore the positive and negative and confusing emotions I’ve faced and how I manage three families and learning about new ones all the time. It’s called Life After the Dream.

Q: What advice would you give people who want to share their story?

Don’t put it off. There is never a perfect time. Start writing little stories or events that stand out and make a commitment to keep going. Get help, if you need it. It will be worth it in the end. 

Thanks for sharing your time and your story, Kevin! Best of luck to you with this book and the next!

Kevin Barnett, Sr. is a native of East Orange, New Jersey. An Army veteran, Kevin retired in 2008 after 20 years of service with tours of Germany, Afghanistan, and many stateside tours during his career. He is a motivational speaker for middle and high school students and adults who are or have been navigating the foster care/adoption system. You can connect with Kevin via his website at and get your copy of his book, Living My Shadows: Dreams Do Come True on Amazon. 

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