Del Mar woman aims to empower females in first book

One downtown San Diego woman recounts her story of finding strength after her only son was murdered at the age of 20 while visiting an Arizona campground. Another lady, from Encinitas, shares her journey of finding the strength to persevere through a stage four Non-hodgkin's Lymphoma diagnosis.

The 24 women in Shannon Hogan-Cohen's first book, "Share Heal Empower," or S.H.E., may all have different backgrounds and lifestyles, but they are relatable for all readers.

"Even though they're of all different ages and cultures, there are universal themes that each chapter will represent from being a cancer survivor to dealing with the death of a child," said Hogan-Cohen, whose book will be released May 4. "What the reader will understand is that there isn't anything unique in the sense of maybe the tragedy or the event that is going on in the individual's life, but it's how these women dealt with it. It's the perseverance they went through to overcome it."

The women's ages range from 16 to 92, and they live all over the world, enduring challenges like eating disorders and aging alone with optimism. Each woman's story is also represented with illustrations by 24 female artists.

Hogan-Cohen, a freelance writer and former hospice worker who lives in Del Mar, was inspired to write the book about a year ago after meeting and interviewing women during her travels. When living in Ventura County, she founded a group called Living Legacies, where trailblazers from the community would share their stories with about 30 local women.

Shannon Hogan-Cohen
Shannon Hogan-Cohen Courtesy

"People just really want to share their stories," Hogan-Cohen said. "At the end of their lives, that clearly is an important thing. You want to be heard and feel like you matter. That's something that, for me, always left a mark. There was just a camaraderie when there was a mutual feeling of respect and understanding of things that happened in their lives."

Hogan-Cohen said that because the book includes women of all ages and backgrounds, it makes it easy for anybody to relate to.

"People of all ages will be able to grasp the lessons embedded in each woman’s experience and celebrate these hidden heroines and the many others who have yet to emerge," she said. "[They] are tucked in communities, large and small, and barely — if ever — get recognized for their battles won both on the inside and outside battlefields in life."

"S.H.E." is now available on Amazon Kindle, Nook and Smashwords as an eBook. It will be available in paperback through and beginning May 4 and on Audible on May 28.

Proceeds from the book will be donated to Hogan-Cohen's S.H.E. Foundation, aimed at supporting women and promoting positive change through education and economic self-reliance.

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