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'Chewbacca Mom' Candace Payne reveals title, cover for new book

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It hasn’t even been a year since Candace Payne posted a Facebook Live video about her spontaneous Kohl’s purchase and became Chewbacca Mom. Since then, Lucasfilm gave her a grand tour of Star Wars headquarters, Hasbro made a Chewbacca Mom action figure, The Late Late Show and Good Morning America played host to the Texas mom of two, and she’s received a ton of free loot along the way. Now she can add author to that list.

EW can exclusively reveal the title and cover art for Payne’s first book to be published by Zondervan publishing house. It’s called Laugh It Up: Embrace Freedom and Experience Defiant Joy, and it unpacks Payne’s battle with poverty, shame, and depression. “In the book, I personify Joy and reveal a trait she possesses in each chapter,” Payne explains to EW over email. “I also explain how Joy has been present in each of the circumstances, life choices or traumas I’ve walked through.”

On the impetus for the book, she says, “I have received so many messages and comments on social media asking how I remain positive, and where my joy comes from. The answers to those questions invite a bigger conversation and, to me, can’t really be addressed with a quick answer sent in a messenger app or with a meme posted on Facebook. I wish I could have a coffeeshop conversation with every new friend I’ve made on this journey, and share with them what I’ve been through in my life that has both challenged and emboldened my ability to remain joyful.”

After all these months, Payne still embraces her moniker, Chewbacca Mom. “It was a moment that unleashed a part of me that could be described as destiny,” she says. “Not for a second, does it get old to me.” But with Laugh It Up, she welcomes the chance to introduce more of the world to Candace Payne.

While the book doesn’t hit shelves until Nov. 7, she does have some free advice on leading a positive life, especially for those uneasy about the current political climate: “Political climate or any climate, fear is fear. It hasn’t served me well in my life — and I have faced it many times. The opposite of fear is always hope, and I anchor myself to hope when I am afraid. What parent doesn’t wish and want for the best possible future for their children? I know that my husband and I hope that our ceiling of possibility will only be the floor to our kids’ dreams for their futures. Fight fear with hope every day, and then do something to be a part of making this world a better place.”

Payne, armed with a multi-book deal with Zondervan, is already at work on her second book, which she says is “a gift book” to be released in “fall of 2018.” She adds, “I will illustrate it, and it will take readers on a whimsical journey through the many types of joy, and offer practical tips for improving joy in their own lives.”

On top of that, she has two TLC webseries with hopes to pursue even more avenues. “The list of things I would still love to do is long. You’d be shocked if you knew what was on my bucket list, and I won’t feel as though I’ve lived out my purpose until I see some of those personal things checked off,” she says. “I keep some dreams that I have secret because, well, I think that’s healthy sometimes.”

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