Could you tell us about yourself?
I was diagnosed with depression at age 30 and bipolar disorder five years later. I have been living with these illnesses since 1991 and have had numerous hospitalizations. Two psychiatrists told me at age 39 that I would never work full time again. I have proven them wrong.
What made you write your book (s)?
My goal for writing my books has been to help people who are suffering from a mental illness. I figured out how to re-wire my brain and wanted others to know that it is possible to recover and have a joy-filled life.
What is the first book you remember reading?
The Bobbsey Twins
What’s your favorite book?
I don’t have a favorite but I love “Seat of the Soul” and “Boundaries.” They both helped me a lot.
Who is your favorite author and why?
Deepak Chopra – The first book I read of his was “Ageless Body, Timeless Mind.” After reading it I knew there were other people like me who read energy.
How many hours a day do you write?
I write books when I feel inspired. Today I am writing speeches for my Inspirational Talks and Workshops.
What one thing would you give up to become a better writer?
I would be wealthy and not have to worry about earning a living. Then I could devote all my time to writing.
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
I can only write when I feel inspired. I can’t sit and write for 2-3 hours every day.
If you could spend a day with another popular author, whom would you choose and why?
Gabe Mate – he is a psychiatrist who worked with drug addicts in Vancouver. He understands addictions and they all stem from old wounds. It doesn’t matter what addiction it is. He used to be addicted to buying CD’s.
What do you need in your writing space to stay focused?
I need peace and quiet. If I am in the country surrounded by trees, water and animals even better.
What’s your favorite writing snack or drink?
Instant Decaf Coffee
How do you celebrate when you finish a book?
I take a holiday, either a weekend in the country or go to the ocean to relax.
Do you listen to music while you wrote your book (s)?
No, I like absolute silence.
Where do you get your idea (s) for your book (s)?
“My Journey Back to Myself” was written from my personal journals. I had documented every step of my recovery from bipolar disorder.
“The F Book: 7 Fs to Creating Your Fantastic Future” was written from a speech that I made from the same name. There were 7 words, all starting with the letter F, that led to my recovery from bipolar disorder. Family, Friends, Fun, Fitness, Fulfillment, Finances and Faith.
What is / was your writing process like?
I write for 6-8 hours a day until the book is completed. The first draft usually takes 6-12 weeks.
Do you try more to be original or rather give readers what they want?
I write about what I believe can help others who are struggling with a mental illness.
How did publishing your (first) book?
I hired a self-publisher to help me. My first book, “My Journey Back to Myself” was first published in 2004.
What kind of research to you do and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
For “The F Book” I read other books about each topic before I began each chapter. It took me about a month to read and research each chapter.
What’s your favourite and least favourite part of publishing your book (s)?
What part of the book was the most fun to write?
I enjoyed the chapter on Faith the most.
How did you come up with the title for your book (s)?
“My Journey Back to Myself” came to me in a dream. I’d been waking up at 4:30 AM for 3 weeks and got mad and wrote the following in my journal: “Dear God, I’m getting sick and tired of waking up every day at this time. If there is something you want me to do please make it abundantly clear because I just want to go back to sleep”. After drifting in and out of sleep for 3 hours the words “My Journey Back to Myself” were going around and around in my head that morning.
“The F Book” – I needed a title that would get people’s attention and since all my topics started with the letter F it seemed appropriate.
What is a significant way your book has changed since the first draft?
For both books they have less personal examples.
How would you describe your book’s ideal reader?
My ideal reader is someone between the ages of 30 and 60 that want to make changes in their life and anyone struggling with a mental illness.
What did you edit out of your book (s)?
As above, there were too many personal examples.
How long did it take for you to write a book?
6 weeks to 1 year
What do you hope your readers take away from your book?
I hope my readers make the necessary changes in their life so they can have a happy, productive, joy-filled life.
What was the hardest part of writing your book (s)?
Getting started. I procrastinate until I have a firm idea in my head.
Did you get some negative feedback on your book? If so, how do you deal with that?
“My Journey Back to Myself” which was published in 2004 had too many personal examples. I was honest to a fault and I had to change that in later versions.
How did you feel when you first published your book (s)?
Exhilarated, Excited, Feeling of Accomplishment
Where can people who are interested in your book buy your book?
Amazon.ca or Amazon.com
“The F Book: 7 Fs to Creating Your Fantastic Future”
“My Journey Back to Myself” is not for sale at this time.
After writing your book (s) what is your advice to people who want to become writers?
-Keep at it
-Eventually the words/story will come
What are common traps for aspiring writers and have you faced any of them?
It is very difficult to find an agent or publisher. I had to give up and hire a self-publisher to help me.
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?
Of course, I read all my reviews. Everyone is entitled to their opinion and as long as the review is done in a respectful way I have to accept their opinion.
Is it something more you want to tell us which I Forgot to ask about?
“You Can Believe the Diagnosis, Not the Prognosis” Deepak Chopra
It doesn’t matter what label you are given, it is possible to have a rich, joy-filled life. But you need to do the work on yourself. No one can do that for you.
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