Interview with Beth Praed

When did you first start writing?
I started writing when I was a young child. I would write a short story and my third grade teacher would allow me to read it to the class.
What's the story behind your latest book?
My third book was developed with the following goals in mind: 1) to help women prepare an escape plan that will allow them to successfully escape their abusers, and 2) to give abused women the tools to completely help them recover.
Why are you selling your third book so cheaply?
Approximately one in four women suffer from domestic abuse.  This is not acceptable.  Something must be done.  To have this small opportunity to make a difference in the world is far more important to me than money. This $1 book, and the corresponding blog about abuse (www.myfreedomfromabuse.com), is my small effort to do exactly that!  I want this book to be extremely affordable so any abused woman can have access to it.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
I appreciate the opportunity to do this interview! So helpful to explain my motivation.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
This December (2013), I have a story that is being published in Guidepost's "Mysterious Ways" magazine. I always feel privileged that people want to read my writing. So grateful to my readers!
What are you working on next?
I just finished my first audio book, "My Freedom from Abuse". Very difficult skill set to learn. I never realized how difficult it is to make a successful recording. You mess up six times, then the cat meows, then a plane flies overhead ... the list of mess-ups is never ending. With one audio book under my belt, I might try to convert one of my other books to an audio format.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Since I have multiple sclerosis, my left hand doesn't work well and I couldn't be a music teacher or play the piano anymore. However, I have discovered that I love to write and I don't let the disease stop me. I sit all day typing stories on my computer. (I can only use one finger in my left hand and I might be the fastest six fingered typist you will ever meet!)
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I spend time with my pets. I have two dachshunds. There is little Cookie; she is a dappled, slightly crazy wiener dog. Then, there is my other dachshund. He is handicapped. I got him from a breeder when they couldn't sell him and I didn't have the heart to change his name. It is Rocky Balboa. He is anything but a Rocky. He is a very timid little guy and hides under the bed at the slightest provocation. When he gets very excited, he will hop up and down like a rabbit.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
I loved to write detective stories when I was a child. I loved the mystery and would often act out the story with my brother.
What is your writing process?
I do what I call "piece meal" writing. When an idea hits me, I write it down. The idea might be the introduction, the ending, or something that I use in the body of the piece. I like to use symbolism in my work.
Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
If you read the classics as a young child, it shapes your future writing abilities. I highly recommend that parents read a story like "Moby Dick" or "Little Women" to their children.
How do you approach cover design?
I like the cover of my book, "My Freedom from Abuse". There is a great deal of symbolism in this cover. The model is walking away from the camera. This incorporates one of the main ideas of the book which is to leave an abusive man. On the left side of the model, there are words such as fear, sadness, and death. On the right side, there is a set of words with a different focus—words such as joy, safety and accomplishment. The symbolism is that, by the act of leaving her abuser, a woman is making a choice that will lead to positive changes in her life.
What are your five favorite books, and why?
I love the classics ... books such as "To Kill a Mockingbird" or "The Old Man and the Sea". Newer books that I have also enjoyed are "The Five People You Meet in Heaven" and "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime". "Calvin and Hobbes" is my favorite cartoon. I wish Watterson had written more of this series.
Describe your desk
I spend most of my life at my desk. I have a large Macintosh computer, surrounded with equipment like a phone, printer and scanner. To the left of my office is a large bookcase.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I had very creative parents. My mother taught English and my dad was an artist. My mother was always reading wonderful books to us. Each night, she would sit in a rocking chair and tell us stories. My father was always painting at his easel. One day when the mood struck him, he decided to paint a large mural in our kitchen.
What book marketing techniques have been most effective for you?
I think one the very best marketing techniques is to find big name people who would be interested in doing editorial reviews. So important. My first book was a best-seller because some very important people offered to review my book. So grateful to them for their kindness! Also, the reviews posted online by your readers are absolutely essential. Their positive reviews can help motivate other readers to want to read your work.
What do your fans mean to you?
I feel a real connection to people who read my books. My books are self-help books. When someone reads my book on AD/HD, it is either because they or their children have the disorder. My kids also have AD/HD, so my readers and I have a common bond and can share similar experiences.
Who are your favorite authors?
I think J.K. Rowling is one of the best character writers. She comes up with some fascinating characters who just seem to jump off the page. I think this is one reason why her books have been so successful.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I go to a site and click on a hashtag to see what books or stories pop up on the subject.
What do you read for pleasure?
Currently reading "The Last Lecture" by Randy Pausch.
Who do you credit for helping your write?
My mother was the main motivation for my writing. She really helped me understand the power of the written word. I am also very grateful to my journalism professor at Georgia State University.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I like Kindle. I believe that someday everything will be digital. We're nearly there now.
Your third book is about domestic violence. How common is DV?
One in four women will experience domestic violence sometime in their lifetime. The problem is of epidemic proportions.
What have you written today?
Today I wrote an article for my blog (http://www.myfreedomfromabuse.com). I have reprinted it below.

Why do some men think they have the right to kill her?

There's the same old story in the news today. A woman was leaving her abusive husband and he then killed her. I knew the circumstances without even reading the story. Why do abusive men think that they have the right to kill women?

Years ago, a business acquaintance of mine in Atlanta became one of the statistics. I might have been one of the last people to speak to her. It was late afternoon and we were conducting business over the phone, but she didn't sound like herself. I asked if she was okay. She then explained that she was in the process of leaving her boyfriend and had to get the rest of her stuff after work. I asked if someone should go with her. "No, I'll be fine," she said. She wasn't. Her boyfriend slit her throat.

Her boss was outraged. He wanted to get in his car and find him. Her dad had the horrible experience of finding her body. All of Atlanta was cautious until he was found. I couldn't believe it. How could this have happened?

Why do men commit these atrocious acts? Maybe their parents are to blame. Maybe he witnessed his dad beat his mom and he thinks that this is how all men behave. Maybe his mother treated him like a God and spoiled him rotten. Maybe he was bullied in school and he feels a compulsion to get even. Maybe he has road rage issues and has no patience for the old lady who is driving to slowly for his taste. Maybe he has an overly zealous sports mentality and must win at all costs. Maybe he has a sick brain.

Everyone is effected by his actions. The woman loses her life before she realizes that she is special and that she doesn't deserve to live in fear. Her parents never recover from their grief and anger. His parents withdraw from their friends out of sadness, regret and even shame. The courts are denied their right to prosecute and convict a dangerous individual. And the world begins to realize that there isn't always justice and that life, really, isn't fair.

So, why do some men think they have the right to kill her? As a society, we need to understand his motives. But, there might not be an answer to the why. Maybe, there is no legitimate reason. Maybe he just kills her because he wants to do so and … because he can.

http://www.myfreedomfromabuse.com
Your first book was dedicated to "My sweet Savior who gave me this book in a dream". Why is God so important to you?
Here is a reprint of a Tweet about this very question.

Why God?

On Facebook, a user asked why I mention God. She wrote, "What about those of us who are agnostic or atheist?" My answer is below.

I understand your question, so I will explain. I am not capable of removing God from my thoughts. When I was a young child, I had a life-after-death experience. I became extremely ill with a very high fever and was hospitalized. While I drifted in and out of consciousness, my parents were told that I might die. Even my principal informed my classmates and asked them to pray for me. (This was in the days when religion was still allowed in the classrooms.)

During my life-after-death experience, I saw a man who inquired if I was ready to die. He then asked me the most unbelievable question, "What have you done with your life?" When I awoke, I was standing in the middle of my bed. I then called my mother. I told her that a man had been to see me and he had asked me if I was ready to die. My panicked mother then called the hospital and a stream of nurses poured in my room. By the next day, a new parade of clergy arrived—all armed with pencils and notepads.

But this is not the end of my explanation. I am a published author. My first book on MS was given to me in a dream. It was published in just three days time. It eventually rose to be the best-selling book on MS at Amazon for nearly six years. I received a contract for my AD/HD book with no book even written. "My Freedom from Abuse" was also given to me in a dream. I saw a man in a field and he told me to write it. He said to sell it for "practically nothing". So that is why it is just one dollar.

God is my alpha and my omega. He is my #1 and there really isn't even a close second. How can I eliminate the real author of my books from the equation?

Thank you for your question. It got me thinking and I appreciate the opportunity to explain.

Beth Praed
"My Freedom from Abuse", "Multiple Sclerosis: Q&A", and "The AD/HD Book"
Your blog just received a 9 out of 10 rating. Who rated your blog?
My blog was rated by Bloggy Award and their review can be viewed at http://www.bloggyaward.com/inspirational/my-freedom-from-abuse/

Besides links to my books, my blog has updated domestic violence shelter lists for the entire country!
Why did you update the domestic violence shelter lists for the entire country? Wasn't that exhausting work?
I wondered why too at first. I started out by just wanting to update Michigan's DV Shelter list. I am a survivor and I wanted to give back to the community. The list was good, but still needed changes. On a whim, I checked another state's list to see how good their shelter list was. Terrible! So, I updated that state's list. With two finished, I checked a third state's list. That DV list hadn't been updated in 10 years!. Addresses had moved, no websites listed, and even a couple of disconnected hotlines!

How is a woman supposed to get help under these circumstances? So, this discovery is what really motivated me.

But why the entire country? It required six months of boring, tedious work. I often asked myself this question. Many times, I wanted to quit. During my work, I found that there were three levels of shelters. The #1 updated category shelter list had two states whose lists were very up-to-date and well done. Kudos to Illinois and Virginia! The #2 list was what I call "okay-I-guess-but-still-needs-to-be-updated-list". Many states in this area. Are you ready for the #3 category? This one is the "oh-no-this-is-really-bad-start-making-changes-asap-pronto-list". Numerous states in the third category (including the one that hadn't been updated in 10 years).

So, during this project, I found that updated DV shelter lists were desperately needed. This is why I did it. Now that it is finished, my goal is to keep the shelter lists as up-to-date as possible. I will do my best to make this happen.

I am a survivor and I don't want any woman to experience what I did. Never again. God bless you. God wants you to be free from abuse and so do I.
Published 2013-09-18.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

Domestic Violence: My Freedom from Abuse
By
Price: $0.99 USD. Words: 29,810. Language: English. Published: September 10, 2013. Category: Nonfiction » Self-improvement » Abuse
Praed's first book on MS was a best-seller at Amazon.  Her third book was developed with the following goals in mind: 1) to help women prepare an escape plan that will allow them to successfully escape their abusers, and 2) to give abused women the tools to completely help them recover.