Interview with Annette Jeffrey

Published 2016-05-08.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Meditating with Elvis: A Guide to Simple Meditation & Mindful Awareness was inspired by the courses I run as a meditation teacher. I often receive enquiries from stressed out souls who can't get to my classes for various reasons - either they're too busy, too anxious or too far away. When I began getting messages from people in Egypt and Canada I knew I needed to get my teachings out to a wider audience!

In 2015, personal circumstances meant that I chose to stop organising public courses and simply offer a little private tuition instead. This allowed me to work my teaching around my family, my absolute priority. However, I still wanted to share my original, straight-from-the-heart material with a broader audience in need, but in ways that suited me, my own well-being and that of my loved ones.

So, I decided to collate all of my essays, lecture notes, student guidelines, meditation scripts etc, develop them further and weave them together into an informative, enlightening book. 'Elvis' authentically conveys the essence of my originally-crafted beginners' courses, so that everyone can enjoy the benefits wherever they're based. Wonderful!
What's with Elvis....?!
Well, I actually meditate with Elvis two or three times a week! You see, I’ve been an Elvisette for as long as I can remember, and three of my passions in life are music, walking and meditation/mindfulness.

I bring them all together in one of my favourite meditative activities – Mindfully Walking with Music, and believe Elvis’s material is the best with which to begin this wonderfully uplifting and relaxing practise. It has very clear rythms and a range of tempos to play with, so it's perfect.

Oh, Elvis liked to meditate too by the way, a lot. So, there you go!
How does it feel now that Meditating with Elvis is published?
Pretty weird actually. I miss him! You know, he has been my constant companion for a couple of years and in a sense he's now gone. I feel oddly bereft. I wonder if this is some sort of bookish bereavement? It feels a bit like it. Yes, pretty weird indeed!

I am very happy though, and proud to have completed a book that was complex to create but is simple to read.

One of the most rewarding things about publishing 'Elvis' is just how many readers have told me they enjoyed the tone and the 'voice' of the book. I want readers to know I'm with them every step of the way and it seems they can sense this. I hope 'Elvis' helps many, many people to begin reclaiming their right to relax and regain the peace of mind we all deserve.

I feel I've teamed up with Elvis to create a deeply positive and empowering book, written and shared with love and empathy.
What challenges did meditating with Elvis present to you as a writer?
Well, organising that amount of material was quite a task! The main format was already in place, as the book is based upon my structured meditation courses, but arranging each section with clarity and flow took a lot of thought.

Instructive, supportive material like this comprises many different elements, both theoretical and experiential, and they each must be introduced and explored at the right time and the right pace. To give you an idea of what I was working with, the Contents listing for 'Elvis' is six pages long... This is partly because I broke topics down into manageable pieces, so readers can learn and experience just a little at a time. This keeps the material accessible and enjoyable. Also, I've included over 100 meditations and mindful awareness exercises. While all of these aren't listed individually, readers can see from a glance at the Contents that this is a substantial book!

Another challenge was selecting which meditations and exercises to include - that took some soul-searching. The visualisation meditations were tricky, as these are usually shared through the spoken word in the form of guided meditations. The key to making it work in 'Elvis' was to keep things simple, and allow the reader creative opportunities to shape their own experience within a tried, tested and trusted framework.
What is your writing process?
I am a great believer in quiet thinking time. I spend many hours pondering and planning in a very meditative way before I make even the briefest of notes. Then, most of my material is jotted down on paper (in purple ink...) Eventually, I tuck myself in at my desk and hit the keyboard.

I'm very focused, write in silence, ignore my phones and don't go anywhere near emails or social media. It's a mindfulness thing, doing only one thing at a time and giving it my whole attention. I find it very fulfilling to work this way, and I know my writing benefits from the discipline. I have a background in journalism and high-pressure publishing, so I approach my writing as a job, and it pays off.

Now that I write alone and manage my own deadlines, I have the luxury of taking my time. I'm keen on revising, revising, revising then going back a few days later to polish it up a bit more. I believe writing something meaningful is a craft. So, just as if we were creating a painting or a carving we need to do a little, step back and improve things, or walk away entirely and leave it for a while. This always helps me to get a fresh perspective, and then I can make changes. This may mean severe editing or even starting all over again. It's a lot of work, but as a perfectionist and a self-confessed control freak I love the whole process!
What are you working on next?
I'm currently compiling material and conducting interviews for my next two titles - busy times! They're both related to meditative & mindful living but they each have a very specific focus (unlike 'Elvis' which essentially delivers everything a new meditator needs to know.)

The themes hone in on two fascinating, fun ways to enjoy meditation and mindfulness in our everyday lives. I can't give any more details just now I'm afraid, but I will say that the material is relevent and helpful for absolutely everyone, I promise you.
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Books by This Author

Meditating With Elvis: A Guide to Simple Meditation & Mindful Awareness for the Soulful
Price: $8.99 USD. Words: 57,400. Language: English. Published: April 23, 2016 . Categories: Nonfiction » New Age » Meditation, Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » healthy living
A compassionate, comprehensive and occasionally quirky introduction to non-spiritual meditation and everyday mindful awareness. Meditating With Elvis will teach you how to meditate and be mindful while commuting on public transport, listening to music, during household chores and while eating chocolate! Empathetically written by a practising meditation teacher with 30 years in the holistics field.