I have always read a lot. I remember Mom telling to me to "Stop reading and go outside because it was a beautiful day" on weekends when I had disappeared into books. I would read one after another. I also remember the deal we made when we went to the library, that I could take as many books as I could carry but no more. I would stack them so high that I could barely see over the top and walk very carefully to the car. I read both fiction and nonfiction. Today I read fiction for two reasons. My mind is often so active and excited by my work that at bedtime I read what I call <i>brainless fiction<i> which are books that help me take my mind off more exciting things so I can ease into sleep. I also read some fiction purely for enjoyment and have many authors whose work I love. Mercedes Lackey, John Grisham, J.D. Robb and many more. My Goodreads account has a long list.
The nonfiction books I love are all about my passionate interest in what makes humans thrive. Every time I find even the smallest tidbit that can help me help someone thrive more in their life it excites me. My mind races when something triggers a new insight where I can see how I can help someone overcome things that are standing in their way. Sometimes the fiction books do the same. I am always on the lookout for more ways to help people because I know that the same techniques do not help everyone. I think of what I've learned as a toolkit and want tools for every potential situation. I love helping people and the more ways I have to help, the more I get to help. I've read so many nonfiction books but I also have a couple dozen binders full of original research. Many of the nonfiction books talk of research but I've not been satisfied for the authors interpretation. I like to read the original research and happily spend hours each week doing so.
When did you first start writing?
I've always enjoyed writing but I did not start writing books until 2011. Since then I've written several nonfiction and a couple of fiction books. I also have a children's book I wrote in the 1990's that I plan to have illustrated and publish.
What's the story behind your latest book?
A number of years ago a dear friend called me to tell me goodbye. She was on her way to a hotel to end her life. Because of what I had learned about human thriving over the years I was able to bring her back from the edge even though I was over 1,000 miles away. That led to the idea for the book but I did not write it then.
I teach programs that help people thrive more and when I was doing that in a high school a Mom contacted me to let me know that her son had shared that he had been suicidal when I first went to the school but that because of what I taught, he was not only not suicidal, he was feeling pretty good. I still do not know who this young man was. I teach large groups--not individuals so I often do not know the details of how lives improve as a result of what I'm sharing.
In that particular case, I was only in the school for a total of six hours yet it was enough to save a life.
After that I began writing this book. I can't know how to help people that much and not share it. This work calls me strongly. But it is not limited to suicide prevention. The same root cause that helped my friend and the young man, improves every area of life.
This is powerful stuff. I am often still amazed that I've somehow figured this out and then found ways to communicate it in ways that resonate with so many people. I am truly blessed.
My hope for this book is not only that it reduces suicides, but that awareness of the potential prevention at the root cause has in many areas of life.
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Impatience. When I finished my first book I planned to go the traditional publishing route and found it time consuming. When I thought about the fact that once I found a publisher it would still be a year before the beneficial information I write about would reach people who can benefit from it now, I made the decision to self-publish.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Thinking about the people it can help--how their lives can improve the way mine did as I learned and applied this information to my life. I've seen so many people benefit from this information but books can go where I cannot--that is what excites me about writing.
In the fiction books I also enjoy developing the characters and the way the books seem to write themselves.
What do your fans mean to you?
They mean I am helping to create a better world for everyone. If they are my fan, they've learned things that can help them help others. Whether they ever mention me to others or not, their own knowledge of what I teach has the potential to help make the world a better place. The benefits of applying what I teach to one's life help everyone. They increase happiness, resilience, immune function, and kindness.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
There is so much I want to do. I eagerly arise. What is difficult is getting me to stop and go to bed.
What are you working on next?
I have a couple of books in the works now. My first fiction book, Shades of Joy, is with the editor now. It is a story of a woman who teaches people how to thrive and includes a Utopian society, dystopian society, time travel, and a lot of twists and turns. I am working on several sequels to Shades of Joy.
What I am considering my seminal work, Stress Kills:Happiness Heals, is also in the proofing stage. It's huge, 620 pages on an 8 1/2 x 11 frame. It can be a reference book or could be read through by someone who shares my passion for making this world a better place. It includes strategies, based on science, for primary prevention in healthcare, for crime, teen pregnancy, failure to thrive, and ways to address disparate impact and heal from abuse and bullying. I am very excited to have this book almost complete because once it is done I will feel like those who are seeking the answers it provides will be able to find it.
Another non-fiction book that is about 80% complete is <i>The Meaning and Purpose in Your Life, Finding It, Fulfilling It, Enjoying It.<i> It is not necessary to search for your purpose or for meaning in your life if you know how to find it you can do it in less than an hour. Someone who knows their purpose increases their potential for achievement and enjoyment.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
My life is fantastic and it is a direct result of applying what I teach in my own life. I love to travel and do so often. I've just returned from almost a month overseas, enjoying a 2-week cruise and about ten days in England. Earlier in the year I enjoyed two weeks in Hawaii when the whales were there. I'd never been to Hawaii when the whales were there and I absolutely loved it. I was in Southern California for a few weeks in January--for the Rose Bowl, Rose Parade and soaking up the California sun during the winter. I also volunteered at the US Open in Pinehurst for both the men's and women's tournaments. That was fun but I won't do it again because I kept thinking that I would help more people if I was doing my work--something only I can do--instead of doing something any number of people could do. I've also had briefer trips to Virginia, Savannah, and Philadelphia.
I have a wonderful, loving family and enjoy family meals and card games. I love spending time with my friends--whether we're just enjoying good conversation or hiking in the beautiful Smokey Mountains. I have friends around the world and visit them when I can.
Describe your desk
I like desks, I have more than one. I have an antique oak roll top that I adore. I also have a beautiful cherry executive desk. But I do not write at my desk. I find it more comfortable to sit in a recliner with the laptop so that is where I write. Sometimes I write instead of type. I do that at a desk and find that my creative juices flow effortlessly when I write that way.
Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Oh yes, a childhood friend and I wrote it together when we were quite young and we thought it was wonderful.
It was so simple. "In a country there is a city, in the city there is a road, on the road is a house..." I may still have it around here somewhere. I seem to remember seeing it when I moved about ten years ago.
I am rather sentimental and have tended to keep things long past their usefulness. I am beginning to take pictures of things that have sentimental meaning to me and then letting the thing itself go because I know it is the feeling the thing brings forth in me from the memory that makes it dear to me, not the thing itself.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.
A Better Way to Prevent Suicide provides processes and knowledge that helps individuals manage their emotional state in a way that prevents them from suffering in the low emotional states that can lead to suicide. Individuals who develop these skills by using them in their own life will enjoy their life more and be prepared to help others--even if the person is in a very low emotional state.