Interview with Jen Berthold

What motivated you to become an indie author?
I have always enjoyed creating; painting, drawing, singing, story-telling and writing. I have had many art and craft projects and articles published in craft magazines and professional psychological articles published in health magazines. I wrote The Simple Map with the intention of sharing it with my friends and family, but, by the time I had finished it was much too large to email or print at home. Indie publishing was the quickest and most cost-effective way to deliver my message into the hands of my target audience. A side effect of this process is that not only can my friends and family access my work, even complete strangers on the other side of the world can get a copy if they want to.
How has Smashwords contributed to your success?
Smashwords has been the easiest platform to engage with to publish and market my work. They have simple and easy to follow instructions for formatting and uploading e-books, generating coupons, and managing my profile. Smashwords is also an easy to navigate site for purchasing and downloading e-books.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
The process of creating brings me great joy, whether it is writing, painting, drawing, gardening, or something else. Whenever I am processing new ideas, I reflect on how they fit in with my past experiences and this sparks the need to engage in some sort of creative expression, which at times results in written works.
What do your fans mean to you?
Sharing my creative expressions, whether a finished book, a magazine article, or a craft project, is always a vulnerable and scary experience. I get tempted to just enjoy the creative process and then hide the finished product away, to avoid the reality of judgement and critique. Then I remember hearing this quote when I was a child, "No one lights a lamp and puts it in a place where it will be hidden, or under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, so that those who come in may see the light," (Luke 11:33) so I share my works with the people around me. I have found that connection with other human beings brings the only true meaning in life, and the only way to truly connect with them is to let myself be vulnerable and put my creative works out there.
What are you working on next?
I have been reading some dry, factual accounts of significant historical figures and been curious about why they chose to do the things they did. This has lead to a lot more research into what life was like in certain places and times. My professional expertise in the treatment of the psychological impacts of trauma, transgenerational trauma, grief and loss, has given me a unique insight into some of these people. As a result, I have begun work on an historical romance novel.
Who are your favorite authors?
Brene Brown's work on Vulnerability is an imperative.
Caroline Leaf's work on Neuroplasticity is inspiring.
Chin-Ning Chu's book Do Less Achieve More changed my life.
The fiction works by the following authors I can read over and over again.
CS Lewis, JR Tolkien, Francine Rivers, Anne Rice
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
Every now and then I bounce out of bed full of creative inspiration that needs to be expressed. But on every other day I get out of bed because my children need someone to get them out of bed and set them up for a good day at school with a healthy breakfast and a packed lunch, and my family as a whole needs me to go to work to earn an income and manage the household.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
When I am not writing I spend my time; working as a psychologist with individual clients, running seminars and workshops, cooking, cleaning, singing, painting, drawing, gardening, helping children with homework, cuddling my family while we watch movies, playing board games with my family, helping my husband with his business, driving my children around to their activities, and volunteering to help others in my local community.
How do you discover the ebooks you read?
Usually, a friend recommends a book, I read it, and then I read every other book by that author, watch every YouTube video by that author, and then read books recommended by that author, or other books that turn up in the same genre once I have finished every book by that author.
Describe your desk
I don't have a desk. When I am writing I take my laptop wherever I can find a quiet place; the dining room table, the lounge room, the bed room, sometimes I even have the lap top on the bench in the kitchen whilst I am cooking. I have three children, so I snatch a few minutes to write here and there as I can.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I spent my first five years living in an apartment with my parents in New Brighton Minnesota USA. We moved to a house in Coon Rapids Minnesota where I have vivid memories of my tyre swing under a huge old oak tree, building snow forts and ice-skating in the park. I had a huge extended family around and spent lots of time with cousins.
Just before I turned seven my immediate family moved to Sydney, Australia, where we lived in a small house in the western suburbs. My childhood experiences are shared quite a bit in the first half of The Simple Map as they are where I learned the foundations of what matters in life. I learned early in life that everyone does not see the world the same way or share the same priorities and values. Moving as we did allowed me to see life from different perspectives at quite a young age and that shows up in my writing and my exceptional ability to describe events from different characters' perspectives.
When did you first start writing?
In high school one of my English teachers gave us an assignment to write a journal and forced us to do it for ten minutes every lesson. At first I just wrote the alphabet over and over, or random words. Eventually I started writing poetry and short stories. Since then I have kept up the habit of always having a notebook and pen in my bag with me and next to my bed at night so that if I have an idea I can write it down.
In university, studying to become a teacher, I wrote two children's books. One was a picture book about Halloween which my younger brother and then my own children have greatly enjoyed, the other was a fictional diary of one of my ancestors which took a fair bit of research and which my children have also greatly enjoyed reading.
Published 2016-08-14.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

The Simple Map
Price: $5.99 USD. Words: 24,150. Language: English. Published: May 30, 2011. Categories: Nonfiction » Self-improvement » Motivation and inspiration, Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » Mental health
In The Simple Map, Jen Berthold, a leading expert on grief, loss, and trauma, shares seven steps to getting back on track to living a life filled with joy—a simple map to shifting focus and moving forward towards the life you dream of attaining. Jen engages our hearts, minds, and souls as she identifies how we can take simple action, to ensure that we experience joy and happiness right now.