Interview with Valley Overcomer

What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
I like to have every day of my week be a bit different. So, when I wake up I think "AWESOME! It is the day for..." So I arrange it like this: Monday is the day to invest in some kids I know who are my friends' kids, Tuesday is my day to invest in my relationship with God and my kids, Wednesday is my day to invest in my kids' community at school, Thursday is my day to spend some time alone doing what I want to do, Friday is my day to try to manage the housework, Saturday is family time, and then Sunday is my day to invest in my church family and to let them invest in me... plus be with God too. So I guess the bottom line is I love to invest in people and relationships. I am a huge people person!!!
Describe your desk.
I don't really have a desk right now. The desk I used to use got turned over to my husband so he could work from home more easily. So I started using a table. The table I used to use got taken over by my kids' papers. So I started using a rolling table. The rolling table I used to use got taken over as my daughter's personal art table. So I started kneeling or sitting wherever the laptop happened to have been left by my children the last time they used it. I know it might sound funny, but it totally true. I keep getting chaos pushed on me on every side by this little ones I love so much! However, I will say this... I draw the line: I refuse to lie on my stomach to use a computer. It just kills my back. (That is supposed to be funny... sometimes people have a hard time knowing when I am trying to be funny, so in case you missed it... it was a joke!)
What do you read for pleasure?
My favorite author is Graham Cooke. He writes about the power of God and the love of God. I love to listen to him on MP3, in particular. God often speaks to me when I am listening. I also read the Bible every morning when I wake up, and then sometimes later in the day I read a longer section. Yesterday, for example, I was washing dishes and listening to the book of Jeremiah (from the Bible) on my iPad.
When did you first start writing?
When I was in second grade I started writing. The earliest writing I still have now was from about third grade. I wrote this stupid, stupid poem about a hopping hippopotamus. I have no idea why I thought hippos should hop... When I was in fourth grade I kept a "spy journal" in my Trapper Keeper (anyone remember those things?) and wrote out my pledge never to spy on things that were unethical to spy on. Rather to spy on people who were out in the open doing nothing secret. Like one time we "spied" on a friend's brother while he was eating dinner in front of the TV. Again, not sure why. By fifth grade I had progressed to writing a very long play that was about a girl who was raised as a servant girl in the castle where she was rightfully a queen (Maid Sara: Queen of the Realm). I had a knack for titles, apparently, since my sister told me she couldn't name her child Sara because she kept hearing "Maid Sara: Queen of the Realm" every time she thought about the name, and it gave her a total block about the name.
Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
I grew up in the Pittsburgh area, only about half an hour from where I live now. Pittsburgh has a very flat social structure -- it doesn't matter who you are, you can be yourself. Pittsburgh's rich tend to be very down-to-earth, and Pittsburgh's poor tend to be very hard-working. Pittsburgh's middle class is exceptionally wide, with people of different walks comfortably mingling. I think this had a profound impact on me, because it allowed me to see the deep truth in the fact that every person is very valuable, and every person is worthy of respect. You know what I mean? See, I was raised in the church and we had the ideal that every person was equally valuable. That is how my parents lived and that is what they believed. But it was important that my community supported that and allowed me to treat someone with the same respect no matter what problems they had faced in the past, no matter what problems they faced in the future ... no matter what, you are valuable!
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
When I get a turn of phrase that really sings to me, I love that feeling. I read it out loud, and I listen for the pacing ... I think, "Is this accessible? Can people relate to this?" That is always the driving question. But when I have the pacing right, the book feels like a conversation. It sings to me. I love that. But you know, I have to also add that I love teaching a bit more than writing. That sounds horrible, doesn't it? Like, "What is the greatest joy of writing? NOT writing! HA HA HA!" No, but seriously... I love the fact that teaching lets me see those who are listening. So really, my greatest joy in writing is reaching my audience. I am disappointed, though, that I don't get to be there when you read the book. I would love to be able to see your face light up, or your eyebrows scrunch together when you're thinking, or whatever ... I just wish I could share the moment. That is how I always write, you know? I want you to feel like I am there and like you know me as a friend. And I really do wish I could meet every reader!
What's the story behind your latest book?
Have you ever come back to life? I mean, had a problem that was so bad that you were buried under it, and then one day "POP" you start coming back out of the problem instead of going farther in? Well, just trust me... if you never have, you're missing out. I lived for three years thinking every day (sometimes every minute) "WOW, I am the most blessed person alive to be coming back to life!!" Living like that, aware every day that your life is a miracle... well, it changes you. I wanted to tell the story so that other people could experience it too. So that is why I wrote "U-Turn."
What would you say to someone who was trying to decide whether to buy U-Turn?
DO IT NOW! Here is the deal: I am offering to sell you something worth more than a million dollars and the price is only $19.95. I am selling you hope for your future, which is priceless. I am selling you peace of mind, a pathway through a jungle, a castle (you know, like the saying a man's home is his castle) where you can live in joy. I think by the time you finish this book (maybe even before) you will have gained the strength to make the decision to walk toward life, health, and freedom. This book has my life story, or at least a part of it. It was costly to write out -- it took me at least a year to write it, and MANY years to live it. It will encourage you. Your health is something you must win for yourself, but the courage to take the next step... wow, I think this is a really good price for all that value. Just buy it! You have so much to gain ... and very little to lose.
What is your writing process?
I have to know what helped me, and then I try to figure out how best to capture that information so that other people could get that information and use it. Then once I have that outline I try to think of stories that fit with the information I want to convey. Then it is just a push for the rough draft. Once the rough draft has several chapters I start to see the issues that are emerging and then I go from there slowly working away at it until I have a smoothed out draft. But it all starts with knowing what helped me and capturing that.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I am very involved with my kids. I invest in their education by homeschooling them, and I love that. Pretty much most of the things that I do for fun are things I do with my kids -- I read out loud from all sorts of children's authors (that is really important to me), and I take an interest in art for my daughter's sake, music for my son's sake, and toys for my other son's sake. Keeping up with life and my kids is pretty much a 100% focus for me.
Published 2014-04-03.
Smashwords Interviews are created by the profiled author, publisher or reader.

Books by This Author

UTURN: Navigating from bipolar disorder to natural health
Price: $19.95 USD. Words: 56,020. Language: English. Published: August 29, 2009. Categories: Nonfiction » Health, wellbeing, & medicine » Mental health
A diagnosis of bipolar disorder doesn't need to be "the end of the story" ANY MORE! This book gives the insider's scoop on a natural treatment for bipolar disorder that is now being studied at major universities around the world. Written by a bipolar disorder sufferer, this book will guide you through the first year of changes that you CAN make to get back your mental health, naturally. A U-Turn!