Jess Stewart interview by David Alan Binder about her book Rough Guide to Smooth Life: A guide to Living a Life You Love
Post date: Jan 7, 2016 1:26:46 PM
Author Jess Stewart interview by David Alan Binder about her book Rough Guide to Smooth Life: A guide to Living a Life You Love
This interview will give you, Dear Writers and Dear Readers insights on the persistence it takes to make writing an integral part of your life and your passion. Jess Stewart is a life and wellness coach, author, motivational speaker, and teaches yoga and meditation; all on a corporate as well as individual level.
Jess Stewart website: www.inspireyourlife.org
Social media; www.facebook.com/inspireyourlife.org
Goodreads account; https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/14784147.Jess_Stuart
Amazon author page; http://www.amazon.co.uk/Jess-Stuart/e/B019OYCPRS/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1
1. Where are you currently living?
I split my time between my family in the UK and New Zealand where I live, I return to NZ this month just in time to catch the summer
2. When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer?
I’ve always enjoyed writing and started writing poems when I was a teenager, I didn’t think I’d be able to write an actual book though until now!3. How long on average does it take you to write a book?
3. I was working on this one full time for 12 months but realistically the research, ideas and material was being gathered another year before that too.
4. What is your work schedule like when you're writing?
It depends on the inspiration, on a good day I like to make hay while the sun shines and can be sat writing for hours but other days I can’t seem to write anything sensible so end up doing admin stuff or going for long walks.
5. What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?
I will often ‘speak’ an idea before I write it. Often on long walks, the ideas come out as spoken word and the inspiration flows better, and then I just have to transfer it to paper. I do a lot of video blogs because of this.
6. Did you self publish or have a publisher?
7. How do you feel about eBooks vs. print books and alternative vs. conventional publishing?
I think they are great for people travelling around, it enables you to have many books in your bag at once, it’s also affordable but for me personally I like to hold a real book in my hand, turn the pages and find it more difficult to read on a screen. From an author’s perspective the royalties are bigger on eBooks but the price less so it’s much of a muchness, as long as people are buying the book and enjoying it, the form doesn’t matter too much.
8. What process did you go through to get your book published?
Lots of agents rejection letters! Continuous knocking on doors sending out book proposals and eventually doing it myself so that it got done this century!
9. Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Daily life, the people I meet, the experience I have and the flashes of inspiration that come to me late at night!
10. When did you write your first book and how old were you?
This is my first, I am 32
11. What do you like to do when you're not writing?
Travel, Yoga, I play guitar and love to be outdoors, especially by the ocean
12. What does your family think of your writing?
I don’t think they got it to start with (especially as I’d given up a ‘proper’ job to be a writer) but now they can see the finished product and read about it in the media they get it. My parents are proud and they know it makes me happy.
13. What was one of the most surprising things you learned in creating your books?
That writing the book was not the difficult part!
14. How many books have you written?
Just this one
15. Do you have any suggestions to help others become a better writer? If so, what are they?
Never give up and don’t expect it to be easy. It’ll be hard work and take a long time but it’ll be worth it when you achieve your goal. When you write you bring your own unique style and personality to it so it’s always going to be something new and different to the market, we all have our own special gift.
Nothing is out of your reach unless you put it there.
16. Do you hear from your readers much? What kinds of things do they say?
I love it when people get in touch to say they have been inspired or that they are on a similar journey and what they’ve read has resonated and given them hope.
17. Who is your main audience for your books?
It’s for anyone who’s looking to make changes in their life, to find balance and wondering if there might be another way of living. Those who wish to rediscover what matters and create a life they love.
It tends to appeal to those in the western world, women more so and of an age range of 25-50.
18. What do you think makes a good story?
Something real that people can relate to
19. As a child, what did you want to do when you grew up?
I was never really sure
20. How did you become involved with the subject or theme of your book?
It began learning from other cultures when I travelled, particularly in South East Asia. I learned meditation and yoga on my return to NZ and this opened up a whole new way of life in terms of how I lived, how I thought, how I maintained my health and how I managed stress. It was something I was interested in so I read a lot of books on it at which point I realized, I could write something like this.
21. . Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre? If you write more than one field or genre, how do you balance them?
Because it interests me and it’s what I know from my own experience and years of study
22. What do you think most characterizes your writing?
I like to write in a relaxed informal style sharing humor and personal stories along the way to make it more readable and light
23. What inspires you?
Being outdoors in nature, the beach, stillness, long walks
24. How did you get to be where you are in your life today?
By choosing happiness. Being proud of who I am and comfortable in my own skin. Believing in myself and not worrying so much about what others think. Embracing fear and getting outside my comfort zone. Learning new things. Overcoming challenges, learning from mistakes and letting go of the things in my life that weren’t working. Being grateful everyday, meditating and looking after myself.
25. Who are some of your favorite authors that you feel were influential in your work?
Liz Gilbert, Brene Brown, Shannon Kaiser, Libby Weaver, Bronnie Ware, Deepak Chopra, Susan Cain, Pico Iyer, Thich Nhat Hanh, Mattheu Ricard
26. Are you a full-time or part-time writer? How does that affect your writing?
I go through stages of both and it largely depends on my finances. I try to be full time as much as possible and have been for the last 12 months but occasionally I do other work to supplement my writing and pay my bills.
27. What are some day jobs that you have held? Did any of them impact your writing?
Certainly my career in HR in the corporate world has helped and given me a different perspective. I learned a lot about people and resilience here. I also used to work in bars growing up which always gives a writer good material!
28. What makes your book stand out from the crowd?
The fact that it’s written for everyday people by an everyday person. It’s from my personal experience so tried and tested rather than theory, with real life experience and plenty of practical stuff readers can use in their own lives.
29. What are some ways in which you promote your work?
Social media is a must these days as is having your own website. I didn’t know much about either when I started out but over the last year have learned heaps and these are things you can learn to do yourself which saves funds. I ended up speaking for free a lot but it’s all good promotion and marketing as a new author and it helps build the platform
30. What do you like to read in your free time?
Things that interest me and things I can learn from, the topics are fairly broad
31. What projects are you working on at the present?
Promotion of this book and the next step post book; online courses, speaking events and an overseas tour all being well. Contemplating when to start the next book!
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