Exclusive Interview with
When did you start writing?
I wrote my first book, "The Purple Mouse" at the tender age of 5. Since then, I've scribbled in notebooks, blogged and started writing more novels that I care to admit!
Writing has always been something that I loved, but actually writing and *gulp* daring to publish is a relatively recent journey.
What makes writing your passion?
It's one of those love / hate passions to be honest!
I rarely feel "Inspired" to write - I'm driven instead by an awareness that time is a gift and I don't want it to run out before I write my books. Hence, I sit myself down and make myself start and once the words start to flow, I'm reminded how much I actually love to write.
How long have you been writing?
Most of my life in some form or another, but my real writing journey kicked off in 2019.
What was the feeling when you published your first book?
When my first 21 Hacks book was published in 2019, I experienced mixed feelings of relief, of pride that I had actually completed it and of fear as now others could read and judge my words!
What’s the story behind your choice of characters?
My books are non-fiction, but the stories I share to illustrate points are my own.
What annoys you the most in pursuing a writing career?
Having to wrap my head around AMAZON ads and marketing! I'm an absolute novice here and it's an area that I really need to address.
How do you get over the “writer’s block”?
I have a couple of secret boards on Pinterest where I pin articles, author sites and research related to the topics I am writing about. When I find myself stuck, I sometimes browse these boards and something will inspire me.
We all know the writer’s path is never easy, what makes you keep going? What advice would you give to new authors?
As I said earlier - I'm so aware that time is ticking, so that motivates me to keep going.
My advice for new authors? Get yourself a mentor, a coach or a supportive writing community, then sit yourself down and start writing! You will only succeed by actually doing the work!
If you could go back in time and talk to your younger self, what would you say?
Be braver and take more risks!
Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with the bad ones?
I suspect that all authors struggle with this one lol! I might have a dozen nice messages or reviews with one negative one, and you can guess which will linger the longest in my mind.
I have to keep reminding myself that a negative review simply means that this person is not my ideal client / reader, rather than automatically assuming that my writing is rubbish.
What is the feeling when you get a good review?
I feel both grateful and encouraged to keep writing.
Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?
My books to date have been non-fiction where I did incorporate my own stories. I'm starting to venture into the fiction world however - watch this space :)
Which of your characters you can compare yourself with? Did you base that character on you?
What do you think, the book cover is as important as the story?
In non-fiction as well as fiction, the cover is so critical to attracting readers to your book! It can make your book look dated and unappealing which is the last thing you want.
Do you connect with your readers? Do you mind having a chat with them or you prefer to express yourself through your writing?
I'm connecting with readers and potential readers every day online as I host a Facebook Community called Rocking Midlife® as well as the Rocking Midlife® Podcast. I think it is important for writers to have a connection with their ideal audience.
How do you feel when people appreciate your work or recognize you in public?
Again, both grateful and encouraged that the work I am doing is making a difference.
Who is your favorite author? Why?
I have so many! I read from all sorts of genres but there are three authors I always return to:
Phil Rickman - for mystery with a touch of the supernatural set in an English village.
Harlen Coben - for a fast paced mystery / thriller that keeps you engrossed.
Josie Brown - for fun, escapist and witty reads.
What’s the dream? Whom would you like to be as big as?
In regards to my non-fiction, I would love to have a similar impact to Mel Robbins who is a straight shooting, personal development author.
In regards to my fledgling fiction writing, I would love to match Josie Brown's output and reach.
Would you rewrite any of your books? Why?
Yes! I have a small book that I wrote years ago that I think still has value for women, however I am in a very different place now to when I wrote it. I'm intending re-doing it later this year, updating the personal stories I share to illustrate the points made. I'll also re-format the cover to make it more up to date.
If you could switch places with any author – who would that be?
Definitely J.K Rowling. Her ability to plot the overall story of Harry Potter, whilst creating each individual book's story line, as well as weaving in characters and backstories is just incredible. To be able to publish a series that is so widely loved all over the world would be a dream come true!
What would you say to the “trolls” on the internet? We all know them – people who like to write awful reviews to books they’ve never read or didn’t like that much, just to annoy the author.
I've experienced this first hand and it does sting. Unfortunately, nasty keyboard warriors aren't going away anytime soon, so it's important to delete, block and keep writing. You author career is in your hands - not theirs.
What would you say to your readers?
That I am incredibly humbled and grateful whenever someone takes the time to read one of my books. My hope is that by doing so, they are encouraged and motivated to take positive action that helps them create their purposeful life.
Share a bit about yourself – where do you live, are you married, do you have kids?
I'm a transplanted Australian who has called New Zealand home for 23 years. I live with my husband, son, daughter in law and grandson on a semi-rural property on the fringe of Auckland, complete with chickens, sheep and way too many cats, (in my husband's mind anyhow!) while my daughter lives in LA.
I'm a life-long creative, having a degree from the Conservatorium of Music in Sydney and having worked in the past as a teacher, lecturer and a professional musician (saxophone.) A midlife reinvention saw me retrain and spend 7 years working in a large South Auckland gym, and during that time, I started an online community for women called Rocking Midlife® which now serves 6800 women from around the world.
I live with a chronic pain condition which led to my leaving the gym and focussing more on online coaching and now writing.
I'm a chocoholic, love movies and books and am partial to a glass of prosecco and a laugh with close friends.
What is your day job if you have one?
I'm a content creator and a coach for midlife women. My day is full writing articles and blogs, as well as interviewing women for the Rocking Midlife® Podcast or being interviewed myself for summits and podcasts. I'm also about to launch my new signature mastermind for women "The Midlife Side-Hustle Incubator" as well as my new book "Your Midlife Side-Hustle."
What are your hobbies? What do you do in your free time?
Lol - I'm one of these people who is always doing something online, be that interacting in my groups, writing or delving into courses and research as I love learning.
Did you have a happy childhood?
Yes I did. I was quite driven though, winning a music scholarship at age 11 which meant that my highschool years were spent commuting 1 - 2 hours each way to school on buses, and attending weekly instrumental lessons, choir, chamber choir and concert band rehearsals.
Is there a particular experience that made you start writing?
There were two things: one was the realisation that I had been writing in some form or other all of my life - be that assignments, blogs or curriculum. In each case, I enjoyed the writing process and received high marks when being assessed.
The second was the acceptance of my pain condition. Instead of constantly trying to "push through" and keep working at the gym, (which only exacerbated the acute pain flares ) I realised that I needed to change my lifestyle in order to manage my pain. Doing so meant that I also stopped looking at writing as a hobby, and started looking at it as a potential career.
Do you have unpublished books? What are they about?
Yes, I've two novels - one a YA fantasy based in Southern New Zealand and featuring dragons.
The second is a short romance which is still in process and will be released under a different pen name.
What do you think should be improved in the education of our children? What do we lack?
Having started out in life as a highschool music teacher, and also having homeschooled my 2 when they were in their teens, (both were elite athletes literally travelling the world for competitions) I've definitely got some thoughts about education.
This is just one example: I despair at the amount of "busy work" sent home to fill up students' time, after they have already spent 7 - 9 hours at school. What I loved about homeschooling was the fact that you could get all of your work completed so much more quickly when you eliminated lining up, roll calls etc. There was then time to explore interests, to read for enjoyment and to try new things.
If you were allowed 3 wishes – what would they be?
1) World peace.
2) World peace
3) World peace
Failing that - 1. the ability to write books that positively affect the reader, encouraging them to live in a way that is fulfilling and also positively impacting for their family, friends and community.
2. The ability to create, write and publish quality books into my senior years, so I can leave a legacy for my children.
3. The ability to make an abundant living financially through my writing, to enable me to give so much more to the causes I support.
What is your favorite music?
Having studied for a 4 year music degree whilst also playing in rock bands and jazz bands on weekends - I have an extremely varied musical palette!
I love music by Palestrina and Rachmaninov, as well as sound tracks to movies like "The Mission" and "Pride & Prejudice." Then there is the passion and joy of Irish music, and plenty of pop / rock selections from performers like Muse; Guns n Roses; Katy Perry; Santina..... I could go on for ages!
Share a secret with us 🙂
I have way too many "how to" books on my Kindle and courses on my computer! My love of learning has turned me into a "how to" hoarder and I need to step away from the credit card!