Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Meet Jennifer Peacock-Smith! Author Interview

1- Tell us a little about yourself.
Thank you. I am a memoirist, blogger, artist, and many other things besides. But right now my main focus in on writing and telling my story. I am a South African Australian with a husband who works for an American company, so we have spent our adult lives so far, living in 6 different countries. My life is never dull!

2- Why did you choose to write a book about anxiety?
That is an interesting question, thank you. I am in the process of putting together a series of full length memoirs on my life, and have spent the past twelve months writing over two hundred thousand words that now need to be edited, broken into bite sized chunks, and pieced together in such a way that they form a handful of neat and readable packages (books). I was writing the chapters on my journey with anxiety and people kept telling me how much it helped them when they read it and that it could make a difference to a lot of lives. So that chapter grew to tell the story in both more depth, and to spell out the processes that I used to heal. We then realized that this was too big to part of a bigger book, but that it was crucial that it be available to anyone out there without them having to read my entire story. Not everyone is interested in memoirs but a whole lot of people would love to rid themselves or loved ones, of anxiety permanently. And so we decided to put it out in a short reads book all of it’s own.

3- Explain how you tackle the subject in the book.
At my very core, I am a memoir writer. Even in my blogs and articles that I write for both my own publications and others, my style is that I share my experiences. I don’t know how to make stuff up or create characters. I just share my story and I am told that I do it in a way that those who read it feel as though they are there in the story with me. So this book is no different to that. It is raw and personal and when it comes to being sprawled out on a public toilet floor with my legs bent up around the bowl because there isn’t any place left to put them, I could not leave that out and be true to my experience. So I just tell it how it was for me, and by the end of the book people can see clearly why I came to the conclusions that I did and worked out how to change my life for ever. I have added a workbook at the end for anyone who would like to have the steps listed and a guide on how to do it themselves, but no one has to read that if they don’t want to.

4- What has changed in your life since the book came out?
Oh I am so blown away by the response! As a chronic emotional abuse survivor and someone who had my voice squashed and stolen from birth, this was my first attempt at using it. My voice is still shaky, new and fragile and so is my soul. The response from so many people when I launched this book a month ago (and the world heard me and listened and said thank you) has amazed me. I cannot tell you how exciting that is, and affirming. It has given me a confidence that I never had before, and the courage to keep going and tell the rest!

5- If you could travel back in time, what would you tell your twenty-year old self?
Oh, this is a tough one. I have a bunch of children in their twenties now and they don’t want to hear about anything that I have learnt since then, so I am not sure that my twenty year old self would even listen to me. But I know that if she knew what I would go through over the next 30 years I think she would crumble. Yet if she knew what was coming out from it now, she wouldn’t believe me!

6- How can the book help someone with anxiety and can the book be used by someone who is dealing with an anxious person?
Because it is an unusual book in that at first it is simply telling my story, and then going through the steps, even people without anxiety are reading it, and from the feedback from strangers, some have said that now they understand what their loved ones are going through. So it isn’t just about anxiety at arm’s length, it is anxiety from the inside of the body and mind. It is for everyone.

7- What is your next project?
My next project is to keep writing my memoirs. I took a 6 week break from writing to publish the anxiety book, but not only was it worth it, but it has given me a whole new confidence to write everything and leave nothing out.

8- Do you do speaking engagements?
I do. I haven’t done any author engagements yet although I have a few coming up. But I have been invited to speak at the South African head office for Life Line next week, as people are wanting to know how to apply my techniques to the general public. I will be on the best coast of the USA in March, London in June, and Australia in July (so contact me for dates and places where I will be speaking).

9- what has been your favorite part of publishing this book?
I would say that my favorite part has been everything that I have learnt. It was a huge eye opener for me, and as someone who has been working closely with a writing group for about six months now, it was both exhilarating to actually put all that knowledge into practice but also a huge education for me. There is so much that you simply cannot know until you actually do it.

Jennifer Peacock-Smith is an emerging memoirist who writes on her experiences, struggles and triumphs through a difficult but colorful life so far. She shares her time between her homelands of South Africa and Australia when she is not traveling with her husband in all corners of the globe. 

Despite a painful and crippling genetic condition she is very active in the writing community. She writes for a number of blogs as well as the world wide publication The Mighty, on Chronic Illness and other topics. 

Follow Jennifer below!

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