An Editor’s Insight into Writing about Personal ChallengesBy
Today, I have the great pleasure of being the host on DAY 7 of the Virtual Blog Tour for Richard David Price, author of the brand new book Beating the Adversary: A True Story of Schizoaffective Disorder, officially released on 1st December, 2014. On its debut, it became Amazon’s #1 best-selling new release in ‘schizophrenia’.
Yesterday, Richard visited Christine Miller’s Growing Edge Blog at http://christinemiller.co/category/christine-miller-growing-edge-blog/, where they discussed about hallucinations, therapies and other elements he encounters in dealing with his condition.
Today, I’d like to share with you a recent interview I had with the editor of the book, Vrinda Pendred, as I thought it would be of particular interest to authors who write transformational books, especially those that incorporate personal memoire.
VRINDA PENDRED is the Editor and Founder of independent publishing house Conditional Publications, which is devoted to giving a ‘voice’ to people diagnosed with neurological conditions such as Tourette’s Syndrome, ADHD, autism, bipolar disorder and much more. She is also a writer and a prolific novelist.
Beating the Adversary is the third book released by Conditional Publications. It is the autobiographical account of author Richard David Price, who was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder as a teenager, as a result of a childhood accident.
(And…not to be biased or anything…Vrinda is also my amazingly talented daughter).
LYNN: What were the challenges for you as an editor, in making a book of this kind accessible to a wider audience?
VRINDA: One of the features of schizoaffective disorder is disorganized thought. That in itself wasn’t a challenge, so much as trying to get the balance right between making the book ‘readable’ and maintaining the author’s voice. What’s the point of publishing a book with the intention of allowing your audience insight into what it’s like to suffer with such a condition, if you remove everything that demonstrates that condition?
This meant editing the book perhaps fifteen times (I lost count) before we felt it was not only accessible, but authentic. It was vital that the author still feel like it represented his struggle in an honest way, even if he understood we had to make changes to ensure the general audience would make the effort to hear his story.
The original draft also left out the whole missionary section of the book. I’m not Mormon myself, but I asked Richard to add that in. I was interested. He was concerned about coming across as ‘preachy’, but I assured him we would edit it so it didn’t feel that way. I think we managed this. The point of including it was to show how he had overcome his challenges. When I spoke to him about it over the phone, he told me his faith was what got him through it. When that wasn’t in the book, I felt we were cheating the audience.
Keats said, ‘Truth is beauty,’ and I wanted this book to be as truthful as possible. I didn’t care whether the audience was Mormon or not. I think the most fantastic thing about people is that we all come from different walks of life, yet something deeper connects us. I don’t think the reader needs to be Mormon to appreciate Richard’s transformative experience. As a non-Mormon, when Richard finally delivered to me his first complete draft, including every gritty and profound moment, I cried – because he’d finally expressed his truth, and Keats was right: it was beautiful.
LYNN: What do you think is the value of people writing about and publishing their own transformational journey / personal challenges?
VRINDA: Writing is therapy; I would hope most people in this day and age know that. Writing about your journey is some of the best medicine you will ever find, and it’s free without side effects – because it’s important to remember (and I say this from experience) that even if you have an incurable disability, there is more to that than the physical. These things have an emotional effect, and can often be traumatic. Writing may not change your circumstances, but it helps you exorcise the frustration or pain. That alone can be enough to get you through each day.
In terms of taking the time to publish that journey, that’s more about the reader. To take myself, as an example, I have Tourette’s Syndrome and one of the most important moments in my life was when I started talking to others with the same condition – when I realised I wasn’t alone. I stopped regarding myself as a ‘freak’ and started to understand I am one of a very large population of people who face the same sorts of challenges. It helped me accept myself. That’s why I founded Conditional Publications; I want to give a voice to people suffering in silence and help others realise they are not alone. In this way, I think there is great value in publishing your memoirs, whether they go on to be best-sellers or not. Even if they make a difference in just one person’s life, your work has served a purpose.
LYNN: What were some of the challenges you faced in getting this book ready for publication?
VRINDA: I think the trickiest part was trying to get everyone on the same page at the same time. I work at a distance, via email and social networking, with some long-distance telephone calls. We’re all in different time zones, so you can’t always get the immediate response you’d like, which means you have to plan ahead with everything. Once you find people you can rely on, hold onto them!!! They’re more precious than gold dust, and they will help you build something unexpected.
LYNN: Can you give tips to other authors in this category, with regard to marketing?
VRINDA: Read Lynn Serafinn’s book Tweep-e-licious! I’m following it like the Bible.
LYNN: What words of encouragement would you give other authors writing about their personal journey / challenges? What’s the message to authors about beating their own adversary?
VRINDA: I’ve always wanted to write, ever since I was 3. When I was 20, I told someone about this dream. They were older and wiser and asked, ‘Is this really what you want to do? Is it what you feel in your heart you’re meant to do?’ I said yes, absolutely. They said, ‘Then you will do it. All you need is to want it enough. That’s all it takes to succeed.’
I’ve always born this in mind, and the older I get, the more I see it’s true. Everything comes down to motivation and energy. If you really want to get your story out – no matter what it is – just do it.
If you get writer’s block, don’t worry. Don’t push it. If the ideas aren’t flowing, whatever you write will ring false. Just relax, do something else, and wait until inspiration strikes again. And it will; it grips you when you least expect it, and suddenly you find you can’t do anything without words flying through your head. You have no choice but to write them down, so they don’t drive you nuts. That’s when it will sound sincere. Keep at it, and trust those moments will come; they always do.
***END OF INTERVIEW***
I hope you enjoyed this brief interview with author Richard Price and that you’ll check out his new book Beating the Adversary: A True Story of Schizoaffective Disorder.
When you buy Beating the Adversary during its official Amazon launch, you’ll also receive a free novel entitled The Ladder by Vrinda Pendred, founder of Conditional Publications – an independent publisher dedicated to writers with neurological conditions.
To buy Beating the Adversary and get your free novel, go to:
Thanks for reading! Please do share your comments and thoughts below. I love reading your feedback.
Be sure to follow Richard tomorrow on the next stop of his Virtual Blog Tour, when he’ll be visiting Pippa Moye’s Silver Ray Healing Therapies blog at http://www.silver-ray.co.uk, where they’ll be talking about how spiritual beliefs can help counter depression and other topics.
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LYNN SERAFINN, MAED, CPCC is a certified, award-winning coach, teacher, marketer, social media expert, radio host, speaker and author of the number one bestseller The 7 Graces of Marketing — How to Heal Humanity and the Planet by Changing the Way We Sell and Tweep-e-licious! 158 Twitter Tips & Strategies for Writers, Social Entrepreneurs & Changemakers Who Want to Market their Business Ethically. She is listed in the Top 20 of the Top Marketing Authors on Twitter by Social Media Magazine and was a finalist for the prestigious Brit Writers Awards. She also received the eLit Book Awards Silver Medal in Humanitarian and Ecological Social Affairs, as well as the Bronze Medal in Business and Sales.
Lynn’s eclectic approach to marketing incorporates her vast professional experience in the music industry and the educational sector along with more than two decades of study and practice of the spirituality of India. Her innovative marketing campaigns have produced a long list of bestselling non-fiction authors through her company Spirit Authors. Lynn is also the Founder of the 7 Graces Project CIC, a not-for-profit social enterprise created to train, support, mentor and inspire independent business owners to market their business ethically, serve society and planet, and restore all that is best about humanity.