Featured Authors Talk About It
*This is a sample interview with Janelle 🙂
ATAI: Tell us a little about you.
Janelle Alex: My name is Janelle Alex and I’m the Writer’s Shaman and founder of Live Alive. I work with passionate women writers who want to make a big difference in the world, but aren’t sure where to start. I help them discover what they’re being called to do. Together we create a doable plan that fits their lifestyle, so they can create change with their writing while doing what feeds their soul. I’ve written numerous books and am a best selling author on Amazon and iTunes. I’m also the co-founder of Authors Talk About It, which holds an annual international book award contest and offers support through trainings and editing services to authors – indie authors in particular.
ATAI: How long have you been writing?
Janelle Alex: I started writing when I was a little girl. Most of that was never published though it often grabbed the attention teachers and later my college professors. I released my first book after grad school with a strong focus on the transpersonal – Collaborate with Your Soul. It started out as a final project for my master’s degree. Since then, I’ve written numerous others and co-authored quite a few with my husband as well.
ATAI: What was your most recent release?
Janelle Alex: In December of 2016, I released Soul Gap: Rediscovering the colors of your soul and fulfilling your life’s mission. It goes hand-in-hand with the work I do with women as they move toward discovering what they’re feeling called to do – the bigger impact they’re wanting to make.
Janelle Alex: Wow, that’s a tough question. I love how the words flow through me – words I didn’t expect to see end up on the page. Writing has always been easy for me, which was something many years ago I didn’t realize wasn’t easy for most everyone else. The ideas just come to me as I’m writing.
But, I think most importantly writing offers a chance for the author to teach the reader something through story. Even writing non-fiction offers the author and the reader a chance to grow and expand through story. It isn’t always about teaching though. Sometimes, it’s about helping the reader escape their daily routine or helping them transform and create a teeny tiny change or a huge shift.
I have the tendency to be a natural leader, and whether authors realize it or not having written a book automatically creates a stage for them to step onto and lead from. Not everyone wants to do that, and it’s certainly not necessary, but for those of us who love the responsibility of being a leader and thrive on it while helping our audience thrive it’s a beautiful space to stand in.
ATAI: What do you find most challenging?
Janelle Alex: Well, what I’ve heard from the hundreds of authors I’ve worked with and/or interviewed, marketing is the most difficult part of being an author. I can’t disagree that it can be challenging, but it doesn’t have to be if you get some guidance -whether coaching or another avenue-, create a plan and be consistent.
Most challenging for me…I’d have to say is picking which story or book I want to write next. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve written a lot of non-fiction, but I’m currently working on a fiction novel. Of course, since the core of my work is about writing for change, I’m adamant that that is at the core of my fiction story. It’s such a different direction than what I’ve done before, but then after my year of travel and living a gypsy lifestyle with my husband and youngest son, I have people asking me to write about that. So…my list of “next” books grows – LOL.
ATAI: Where do your ideas come from?
Janelle Alex: My non-fiction work comes from my education, my personal experience and research. The book I’ve put on my list to write that focuses on my families travels will come from all the experiences we had – the good, the hilarious, the amazing, the bad and even the ugly.
My fiction series though initially came to me because I wanted to write a women’s contemporary fiction that followed our travels. That shifted a bit, but when we stayed in Panama City Beach for almost six months we connected with the Turtle Watch organization there. We ended up going to the assistant director’s house for a cookout even. I fell in love with what they do and the plot for my first book in the series started to develop in my mind. Then, I started writing down things I learned from the volunteers and interviewed some of them and the asst. director during the cookout. After that I remember standing in the kitchen of our townhouse and talking through some of the plot with my husband. Talking about it out loud brought it to life.
Those things helped me outline some of the basic points I wanted to touch on, but writing it and just allowing the story to somewhat create its own path is a lot of fun. I just do my best not to let it wonder too far off course or at least make sure I find a way to reconnect the dots.
ATAI: What is your writing process?
Janelle Alex: Like I said above, I lay out a few bullet points and potential scene ideas I’d like to get in the story or for non-fiction I bullet point the main aspects, but other than that I let it flow.
I need total quiet. So, it’s best if I have an office to write in. On occasion I can put my earbuds in and turn on some of my favorite music, but that is usually only to drown out any noise my family is making if they’re around. I really prefer a super quiet space though.
The winner of last year’s Author’s Talk About It book award contest, AC Burch, has a writing shed in his back yard. That would be freaking awesome. I might just have to put that on my wish list.
ATAI: You write fiction and non-fiction, so this is a two-part question. Do your characters ever seem to have a life of their own or an agend of their own? With non-fiction, has your message ever seemed to take over and go in a direction you didn’t expect?
Janelle Alex: With my non-fiction, it just comes through – like it isn’t all coming from me. I open up and allow my guides and the Universe to bring forward the message that I’m feeling called to write about. Many times over the years, I’ve gone back and reread my work weeks or months later and thought “Wow! I wrote that.” Sometimes, it just shocks me 🙂
With my prior fiction work, I’ve never had that happen. However, with the current book, I’m intentionally having meetings with my characters to see what they want to say or how they feel about the direction things are going. Is that a little woo woo? Hell yes! After all, I am a shaman and it’s one of the things I teach my clients to do. So, yes now that I’m working on this longer novel, I’m listening to my characters.
ATAI: What’s your favorite part of your book (or one of your books)?
Janelle Alex: In Soul Gap, I added what I call Active Participation pieces to the end of each chapter. You see one’s soul gap is defined as your soul’s mission minus your active participation. So, I give my readers the opportunity to step into active participation if they want to build a bridge across their soul gap.
ATAI: What are you working on next?
Janelle Alex: I already kinda gave that away, didn’t I? Oops. I’m working on My Flip Flop Heart (working title). Both the male and female main characters are seeking big change in their lives. They’ve been very successful in their careers, but can’t quite put their finger on what or why they’re being called to do more. Past traumatic experiences have created deep wounds in both of them and neither are sure what should be next in their lives. Yes, there’s a bit of a romance, but the core is all about the female protagonist and her soul calling her to make a bigger impact. Oh, and there is a little paranormal twist to the story as well.
ATAI: Where can people find you online?
ATAI: Thank you for sharing with us and our audience.
Janelle Alex: Thank you for letting me share in this space! Honoring you all.
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