Category Archives: Interviews

Exclusive interview with NLP practitioner and hypnotherapist – Mick McEvoy

HELPING YOU TAKE THE RIGHT STEPSPhoto credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/hyoungphotography

HELPING YOU TAKE THE RIGHT STEPS
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/hyoungphotography

If any of you have read my book you’ll have heard me speak of Mick as the man responsible for the catalyst that changed my entire life some 10 years ago.

Mick took me through a mental process at the time consisting of asking ONE question, which led to my four word answer. We then went through a guided visualization and a process of projecting into the future, all of which lasted about 30 minutes.

By the time I walked the five minutes home I was on cloud nine – and within three months my whole life was taking a new direction.

I caught up with him recently to see what he’s up to these days, and find out more about what motivates him to help others. There’s some great tips here for moving your life forwards in any area…

Q: Hi Mick, so what was your childhood like?

Mick: (Laughs) Oh you’re getting straight in there I see! It was good, no problems, no hassles. I enjoyed my childhood. My academic skills weren’t really that brilliant as a child, I feel I struggled a bit there. I felt a bit inferior sometimes, like when I had to read in front of people, probably the only thing that I had any issues with I suppose.

Q: Would you say, looking back, that you lacked confidence as a kid?

Mick: No. Not really.

Q: So what was the very first thing that brought you to this type of learning, NLP, hypnotherapy, psychology – stuff like that?

Mick: Well I think, from the age of about 14 I always had my goals laid out in front of me. I think I had a belief that whatever I set my mind on I would achieve. My journey on my personal development started from about the age of 14 or 15. I actually started martial arts when I was 15 years old I think, that was really important for me. It gave me a sort of grounding, not of.., I’m a little bit sort of spiritual but not in a religious sense, but sort of in the power of the mind, like being at one with the world around me.

From a very young age and from the martial arts I really got into that spirit and attitude, and it really helped me develop as a person. And I’d always been pretty interested in people, I was a people watcher, I’m an introvert but I can teach in front of hundreds of people not a problem, but if I’m in a social gathering I’m an introvert. I mean I like being an introvert, I don’t have a issue with it, I’m quite happy in my own skin and in my own company.

Put me in a social gathering and I’m a different person. I won’t want to be the centre of attention, I’m happy to sit and talk with one person. When I was 15 my outcome was to go to Canada, I don’t know why, I think it was the beauty of the country, the backdrop, the lakes, the greenery – I had the utmost desire to go to Canada, that was my GOAL! And at the time I also wanted to work on amusement machines, and ended up going to college and done electronics.

I ended up in Africa! (Laughs) I ended up working on slot machines. My sister married a guy from South Africa who used to run the slot machines in Sun City, and he left to start his own thing and I went over there to take over where he left off. And this is where I really became interested in people. I had to communicate with lots of people from many differnet countries, most of whom didn’t speak English. So I became curious as to how we were understanding each other using just body language. My sensory awareness of people’s gestures, movements, tone of voice and facial expressions really developed. So I began to notice how people expressed themselves, what they might be thinking, and what they were up to – some of them were up to stuff they shouldn’t be doing.

Q: So you noticed their ‘tells’?

Mick: Yes, absolutely. But I remember the first book I ever bought was ‘The Power of the Unconscious Mind’ by Joseph Murphy. It’s still on the shelves today, and I bought that when I was 20 years old.

Q: That was a hundred years ago! (Smiles)

Mick: (Laughing) Yeah, ancient – it’s a collector’s item! That book literally changed my life, and my wife’s life. We read it together, we used what was in that book. For anyone wanting to discover the power of the mind, it’s an easy book to read. And I found my life just changed, and we found we had to hang on because our lives were changing that much.

Now at that time in that book it was the power of affirmation, but I think now with what I’ve learnt is, that affirmations can be extremely powerful if you put together all the senses. So if you put the main three in there, that is, what you see – so get the visual in there, and the feelings of your emotions, aswell as the auditory, that’s when the magic happens. That’s really where my journey started.

Q: Yeah, I think Tony Robbins calls them ‘Incantations’, where he talks about getting into the ‘state’. So what springs to mind when you think about what you applied from what you learnt in that book?

Mick: It was certainly to focus on the positive. I became such an optimist. I mean the roof could have been falling down and I would say “No, everything’s going to be ok!” (Laughs) I mean I was pretty much there already but I became very positive on my outlook on life, knowing that whatever I set my goal on… I mean it gave me such a level of confidence that I really believed that whatever I set my mind to I could achieve.

I knew if I just chunked it down small enough I could do every little bit to achieve the longer term goal. We used to repeat a certain affirmation ‘we are healthy, wealthy, happy and successful’ – and I’d do that in my mind just before I went to sleep. And I didn’t know at the time that just before you’re going to sleep you go into a type of hypnotic trance or state called Alpha or Theta state. And so I was programming my mind.

Q: So do you have a daily practice now that keeps you topped up with that?

Mick: Not really, I have my diary, at the beginning of the week I cram as much as I can in there. So I take things from my short term goals and my long term goals which I’ve got on another plan, and I drop them in my diary. So then I just work through the things in my diary and do a couple of things each week that move me towards my goals.

Sometimes I lack on that, but this year I’ve decided to focus on my goals more. I think what happened last year was that I set so many goals for myself, so many outcomes, that it got a bit overwhelming – being a bloke we can procrastinate quite easily without focus and attention sometimes, so I’ve narrowed it down a bit this year. So I’m happier, and more focused so that I can achieve those things a bit quicker rather than putting them off.

Q: So once they’re done you can get onto the next bunch?

Mick: Yeah, so I just plow through the list, to me I don’t see problems as problems. When I put things in my diary I just see it as a time chunk. I tell my clients this, a lot of people put things in their diary as a thing to do, a problem that needs a solution. I just see it as time chunks.

Q: Do you dictate what the time is, so if it’s a problem you say I’m going to spend an hour on that, whether you come up with a solution or not?

Mick: Yeah I say, right I’ve got ten minutes for that, fifteen minutes for that, an hour for this. So I just give myself a time chunk to do it. I just see it as I’ve got time to do this, and if I get through all this time I’ll have time to myself. (Laughs)

Q: So on a time management level that’s a really great way of focussing?

Mick: Yes, it’s just time. It’s not a ‘problem’, a ‘have to’, a ‘need to’, an ‘ought to’, a ‘like to’ – they’re just time chunks.

Q: If you were going to divulge what your passion is, if you’re happy to tell us, what would you say?

Mick: Yeah, I think so, erm my passion is helping people make positive changes in their life. I mean, if you ask anyone why they do something it really boils down back to themselves. Whether someone wants to help others or make the world a better place, if you push it and push it, it boils down to the fact that it makes them happy. So it’s all about them you know, selfish! (Laughing out loud!)

On the outside it might seem that we’re doing it because we enjoy helping people, and that’s because it makes us feel good.

Q: I agree, when I was investigating this myself recently, because I have a very similar passion almost verbatim to that – and I asked myself why? What’s in it for me, why do I help people? And what it boils down to was significance. I get significance out of it. That I matter to people, that I matter to the world.

Mick: Yeah, yeah.

Q: Because without me it wouldn’t be as nice a place, because I’m trying my best to make it a better place for everybody else. And so, from that I get this feeling of significance. And in a way it’s like we all want to know… that we’re here! That we’re here and we’re living, because if everbody from tomorrow completely and utterly ignored you, you’d become depressed very quickly. I think there’s a fundamental need for us all to be recognised as being here. That we are alive, we are not imagining this, we are actually here.

Mick: You want to leave a print on this Earth.

Q: Exactly!

Mick: You want to still be here when you’re gone.

Q: Yes, we want to leave a legacy.

Mick: 14 or 15 years ago when I first started NLP and hypnosis, I thought then I want to leave my stamp. I want to help people, I want to know that it goes on without me.

Q: Hmm, what’s the big dream?

Mick: Yeah, I’ve had this desire, this retreat, somewhere in the country where people can come for a week and there’d be a theme for that week like goal setting or something. A centre or something where people could come and do training. Maybe down on the coast somewhere. Somewhere people could come to improve their lives.

Q: If one of the readers was experiencing something similar to where you were last year, having trouble focussing, feeling overwhelmed maybe, what would be the one thing you would say to start with, in order to get from where they are now to getting back on track?

Mick: OK, so if we think about what drives us are our values, so what they’ve got to find out is what is important about creating a goal or an outcome for them. And the simple way to do that is keep on asking ‘What’s important about it, what else is important about it?’ And carry on until they find the most important reason why they want to achieve their goal. And then do it again and ask ‘What’s important about that?’ ‘What does that get you or allow you to do?’ This will reveal their values. This is called chunking up. Lastly, imagine themselves in the future having achieved their goal; see it, smell it, taste it, hear it, breathe it. And from there look back at how they achieved it.

This is similar to the exercise I did with Mick almost 10 years ago which changed my life, so give it a try and be careful – it’s powerful!

Take aways from this interview are:

Create a daily affirmation mantra that involves sight, sound and feeling .

Make sure you move towards your goals each week.

Don’t set so many outcomes that you become overwhelmed.

Discover what your values are by asking what’s important about your goals.

Find out more about Mick and his valuable work here:

Mick McEvoy
Your hypnotic Coach
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13 Comments

Filed under Confidence, Goals, Interviews, Life changing, Self help, Self Improvement, Success, Uncategorized

Exclusive interview with SuperBlogger – Jenny Bichara of jennysserendipity.com

Jenny final pic

Jenny is the youngest of 10 and the self confessed ‘clown of the family’. She writes a blog titled ‘Jenny’s Serendipity’ and for those of you that haven’t read it, take a look, you’ll be pleasantly surprised. It’s a mix of her own life thoughts, lessons, recipes, poems and all round good feeling. She only started writing it earlier in 2012 after having a week off sick and becoming bored. Already she has had over 50,000+ views and growing fast!

I caught up with her to find out a bit more about the woman behind the blog, what drives her, what her goals are and what she puts this huge success down to.

Q: Hey Jenny, I’ve been following your blog for a while now and never cease to be moved or inspired or amused by your writing. What really got you started with it?

Jennifer: You call me Super Blogger…Wow! Stu, you are so sweet. Thank you very much for your support. Without you, I would not have reached 50,000+ page views on my site. You just made my day.

As for your question, the answer is nothing. What really got me started was out of boredom. I was truly sick and was looking for something to kill time. Before I started blogging, I really did not have any outlet to voice or express my feelings.

I discovered WordPress a year ago. I did not start with WordPress. I actually first went to Tumbler but I did not like it so I switch to WordPress. When I first saw the dashboard, I was like a kid receiving a new toy.. I still think it’s a toy even after a year. I have learned so much.

Q: So, what do you do when you’re not blogging?

Jennifer: Pretty much time is spent with my freelance work and when I am not working, I spend my time with my family. I have been away for 15 years so pretty much catching up on all the lost times not being with them. I usually hangout with my nieces and nephew and I love to treat them out when time permits. But lately, I have been very busy, so now I only hangout with my brother who I care for and I take him everywhere he wants to go on my breaks.

When I am not blogging, I usually just stay around the city but once in a while, I go out of my comfort zone and do something different. I would prefer to travel more but now is not the time. If only, I have the magic flying carpet, I would go all over the world.

Q: In your first written post you auditioned for Queer Eye for the Straight Girl, why did you do that?

Jennifer: I don’t really remember but I recall applying for extra work at Craigslist – I think. They called me and I went. I took my best friend Frannie with me. We had a ball. All we did was laugh, laugh and laugh…I did not get the part but I had a greatest time spent with my best friend’s daughter Frannie. Then, we headed straight to our favorite hangout Los Feliz. I wish I can bring back time.

Frannie and I became close because of Phyllis – her mother. Phyllis was a former co-worker. She is my best friend and confidant for 12+ years. When something goes wrong or right in my life, she will get a call from me. I miss them so much but with social media and the internet, catching up with my best friends makes the world much smaller. Oh yeah, she will get the shock of her life, when I tell her, I am talking about her in this interview. LOL!

Q: You mentioned that you work as a freelancer – what is it that you do most of the time?

Jennifer: Yes, I am a freelancer. I mainly work with WordPress Platform. I have 8 that are including my 2 personal websites (Jenny’s Serendipity and Canarium Blog) I never thought that WordPress would be my bread and butter. I started with just web content. Then, I got promoted to web management managing websites of my client including IT. In the process, I learned a bit of coding.  Because of my work, I was referred by my client to different clients. I started writing, editing, designing, coding – you name it. There is a lot behind creating websites. There is that technical side to it. Creativity Overload!

I love my work now. I never really thought that I would be doing this. If you know anybody who needs help with their website, let me know. I would love to assist your referrals.

Q: Where do you get the inspiration to blog?

Jennifer: No one inspires me. I just love WordPress. If WordPress was only a man, I would marry WordPress. Just kidding! I am single and am looking as well. Do you know anybody? 😉

Q: Why do you think you have so many subscribers?

Jennifer: I guess because they follow me and I follow back. But lately, I have not been really active as I have been busy. From time to time, I try to visit them and say my hello’s.

Q: What advice would you give to a new blogger just starting up today?

Jennifer: Go check it out – WordPress is a fun platform and it also could open doors.

Q: What are your personal goals for your blog and for your life?

Jennifer: For my blog, I would like to be Freshly Pressed by WordPress. Who knows, maybe one day? But hey, before I started and discovered WordPress. I created a dream board and wrote what I wanted in my life. A year later, I came back to it… Some dreams I wrote came true.

First; I would like to be independent. I do not want to work as an employee anymore as I do not want to deal with office politics and the bullshit around it anymore. Being independent is not easy but for years I worked by myself with very little employees; it was not a hard transition. You just need to have the mindset and discipline. Second, I almost forgot – to find my soul mate. Hopefully marry one day. Since I am already 41, maybe have a kid if it’s not too late. 😉

Thank you so much for your time and candid replies Jennifer, I look forward to catching up with you on your blog real soon.

To find out more about her and her rapidly rising blog follow her here: http://www.jennysserendipity.com

Jenny4

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Filed under Interviews, Success

Exclusive interview with Expert Congressional Staffers Turned Authors of ‘Capitol Hell!’ – Jayne Jones and Alicia M. Long

Final

Capitol Hell’ tells the story of Allison Amundson, a small town girl who lands the highly sought after job of scheduler to the newly-elected and rising star of the US Senate, Senator Anders McDermott III. While she thinks she is on the fast track to success, she quickly learns that life on Capitol Hill is even more dysfunctional than portrayed on TV. In fact, it is Capitol Hell.

Jayne Jones and Alicia Long, two Congressional Staffers turned authors, are excited to share their expert knowledge about working on Capitol Hill, in politics, and on campaigns. Former US Senate staffers, Jayne and Alicia have written the brilliant new behind-the- scenes political novel, ‘Capitol Hell’. This new page-turner will make you laugh out loud.

As the 113th US Congress convenes, partisan gridlock is the least of their worries. Jayne and Alicia are ready to share insights that no one else has been willing to tell before – what life is like behind the Senate office curtain!

I caught up with Alicia during their manic promotional tour to get some insights into who they are, how they got into politics and what they plan to do next.

Q: Hi Alicia, thanks for taking time out of your crazy schedule to do this interview with me. Can you first give my readers an idea of your respective backgrounds and what first got you into the political arena?

Alicia: I have always been interested in politics. I remember sitting around the dinner table and having discussions about politics and what was going on in the world from a very young age. When I was in college at the University of Minnesota, I had this great political science professor who really nurtured my passion for politics. I decided to join Senator Coleman’s Senate campaign back in 2002, he won, and the rest is history!

Q: Can you remember the first incident that happened that made you think of writing ‘Capitol Hell’?

Alicia: Oh there are too many to count! From being asked to change the Senator’s laundry to seeing staffers walk Senators’ dogs around the Capitol complex, I soon realized that nothing was beyond the realm of possibility on the Hill. Congressman who only attends dinners where fruit platters are served for dinner because he is on a special diet. Sure. Senator throws her blackberry across the White House lawn because she was upset about an email. Of course. Staffer gets fired for drinking, driving, and crashing the Congressman’s car. Why not! There is all kinds of crazy that we witnessed on the Hill, so we decided we just had to write about it!!

Q: What made you write ‘Capitol Hell’ as a novel rather than an exposé?

Alicia: Exposés tend to come off as negative and also tend to be written by people who are disgruntled or have an axe to grind. Neither Jayne nor I fall into that category. Life on the Hill can be tough, don’t get me wrong. And, there are a lot of crazy things that you’ll witness. But, at the end of the day, we both really enjoyed our experiences and wouldn’t trade them for the world. We wanted to write something that would give our readers a glimpse into what life on the Hill is really like, but we wanted to keep it light- hearted and funny at the same time, and I think we accomplished that.

Q: The characters are obviously fictional (wink wink), but could some politicians recognise themselves within its pages?

Alicia: I like to say, if you see a negative attribute in the book, and you happen to think it’s you, then maybe it’s time for you to do a little introspection. We did base a lot of the stories on things we saw or did or were told about. But, the book is not meant to be based on anyone. I will say that some politicians do happen to provide us with a little more fodder than others though!

Q: Both of you have many other interests and responsibilities including teaching, working full time, being acting committee members, your work with charity – how do you find time to write?

Alicia: Writing ‘Capitol Hell’ was a long process. All told, it took us four years. We both are very busy, but I think we both feel that writing this book and these stories was cathartic in a lot of ways. Don’t get me wrong, the editing process is taxing. But, writing the book itself is really a lot of fun. And, it definitely helps to have your best friend writing it with you because we are able to push each other along! We just hope the next one doesn’t take us quite as long to write!

Q: Aha, so there is a sequel? Or are you working on another book altogether?

Alicia: Given all of the positive feedback we have gotten about Capitol Hell and considering the clamoring we hear for a sequel, Jayne and I have definitely started tossing out ideas for Capitol Hell Revisited…although we need to come up with a better title than that. I think we’ve both added writing the rest of the story for Allison and Janet to our lists of New Years Resolutions!

Q: What future goals do you have together and/or separately?

Alicia: I think Jayne and I would both love to continue to write. It provides a nice respite to our hectic lives, and people seem to enjoy reading our stories, so I think we definitely want to continue to develop that craft! Otherwise, I plan to continue to work in DC as an attorney and would like to eventually return to the prosecutor’s table. And who knows, maybe a foray back into politics could be in the cards for both of us down the road. 🙂

Q: So, is writing more enjoyable than politics?

Alicia: I would say that asking that question is like asking someone to compare apples and oranges. Writing is more like apples, healthy, good for you, cathartic, one a day keeps the doctor away, etc. Politics is more like oranges, zesty, tangy, and if you eat too many you can end up with canker sores in your mouth! 🙂 In all seriousness though, they are both so different, but I think we both enjoy aspects of both.

Q: And finally what’s the one thing you would like readers to take away from ‘Capitol Hell’ ?

Alicia: As much as we poke fun and satire life on the Hill as a Congressional staffer, I think we both agree that the experience is one we wouldn’t trade for anything in the world. If you are young and have a mind towards public service, pick up, move to DC, and work on the Hill. There is nothing in the world like it. Just make sure you bring your best flats, plenty of energy, and keep your wits about you!

Buy the book on Amazon: Here

Like them on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CapitolHellBook

For more info on the authors and the book visit: http://www.capitolhellbook.com/

I hope you enjoyed that, I certainly did – keep your eyes open for more interviews with fascinating, talented people in future posts.

Stu

🙂

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Filed under Interviews

Exclusive interview with Canadian singer/songwriter Cat Forsley

Cat Forsley, Multi-Artist

Cat Forsley, Multi-Artist

Hiya,

Today I have another exclusive interview from another super talented individual – Cat Forsley.

The multi talented Cat is a freelance writer, singer, voice over artist and all round creative, she describes herself as: “Singer songwriter – poet – full on artist – animal advocate – Heart 🙂

We started following each other’s blogs earlier this year and connected more deeply a few months later. Since then we have been talking on a daily basis about everything from love to the origins of the universe and everything in between. She has become my Can Sis and me her UK Stu Bro – daft, but who cares! After my recent interview with best selling author WM Paul Young it was an obvious next step to interview Cat. Her music is beautiful, haunting, rocking and mellow in equal measure. She plays all of the instruments herself and is working in collaboration with producer Ashton Price on some new material under the name: ‘As The City Rumbles Underneath’.

I managed to catch a moment in her busy schedule to ask a few questions about who she is, where she’s headed and what she loves.

Q: So Cat, when did you first realise that you wanted to be a creative soul?

A: I’ve always been a creative type …obsessed with all art forms. My first way of expressing myself was probably at around 2 – my parents set up an easel in the backyard – between lovely trees – in Ottawa – where I was born – and I just painted and painted what I felt.

Q: What were you like at school?

A: In school: elementary school – I was very, very shy… I remember it very clearly – at 6 years we moved to Hong Kong – and I learned English at an International Lycée. Even though I was a quiet one – I absorbed everything and read everything I could get my hands on… I was an early reader. At 9 years we moved to Boston, I started to come out of my shell a bit more there – I really looked up to all my teachers and was a good student, I think it had to do with the atmosphere I was living in – Boston is so beautiful – and we lived right by the Ocean. That brought about much, much creative flow in my life, and then my writing began.

High School: Back To Ottawa – I got involved in Musical Theatre and Choirs and then VOICE, and articulating myself through singing and writing, which became my biggest loves. Then I went to college for Creative Writing and wrote a ton of stories – some universally themed, some very whimsical. And out of College – came full on music!

Looking back I think I wrote my first song at age 15!

Q: And what was your home life like back then?

A: My home life was incredible in many respects – I had the opportunity to see sooo much of the world because of my Dad’s work. I have a sister and a brother. My sister and I are very close, my brother lives in Ottawa. My parents are really amazing people – they instilled in me a love for the arts, science, theology, psychology and nature. Books and music were always very important in our home – wherever we lived in the world, at the time, we’d carry it with us. I also had lots of animals around me; two black labs, a cat and hamsters and turtles – that made me very happy as a child, I was surrounded by all that I love.

Q: What ambitions do you have?

A: My ambitions, these days – are to do the best I can every single day. I am collaborating with Ashton Price – a writer/ producer in Toronto. We are writing and publishing one song at a time under the band name – AS THE CITY RUMBLES UNDERNEATH . My ambitions are to help out as much as I can with Animal Welfare. Make someone smile. Be kind. Be Heart generous and just keep doing what I love.

Q: And you love creativity, but if you could only express ONE creative aspect, what would you choose?

A: Creative aspect – Only 1 !! Music – hands down. The notes are always in my heart ready to be expressed. Music and lyrics to me are my dearest passions – and I will never stop. But in saying that, I will never stop following all my passions, when you Love what you do it all flows from the heart, as one, and it becomes easier and easier to truly express what is most important – Love.

Q: Where do get your inspiration?

A: Love itself is my muse.

Q: And what do you want others to take from your music?

A: Music is such a personal experience. When I listen to a piece by Debussy or Beethoven, I hear the actual composer’s heart and what they were feeling at the time. I’ve studied Kant and Hume and philosophers that are here now, but all in all – I relate directly through vibration and where the music and lyrics take me. I would never even begin to understand what someone else would hear with my music – I am too close to it.

Q: So, what genre would you put yourself in? And are there any other genres you would like to explore?

A: Well the new stuff Ashton and I are producing is Dream pop. Very ambient and Spacey. On my own – I love every genre. Every drop of music takes me somewhere. I’d like to explore my classical side more. All in Good time.

Q: Talking of time, where would you love to be in 5 years time?

A: I am very happy with my life right now – in 5 years, I’d like to be scoring music for film. I’d like also to be using my voice to it’s fullest capacity and be doing voice overs, voice acting. I’d like to be married and live by the sea! Lots of dreams!

Q: Ah dreams, are there any goals or dreams that you are still reaching for?

A: Every day I try to do my very best. Amazing things pop up and I am amazed that when you are fully paying attention in Life – the signs are all there. My goals are all music and Love related. They go hand in hand for me.

Q: And finally, what advice would you give any readers looking to follow a similar path to yours?

A: IF YOU LOVE WHAT YOU DO KEEP DOING IT!

To find out more about Cat, her music, her writing and all of her other passions be sure to visit:

http://catforsley.me

http://ca.linkedin.com/pub/cat-forsley/3a/8ab/180

http://www.youtube.com/user/alllovecat

http://twitter.com/CatForsley

I hope you enjoyed that, I certainly did – keep your eyes open for more interviews with fascinating, talented people in future posts.

Stu

🙂

29 Comments

Filed under Goals, Interviews, Life changing, Relationships, Self help, Self Improvement

An Interview with author WM Paul Young (+ FREE Books!)

Hiya,

Those of you that know me know that I am not one of the ‘faithful’. I have no religion I adhere to, I have no theology that I believe, no dogma to follow. I do however find religion, theology, myth and legend all incredibly fascinating. So it’s with great pleasure that I can share an interview I recently conducted with Christian author of the huge bestseller ‘The Shack‘ – WM Paul Young as he launches his next book ‘Cross Roads‘ TODAY!

I wanted to find out what’s behind the author, his own faith and upbringing. The answers to my questions were both revealing and poignant. Enjoy…

[SPECIAL OFFER AT END OF INTERVIEW]

Q: Hi Paul, please briefly explain your own faith and its origins.

A: I have a strong religious background.  My parents were Protestant, Evangelical missionaries and I grew up in the midst of everything that entails.  I also have a theological education, including an undergraduate degree in Theology/Religion, and attended Seminary before the presence of children required the finances.  All of this framed my faith journey, as did all the questions that I struggled with, trying to integrate belief and behavior.  Add to that deep losses and sadnesses such as a difficult relationship with an angry father, sexual abuse within the culture in which I was raised and then at boarding school, and it is a miracle of sorts that I have emerged with a sense of God’s goodness and the fundamental necessity of learning to trust such goodness.  After excursions into other faith cultures and heritages I am settled in the centrality of the person of Jesus, and the Father and Holy Spirit revealed in Jesus.  But all of this is fundamentally relational, not religious and I suppose that is, in part, why what I write has impacted the affective side of people as well as the rational.  Overall, I am grateful for my heritage, recognizing that it was the crucible in which my faith was forged.

Q: ‘The Shack‘ was apparently a morality tale for your children, why was that important to you and what morals does the book deal with?

A: I am not an agenda driven writer.  I am more an exploratory writer who is investigating questions that matter to me and hopefully to those I care about, my family and friends predominantly.  If it turns out to fit the parameters of a morality tale, then so be it, but there was no such intention in the background.  I suppose it depends upon your definition of morality in terms of behavior or belief and the space in between the two.  Truth matters to me, deeply.  I think we are floundering if all is believed to be relative and what is prudent is determined by what is most advantageous or logical.  

Q: Your new novel ‘Cross Roads‘ is based on your own heart-wrenching spiritual journey, can you tell us more about that?

A: There are many layers to that question, so I will choose one and go there.  I was deeply formed and influenced by a multi-cultural childhood, which has been both a blessing and a difficulty.  Being raised a Third-Culture Kid (TCK), outside the heritage of my parent’s cultural history, gave me an ability to see things from ‘outside the box’, which is a gift.  However, one of the common struggles for TCK-ers, is that we don’t know where we belong.  The hardest question we can be asked is, “Where are you from?”  We don’t know exactly what we are being asked.  The main character in Cross Roads has a deep issue of belonging.  He was raised in the foster care system, along with a brother, which tries to meet the needs of children who have lost or never have had a family.  My experience is that for those like me, unless in the course of our lives we find ‘some one’ to belong to, we will never belong ‘any where’.  

Q: What life lessons can the reader take away from ‘Cross Roads‘?

A: Again, I never set out with any sort of agenda such as ‘life lessons’.  I would rather create space, or push out the walls of existing space and make room for others to hear within that landscape whatever it is that God might want to communicate.  Having said that, there are certainly themes in what I write, such as the value of each individual person, of a God who is good all the time regardless of our perception of the character and nature of that God, and that God is involved inside the details of our lives with great respect and affection independent of our ability to perform to religious creed or requirement.

Q: Is having faith important for the reader’s enjoyment of the book?

A: It takes a measure of faith to sit on a chair, but I suspect your question has to do with the background of a person being influenced by a faith journey and culture.  The simple answer is no, the book is a very human story and therefore can be enjoyed regardless of the faith or spiritual affection of the reader.  The questions involved are also very human in the sense that we all are involved on the spectrum between belief and unbelief.  I personally do not see ‘believer’ as a category of person but rather an activity, and like the man who said to Jesus, “I believe, but please help my unbelief,” we find ourselves at different places on the journey.  The point is that we are all on it, whether we admit it or not, or like it or not.  There may be some places in Cross Roads where the reader who has no ‘Christian’ experience or background might find the concepts and dialogue challenging, but as I think about it there will be places that the person with a religious background would also find their paradigm a little at risk.  Such is the wonder of creative fiction and the expansion of space to allow for the questions in the first place.

I appreciated Young’s openness and candor and encourage any of you reading this to take a look at both books, I certainly will be!

On to the giveaway mentioned above… I have been kindly given 2 copies of ‘The Shack‘ and 3 copies of ‘Cross Roads‘ to give away to the next 5 buyers of my own book ‘How To Change Your Life One Day At A Time‘ – I’ll even cover the extra postage!

These will all make excellent Christmas gifts to loved ones, click here now! First come, first served!

Enjoy

Stu

🙂

PS: Please share this post with fans you might know of WM Paul Young or ‘The Shack‘ – I’m sure they’d appreciate it. 🙂

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Filed under Interviews, Life changing, Relationships