Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Tenacity Interviews - Annette Stanwick

Writing Fiction takes guts. It just isn't for sissies. But, writing non-fiction, based you a real-life experience takes more than courage. Think about using your skills as a write to craft the best way to tell a terrible truth in order to bring hope and healing to others. Annette Stanwick did just that, in her work Forgiveness: The Mystery and Miracle. Her tenacity not just in getting her work published, but in writing it in the first place is awesome. Let's spend some time today being encouraged by Annette's tenacity:

1) Tell us about your book Forgiveness: The Mystery and Miracle. What’s it about?
I wrote the book FORGIVENESS: THE MYSTERY AND MIRACLE as a result of my personal experience with forgiveness. When my brother, Soren was murdered in 1999, I never dreamed my journey of healing would lead me to publicly forgive my brother’s murderers in the courtroom in Virginia. While forgiveness will never excuse or erase what happened to my brother, forgiveness freed me from the anger, bitterness and hatred I had experienced.

The book really is an amazing story of how God brought some unimaginable results from a tragic event. Not wanting the book to be considered just another amazing story, each chapter includes a Personal Application for the reader that aids them in gaining a deeper understanding of the topic of that part of the story. Questions of Exploration then lead the reader through a gentle process that can be so beneficial in their own unique situation. A short prayer concludes each chapter, bringing an unseen partner into the healing process.

2) It must have been very difficult to write about personal tragedy. How were you able to stick with it ?
That’s a very good question, Bonnie. I must admit there were times during the writing process that my tears flowed freely and my heart ached, but as I wrote the book, I went deeper and deeper into my own experiences. By doing so I was facing the issues and acknowledging my pain and as a result I was continuing to heal deeper and deeper and my understanding became more rich and real. I was able to stick with it because I longed to help others, and I realized I couldn’t expect others to process their pain if I wasn’t willing to travel that road my self. My continuing journey was actually liberating me as I wrote, and as I continued writing more and more information was revealed to me.

3) What else was going on in your life as you wrote your book? How long did it take you to write it?
While I was writing, I was also carrying a very heavy professional role as Vice President-Medical Affairs of the world-renowned Gimbel Eye Centre in Calgary, Alberta. As a result I couldn’t spend full time writing. So I compartmentalized my life. When I was at work I worked hard, but then I would carve out long weekends to work on my book. As a result of the dual roles, it took me 3 years to complete my book.

4) How did your family support your tenacity to get this important book written?
My family was tremendously supportive during my writing. As I said earlier, I carved out long weekends to write. A precious friend and her husband were so enthused about my book, they literally “gave” me their wonderful mountain chalet for my writing retreat. I would go away by myself cloistered in the mountains, surrounded by beautiful scenery and the quiet of nature. In that environment I was able to give total focus to my thinking, praying, planning and writing. My husband spent long weekends alone and the rest of our family sacrificed long weekends with us so that I could bring my dream of a book to fruition.

5) You chose to self-publish. This takes a great deal of tenacity to do well. How did your tenacity come into play in the process of self-publishing?
Self-publishing was a steep learning curve. It took persistence, and an investment of time and money along with a willingness to learn and take risks. My husband Clay and I read books, listened to CDs, researched and networked with numerous other authors to learn the ropes so to speak. We also made a decision to never compromise on quality. We contracted the very best editors, graphic designers and printer to aid us in producing a book we could be proud of. As a result of those choices, I feel very honored to say my book was chosen by The Word Guild as the BEST NON-FICTION INDEPENDENTLY PUBLISHED BOOK as well as being honored in the category of LIFE STORIES.

6) How does your tenacity work for you now?
Bonnie, writing a book is one thing. Promoting the book is yet another totally different aspect of the book business. Here again it has been a steep learning curve. We had an exciting book launch celebration with nearly 200 people in attendance and lots of books purchased. We had a web site designed to reflect our brand, our aesthetic and our products. We’ve read, listened, and took advantage of every opportunity to showcase the book. One has to be relentless and fearless in pursuing opportunities that present themselves in order for others to become aware of the book and the impact it is having in the lives of its readers.
I’ve traveled to book events in the US and Canada, joined networking groups, accepted innumerable speaking engagements, along with book signings and radio and TV interviews. I’ve recorded an audio book and written lots of promotional materials. We’re now researching the social network and will begin forging our way in that arena as well. It’s actually fun to gain all this new knowledge and to try to implement what we learn. I couldn’t do it without the tremendous support of my husband Clay. He believes in the message of this book and does everything he can to make my life easier while I continue working as well.

7) What encouragement do you have for people who have an extraordinary story to tell and are wondering if they can do it?
I say to those of you with an extraordinary story, begin telling it now. Don’t put it off any longer. Determine who it is that needs to hear your story and write the book for them. When your book touches people and their lives are impacted, it makes your story worthwhile even though the story may be hard to tell.
It is important to have a dream and to dream big. Bring God into every aspect of your plan and your process. It takes effort to make your dream a reality, but the rewards are worth the effort. Believe in yourself and in what you want to accomplish. Move forward with a positive attitude. Don’t listen to those who may say discouraging words. Create a dream board and begin chipping away at the project one bit at a time. Not everything needs to be done at once, so don’t get discouraged and overwhelmed. Set goals and time lines and start working away, bit-by-bit, marking off your accomplishments. And by all means don’t forget to celebrate your achievements.
Writing a book is a wonderful adventure and you never know what is just around the corner.
I love that: Writing a book is a wonderful adventure.
You can visit Annette at: http://www.annettestanwick.com
Where will your adventure take you?
I bid you good writing.


L. Diane Wolfe said...

Forgiveness is a tough issue! Gary Chapman wrote a whole book on the subject. I am glad she found her peace and admire the strength it takes to self-publish.

L. Diane Wolfe

Annette Stanwick said...

Yes, forgiveness IS a tough issue, because we so often want to hurl something or lash out at the one who has hurt us, but in with holding forgiveness, we are actually hurting ourselves rather than the one who caused the hurt. The freedom that comes when we release our grip on the anger, bitterness, hatred and the need for revenge is amazing! It doesn't change what happened, but it changes how we move forward in spite of what happened.

We've never regretted self-publishing!

Annette Stanwick
Speaker, Author and Freedom Facilitator