DeAnna Radaj – Designing the Life of Your Dreams from the Outside In

Tell us something about yourself.

DeAnna Radaj, owner of Bante Design LLC, can enter a space and help to tweak (or remodel, re-design) the space to work better to suit its function AND the lifestyle of the occupants of the space. Using ILD, life quality can be increased AND be supportive to any transitions occurring, lifestyle changes or health challenges.

She is a nationally recognized speaker on healthy home design, color therapy/theory, psychology of clutter for adults and children, and a variety of business topics for the individual, small business owner and entrepreneur.

Designing spaces that are not only beautiful and comfortable, but also bring out the client’s personality, is her design philosophy.

Check out DeAnna’s column for the Examiner to keep up-to-date on all things design.

From Adventure Traveling across the globe (ask her about survival training in Australia in case of an Emu attack…or what to do if you fall through the ice up in Newfoundland looking at Harp Seals…she can tell ya!) to designing healthy spaces for her clients, rest assured that you are in good hands. DeAnna has worked with Rainforest International & the World Wildlife Fund at her position with the Nature of Things Stores, and has remained acutely aware of environmental issues from an early age. Incorporating this love of nature into her design philosophy & creating spaces that inspire & function for her clients is a true passion.

How long have you been writing?

I actually “wrote” my 1st book when I was 10 yrs old…Astor’s Adventures (the adventures of a little alien, his best friend Wendy & his dog)…I still have the mimeographed copy that my teacher made for each of us! And while I loved writing all through high school & college, I never envisioned myself as a “writer” or that I’d ever be an author. Most of my writing was for ad copy, training manuals and newsletters. It wasn’t until I started my company, Bante Design LLC and started teaching workshops, that my clients demanded something more from me! It literally took me about 1 ½ yrs before I got to writing the first book, Designing the Life of Your Dreams from the Outside In.

How did you publish your book?

I went the self-publishing route as that seemed to be the easiest, quickest and I’d have the most control over the finished product. This book actually “hit” #1 on Amazon in its category for a day (hey, I was psyched!). Feng Shui for Teens was written the next year, again for my workshop audience, and that book has been very well received.

What inspired you to write this book?

My workshop attendees & clients were the ones who kept asking me for a book…This went on for almost a year after I started teaching workshops. Designing the Life of Your Dreams was the answer to that! Feng Shui for Teens was a natural “part 2” as I loved working with teens, both in workshops & as design “clients”, and wanted to have a book for them as well.

How did you choose the title?

I chose Designing the Life of Your Dreams from the Outside In to try and be as descriptive as possible, since the “concept” of the book was a bit new. Feng Shui for Teens was picked as it was short, sweet and to the point about what readers would encounter when they read it.

What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?

There was 3: a) was deciding how to go about getting the book published…self-publishing, try and get an agent, write your own query letters to publishing houses….ahhhhhhh…THAT was a very hard choice for me to make as I didn’t have any guidance or someone I could talk to as no one in my “circle” at that time, had never published anything before, b) having horrible writer’s block in the writing of my 1st book…I just couldn’t write for almost 6 months…I would sit in front of the computer and just stare at it. It was very depressing & caused me to question the whole process. It was after I stepped away from the “shoulds” of the process and got out of my own way, that the words started to flow again, c) getting over the absolute fear of putting myself, my thoughts and design philosophy out there for all the world to see & JUDGE….that was horrifying to me…What if people hated it? What if they thought it was stupid? I think that was also part of the writer’s block I experienced. I had to have a “talk” with myself about what the goals of writing the book were (a tool for my client’s and perspective clients to read as a resource) and how it would help those who read it. It’s when I broke down the process like that, that I was able to at least acknowledge my fear and release at least most of it.

How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?

I LOVE to write…I love how you can be transported to different places, times and “meet” new people through the written word (when done properly). I’m an avid reader, have been since I was a kid and would get lost in books. I always admired those who could write like that to inspire, to help the reader escape or as a teaching tool. I view my writing as just another extension of my workshops and coaching programs as another way to reach, educate, inform & inspire readers.

I got started in with actual “writing” in school, as stated before, with my book, Astor’s Adventures when I was 10 yrs old. I also had wonderful teachers right around that time that encouraged me to keep writing, which I did in some form or another since.

Do you have any writing rituals?

Nope, I just need to be in a “creative” flow…then I can write for days! If I just “don’t feel it” and am unmotivated…I could be strapped to a chair in front of my laptop & still not write a thing.

How do you come up with the names for your characters?

My books are non-fiction; so any “characters” are real clients or workshop attendees.

Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?

I learned a LOT from the process of both books…1) don’t take the editing process personally! THAT was hard for a total type A personality like myself…Your editor is your friend and there to make sure that the best quality work is put out there, not a personal attack on you, 2) the marketing process before/during/after the book(s) were published was also enlightening…it never really stops! 3) Not to stop the writing flow once you get it…just keep writing until you are “finished” for whatever time frame…whether it’s 30 minutes or 8 hours…Once you have a thought/idea, see it through to the end, 4) do NOT edit as you write…still working on that one!

If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?

Not edit while I wrote as I think I spent a lot of time doing that the 1st time around which took a lot of time that could have maybe sped up the process a bit. I’d also have a marketing plan in place, with my ideal reader/market in mind BEFORE I started writing. I really wrote what I felt I wanted the reader to know, instead of writing what the reader wanted to know from me. A BIG distinction that I’m rectifying with my next projects.

What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors?

It depends on my mood…I love the trashy historical romances for when I’m on vacation or stressed out, biographies of those I admire and books that I can learn from on topics that interest me (right now I’m reading up on energy healing with the charkas).

My favorite authors would be: Louisa May Alcott-Little Women is STILL one of my favorite books! PM Terrell-who writes suspense and historical novels, Napoleon Hill & Esther Hicks for their life philosophy/lessons.

Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?

YES! I’ve got 2 in the works right now. Move Your Couch, Change Your Life is the Activity Book/re-release of Designing the Life of Your Dreams. Move Your Couch will feature activities & exercises at the end of each chapter to highlight main points & re-enforce the lesson and more graphs/pictures as well.

Party Life You Mean It is the other one, which is all about event & party planning using Feng Shui. Utilizing the 9 Life Areas, you can then determine which one correlates with your event (wedding, graduation, family reunion…), what to wear as the host/hostess and then color schemes, menu options (from a chef friend of mine) again using Feng Shui, gift bag ideas and centerpiece ideas will all be laid out to help ensure a fabulous event, with Feng Shui intention, for all.

Who is the perfect reader for your book?

For Designing the Life of Your Dreams the “perfect reader” is someone between the ages of 25-60 yrs old who is looking to become more proactive in his or her life & live a life of intention and purpose. Through Feng Shui, goal-setting, interior design and eco-friendly practices, the reader will have a great outline on how to get started in creating a unique, supportive space for them to design “the life of their dreams”.

Feng Shui for Teens is written for 12-17yr olds who want to assert their independence, personality AND learn about goal-setting, using the tips offered in this book to create a unique space that helps support them as they transition to adulthood.

Where can readers learn more about you and your book?

The best place is