My initial offering is Road Signs on the High Road of Life. As we each walk our unique journey, birth to death, there are road signs – life lessons to be learned that guide us along our way. Which road signs you see, pay attention to, and allow yourself to be guided by depends entirely on where you’ve been, where you are now and where you believe yourself to be going. These road signs are lesson that have guided me to the success I have thus far and those which I believe to be crucial to everyone’s serenity and prosperity.
Tell us something about yourself.
I grew up in a military family – a child of the Air Force, so I had to learn early how to make friends quickly. When you are only at a station for 18 months to 3 years you learn how to network and communicate well. I have a degree in public relations and specialized training in communication and diversity. I speak for a living – training and inspiring people. I teach people (or remind them) how to communicate respectfully from a High Road perspective. I currently live in the Kansas City area where my husband and I are experiencing empty nest syndrome for the first time.
What inspired you to write this book?
When I lost my father, who had been a profoundly influential person in my life, I had the privilege of offering his eulogy. I decided to share the life lessons he had taught me – especially those that I have endeavored to impart to my children. His eulogy became the germination of this book. It also includes lesson that I have learned from other avenues, such as recovery from addiction and surviving assault – these valuable lessons are also included in Road Signs on the High Road of Life.
How did you choose the title?
The title grew out of a combination of my dad’s admonishments (He would say, “Pay attention Baby, this is a road sign in your life.”) and my belief that the High Road in life is the only road to true success.
What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?
There actually were no real obstacles in getting Road Signs published. I expected to have to publish it myself, but a colleague suggested I contact his literary agent, who liked it and submitted it to a couple of boutique publishers she works with and I had an offer from one of them very quickly. So I think I was very fortunate in that regard.
How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?
I don’t know that I wanted to be a writer. I have always wanted to motivate and inspire people to overcome adversity. I want to share what I have learned, what others have shared with me. It is a natural extension of my speaking career. This book is much more personal than some of the other pieces I am working on which are more focused on learning the skill of respectful communication. Road Signs grew out of a grieving process (for my dad) and then took on a life of its own.
Do you have any writing rituals?
Not really. I travel a great deal and that allowed me time alone in hotel rooms to write.
How do you come up with the names for your characters?
As this is a self-improvement genre and based upon my life and the people in it, there are no fictional characters. I did change or omit names in certain circumstances to protect privacy.
Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?
Writing can be hard work.
If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?
No. I don’t think so.
What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?
I tend to go in a few directions:
For my on-going education, I am always looking for good books on communication and/or leadership. In that arena I don’t think you can beat Dr. John C. Maxwell.
For relaxation I read fantasy and suspense. On the fantasy side, hands down it’s got to be Robert Jordan. I am desperately waiting for the final book of the Wheel of Time series (ghost penned by Brandon Sanderson after Jordan’s passing). As far as suspense is concerned I really like David Baldacci, Dan Brown, Jeffrey Deaver, etc.
Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
Yes, a couple as a matter of fact. The next one out will be more structured toward my speaking and training and focused on the Building Blocks of High Road Communicators (working title). Based upon input and recommendations from readers, I have also been penning some thoughts on a second book of Road Signs. (More road signs….. a Volume II)
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
Just do it. Don’t think about it. Don’t edit as you go. Just dump it out on paper (or screen) and go with it. You can format and edit later. Just start. Just do it.
Who is the perfect reader for your book?
People who might be struggling on their life’s journey. People who are committed to self-growth and willing to learn from other’s speed-bumps and mistakes. I have a stronger following among women, although many men have written me with comments as well. It is an excellent book to give to young adults and as a graduation gift.
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?
My website: http://www.laurenschieffer.com
The publisher’s page: http://strategicpublishinggroup.com/title/RoadSignsOnTheHighRoadOfLife.html