Fur Shui: An Introduction to Animal Feng Shui. Whether you have a dog, cat, bird, or goldfish, you and your pet reverberate with chi, the mystical flow of life. Fur Shui offers a serious but lighthearted overview of how we can easily improve the quality of life both for our furry (and non furry) friends and for ourselves.
Tell us something about yourself.
I am a transplanted Seattleite now living and enjoying living by even more “water” on the coast of Southern California. My career ranges from being a graphic designer, an animal communicator, and a feng shui practitioner. This all does make perfect sense since I came from both sets of grandparents being close to nature and owning farms (one outside of Seattle owning a Dairy Farm and my other grandparents owning a huge farm in Iowa), having recognized artistic talents which resulted in a BFA in fine arts from the UofW in Seattle, and lastly an intense talent and attraction to the “invisible” energies that make up nature and animals.
At a young age I would not only draw and paint on my grandparent’s farm, but also follow my Irish grandmother into the dairy barn to “talk” and heal those big brown-eyed Guernsey cows!
My graphics career has spanned over 20 years working on both coasts and in that time period I developed my animal communications business which has now been going strong for 10 years. My “alternative schooling” lead me to discover the world of Black Hat Feng Shui of which I have been a practitioner for over 6 years.
Being a graphic designer and artist, my writing process was a bit turned around. I had the concept, and I drew most all of the illustrations first. Then I organized and wrote the book. “Fur Shui” officially began when I was on holiday in Hawaii. While working on a much different idea for a book, I started drawing, and “Fur Shui” was born.
What inspired you to write this book?
The inspiration for “Fur Shui” is the recognition of the unconditional love our animal friends give to all of us. The intent of “Fur Shui” is to bring a deeper understanding of this natural love between people and their animal friends.
I wanted to show a different way an animal shows its love for its people, to let people know that yes, our animals have this love energy that affects every aspect of our home space as well as our hearts.
Being an animal communicator, I visit clients in their home spaces for consultations. My observations gathered from being a Black Hat Feng Shui practitioner let me notice that certain behavioral comforts and discomforts of our pets were reflecting in the life spaces outlined by the classic Chinese Feng Shui map, the bagua. Using the Feng Shui bagua as my guide, I came to the conclusion that our animals are actually natural masters of the energy the Chinese call “chi.” This chi lives and makes up your life spaces, home and work areas. My communication visits and talks revealed that animals seemed to be using the natural energies people have in their life spaces to either help them or
their people. Animals naturally know the different energies of our home and in many cases point out what is flowing and not so comfortable. Putting my Feng Shui practitioner’s knowledge together with the results from my animal communication inspired me to encourage people to take a bit of an unusual and new look at how they can relate to their animals. The book describes a new way to explore and gain understanding of how both people and animals add to their chi.
How did you choose the title?
The title literally leaped off the pages that held my sketches for the book. I was drawing two illustrations that involved a dog with a hair dryer and a dog in a bath tub which was to show what Feng (Water) Shui (Wind) was from an animal’s definition. The words “Fur Shui” just popped onto the page under the illustrations.
What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?
The biggest obstacle I had writing the book was just being a first time author. Not knowing the “process” and connections. Knowing that the science of feng shui would be tough to “explain”, I decided to write, design and illustrate the entire book before I began my publisher search. The book was easy, the construction of the proposal was the tough thing for me. My book seemed to want to be published, lots of synchronistic things just fell into place and I was offered representation by Sharlene Martin via an associate, and after some tweeks with the proposal and completion of my “foundation platform” we received more than one publisher’s interest. We decided on Lyon’s Press due to the interest in keeping the book design, look and feel to what I had submitted. The most difficult thing seems to be the marketing aspect in the US. The book has been published now in the UK and translated to Italian and is doing quite well overseas!
How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?
During my years as an art director / graphic designer I have done much work with conceptual branding and ad campaigns working with writer partner and many creative folks. I was used to jumping in with headlines, copy content, billboard copy, etc., so it seemed natural to give writing a try. When I am sketching in nature, I also pick up some pretty amazing “words” that I jot down which come from a setting’s energy or feel, my sketch books are full of “stories”. Folks who knew of my talents as a communicator / feng shui practitioner kept encouraging me to write a book…so, I finally did. I think my two cats also “pushed me into it” by racing across many keyboards showing me if they could do it, I could!
Do you have any writing rituals?
With me, the art or drawing needs to come first. I always sit down and start doodling just about anything, then I begin to write copy.
To write the book, I found I needed a beautiful, quiet space away from my home studio. I made it a point to carve out writing and design time during the morning. Several days a week, I scheduled 3 to 4 hours of “book time” devoted to “Fur Shui” when I didn’t answer phone calls or send e-mails.
You could find me early in the morning in coffee shops with notepads, my laptop and a sketchpad while away on vacation. I planned weekend getaways to spots by the ocean and other places that I found beautiful while I worked on the book.
Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?
The most rewarding part of writing “Fur Shui” was the book’s actual process. It was a true journey of creating something different, creative and new that could benefit both animals and people. For me, it was exciting to hear people laugh when I mentioned the title, then so great to see people light up when they asked questions about how it works. It was nice to see people becoming more aware of the possibilities of energy, of the invisible
forces that contain love and nature.
If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?
Being a first time author is just that…only one time can you go into a project being naïve and full of “how do you do this and that”. I enjoyed the process, now I just would have more confidence in my capabilities to put together a book. I think that I would act with less internal and external hesitation and totally move forward trusting my gut completely. I also believe I would reach out to many more authors and get to know them and offer both friendship and support.
What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?
I love books! Books that are about animals, science fiction thrillers, mystery novels, to books that show what people can accomplish in this world. Just finished “Wesley the Owl” by Stacey O’Brien. I am now enjoying Greg Mortenson’s book “Three Cups of Tea.” I love the way just one person who is so very focused on helping people become their best can do so very much. And, for fun…I read books like “The Language of Bees” by Laurie King…a suspense featuring Mary Russel and Sherlock Holmes. I also do follow Anne Rice and her historical weavings of all things mysterious.
Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
I am jotting down new ideas about nature, animals, the environment we all share. Whatever my next book will be it’s intent will be again to bring folks’ awareness to a deeper bond with the natural world. We shall see what comes out of my sketching and travels.
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
The number one thing that I could give to others would be encourage them to really trust your instincts with partnerships, advice “givings”, contracts and your own writing. Stand to your “intent” on what and who your book is to do and be. Before you begin, write down a letter intent on what your goals are for the book and what the personality and authentic purpose of the book is to be. You will find yourself pulling that letter of your “intent” out to guide you on your journey and many times back to your correct path.
Who is the perfect reader for your book?
The perfect reader for Fur Shui are the people who love animals, their pets, nature and the environment. It seems that all ages enjoy the book, they are drawn to it due to a curiosity and playfulness that encourages one to find out more ways of possibly bonding to their animal friends and their own environment.
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?
To find out more about what I do as an animal communicator a person can go to my site at: www.animalhearttalk.com. Folks can also send me an e-mail with their questions to me at: firstname.lastname@example.org Also, my twitter address is: paulajbrown
Fur Shui has its very own website at: www.furshui.com And there is a blog up about the books recent “Tour de Fur” at http://furshui.blogspot.com/. You buy Fur Shui from Amazon (just go to my site and click on the green dot!) and a variety of Barnes and Nobles bookstores and other bookstores…just ask for it and they will have it shipped in for you!