Good Morning Beautiful : Winning the battle over seizures is the journey of advocacy and hope through the violent storms of more than 100 seizures a day, autism and a diet with roots in scripture which changed it all.
Tell us something about yourself.
Being number eight out of eleven children, I grew up seeing a story in everything. My first best seller, I was certain, would be about my rabbits when I was ten or twelve years old. It would be decades however before any serious writing would actually take place, but when it did the focus was always on true and dramatic stories of lives changed.
Oh, and in our backyard, you’ll see Ezekiel, my sons pet rabbit.
What inspired you to write this book?
Fitting the genre of my writing, our family lived through a dramatic life-threatening illness of our daughter. When we found a little-known diet that saved her life, but wasn’t prescribed by most doctors, the flame was lit to share our story to help others.
How did you choose the title?
I love sharing this part of the story–at nearly 4 1/2 years old, Christina was very delayed with her speech. She only spoke a few words like maam, ddaad, or maph for her older brother Mathew. During one of the most critical times of our daughter’s illness, Christina showed us nothing was impossible when she ran to the stereo babbling something. Much to my surprise she was repeated the chorus to the song “Good Morning Beautiful”. It showed a light for me as a mom during a very dark time. The light that proved she could learn with repetition, it was a huge milestone for her. Just so you know…today, she will talk your ear off.
What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?
I tried to share the book proposal during writers conferences, but I had little experience and was terrified of rejection. I kept going to the conferences though, and learned as much as I could about writing and pitching stories. During one of the conferences I had the opportunity to eat dinner at the same table as an agent, and using what I learned during classes about pitches, I had the following three memorized: 1. one minute elevator pitch 2. the take-away message of the book 3. the target audience. During one of the classes the instructor told us to be ready with these three things, and he was right. Because I knew the information and had my facts together, that informal meeting led to a contract, and not long later a publishing contract.
How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?
I might be wrong, but I think most people want to write a book. For me, the desire to write was lit when I was young, but now the flame is fanned from wanting to make a difference.
For Good Morning, Beautiful, I began writing in a journal and after a while the realization hit me after looking at the stack of journals on my desk that I had been writing for years. From there I began taking courses on writing, and attending writer’s conferences. The writer’s conferences are really where it all began for me.
Do you have any writing rituals?
Yes, I do but it depends on the day and my mood. Sometimes I will turn music on softly while I write, other times, especially when I’m “stuck” and can’t find the right words, I will read. I’m sure this comes as no surprise, but I love a good book.
How do you come up with the names for your characters?
So far all of my writing is non-fiction, but I have changed names for privacy reasons and to stay away from controversy. When I do that, I think of a name that reminds me of their character.
Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?
I have learned much on many different levels. On a personal level, writing Good Morning, Beautiful turned out to be therapy in a way; helping me to weed through emotions that came with being the parent of a child with a life-threatening illness. On a professional level, I have learned that persistence is underrated in this business. One intuitive agent once told me that those who succeed in publishing are those who persue their writing dream by not giving up even after they have had tons of rejections.
If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?
Great question. I would have taken writing classes when I was four (just kidding), but I would have started early, and listened better in school, and most importantly taken my english teacher much more seriously.
What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors?
I love to read both non-fiction, and fiction. Keeping with my writing style dramatic books with a positive message are my favorites.
Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
There are always several book ideas swirling in my head, here are two proposals I’m working on: The first is about the history and development of the diet that saved our daughter’s life. It’s amazing to know this diet was developed 100 years ago at one of the most prestigeous medical facilities in America, but most doctors prescribe medication instead. The second will share parts of Good Morning, Beautiful and contain inspiration and information to assist and empower parents and caregivers during the storm of a life-changing, critical illness of their loved one.
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
Don’t give up! Keep working, perfecting, and learning all you can; and contrary to how frustrating it may seem, rewriting puts the smooth in frosting, the moist in the cake, and the delectable in your penning causing the reader to want more.
Who is the perfect reader for your book?
The perfect reader for this book is anyone who is or has dealt with a significant illness, especially parents dealing with a significant illness of a child. The number one comment I hear from readers is Good Morning, Beautiful is empowering and motivates advocacy.
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?