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Why We Need to Challenge the Pronatalist Offspring Assumption by Laura Carroll

Why We Need to Challenge the Pronatalist “Offspring Assumption”

By Laura Carroll

On June 22-24, 2012, the Rio+20 Conference occurred in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Government delegates from all over the world talked about findings from an analysis done by a group of international scientists that deserve all of our attention. The scientists report that the Earth is in a “critical transition,” and reaching a “tipping point” when it comes to irreversible destruction of the global environment.

What are the problems that are bringing the mounting pressure on the Earth’s environmental health? “Unchecked population growth, the disappearance of critical plant and animal species, the over-exploitation of energy resources, and the rapidly warming climate.”

And if it continues the way it’s been going, according to the lead scientist Anthony Barnosky,  the Earth could reach this tipping point at a “time scale of a century or even a few decades.”

As David Perlman writes in the San Francisco Chronicle article, “Close to the Tipping Point of Warming, ” the problems include:

– “Rapid growth in the world’s human population – to 9 billion by 2050 and possibly 27 billion by the end of the century – is quickly consuming available resources.”

-Fossil fuels are being burned at a “rapidly increasing rate.”

-Vast”dead zones” in the ocean (where there are no fish) are growing.

-Loss of biodiversity on land – “40% of Earths land mass was once biodiverse, and now, it “contains far fewer species of crop plants and domestic animals.”

-Loss of animal and plant species – we are seeing more extinctions than ever before.

-The impacts of the rising global temperature – in the next 60 years, it will be “higher than it has been since humans evolved.”

To slow or reverse the critical transition we are in, the scientists urge “international cooperation to slow population growth, curb dependence on fossil fuels, increase the efficiency of food production, and manage both lands and oceans as reservoirs of biodiversity.”

What do we need more of at an individual level?  When it comes to decisions to bring more children into the world, as David Paxson, President of World Population Balance, insightfully puts it, we have to come to terms with the fact that we are now in a time where “a person’s biological right to have children must be mediated by his or her social responsibility not to have too many.”

As the Offspring Assumption chapter discusses in The Baby Matrix, given the population and environmental realities we face, it is time to challenge pronatalism’s assumption that we all have the right to have as many biological children as we want.  We need to shift from a mindset that adulates the birth if another child, to one that hold couples who choose to adopt, or have one or no biological child in the highest regard. Why? Because they are doing their part to mitigate the catastrophic impact of a rapidly growing population on resource decline, rather than what they might personally want first.

The Baby Matrix also address why we need to do some serious rethinking about the supposed problems with having only one child and negative myths about adopting, and how policies need to change so that rather than encouraging births, they provide incentive to reduce biological births.

It’s time to shift away from pronatalist offspring assumptions that harm our society and natural environment. Each person’s existence has an environmental impact, which affects other humans and other species. We’ve reached a time, even the tipping point, to where it is up to all of us to choose reproductive action that lessens that impact.

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Laura Carroll is the author of The Baby Matrix: Why Freeing Our Minds From Outmoded Thinking About Parenthood & Reproduction will Create a Better World, Families of Two: Interviews With Happily Married Couples Without Children by Choice, and Finding Fulfillment From the Inside Out.

In addition to writing nonfiction books, she has worked over the last 15 years as a business and litigation psychology consultant and used her expertise in behavioral sciences, psychology, and communications to advise business, legal, and nonprofit professionals on their communications strategies and goals.

Laura is a seasoned leader of personal and professional development seminars, and has appeared on a variety of television shows, including Good Morning America and The Early Show. She has been a guest on many radio talk shows to discuss social science topics.

You’ll also find her online at her nonfiction book site, LiveTrue Books, and her top blog, La Vie Childfree.

To get your copy of The Baby Matrix by Laura Carroll at Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Baby-Matrix-Parenthood-Reproduction/dp/0615642993/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1339007434&sr=8-2

Pick up your ebook copy at Barnes & Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-baby-matrix-laura-carroll/1110625478

To get your e-copy of The Baby Matrix by Laura Carroll for your Kindle:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Baby-Matrix-Reproduction-ebook/dp/B0081HSF3S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1339007434&sr=8-1

To learn more about Laura, go to her website: http://lauracarroll.com/

Visit Laura Carroll on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/LauraCarroll88

Like Laura Carroll on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheBabyMatrix

Find out all about The Baby Matrix at Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13641241-the-baby-matrix

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THE BABY MATRIX: Interview with Laura Carroll on Parenthood, Reproduction and New Book

Laura Carroll is the author of The Baby Matrix: Why Freeing Our Minds From Outmoded Thinking About Parenthood & Reproduction will Create a Better World, Families of Two: Interviews With Happily Married Couples Without Children by Choice, and Finding Fulfillment From the Inside Out.

In addition to writing nonfiction books, she has worked over the last 15 years as a business and litigation psychology consultant and used her expertise in behavioral sciences, psychology, and communications to advise business, legal, and nonprofit professionals on their communications strategies and goals.

Laura is a seasoned leader of personal and professional development seminars, and has appeared on a variety of television shows, including Good Morning America and The Early Show. She has been a guest on many radio talk shows to discuss social science topics.

You’ll also find her online at her nonfiction book site, LiveTrue Books, and her top blog, La Vie Childfree.

To get your copy of The Baby Matrix by Laura Carroll at Amazon:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Baby-Matrix-Parenthood-Reproduction/dp/0615642993/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1339007434&sr=8-2

Pick up your ebook copy at Barnes & Noble:

http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/the-baby-matrix-laura-carroll/1110625478

To get your e-copy of The Baby Matrix by Laura Carroll for your Kindle:

http://www.amazon.com/The-Baby-Matrix-Reproduction-ebook/dp/B0081HSF3S/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1339007434&sr=8-1

To learn more about Laura, go to her website: http://lauracarroll.com/

Visit Laura Carroll on Twitter: https://twitter.com/#!/LauraCarroll88

Like Laura Carroll on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/TheBabyMatrix

Find out all about The Baby Matrix at Goodreads:  http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/13641241-the-baby-matrix

___________________________________________________

Q: Thank you for this interview, Laura. Can you tell us what your latest book, The Baby Matrix is all about?

The Baby Matrix looks at long-held beliefs about parenthood and reproduction, and unravels why we believe what we believe. It boils down to a set of beliefs that has influenced society for generations called “pronatalism.” So many of the beliefs that make up pronatalism have become so embedded we think they are “true,” yet are not, and negatively affect us, individually and collectively. The Baby Matrix lays out what is true, and explains why society can no longer afford to leave pronatalism unquestioned.

Q: How did you come up with the idea for your book?

My previous book, Families of Two: Interviews With Happily Married Couples Without Children by Choice, received international attention and paved the way for me to become an expert on the childfree choice.  After its publication, I wanted to delve deeper and get to the core of why society finds this choice hard to fully accept. My research led me down a path to not only talk to many more childfree, but to parents, those who want to be parents but are not by circumstance, and the child “less,” — those who want children but do not have them.

The path got even more interesting when it led me to “pronatalism” and to the surprising fact that most people remain unaware of it. Realizing this along with seeing how much pronatalism does a disservice to society fueled the fire to write this book!

Q: What kind of research did you do before and during the writing of your book?

I dug into lots of books and many research studies, and talked to subject matter experts. Sometimes the research turned into interesting detective work. For example, in researching the historical origins of pronatalism, I found books that were over 30 years old. I tried to find the authors, and after quite the hunt, found some authors, but learned others had passed away. This was not a dead end however; like with any book, there is magic that happens along the way. For those I did not find, I found others who ended up taking me in the direction my research needed to go.

Q: If a reader can come away from reading your book with one valuable message, what would that be?

Question what you have been taught to believe about having children! Understanding, questioning and letting go of pronatalist beliefs will make for better parenthood decisions, not just for ourselves, but for our loved ones, society and our world.

Q: Can you give us a short excerpt?

This excerpt is from the Introduction:

“It’s time to take another hard look at pronatalism. Many people have begun to question its tenets, and rightly so. They are waking up to the fact that this set of implicit assumptions furthers the agendas of power structures such as the church, state, and industry—not individuals. They are questioning how they’ve been unconsciously influenced to accept beliefs that ultimately serve others’ agendas, and how this negatively impacts not just themselves but people from all walks of life. Pronatalist assumptions dictate how we’re supposed to follow the “normal path” to adulthood. They also put unwarranted pressure on us to have biological children (and the “right” number of them), fail to foster a society in which those who are best suited to become parents are the ones who have children, and do a disservice to children who are already here in need of loving homes. The assumptions also result in inequitable workplace and tax policies that favor parents over people with no children. And they work against leaving future generations a better world.

It’s time for all of us to understand why we can no longer afford to leave pronatalist assumptions unquestioned and why now is the time to transition to a “post” pronatal society.

Q: In your own experience, is it hard to get a nonfiction book published today?  How did you do it?

Getting a book published in the traditional way remains very competitive. However, more than ever, authors can get great work out there without having to solely rely on the traditional publishing route.  With the digital book world the way that it is today, I decided to self-publish The Baby Matrix. I worked with excellent freelance editors, an interior design and cover artist to develop the book. And I’ve had the help of great digital and other media publicity experts for savvy promotion.

Q: What’s a typical day like for you?

I greet the day with dark roasted coffee, and get news from a variety of sources. I work on website management and book promotion for most of the morning. At mid-day, I do some sort of physical activity–a walk, yoga, aerobics or resistance training. I always devote a good part of the afternoon to the current book I am working on. In the evenings, I love to cook!

Q: What’s next for you?

I am definitely percolating on my next book, but am primarily focusing on getting The Baby Matrix message out there right now. I will say the next book will be nonfiction as always, be about my quest for the answer to a question I am passionate about, and include something I love to do in developing my books-interview lots of people!

Thank you so much for this interview, Laura.  We wish you much success!

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Interview with Alicia Singleton author of suspense novel ‘Dark Side of Valor’

We have a great interview for you today!  Please welcome the lovely Alicia Singleton, author of the suspense novel, Dark Side of Valor!

Born and raised in Philadelphia, the Howard University graduate embraced the written word at an early age. She credits this to her loving, older sister whom, while they were youngsters, made the author eat lotion on a regular basis. Realizing the need to sound-out the ingredients on the lotion label, Alicia stopped the lotion-eating practice, but continued to read the labels of the concoctions her sister brought for her to try. This early necessity to read flowered to a passion; hence, a writer was born.

The award winning author resides in Maryland with her wonderful husband and son.  Still an avid reader, label or otherwise, Alicia is hard at work completing her next suspense novel.  Her latest book is the suspense novel, Dark Side of Valor.  Visit Alicia’s website at www.aliciasingleton.com.

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About Dark Side of Valor

Child advocate Lelia Freeman saves children for a living. As the director of ChildSafe Shelters, she ventures to abandoned squats and crackhouses to rescue teens from the hellish streets of Los Angeles. When she is summoned to Washington to serve on a committee that aids the children of a war-torn African nation, Lelia is kidnapped and becomes a political pawn in a sinister conspiracy. Oceans away from everything she knows, she must trust a mercenary to save her life, or die in the clutches of a psychopath.

Hunting, combat and staying alive are Elijah Dune’s specialties. Vengeance is his passion. Haunted by past demons, he’s travels to the Motherland to collect a debt. A debt that demands one payment. Death.

Caught in the crosshairs of a madman, Lelia and Elijah must survive the jungles of Zaire and the horrors of their pasts or be forever consumed by the DARK SIDE OF VALOR.

Watch the Trailer!

The Interview

Q: Thank you for this interview, Alicia. Can you tell us what your latest book, Dark Side of Valor, is all about?

Dark Side of Valor is about a former teen aged runaway, turned child advocate, Lelia Freeman.  When she is summoned to Washington to serve on a subcommittee that aids children of a war-torn African nation, she stumbles onto sinister political secrets.  She’s kidnapped oversees and must depend on a tall, dark handsome stranger to save her life.  But he has secrets of his own.

Q:  Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?

Lelia is a very strong, courageous, street-smart woman.  She grew up with an alcoholic mother and by the time she was 18, she’d run away from home and was living homeless on the streets of Los Angeles.

Elijah Dune is a mercenary by trade; hunting, combat and staying alive are his specialties.  What woman wouldn’t feel safe in his care?  Gasp and swoon, ladies.  Your dark knight has arrived.

My favorite characters in the book were Aunt Lou and Romeo Jones.  Aunt Lou grew up in the jungles of Zaire, but traveled the world as well.  She’s outrageous.  Bright yellow tee-shirts, neon orange basketball earrings, high top sneakers and a kente cloth skirt match her boisterous, outspoken personality.  Romeo Jones is a cab driver who loves himself very, very, very much.  Who doesn’t know a brother or sister who spends more time looking at themselves in the mirror then they spend breathing.  Both characters where extremely fun to write.

Q: Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

To me, assessing real people, their traits, their flaws and their vulnerabilities then infusing those characteristics into characters makes the characters more authentic and empathetic.

Q: Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel, or do you discover it as you write?

I am consciously aware of the plot prior to beginning a novel.  The plot may change slightly along the journey, but basically its set from the start.

Q: Your book is set in Los Angeles, Sudania(Sudan) and the jungles of the Congo.  Can you tell us why you chose these locations in particular?

Each location had a particular value or significance.  I chose Los Angeles because of the high population of runaways living in that area.  Sudania is fictitious, however, it was based on the Sudan.  The cruelty and injustice inflicted on the people of that region pulled at my heart.  Why the jungles of the Congo, you ask?  What a fabulous place to explore, hide from a mad man and be frightened out of your mind.

Q: Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?

Oh yes!  Setting can add tension, a sense of happiness or doom to any storyline.  A creepy, hunted house, a sparkling lake, an avalanched, snow covered mountain top can all add conflict to a storyline.

Q: Open the book to page 69.  What is happening?

The heroine, Lelia Freeman, has come to an abandoned squat to save one of her runaway teens.  The girl bolts and Lelia is plagued, once again, with unresolved feelings of guilt from her past.

Q: Can you give us one of your best excerpts?

Joella thought hell was missing her parents.  Cousin Daryl had other thoughts of hell. He shared them with her daily.  Open-handed cuffs across the face, kicks to the ribs.  The thrashings.  Still, no hell he executed terrorized her more than the darkness.  Cousin Daryl always locked her alone.

In the darkness.

Grandma Dell tried to stop him, but he hit her, too, forced her in her room.

Joella could still hear Grandma calling through her bedroom door, begging him to stop.  She still felt fire scorch her skull from his fingers clenched in her hair, still remembered half screeching, half choking on fear as he drug her to the barn. Taught her her lesson.

Sprawled on her stomach, her back ripped raw. Tears puddled mud under her cheek.  Dirt and sweat throbbed in her busted lip.  Blood and bile sullied her tongue. Unable to move, she lay in the blackness, hushed her sobs, scared he’d hear.  Scared he’d come back to teach her more lessons. Those were the times her safe burrows surrounded her, pressed insanity to the fringes of her mind.

One night she ran away from Cousin Daryl while he was sleeping off a high.  She’d helped Grandma Dell to Granddad’s old truck, and drove off.  Her feet barely reached the pedals. They hit a couple of ditches, but they’d made it.

A family friend in the next county took them in.  For a few weeks hell disappeared.

It resurfaced when Cousin Daryl tracked them down.

Joella took off, never looked back.

Some nights Cousin Daryl still found her, stole into her dreams, locked her in darkness. Memories of Daddy or Mama didn’t keep him from hurting her, remembering Grandma Dell’s kind words didn’t hold him at bay. Only Lelia’s soft voice broke through the death dream to save her.

Now Lelia needed saving.

Her friend knelt in front of the candlelit muffin.  Zombified, she stared at the burning wick.

Comfort was the only thing Joella could offer.  She shrugged the rough quilt off her shoulders, then wrapped them both in it.  She rocked like Grandma Dell used to do.  It felt like forever.  The hardwood dug into her knees, the candle burned, she kept rocking.

For once, Lelia needed her.  No matter what, she’d be Lelia’s light, ’cause no one should be left in the darkness.

Q: Have you suffered from writer’s block and what do you do to get back on track?

I have to say, yes.  One of my wonderful writing teachers, Robert McKee, teaches that writer’s block is a result of the writer not knowing the world he or she has created.   When the writer is an expert at their fictitious world, then writer’s block does not occur.  If I get stuck, I take his advice, go back and dig deeper into my characters, plotting, motives and conflicts to cure my writer’s block.

Q: What would you do with an extra hour today if you could do anything you wanted?

I would save the extra hours until I had a month of extra hours then kidnap my husband and escape to a resort in Bora Bora or Namale in the Fiji Islands.

Q: Which already published book do you wish that you had written and why?

Although The Fall of the House of Usher isn’t a novel, its one short story I’d love to say I’ve written.  Indicative of Edgar Allan Poe’s works, it’s so lyrical. The beautiful, sensory-rich descriptions are brilliant and the suspense is nail-biting.

Q: What kind of advice would you give other fiction authors regarding getting their books out there?

Learn the craft of writing and learn it well.  Always seek ways to educate yourself on how to become a better writer.  Trauma surgeons, professional ballerinas, electrical engineers, classical pianists, Olympic gymnasts and architects don’t learn their crafts in a weekend.  Neither can great writers.  Again, educate yourself.

Q: Thank you so much for this interview, Alicia.  We wish you much success!

Click here to enter The Dark Side of Valor Contest for chance to win $125 in Visa Gift Cards!

Order Dark Side of Valor today at:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

Indie Bound

or wherever books are sold.

Email Alicia at: alicia@aliciasingleton.com

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Interview with Karen Glick, author of ‘Questions in the Silence’

Karen Glick lives outside of Philadelphia. She is a clinical psychologist whose other interests include writing, painting, and acting. When not feverishly engaged in these pursuits, she enjoys spending time with her four children, husband, cavalier king charles spaniels and cats.

Karen has just published her first novel, Questions in the Silence.

Visit her website at http://www.bellalunavoicecompany.com/.

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Amazon | Amazon Kindle | Smashwords | Barnes & Noble

Q: Thank you for this interview, Karen. Can you tell us what your latest book, Questions in the Silence, is all about?

I always wanted to write a novel and had many false starts where the idea or the characters just didn’t sustain my interest.  Finally, the idea for Questions in the Silence emerged from two of my life passions: (Don’t ask about the others!)psychotherapy and a spiritual approach to life.  The protagonist, Ari Rothman, is a young Jewish woman whose childhood is flavored by unusual dreams and visions. Some of her dreams are derived from her Jewish education, but others are more mystical and cryptic. These experiences inspire her to become a seeker of spiritual truth, not limited to her own religious upbringing.  At the same time, she is driven to find her life purpose and feels she may find it in helping people through psychotherapy.

Questions in the Silence chronicles Ari’s personal growth from her childhood when she feels like an outsider because of her precocious approach to life, to her search for a life partner, and her attempts to initiate a mature relationship with her parents.  At the same time, in her professional life, Ari faces mounting conflict when she tries to integrate her traditional training as a psychologist with her intuitive abilities.  Her struggles come to a head when she treats her first long-term client whose problems resonate deeply with some of her own issues.

Q:  Can you tell us a little about your main and supporting characters?

Ari Rothman is a sensitive dork who really doesn’t fit into her peer group very well.  Her loneliness reinforces her interest in the spiritual world and she spends a lot of time searching for meaning in life and worrying constantly whether she will ever find her true purpose.  Since she spends so much time living in her head, her real relationships sometimes suffer.  Once she decides that she can best fulfill her purpose by becoming a psychotherapist, her next challenge becomes balancing the advice of her supervisors and her strong intuition about patients.

The supporting characters include a neurotic but loving mother who teaches Ari about the importance of boundaries in relationships, her boyfriend, Evan, who starts out as a study partner and becomes the key to Ari’s discovery about meeting her own needs, and James, Ari’s first long-term client, who comes from a very different background, but whose therapy forces Ari to question her own family relationships.

Q: Do you tend to base your characters on real people or are they totally from your imagination?

There are some components of my characters that are drawn from my life.  To some degree, Ari’s struggle to incorporate things she knows intuitively into her work mirrors my own.   I must emphasize she is truly a fictional character, as are all of the other characters in the book, although I am fortunate enough to have experienced people who may have added some of the dimensions to the characters.  In particular, some of Ari’s experiences such as her Jewish education, meditation adventures, and training as a psychotherapist were suggested by some of my own experiences.

Q: Are you consciously aware of the plot before you begin a novel, or do you discover it as you write?

My writing began with a strong sense of the fictional characters, their backstory, and their current struggles.  Each day as I wrote, I felt that the plot should be driven by the way the characters would interact, knowing them as I do.  When I was finished with the first draft, I had a better vision of the plot and my revisions were all about cutting out  a lot of writing that didn’t further either the plot or key knowledge about the main characters.

Q: Your book is set in Philadelphia.  Can you tell us why you chose this city in particular?

I love the Philadelphia area and have lived here since college.  Philadelphia is a great city for the exploration of ideas like spirituality and psychotherapy.  My familiarity with attending college and graduate school here provided a strong foundation for Ari’s development.

Q: Does the setting play a major part in the development of your story?

Not really.  Much of the story really takes place in the minds of the characters.

Q: Open the book to page 69.  What is happening?

Ari, the main character, has just attended her first college party.  In her attempt to reinvent herself, she overindulged and is suffering the consequences.  On page 69, she is filled with remorse and is worrying how her overdrinking may have affected her relationship with her roommate and with her romantic interest, Charlie.

Q: Can you give us one of your best excerpts?

Saturday morning. Ari rolled on her side to read the time on her clock…six thirty five. She groaned. Why was she awake?  She peered at Evan who was sleeping so silently she watched the sheet over his chest to make sure it rose and sank with each breath. His face was totally relaxed, and she loved to look at the way the early morning light played with the golden highlights in his wavy hair and his long eyelashes. The stubble on his chin seemed so dark, forming a blue gray contrast to his pale skin. She lay quietly next to him, trying to match the rhythm of his breathing, wishing to fall back asleep and to share his dreams, he looked that peaceful.

But sleep wouldn’t come. So, she slipped out of bed and walked over to the couch. Pulling a soft old afghan around her shoulders, she sat down and closed her eyes to meditate, a form of Sabbath observance for her. She immediately felt as though she were drifting in a downward pathway, but she was able to maintain a relaxed, detached posture and she did not pull back from the sensation of slowly falling. As she descended, she became engulfed in a glowing indigo light. She sensed another presence with her and curiosity briefly coursed through her mind. She heard a voice answering her unspoken question…Eliyahu. And then there was complete silence. Ari’s old blue afghan had grown to encompass the entire universe and everything was wrapped in its comforting softness. At some point, when she opened her eyes, Ari wasn’t sure how long she had meditated, or even if she had fallen asleep. She patted her blanket with affection, thinking how much she loved the color blue. She could hear Evan stirring faintly in the alcove, so she went to investigate.

Thank you so much for this interview, Karen.  We wish you much success!

 

 

 

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Blog Tour + Interview: Whitney Stewart, author of ‘Give Me a Break: No Fuss Meditation’

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Whitney Stewart began writing young adult biographies and meditating after she met and interviewed the 14th Dalai Lama of Tibet, the subject of two of her books, and lived with a Tibetan family in India. For her next biographies, she trekked with Sir Edmund Hillary in Nepal, interviewed Burma’s Nobel Peace Prize winner Aung San Suu Kyi in her Rangoon home, and climbed along China’s Great Wall to research the lives of Deng Xiaoping and Mao Zedong. In 2004, Stewart published a picture book about the Buddha, which contains a foreword and a meditation suggestion from the 14th Dalai Lama. In addition to nonfiction books, Stewart has published three middle-grade novels. In August 2005, Stewart was trapped in New Orleans during Hurricane Katrina and evacuated by helicopter from a rooftop. She returned home and volunteered as a creative writing teacher in the public schools. She discovered that her students suffered from post-Katrina stress. Using meditation, improvisation, and word play, Stewart taught her students to write about their lives.

Her latest book is Give Me a Break: No-Fuss Meditation.

You can find more about Whitney Stewart at her website at http://www.whitneystewart.com.  Follow her at Twitter at www.twitter.com/mindfulneworlns and www.twitter.com/whitneystewart2 and Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/New.Orleans.Kids.Author.

About Give Me a Break: No-Fuss Meditation

Whitney Stewart’s straightforward, non-denominational guide makes meditation simple. It covers the basics in a concise thirty-three pages: Why meditation is good for you, how to sit, how to let your mind rest, even what to do if you feel weird or uncomfortable during meditation. Most important, it provides sixteen accessible, useful meditations you can easily learn at home. Age ten to adult.

Stewart’s top reasons to meditate:

*To focus inwardly

*To slow down internally

*To develop awareness

*To understand your mind

*To increase tolerance

*To experience “BIG MIND”

* * * * *

Q: Thank you for this interview, Whitney. Can you tell us what your latest book, Give Me a Break: No-Fuss Meditation, is all about?

My ebook is a simple, nondenominational guide to meditation. I include a short introduction and sixteen meditation practices that will help focus the mind. I also include answers to common questions people have about meditation

I wrote this book to communicate the benefits of meditation to anyone who wants to reduce stress, improve health, develop inner wisdom, lead a happier life, and experience a natural state of mind.

Q: How did you come up with the idea for your book?

I have been a meditator for over twenty-five years, and I see how it has changed my life. During Hurricane Katrina, my son and I were trapped in a building in downtown New Orleans. We had to wait five days for helicopters to rescue us. During that time, I used meditation as a means of staying calm, alleviating fear, and being mindful. When I returned to New Orleans, I volunteered as a creative writing teacher in a public school. I discovered that my students were often stressed, unhappy, and frightened every time the weather turned stormy. They could not concentrate on their work. I taught them to meditate before we did our creative writing exercises. Many of them told me how much they loved to meditate at the beginning of class. This gave me the idea of writing a nondenominational meditation guide that was easy enough for children and detailed enough for adults. My guide is meant for beginners.

Q: What kind of research did you do before and during the writing of your book?

I first learned to meditate when I was in high school. And then in 1987, I joined a meditation center and studied with several Tibetan Buddhist teachers. That led me to taking multiple trips to Tibet, Nepal, Burma, Thailand, Japan, and India where I practiced meditation with teachers. I also have a full personal library on Buddhism and meditation.

I have written two children’s books on the 14th Dalai Lama, which were based on interviews with him. In one interview, he suggested a meditation technique that was simple enough to teach children. I included this technique in my picture book Becoming Buddha: The Story of Siddhartha. Readers asked me for more techniques like that one, so I wrote this book, in part, because of their request.

Q: If a reader can come away from reading your book with one valuable message, what would that be?

That meditation is a path to discovering your relaxed, open, natural state of mind.

Q: Can you give us a short excerpt?

Why Meditate?

Let’s face it. Life knocks you around. One minute

you’re happy. The next you want to scream. You don’t get

everything you want, and you don’t want everything you get.

You need a break. Meditation could be the answer.

Meditation calms you down. It helps you find your own

wisdom. It settles your nerves and fills your mind with

space.

 

Lots of people meditate——athletes, actors, dog

trainers, writers, and people like you. They do it wherever

they find a quiet spot——in the living room, in the back

yard, under a tree, in an empty classroom, in the library,

in a tent, on a mountaintop. You don’t have to join a

religious group to meditate. And you don’t have to change

anything about yourself. Meditation is about accepting

yourself with all the bumps and bruises.

 

So go ahead and see for yourself. This book gives you

different meditation exercises. You may not like them all.

That’s fine. Try them and see which ones work for you.

Q: In your own experience, is it hard to get a nonfiction book published today?  How did you do it?

Yes, it is hard to get any book published by a reputable publisher. I started publishing twenty years ago. I researched what publishers wanted and submitted selectively. I also researched my books thoroughly. I started by writing biographies of Nobel laureates and adventurers. If they were still alive, I interviewed them and people who knew them. I tried to find both a narrative hook and a marketing hook; I wanted to give my readers something they had not read before.

Q: What’s a typical day like for you?

I wake up, meditate, and exercise (yoga and cardio) in the early morning, and write for the rest of the day, every day. Sometimes I take short meditation or movement breaks while I am writing, but I don’t answer the phone or chat with friends until my day’s writing is done. I work at home and often have to wear headphones and listen to ambient music to block out the noise of construction and lawn mowers in the neighborhood.

Q: What’s next for you?

I just finished revising a middle-grade novel set in New Orleans and sent it to my agent. It’s the story of a 14-year-old boy who is accused of a crime he didn’t commit. I look forward to the sale and publication of that book. I also have a picture book coming out with Windy Hollow Books in Australia. It’s a companion book to my Becoming Buddha and will be illustrated by the same illustrator, Sally Rippin. Last Spring I started writing an edgy young adult novel, and I hope to return to that manuscript in January.

Thank you so much for this interview, Whitney.  We wish you much success!

 

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