INTERVIEW ON WRITING
1. What do your readers mean to you?
We are all in this together! Personal and financial growth is possible as we stand on the shoulders of the giants who went before us. I am a little ahead of my readers since I have been researching and practising practical and spiritual money management for many years. But, as they improve, we all rise. We’re in the rowboat together.
2. What are you working on next?
A book outlining the philosophy of life I’ve come to.
3. Who are your favorite authors?
Awww, who doesn’t love Janet Evanovich? Such funny writing! But, other than the writers of the classics, my newest discovery is the brilliant Louise Penny from Quebec, Canada. Her detective fiction far outstrips the genre, going into psychological thriller more often. Jane Austen, Agatha Christie, Robert Rotenberg–another newbie but goodie. And scores of others. Sam Harris lately, a philosopher, even though he’s an atheist.
4. What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
When I’m editing, it has to be breakfast. At the moment, I have a frozen mango shake. I’m not too fond of editing.
5. When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
I do a lot of volunteer work with women who have financial fears. When I’m not doing that, and not at the library getting audio books, I plan vacations. Research and pray. That is a lot of fun.
6. How do you discover the ebooks you read?
I listen to the CBC radio interviews with authors. I pick from the ones that appeal.
7. Do you remember the first story you ever wrote?
Yes, it was called the Family Circle. Maybe it was more literary non-fiction. It was about my father’s funeral and the emotional confusion.
8. What is your writing process?
I outline in detail. That part took me months with Live Well Within Your Means as I clarified the pattern which I wanted to use to communicate the content in an easily understood way for my readers.
9. Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
My grandfather had been a book peddlar. In the basement of our small bungalow, we had an weathered green trunk piled with classic literature. So, as a kid, I was reading pretty heavy stuff. The first one I remember was The Picture of Dorian Gray. I was thrilled when I seemed to understand it, and I have never forgotten it. Who would?
10. How do you approach cover design?
I hire someone! I know what I like, but I am verbal, not visual. I acknowledge my limits. In Live Well Within Your Means, though the word spiritual or God isn’t on the cover, the picture implies it, I hope.
11. What do you read for pleasure?
Detective fiction, non-fiction, finance books.
12. What is your e-reading device of choice?
I think I have the oldest Kindle in the world. I might have to upgrade one of these days. And I am lately using a small tablet.
13. Describe your desk
My desk is an immense white wooden slab door anchored by a two-drawer filing cabinet on each end. On it there is a postcard of Michaelangelo’s statue of David, leaning on the tree stump for spiritual support. A picture by the famous photographer, Ansel Adams, which he presented to the Japanese people interned during WWII. It inspired them to have courage. And the usual mess of file folders, pencils, notes to self, and a box of Kleenex.
14. Where did you grow up, and how did this influence your writing?
Small town girl when Toronto was a small town. So, I moved to Los Angeles, and then New York and a few other places to get some experiences. Now I’m back and writing them down.
15. When did you first start writing?
I cannot believe it myself, but at the age of 6, I told my family I planned to be a writer. Why they nodded in agreement I’ll never know.
16. What’s the story behind your latest book?
Philosophies I have gleaned over the years. In the end, The Beatles Were Right: Love is All There Is.
17. What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Teaching others to have a better life with what I’ve shared.
INTERVIEW ON “LIVE WELLWITHIN YOUR MEANS”
1. Why did you decide to write this book?
I have been seeing more of my friends and colleagues struggle in vain with their money. It is most painful around the holidays, not only Christmas, but also summer holidays, or vacations. Since I had spent so much time and energy researching and creating a money system which worked so that prosperity without debt was in my life, I wanted to pass this on to other women.
2. Why is it mainly geared to women and men over 30?
By the time people have reached 30, they are tired of money problems, and tired of all the methods they’ve used to get on top of their finances which haven’t worked. They have probably tried credit counselors, debt consolidators, debt diets, budgeting and any number of workshops, but nothing stuck. They are open to a new way of doing things.
3. Why are so many of the examples to women? Don’t men have much the same problems?
As one of my readers said, financial help is welcome by everyone. While women are more likely to admit to being shopaholics, and they are more likely to seek advice, in enough pain, men will do the same. Anyone is welcome to read the book; some of the examples are for men.
4. What attracted you to the spiritual part of financial management?
I was in a spiritual study group for many years called Search for God where God was called on to help with small life problems. I decided to bring God into my financial life, and it made the practical tools stick permanently!
5. Do you actually follow all of the advice given in the book?
I use the advice that I need from different parts of the book. For example, I am not about to have a Baby, so I don’t use that part of the book. On the other hand, if one of my children told me they were pregnant, I’d dive into that section in a heartbeat.
6. What mistake do women and men most frequently make around their finances?
Most people do not subtract as they go. For example, if they had a category with funds in it for Clothes, this gives them guilt-free permission to spend it, but then they have to subtract each purchase on the shopping day. That way they know how much they have left to spend. Of course, when the fund is gone, so is the shopping!
7. What’s the worst thing that’s ever happened to you regarding finances?
My credit card bill more than doubled in one year. Since I wasn’t able to pay off the balance when it was less, I had no idea how I was ever going to pay off double.
8. How did you eventually pay it off?
First, I cut up my credit card and cancelled my account at the bank. Then I began using my new money system to live a comfortable life. That meant I wouldn’t start debting again. I moved the balance to a lower interest credit card. And I paid slowly, but consistently until the debt was gone.
9. What’s the best money management tip you have that no one else knows about?
Start a little saving fund for a lost dream. Honouring your deepest, secret wish for yourself will give you joie de vivre, and motivate you to find a better job, give up expensive bad habits, like too many meals out or over shopping. You have that dream to fund.
10. What would you recommend that women and men do as a first step to financial peace and prosperity?
Become aware of where your money is going and where it is not going. First, track what you’re spending and on what. You don’t have to show this to anyone. Then make a list of what you are not spending your money on: like massages, vacation savings, or charity. Awareness is an eye opener.
11.What financial goals do you have left to accomplish?
Any goals or dreams I have get a little part of my monthly income. There is nothing I want to do that is not funded. And when I get a windfall, like a rebate or a cash gift, I deposit part of that to into each dream or goal fund. In time, I get to do anything I want, that’s legal and not immoral!At the moment, I am saving for a recumbent bike.
12. I’m impressed that the book doesn’t urge women or men to pay off debt no matter how much they have to deprive themselves. How did you come to that philosophy?
Extensive study of human nature. Extended deprivation causes the human spirit to rebel. Just like dieting, most women can only resist for so long before that chocolate thing looks too good to resist, and then they are off to the dessert buffet. Debt repayment has to be part of a balanced spending plan which includes funding both needs and wants.
13. What’s your next book going to be about?
You mean after the murder mystery novel? I have plans to write my perception of our purpose in life.
14. And what is our purpose in life?
You’ll have to wait for the book to find it out! Well, here’s a hint: the Beatles were right.