Thanks for visiting my writers’ chateau. Every Monday, I chat with a new author and have been very lucky to have so many talented wordsmiths visit my humble abode.
My staff, especially Henrietta (“Cook”) and Claude (my esteemed butler), work very hard to ensure that all guests get star treatment and that everything runs smoothly.
But…I have just learned that Henrietta and Claude have eloped (it was bound to happen!) and will be returning from a three-week honeymoon on July 7th. (Oh, dear…I should have paid more attention to the rumors going around.)
In the meantime, while Henrietta and Claude luxuriate in Luxembourg, dance their last tango in Paris, and waltz in Vienna, please check out my wonderful past guests whose interviews you may have missed the first time around.
And join me in wishing Henrietta and Claude a very happy marriage.
Simon is a healer, a medical intuitive and a medium. Simon travels throughout Australia, and the world, undertaking healings and connecting people to spirit. Consistently, amazing health responses occur during healings, and he’s well respected in the field of energy healing.
What is your latest book?
The Disciple is a biography about Jesus’ birth, childhood and death. After a life-altering encounter with spirit, I revisit and remember my past life as the disciple, Judas.
My life, my family, the processes of communicating with spirit and the roles of spirit guides are interspersed amongst the stories from Jesus and His family.
I hear you have some very exciting news! Can you share it with us?
I glimpsed my abs this morning! Sadly, they disappeared by evening. 🙂
Is your recent book part of a series?
As I continue to remember more about Judas’ life, there’s the option to write further about Jesus and Judas, but my clients and supporters want me to write about healing and working with spirit. I’ve already started that book.
If you were to advertise your book on a bumper sticker, what would it say?
Honk if you love Judas. 😉
What do you think some of the greatest misconceptions about indie authors are?
I think if you look for misconceptions you’ll find them. The indie authors I interact with are professional and committed to being successful. Successful people work hard and smart. Whether indie or traditionally published, success always follows perseverance and passion.
How often do your characters surprise you by doing or saying something totally unexpected?
My characters are ghosts. They always surprise me. The backstory that didn’t make it into the book is filled with quirky, heart stopping and emotional encounters with spirit: Ghost pets jump onto my bed, flop at my feet and follow me around. Ghost people wake me at night and watch me on the toilet. It get’s a little crazy. 🙂
Some writers edit excessively as they write; others wait until a novel is finished to do the bulk of the editing. How about you?
I’m an excessive editor. Since I’m always writing about my life, I’m able to jump from chapter to chapter and organize the scenes in an eclectic fashion. I’m not creating characters or worlds, I’m describing them, and this allows some flexibility. I’m a mood writer, but as my work schedule increases I have to be more disciplined … or eat tim tams. Bye, bye, baby abs. 🙂
Do you have any advice for first-time authors?
Don’t give up! Everyone has a story to tell. The secret is to tell that story in a unique way.
Can you tell us about your road to publication?
I started the book in 2001 and rewrote the narrative around the material from spirit more than twenty times. Over the last 5 years I queried agents 110+ times. Two agents read partials, but declined representation. Surprisingly, I now have a friendship with an agent and a place to stay when I visit the USA.
I paid three editors and after every edit my writing improved. After rewrites, rejections and time, I rewrote and edited again. In between, I wrote articles for my blog, other blogs, and short stories. I believed in my story and writing, so I self-published.
Please, tell us about your experiences with social media. What are your favorite and least favorite parts of it?
The writing community online is more spiritual by behavior than the field I work in. Social media is a never-ending rave party, an interactive social experiment exploring and highlighting human behavior. The world is smaller than we think, and online, we’re noticed and remembered. Don’t be an ass.
My favorite part is meeting beautiful people; my least favorite, the time drain.
How much research was involved in writing your book? How did you go about it?
I sat down, closed my eyes and became someone else. Exorcism? I think I’m okay. 🙂 I didn’t do any research until after the book was finished. I didn’t want my experiences with spirit to be influenced by something I’d researched.
Have you received reactions/feedback to your work that has surprised you? In what way?
The story is contrary to Christian beliefs and I’d expected some negative feedback, but I’ve received emails from Catholic readers praising my courage and integrity. For most of their lives they’d been disheartened and confused by the stories in the bible. They wanted Jesus and family to be regular. They found the dysfunctional aspects of Jesus’ family liberating.
Spirit advised, during the events in the book, that the book would emit a frequency. Some readers have experienced healing responses while reading and have had encounters with spirit. One reader, while reading, looked at her arm and Judas’s scars were visible. She also heard my voice, not her own, reading in her mind.
Were you “born to write” or did you discover your passion for writing later in life?
I was born to dig holes! If I sell as many books as shovels of dirt I’ve moved, Oprah will call. I wrote a poem when I was teen that I now know describes my death in my last past life. I’ve noted that throughout my life whenever I’ve dabbled at writing a dog dies. Usually, my heart gets broken, I write, and I have to euthanize a dog. My dogs are happiest when I’m digging holes.
“Max! Here boy! It’s okay, it’s just an interview.”
Do you have any advice to a new author if they asked you whether to pursue the traditional route to publishing or to start out as an independent writer?
Go independent. In time agents will seek authors out and querying will be obsolete. The dream is to have an agent and sign with a big publisher; the reality is that only 3% of authors make a living. Take control of that. Write well, find an editor and cover artist, and build an online community.
Find and follow mentors: traditionally published YA author, Maggie Stiefvater is a writing and community builder mentor, literary agent, Janet Reid, and author, Rachel Thompson, are writing and branding mentors, Melissa Foster is a writing and social media mentor. There are many more. Online, be yourself and do more for others. Being connected online isn’t the same as an in-person friendship. Be respectful. No one owes us anything.
Having our work out there to be judged by strangers is often daunting for writers. Do you have any tips on handling a negative review?
Bourbon! I haven’t had a negative review yet, but I know that I will get one. In my opinion, people who write scathing reviews are miserable bastards: we couldn’t make them happy if we turned the pages for them and told them they’re sexier than Jason Bourne.
The best thing authors can do to prevent this is to write well. Don’t publish too soon. Not everyone likes me. I’m cool with that. Writing is the same.
Surround yourself with supportive people and watch and learn from successful writers/people.
Many authors do giveaways; have you found them a successful way to promote your book?
I’ve given away the paperback, but I don’t believe it’s created any sales. I haven’t had free days for the e-book yet. I’m considering it … okay, here it is: I get that we need to create visibility and giving away the e-book will potentially shift my Amazon ranking and then I’ll come up in readers searches and sell more books (gasp), but I’d rather scratch the tattoo off my chest with a wire brush while juicing lemons … I’m thinking about it.
We all know the old saying; you can’t judge a book by its cover. This is true. However, how much importance do you place on your book cover design?
My book’s genre is mind body spirit; my cover is not. This was intentional. My initial market was the inspirational/spiritual market, but Jesus’ story doesn’t fit the beliefs of that community. The story is about the truth, not belief. Some people have told me they won’t buy the book because the cover is too confronting, but I wanted to do something original.
The hands on the cover are mine. I took the photo and told the artist, Robert Baird, what I wanted. The image is representative of, look what I’ve done.
Have you ever wished that you could bring a character to life? If so, which one and why?
Dean Konntz’s, Odd Thomas. He’s psychic, talks to Elvis and sees bodachs, shadowy spirit creatures who appear only in times of death and disaster. So do I. 🙂
What do you know now that you wish you’d known five years ago?
Sports boxers prevent chafe! Mother’s, don’t let your sons grow up to be cowboys … unless you’ve raised boxer-men.
Where do you live now? If you had to move to another city/state/country, where might that be?
I live in Nth Brisbane, QLD, Australia and I love it, but if I had to move I’d return to New Zealand. My dad’s house is on the beach and the fishing is amazing. I’d like to live on farmland, mountains and forest behind me, with ocean views.
If you could be invisible for a day, what would you do?
Follow Pink around. She’s an angel. 🙂
What’s the coolest surprise you’ve ever had?
My family gave me a dog for father’s day. My previous dog had died tragically and I didn’t want to go through that again, but I’ve always had dogs in my life. I cried.
If you could have one skill that you don’t currently have, what would it be?
The power of invisibility.
What might we be surprised to know about you?
I did karate for twelve years, boxed, kick boxed, and did some jujitsu. Now, I’m only dangerous to myself.:) I think I can … oops! No I can’t.
What makes you angry?
Child protection. Here, in Australia, legal and social systems are failing. The perpetrators of abuse are protected and the victims overlooked. 40% of my clients are victims of child abuse and I’d estimate that 99% of the abusers got away with it. Systems of law are political and strategized and truth and justice have little merit. If we can’t protect our children, future generations will experience abuse in epidemic proportions.
If you could add a room onto your current home, what would you put in it?
What’s your favorite film of all times? Favorite book?
Man on Fire, starring Denzel Washington and the Bourne trilogy with Matt Damon. I cry every time I watch Man on Fire.
I have favorite books from different parts of my life, but I love Dean Koontz’s Odd Thomas series and anything by YA author Brenna Yovanoff.
What’s your biggest pet peeve?
Disrespectful teens and people who believe they’re entitled to wealth and security without working for it.
What are three things you think we can all do to make the world a better place?
Be responsible, be forgiving and be kind.
Lisette and community, thanks for having me here. Much love, Simon 🙂