Thursday, June 8, 2017

INTERVIEW with HEIDI TUCKER, author of FINDING HOPE IN THE JOURNEY

Heidi Tucker recently published Finding Hope in the Journey, an inspirational book about learning to recognize God's messages of hope in the midst of struggles. Her book received a 2017 Illumination Book Award, and she's already hard at work on her next writing project. Many thanks to Heidi for joining us at the Book Pound.

When did you first want to write a book? What was your motivation for writing?  
Writing a book was never on a bucket list of mine. During a difficult period of my life, I had a dream and saw my hands holding a book. I knew it was mine. That dream and continued strong promptings from God was a calling that my story and lessons learned needed to be told. Writing this book was the most exhausting and exhilarating period of my life. It was bigger than me from the very beginning and I’ll never forget that. I’m always honored when a reader contacts me and lets me know how my words made a difference. When I speak at various events, I always meet individuals who were touched by something I said. We all struggle and we can all find hope if we know where to look.

Who are some of your favorite authors? Do you find that reading certain kinds of books helps you with your own writing?  
My favorite author is Brad Wilcox. His writing is from the heart and real. When I first started my book I remember thinking that if I just tell my stories and speak the truth, it will touch hearts. I like to read anything that is uplifting and positive whether it be nonfiction or fiction. Real life can be painful enough. I consciously choose to fill my mind with light.

You've said that you have a passion for hiking. Do you think there's a connection between the outdoors and your writing? If so, how?  
Hiking is my escape from depression and anxiety which runs deep in my roots. It keeps me emotionally healthy. It is also a space to clear my mind and organize my thoughts, whether that be prayer or reflection on future writings. In my book, hiking is a metaphor for the trails we are required to walk in life. God won’t move the mountain, but He will help us climb it. I actually wrote a good part of this book while hiking. I would stop on trails and quickly write notes on my phone and then type it up when I returned home.

Talk about the process of writing and publishing Finding Hope in the Journey. What advice would you
give to other writers who have yet to embark on the publishing process?
I’m actually a Type A personality and want to get everything checked off my organized list before I write. That didn’t work for me. I had no creative energy or time at the end of the day. Then I heard someone say that if you really want something – to conquer your dream – you need to make it a priority every day, even if it is just a short period of time. I took that to heart and I ignored emails, phone calls, and all those other items on my to-do list and wrote first thing in the morning every single day. Sometimes it was only 30 minutes and sometimes that 30 minutes stretched into five hours. Publishing is the same method. Every day I researched and read as much as I could to learn how to take a manuscript and get it into the form of a book. I contacted everybody I knew who might give me two cents of advice. The publishing and marketing process is hard work and I faced a lot of rejection. But if you believe in your book, you focus on that and continue to push on closed doors.

What's up next for you as a writer? Do you have any upcoming projects?  
I’ve just finished my second book which is a true story about a woman from Zimbabwe whose husband dies and leaves her with six children. She cannot feed them or pay for their schooling. An opportunity comes up in the United States for her to work and send money back to family who will care for the children. It is a heart-wrenching journey to follow her story from incredibly painful tragedies to a peaceful triumph. Her life teaches so many lessons. I also have outlines of a couple more inspirational books. I love to tell stories.

Is there anything else you'd like to tell Book Pound readers?  
You are here to make a difference. Think about someone who makes you want to be better. Someone who motivates you. You have the power to be that inspiration to somebody else. God will direct you into paths that you never expected. In difficult times, we often emerge feeling beat up, but stronger somehow. We each have the opportunity to reach others in so many different ways. When you recognize your worth and who you really are, it means everything. That assurance and your influence will be felt by others.

Connect with Heidi Tucker at her website or on InstagramTwitter or Facebook. You can also find her at Goodreads.

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