Author Name: Ruth Anne Caukwell
Book Title: Musings of a Blogger Inspirational Thoughts for Your Life’s Journey (Published by Balboa Press in January 2016)
This month I thought we might all be in need of a little inspiration. Ruth Anne Caukwell is a blogger and the author of several inspirational books. She is “passionate about telling her story and spreading awareness to others so that they too can overcome adversities and have a choice to step out beyond a ‘hum-drum’ life to live the most amazing life ever.”
Hello, thank you for agreeing to this interview.
- Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Born in Christchurch New Zealand my family moved to Tauranga when I was eight, Samoa when I was 16 and then onto Brisbane Australia when I was 17.
I achieved my first degree, Bachelor of Modern Asian Studies, at Griffith University, Brisbane plus, the following diplomas: Diploma of Freelance Journalism; Diploma of Commercial Art; Diploma of Creative Writing; a Business Diploma and: a Proofreading and Editing Diploma.
In 2013 I was invited to join the Golden Key International Honors Society – life time membership. I qualified and was accepted into the World Wide Branding Who’s Who Registry of Executives, Professionals and Entrepreneurs – VIP life time membership, in 2015 was and in 2016 was granted entry into the World Wide Top Female Executives, Professionals & Entrepreneurs circle – life time membership.
I had a 20 year career with the Australian Federal Government where I held a number of positions. Returning to Christchurch in May 2008 I achieved my second degree, a Bachelor of Teaching and Learning – Early Childhood Education (ECE), before starting in the early childhood sphere in November 2012. I have my Full Teacher’s Registration. I went into early childhood due to a love of children, teaching and to gain an insight into children’s art and literature.
I started an inspirational blog, RuAnCa, in December 2014
I have published two e-books (short stories) about women which are also available on Amazon (Kindle):
“An Anthology of Three Women – A Mother’s Love and Sacrifice for Her Children” – 2014
“An Anthology of Three Women 2 – Unveiling the True Essence of a Woman “– 2015
My first Inspirational Book – “Musings of a Blogger – Inspirational Thoughts for Your Life’s Journey” – was published in 2016 by Balboa Press and is available at their website, Amazon and other on-line book stores.
- Discuss your newest book.
My book is a collection of inspirational thoughts with a workbook relating to each chapter. After reading the book you can do the workbook which will assist you in finding out the truth about your own life and become a source of strength. It gives you the tools to cope and overcome any issues in your life. And, by having ‘Reader’s Questions’ at the end of the book, which can be utilized in a reading group, with a smaller number of people or, just two, the opportunity is there to answer questions already posed as well as write questions of your own. The choice is there for readers to share, discuss and discover together!
The overall theme (central topic, subject or concept) of my book:
The main concept in my book concentrates on finding your authentic self. The series of ten chapters (of inspirational words), followed by a workbook (ten chapters also relating to the inspirational chapters), gives readers the opportunity (through the words and tools contained in the workbook) to discover the source of their own strength and the truth about their own life.
‘The Parable of the Butterfly’ (one of two important themes running throughout the book and the source behind the illustrations of ‘The Hexagon of Life’ – the second theme) illustrates the concept of finding and utilizing one’s own strength within the journey of finding authenticity. The repeated design, The Hexagon of Life’, consists of a hexagon with tipped points, dots around the outside, and a butterfly within is very symbolic and together make up a profound image and clear meaning for one’s life.
Each of the hexagon’s six sides represents a vital part of existence and when combined forms the basis of a well-rounded life:
- physical • spiritual • emotional • relationships and social • leisure • environment
Within our life one or more of these components may be missing, reflected in a negative way, or detrimental to our physical and mental well-being—or maybe there is a period where we are faced with extra stress, such as any of the following:
- eating an unhealthy diet and/or not exercising • not taking time out to relax and do anything we enjoy doing • being involved in an abusive relationship • having a loved one die • losing a job
If, and when, this is the case, the hexagon will not be a hexagon. The same goes for life. If one of these components is out of sync or missing, there will be an unbalance—a gap—thereby leaving us vulnerable, defenseless, and open to hurt, pain, suffering, and living an unhealthy life, either mentally physically or both.
My book assists readers in working towards having a balanced life, or ‘hexagon’, by looking inwards, discovering where their own strength lies and how to utilize that strength so as to live an authentic life! My book gives the reader the opportunity to discover that the struggle to break free from whatever their ‘bonds’ might be is what gives them the strength to live a true fulfilling life – it is a beginning them finding their authentic self!
- Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I was always good at English and read a lot but never really thought much about writing a book, blog or anything like that but I wrote my book from my inspirational blog, http://ruanca.blogspot.co.nz/ which I started in January 2015, after I had gone through a soul-destroying period of adult bullying, one from which I thought I would never recover. Time and support did heal me, though, and because of these experiences, I learned a lot about myself—who I thought I was, not who I really was! I had prided myself that I was a strong woman able to cope with anything. I had come out of a number of traumatic events earlier in my life and had moved on. Little did I realize that all I had done was bury my hurt, pain, and authentic self through busyness and work and was living with a sense of numbness behind a thick wall of self-preservation? The bullying was the straw that broke the camel’s back, and I was broken both physically and mentally.
As I started to heal, I was inspired to write my blog and e-books about women. My blog took off, and I found myself part of a network of people who appreciated and were supported by my heartfelt words. Suddenly, I felt like a caterpillar released from my own chrysalis—a chrysalis of hurt, pain, and hiding—and I was ready to fly above the ugliness of those people who would trample me down. I was ready to fly like a butterfly, high above, into the clouds of life, and burst forth from my chrysalis of hurt, but changed and renewed, ready to live again…. And part of that is to inspire others to step out on a journey of self-discovery too!
- What are your current projects?
I am currently writing my second inspirational book –
“The Hexagon of Life – Inspirational Words for Each Day”
I write on my blog and other social media sites (Twitter, Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Tumblr, LinkedIn) and working on my public speaking skills. I have a couple of projects in the pipe line – one of which is a series of inspirational You Tubes (yet to come)
- What books have most influenced your life?
The ‘Lord of the Rings’ triology by J.R. Tolkien
The ‘Sword of Shannara’ by Terry Brooks
‘You can Heal Your Life’ by Louise Hays
‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen
‘To Kill a Mocking Bird’ by Harper Lee
‘Hamlet’ by Shakespeare
‘The Hunchback of Notre Dame’ by Victor Hugo
- Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
There is only one main character in my book and it is, each reader themselves, thus… it is the reader themselves who is the most important person to the whole story, as, the information contained within the story is for them to read, contemplate and utilize for their own life.
The story is really each reader’s story… the story of their life if they choose it!
My book takes place in the ‘here and now’ of each readers life as it is written for them to be inspired to work towards and find their authentic self!
- Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
The message in my book, which will appeal to readers because contained within its pages is hope! Hope in the fact that each reader will learn something about their inner self. They will gain knowledge (and the tools) on how to go forwards in their life. They will, if they choose too, gain an insight on how to overcome and start on a journey of self-discovery – one of learning about themselves and their authenticity.
The two concepts running through my book (‘The Hexagon of Life’ and the Parable of the Butterfly) will open up new ideas for the reader to contemplate and work with – these concepts are new to many but realistic and easy to apply to one’s life!
People in today’s society have to face so much due to the fact that life is so busy, stressful and can sometimes be a frightening world to live in. This effects people in many ways and will emerge as fears, anxiety, depression, sadness, loneliness and loss of hope – so much so that they look for answers outwardly not realizing that the answer they seek is found within themselves…!
My book with its inspirational words and work book will give readers the opportunity, and tools, to look within themselves and find some answers!
- When did you decide to become a writer?
I myself had to face, deal with and overcome and in doing so learned about myself (and others) in the process. I used many strategies but all those (and the ideas, suggestions, etc.,) found in my book I ‘trialed’ and found were the ones that assisted me so greatly! I had to work through deep depression and face issues not only due to adult bullying (which occurred in 2015) but realized that ‘things’ from the past I had not really and truly dealt with either – they were buried deep behind my ‘wall’. I just started writing my inspirational blog and posting on-line and the ideas and thoughts poured out… what a healing for me and I worked so very hard to deal with and find strategies (even though I had support which I was very dubious of asking for – but did!)
I have a passion for words, concepts and being able to express my inner thoughts. And in saying that I want readers/others to realize that life is not hopeless… that no matter what issue/s overwhelm us there is always an answer – we just need to look for it and we can! I want my readers to realize that hey yes, they can ask for help from others… and should do if they need too but, ultimately, it is up to each of us individually to find, and use, one’s own inner strength to overcome – just like the butterfly in the chrysalis we need the struggle of life to realize and know where our strength lies and when we do we will start on a journey of finding out who we really are – we will find our authentic self!
- What made you decide to sit down and actually start something?
It was a form of ‘release’ from the hurt and pain that I was feeling and it became a way to heal and overcome. I found that I could express my emotions, feelings and these amazing concepts that seemed to just start pouring into my mind! I gain so much inspiration from nature especially the sea that I always make time to be somewhere peaceful every day or second day.
- What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
The hardest thing about writing my last book was dealing with the emotions and hurt from the ramifications of my bullying. I cried a lot when I was writing it but it was such a healing process – my book, which is my first, is a special book for me and I so much want others to be able to choose to go on such a journey as I did!
- What is the easiest thing about writing?
The writing – I just sit and write. The words come tumbling out as if they were meant to be written!
- What book are you reading now?
An amazing book called “The Book of Strange New Things” by Michel Faber
- What is your preferred medium of writing? Pen and paper or strictly tablet and computer?
Ha ha… I have notebooks and pads everywhere (even in the car) for when I suddenly get a flash of ideas (sometimes in the middle of the night) so yes I do still use paper and pens but these are just for the ideas and doodling of concepts. I write ‘whatever’ on the computer
- What does your writing process look like?
I as I said above have lots of ideas and concepts written in my notebooks and pads all compiled together for future use. Sometimes I go to these to write (if on my blog and social media) or sometimes when I sit down something just flows out – especially if I have been somewhere and taken some photographs (I use all my own photographs on my social media to enhance the topic/words that I write). Other times I have a plan and choose my ideas then just write.
With my second book, which is an inspirational book with words for each day but there is something special also included within it (no spoilers here though…!), I have done a lot of work already so I work specific aspects of it. Probably about three months to go!
- Did you make any marketing mistakes or is there anything you would avoid in future?
I am still a newbie in regards to marketing and building my platform so learning lots – also doing lots of reading too. I have really just ‘flown-by-the-set-of-my-pants’ so to speak but the big thing for me was that I had no platform or marketing experience at all when my book was published which was, I found out, made it difficult to sell books. I have since started building my niche and fan base which will be there for my next book!
- What is your favorite motivational phrase?
‘What are your options? You can step forwards in growth or you can step backwards in to the safety of your old life! Your Journey will consist of many small steps and not one giant one, so step forwards in confidence and with courage towards your future’ © Musings of a Blogger Inspirational Thoughts for Your Life’s Journey
- .What is your favorite book and why?
The three books within the ‘Lords of the Rings’ triology as it is inspiring and the characters are amazingly courageous. Each of them has a place within the bigger world and the ramifications of their actions were far reaching just as ours are!
- Do you have any advice for other writers?
Yes… just be yourself, believe in yourself and know that you can do anything if you CHOOSE to – in other words do not let anyone, no matter who, knock you, your writing or your dreams!
- What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
I am always busy even if I am by myself as my hobbies are: playing classical music; art (painting and drawing); literature, writing and reading; history; gardening; walking/tramping and; swimming.
I love animals, especially horses, the sea and being among nature and the natural world as this is where I find peace and gain inspiration.
- From where do you gain your inspiration?
Nature, watching people and animals or it just comes!
- What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?
As I have only ever self-published (through Balboa Press) I can only answer from my experience here – I think the hardest thing is the marketing and building up of your platform, selling your books and finding your niche within the bigger market. With no ‘big’ publisher or an established publisher you can be ‘behind-the-eight-ball’ on this so lots of time and hard work involved
- How do you market your books?
Through lots of hard work! I work a lot on social media, but I have also done some interviews on radio and in magazine but mostly work through social media. With the copies that I have at home I do marketing through face-to-face in various places and libraries. I am currently working towards public speaking so will have another outlet there (still learning!) but there is no easy answer to this!
- Why did you choose this route?
It just happened I suppose! I would love to be traditionally published though and will pursue this road once I have finished my second book.
- Do you have any advice for other authors on how to market their books?
Utilize social media lots!
- What part of your writing time do you devote to marketing your book?
At this stage I would say ½ but as I need to also work on my book I will probably down grade this to ¼ over the next couple of months
- What do you do to get book reviews?
I contact people and also watch out for those who are willing/offer to do a review
- Which social network worked best for you?
I would say my blog, twitter and Facebook
- Any tips on what to do and what not to do?
For inspirational works try not to publish before you have a platform or some semblance of presence on social media as this is a ready-reckoner for growing followers and selling books.
Always be passionate about what you do, even in the down times, try to be positive and just-keep-on-keeping-on!
- What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Believe in yourself and your dream – chapter one of ‘Musings…’ is ‘Do you have a dream?’ and Chapter 10 in the workbook gives you some tools to help you achieve your dream. Sometimes there are knockbacks and knockers but you need strategies to help your positivity alive. Also realize that ‘instant success’ rarely happen – hard work, enthusiasm and passion is needed!
- How can readers discover more about you and you work
My book is available as an ebook and a large paperback book on all on-line stores including the publishers – Balboa Press and of course Amazon, Book Depository, etc.
I have signed copies here if a reader would like a signed copy (I live in New Zealand so postage would be included in the price). I can be contacted on my business email – firstname.lastname@example.org or refer to my social sites including my Blog RuAnCa and my website –
Inspirational book – ‘Musings of a Blogger – Inspirational Thoughts for Your Life’s Journey’, (Published in 2016) is available through Balboa Press:-
Inspirational blog – RuAnCa http://ruanca.blogspot.co.nz
Website – http://ruanca.caukwell.com/
Twitter – https://twitter.com/ruancaRuth
Facebook page – https://www.facebook.com/ruthannecaukwell/
Gmail – https://plus.google.com/+RuthCaukwellRuAnCa/posts
My LinkedIn – https://www.linkedin.com/in/ruth-caukwell-846a3391
My Tumblr page – http://ruanca.tumblr.com/
My Instagram – https://www.instagram.com/ruancaruth/
You Tube – https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCPw_zL01HKsPyq_y2F6vjEA
Member of the New Zealand Society of Authors (NZSA): http://authors.org.nz/
World Wide Branding – VIP member – http://www.worldwidebranding.com/Ruth%20Anne-Caukwell
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