Paperback Writer is pleased to announce our author interview with Anita Revel, author of Outing the Goddess Within: One Girl’s Journey with 52 Guides.
Outing the Goddess Within Synopsis:
No matter whether you’re a pouting priestess, boardroom babe, feathery fairy, earth mother or warrior woman, there comes a time when every goddess gal needs to hold up her sword and claim her right to be true to her authentic self.
This is exactly what Anita Revel has been doing over the last 10 years. Tired of being a fizzled out corporate stress-chick, she made a sea change from Sydney to Margaret River in search of a happy beginning. What she found instead was a brown-eyed calf named Missy Moo and 52 archetypal goddesses with life lessons to share.
Anita wrote about her lessons for her column with United Press International. Sometimes poignant, infinitely insightful, but mostly snort-your-milk hilarious, Anita’s journey has led her to successfully ‘out’ her goddess within
Q Would you share with us how you came up with the idea for your book?
A When I first started submitting my columns to United Press International (www.religionandspirituality.com) the vice president, Larry Moffitt, said, “Regarding your column this week – Sex in the country – the one about your frustration trying to fulfill your biological marching orders when you emigrated to Margaret River… It’s compelling, but reading it makes me breathe funny. That’s probably a good sign that you should make your columns into a book.”
And so, I set myself a target of 52 columns (one per week, which is harder said than done) that I could incorporate into a collection of stories. I wanted at least 52 personal stories that ran to a theme and eventually came up with the “single girl moves to the country to find love”.
The book has ended up being a string of stories about my ups and downs over the last 10 years – typically humorous, partly sobering, very irreverent but 100 percent guaranteed to get you thinking about your own guides and other forces in life.
Q Was it a light bulb moment or something that you thought about for a very long time?
A The first column was simply a letter home one Christmas break. I was sitting in a hammock in a friend’s garden with the laptop trying to finish a marketing proposal, when something cracked – I realized how bored I was with the same old same old business proposals.
So I shut down the work files and began writing for fun. And what came flowing out was really FUN. I sent the letter to all my friends and was overwhelmed at their lengthy replies detailing how my story affected them.
So I guess you could say that it was a light bulb moment in that I saw immediately I was onto something – a writing genre that made me sing and connected with the audience in a heartfelt way. Hence, Outing the Goddess Within was born.
Q How did you come up with the title?
A I bounced a lot of ideas around with Larry, including Ancient Goddess, Modern Woman; How To Be A Modern Goddess; Divine Matters; Get Your Inner Goddess Out; World Wild Woman and The Single Girl’s Guide to the Galaxy.
We had to be careful that we didn’t limit the column content and potential by giving it a specific genre (in my case ‘goddess’) in the title. On one hand, my intention was to bring an ancient goddess story into a modern context each week in a discussion about how her energy resonated with my “inner goddess” – the sacred and sassy being I was born to be. On the other hand, I’m not actually Wiccan (!) so having ‘goddess’ in the title was a little risky in that it might attract too narrow an audience with false expectations.
So in the end we went with the title that reflected the subject matter but I ensured the title and intro’s were cheeky enough that they would attract the attention of a wider audience.
Q How did you find an agent and publisher? Or did you choose to go a different route and if so, why?
A Even though I have an agent (www.indigoconnections.com) I decided to self-publish this particular project – mainly because the columns are time-sensitive and I didn’t want to wait months (or possibly years) for a publisher to pick it up. Secondly, there are distinct advantages to self-publishing: the margins are better, the author has greater creative input into the end product, and the author remains that one degree closer to her audience by selling direct.
Q Who reads you work in progress?
A The columns were published every Friday at www.religionandspirituality.com where they were read by around one million visitors per month (or so I’m told).
Q Who made a difference in the book’s quality?
A Larry Moffitt, the Vice President of United Press International (the world’s oldest privately-owned news agency), personally edited every single column for the first year. To have a mentor at this level was very exciting and a great motivator.
It was also very healthy for my self-esteem as a writer… Larry boosted my confidence no end with comments like, “Like your other columns, this one also didn’t require much editing at all. Your writing is crisp and slick as snot on a doorknob.”
Q How long did it take you to complete the first draft?
A The first letter home took me around half an hour (although it felt like a nano-second). It took a further hour wrestle the rebellious parts of prose into submission, and yet another hour for me to re-read the letter and convince myself that I hadn’t temporarily been possessed by some very creative aliens.
As for the book, I selected my favorite 52 columns that had been published at Religion and Spirituality (http://snipurl.com/anita_upi). At the time, I was up to around 70 columns which took me approximately 30 missed dinners, 80 weeks and a thousand belly-laughs to write.
Q How long did it take from start to publication?
A Ohhhh, around two months I guess. Once I decide to birth a project I’m very Demeter-like in my approach – nothing gets in my way of finishing what I started. Not even rogue time zones can stop me from sourcing international suppliers or service providers to help me achieve my mission.
Q Do you have any advice for new authors?
A If you’ve ever said, “I’d like to write a book one day,” stop musing and just start writing. As I wrote in my InnerGoddess newsletter* (http://www.aweber.com/z/article/?innergoddess&ID=AEwMDBy0DEy0DOwEDOxcTCxcTBx0jIxsTBwctAysAA==) last week:
Begin writing your life story… There is no doubt that you would have life lessons to share that perhaps you aren’t consciously aware of. (visit StoryCrafters http://storycrafters.blogspot.com for 10 Tips for Tapping Into Your Inner Muse). There are several approaches you can take, even if you don’t consider yourself a “writer”…
§ Write a short story about yourself in the third person, making yourself the heroine of the amazing adventure that has been your life so far;
§ Write short journal entries before you go to sleep every night, focusing on the “best thing that happened to me today”;
§ Release any residual pain surrounding old injuries by rewriting the story with a new outcome;
§ Start a gratitude journal and record every little thing that makes you go mmmmmm.
The words you write down today become an invaluable insight into “YOU” for future generations – what you stood for, the climate in which you lived your life, and the magical way in which you loved living each day 🙂
* Subscribe to Anita’s weekly broadcast to get your inspirational ‘goddess fix’ delivered free, every week. Visit www.goddess.com.au/Subscribe.htm (case sensitive) to join.
OUTING THE GODDESS WITHIN VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR ’08 will officially begin on March 1, 2008 and continue all month. If you would like to follow Anita’s tour, visit http://www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com/ in March. Leave a comment on her blog stops and become eligible to win a free copy at the end of her tour! One lucky winner will be announced on this blog on March 31!