Gulp! – Author Interview – Gabriella Goddard

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As a highly successful international marketing director Gabriella Goddard enjoyed an 18 year career spanning the globe including working in Mexico, Brazil, Japan, UK, France and New Zealand for companies like A.C. Nielsen and MCI/Worldcom. She thought her life was on track until one day a big change was forced upon her. The dot.com bubble burst and the start-up broadband company she worked for went bankrupt.

Overnight she was left without a job, an income and all the symbols of success that go with being a high flyer, including the expense account, swanky leather chair and big corner office.

This twist of fate was shortly followed by the devastating experience of a breast cancer scare. It forced Gabriella to take stock of her priorities and re-evaluate what was truly important in her life.

And that’s when she realized that the ladder she’d been so enthusiastically climbing had been leaning against the wrong wall!

She realized that true success comes from within. It comes from unlocking the innate talents and gifts we all have and allowing them to simply shine through. It comes from choosing to live our greatest life, one full of potential and possibility, rather than mediocrity. And it comes from knowing that we can make a difference, in our special own way.

So in 2001 Gabriella started Goddard International Ltd, a leadership development company dedicated to helping people to “leapfrog” to a completely new level of self awareness, professional growth and personal success by making fundament shifts in how they think, what they feel and what they do.

All it takes is a strong dose of inner clarity, vision, commitment and self belief. And Gabriella’s books, movie clips, coaching services and speaking topics are all aimed at catalyzing this shift.

Originally from New Zealand, Gabriella now lives a free spirited lifestyle with bases in London, New York and Spain.

Hi Gabriella

Welcome to Paperback Writer.

PBW: Would you share with us how you came up with the idea for your book? Was it a light bulb moment or something that you thought about for a very long time?

GG: My writer’s journey has been an interesting one. The catalyst came during Breast Cancer Awareness week and I was watching a well-known actress being interviewed on TV about how she survived breast cancer. I remember admiring her honesty and courage and thinking how awful it must have been for her. Then the strangest thing happened. She turned her head and looked straight into the camera and said, “You never think it can happen to you–that’s why you need to check.” It was weird. It felt like she was looking straight at me.

For some reason I was compelled to heed her warning and went upstairs to check. Of course the last thing I expected to find was a lump. But I did. Not just one, but two. I immediately booked an appointment to see my doctor who confirmed my findings and sent me off for further tests at my local hospital.

And so began the longest wait of my life. Now we all know we are going to die one day, but when the possibility is literally staring you in the face, it really puts life into perspective. It was a massive wake up call, and I heard it loud and clear.

It forced me to take a good hard look at my own life. Was I living my true life? Was I being who I was born to be? Was I really doing the things that made my heart sing and my soul dance? And that’s when I reconnected to my childhood dream of being a writer.

I asked, “If not now . . . then when?”

And that’s when I started to write.

PBW: How did you come up with the title?

GG: As you know, the title can make or break a book, and I really struggled with mine. My agent had given me some good feedback but I just couldn’t seem to come up with a strong title. Then one Friday I went down to the pub and vowed that I wouldn’t leave until I’d come up with title. Funnily enough, I randomly opened the manuscript to a page where I’d written the word “gulp!” three times. A light bulb went off. “Gulp” was the perfect title for a book that was about facing your fears, stepping outside your comfort zone and making profound changes in your life.

PBW: How did you find an agent and publisher?

GG: Like many things in life, often it’s not what you know, but who you know that really counts. I was coaching a TV presenter at the time and she’d just had her first book published. She kindly introduced me to her literary agent who signed me straight away. My agent then pitched to the publisher and we had a signed contract within two months.

PBW: Who reads you work in progress?

GG: To be honest, I’m much better at editing than I am at writing. Once I’ve written a huge chunk of copy, I usually head off to Starbucks with a red pen and put my “editor’s hat” on, shaping it and tightening it up. I really love this part of the creative process. It’s like being an archeologist dusting off the top soil to reveal the ancient gems below.

PBW: Who made a difference in the book’s quality?

GG: What really made the difference to “Gulp!” were the real life stories from people who had faced their fears and made major breakthroughs in their life. They were really personal and moving. When you read them you can’t help but feel inspired. Plus I was fortunate enough to interview some amazing specialist experts who willingly shared their thoughts and insights with me. These have added real substance, and compliment my more pragmatic and coaching approach.

PBW: How long did it take you to complete the first draft?

GG: I only had about five months to write “Gulp!” from the date I signed the contract. For the first two months I suffered from “writer’s procrastination” and did everything BUT write the book. It was only when I realized that I had three months to write 60,000 words, that thee panic set in and I pretty much dedicated the whole three months to writing, editing and finishing my manuscript. Luckily I made the deadline.

PBW: How long did it take from start to publication?

GG: It took about 14 months to go from pitch to publication. The longest part is waiting to get a contract. But once you have that, time seems to fly alarmingly quickly. In saying that though, the publishing process definitely requires patience – and lots of it.

PBW: Do you have any advice for new authors?

GG: Oh I have plenty of advice for new authors! My first piece of advice is to never give up. I know it sounds clichéd, but you never know when your luck will turn. You just need to keep chipping away at it, doing a bit each day and honing your art.

My second piece of advice comes from Day 6 of “Gulp!” which is to “focus and flow.” Writing a book is about 20% inspiration and 80% discipline. The only way to write a book is to sit down and write it. So be very focused about what you’re doing. Set deadlines and proposal submission targets. Develop the writing disciplines of a published author. And then flow with it and watch what happens.

And my third piece of advice is to stay inspired. Writing is a creative process and your best ideas will “come out of the blue.” So do things that spark your imagination, like watching a movie, or going for a walk in the countryside or taking a painting class. Just one spark could change your manuscript forever.

If you need a little inspirational lift right now, here’s the official book trailer for “Gulp!” (so just turn the speakers on, sit back and enjoy!)

Thank you, Gabriella for stopping by Paperback Writer on your virtual book tour. I wish you continued success through the rest of you tour.

Thanks for inviting me to visit your blog and good luck!

GULP! VIRTUAL BOOK TOUR ’08 will officially begin on April 1, 2008 and continue all month. If you would like to follow Gabriella’s tour, visit http://www.virtualbooktours.wordpress.com/ in April. 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 April 30!

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