CS: Why did you decide to write Women Money and Intimacy: How to Create Real Wealth in Your Life? Was there something specific that inspired you to write it?
Kirsty: Yes, in 2007, whilst serving in Iraq, a roadside bomb hit my husband’s armored vehicle. He, and the other crew members, survived, but he returned with mental wounds, later described as Post-Traumatic Stress. We embarked upon a healing journey together, because I understood, at a deeper level, that the strain of this dis-ease was not just about him. It was also strongly related to the struggle I had chosen for my life. I wanted to change that. After several years of being on the path of personal discovery, and as I learned about myself as a co-creator of my reality, I began to ask the question “For what purpose did I create this momentous event in my life?” I knew, at the moment he called me to tell me what had happened, I felt a sense of peace and clarity, but I was unsure why. The book led me deeper down the rabbit hole of my own life, to unveil decisions I had made very early in life, which impacted my life in the present.
CS: Did you draw up a clear outline of the book before you began writing or did it take shape as you wrote it?
Kirsty: My original outline looked nothing like the end result of my book! When I had the idea for the book I believed it would be a collaboration of stories and teachings, from both my own life, as well as case studies of women with whom I have worked. As my writing began to take more shape, and I worked with Lisa Tener, she encouraged me to ‘go deeper.’ As I went deeper and deeper into the story, on each occasion, I discovered a richness that was not there when I was simply describing an event.
For example, the scene I share where I am in the kitchen, and I lash out at James, was an incredibly emotional and raw event for me to write about. But as I gently encouraged myself to remember details of the story, my healing was profound, and my writing reflected it, because I allowed the truth of the story to simply flow, without resisting it.
CS: Did you have to do any research before writing this book? How did you know when you had enough information about this topic to write it the way you imagined?
Kirsty: My research was purely into my own perception and experience of my life. As I allowed myself to fully feel the emotion associated with these experiences, I knew I had enough information. Each time I went over my work and experienced an emotional release, I looked further in to it, and added more. When I read the manuscript and it felt complete, with little emotional charge for me, I knew I was complete.
CS: This book has a lot of particular features, such as the How to Read section, the interchanging fonts and voices throughout, the blanks where readers can fill in their answers, and several instances of your own personal stories. When you were thinking about how to write a self-help book–and working with Lisa Tener–how did you decide to use these different features and what effect do you think it has on the reader’s experience?
Kirsty: I did some research into book layout, as I knew I wanted it to be an interactive book. I liked the idea of ‘How To Read This Book,’ because I want readers to have the richest experience possible. The story in the book, mostly follows a chronological sequence, so I wanted readers to be aware that if they skip ahead in the book to other chapters, they may not receive the entire learning, because the story illustrates the teachings, or ‘self-help’ component. These stories assist readers, and provide them with an example, as they are asked to answer questions about their own stories and decisions. Switching between these components, I believe, helps readers to reflect upon their own experience, and adds to empathy between author and reader. The feedback I have received from readers has confirmed this intention for me. Those who have written to me told me they resonate so clearly with many of the stories, as if they could be their own.
CS: This book includes what seem to be somewhat different voices including quotes of others, the more objective self-help voice, and the memoir-like voice of your personal stories. When considering how to write a self-help book, how did you determine what voices or style to use in Women Money and Intimacy: How to Create Real Wealth in Your Life? Did you experiment with certain styles or voices before deciding? How do you think a writer can know the right voice to use for their book and target audience?
Kirsty: It is very important to have a clear idea of your target audience, their desires, their needs, their life circumstance, etc. As you write, this allows you to speak to a particular person, because you know so much about her/him. The more you know yourself, the more comfortable you are speaking to this person, because you are not afraid they will judge you. You see them, and you understand they see you, so you are able to write from a space that is honest and resonates. I sent certain chapters to friends, and asked them for feedback, keeping in mind they only had part of the story. I was able to gauge their responses according to the part of the story I gave them, and decided whether the voice was right, or not.
CS: One of the aspects I was most interested in Women Money and Intimacy: How to Create Real Wealth in Your Life was the concept introduced of “Your Deepest Self.” Can you tell us a little bit more about this idea? How did you develop or discover this concept? How do you think Your Deepest Self was involved in the writing and producing of this book?
Kirsty: ‘Your Deepest Self’ came from the concept of going deep down in to the well of emotion, or deep in to the closet of skeletons, and exploring those parts of yourself you have kept hidden – so you’re not judged, or so you can avoid confrontation, or so you can please others. When we have lived our life trying our hardest NOT to be judged, or avoiding conflict, or TRYING to please others all the time, it’s really confronting to reconnect with this essential part of you, who is actually the little soul inside who is pure, and who knows you don’t have to do these things to live a rich and authentic life. Your Deepest Self, to me, is Your Soul.
Your Deepest Self is the part of you who knows you don’t have to be afraid, because there is actually nothing to be afraid of, because Your Soul chose each of your experiences to evolve and grow into the next greatest version of yourself. Your Deepest Self lives in your heart. This is how I developed the concept. My questions were all about my ability to co-create my reality, and live from a space of love and compassion. This is the purpose of Your Soul, when it decides to inhabit a body and live a human existence. My questions, and my personal discovery, as I went deeper in to the closet, or down in to the well, to connect with My Deepest Self allowed me to not just know, but to EXPERIENCE these theories. I see my Deepest Self, my Soul, as the part of me that effortlessly binds my Higher Self – which is connected to Spirit and all-knowingness; and my Physical Self – this body I see when I look in the mirror; so they can live in harmony.
CS: This book overall reads like a self-help book or kind of a how-to guide, but there are so many aspects and sections that are very memoir-like in their personal nature. Was it a conscious choice to kind of blend genres? How do you think the relationship between author and reader differs with a self-help book or kind of how-to guide, as opposed to another genre, such as a memoir? How do you think a writer can decide what genre is appropriate for a work and the work’s audience?
Kirsty: Yes, it was a conscious choice. At the beginning, it was not my intention to write a memoir. But as the book began to take shape, I saw the memoir components as necessary to complement the teachings. With a how-to, I believe the author writes from a space of authority, but doesn’t always provide personal example. In my work, and in my teaching, I always provide personal examples to illustrate my teaching, because it raises the level of empathy and resonance. It was only natural for me, as I found my unique voice in writing, to write the book in this way. Once again, when the author knows him/herself, and has a very clear idea of the reader, the genre becomes apparent.
CS: Lisa [Tener] tells me that you participated in her Bring Your Book to Life program. What can you tell us about that experience? How did it teach you how to write a self-help book? How did it shape or change your writing process or the book itself? How important do you think getting that kind of feedback or input is for a writer and their process?
Kirsty: I’m so grateful for my experience with Lisa. I credit the program with shaping the book. The book would not be what it is today if I had not participated. Sharing experiences with other hopeful authors, and working alongside them, whilst we are all writing, is invaluable. Lisa taught me lots of little things about how to write a book and what works. Her constant feedback of ‘go deeper’ was frustrating at times! But it helped me develop the book into something really special (that’s my opinion!).
CS: What are some of the steps you took to get Women Money and Intimacy: How to Create Real Wealth in Your Life published? How did you choose this method of publishing?
Kirsty: I decided to self-publish. It took me two years to gain the courage to finish the book and put it out there, and it is in my nature, when I decide to do something, to just jump right in! I sent the required parts of my manuscript to a couple of agents and publishing houses, and I received a fantastic response back from one agent. She didn’t want to represent me, but she provided me with an amazing critique, and lots of useful advice and suggestions. This experience was important for me, as I decided to use it as a positive, rather than feel as though I had failed. I have always known how much this book would help women, and the process has been as much about getting out of my own way, as it is continuing to persist.
The self-publishing option is low-cost, and very simple. It has also taught me a great deal about self-promotion, and self-generation. I would recommend it for anyone who just wants to get their message out there, and who is ready to talk about and share their book in whatever way works best for them.
CS: What do you think worked well with this method of publishing as opposed to other methods? What do you think didn’t work as well?
Kirsty: I published with Create Space, which is a subsidiary of Amazon. You can choose an ‘Expanded Distribution’ option, which means libraries etc. can order copies of your book. The book is printed on demand, which is great. I was able to just get it out there, rather than waiting on a publishing house to decide. The only downside for me, (which has not been a huge obstacle, really), is that the printing press is located in the U.S. and I am in Australia, so my postage costs, and lag time for receiving books, are increased. It’s a small price to pay for the convenience of print on demand, especially at the early stages of the publishing process.
CS: There are a lot of choices writers must make about who to work with on their book, such as publishers, agents, editors, etc. How did you decide who to work with? Did having the personal accounts and stories in the book affect this decision at all? What advice do you have for writers on choosing who they work with, particularly for publishing a self-help book?
Kirsty: Go with what feels right. Place an intention on what you want, and stay open to the opportunities that present themselves. I decided I was ready to give structure to the book, and not long after that I listened to a call with Lisa. What she had to say resonated with me, so I went for the Bring Your Book To Life program. Even though I have self-published, I still hold the intention to be picked up by a publishing house, so I stay open to opportunities, and keep putting it out there. Every little bit goes toward the final outcome. Just be clear about what you want. (As I say in the book!)
CS: Did you encounter any roadblocks during the writing and publishing processes? How did you overcome these? What advice do you have for readers encountering similar roadblocks?
Kirsty: Yes! Me! I was afraid to write an outline. I was afraid to start writing. I was afraid to give it structure. I was afraid to show others. I was afraid to finish. I thought it should be perfect, and I should be perfect, before I put it out there. My advice is to keep ‘going deeper’! Do it at your own pace. My book was finished and published in perfect time. As long as you hold your intention, which is usually to publish your book, it will happen. Go easy on yourself and keep taking steps in that direction. It works!
CS: How can our readers reach you?
Kirsty: You can buy the book on Amazon, which contributes to the ‘bestseller’ totals (which publishers look at when they’re deciding to take you on as an author), or via my website (from which I actually receive a greater portion of the profit!). I don’t mind which one you choose! I also work with people one-on-one, and I conduct regular retreats for small groups of women, which allow you to delve deeper into the concepts presented in Women Money and Intimacy. I live in Australia, but work with women from all over the world.
Kirsty Greenshields is a wellbeing and wealth mentor, and co-founder of The Centre For Resilient Leadership. Kirsty believes we are all the same, and when we share our stories with each other, we realize we are not alone, which is the essence of strong personal and professional leadership. She has lived an eclectic life – from army officer to naturopath; divorced by the age of 24, and remarried at 29; almost widowed at 32 after her husband was hit by a roadside bomb in Iraq, and her second child born 12 months to the day after that tragic event. Kirsty believes she has been blessed to learn valuable life lessons at a young age and, by integrating the results of her lessons, she can teach others how to change their lives, if they choose. You can contact her, and find out more, at her website.
Feel free to share questions for Kirsty below on her writing process, how to write a self-help book, her publishing process or Women, Money and Intimacy.