I met Niki on WordPress a little more than a year ago, and we instantly connected. I related to the premise of her blog, The Richness of a Simple Life. She’s always been amazingly supportive and encouraging, not only to me, but to all of her fellow bloggers.
Niki has written her first book that’ll be out soon, and I’m so excited for her! Click here to get to Niki’s book page.
Wage War On Your Mind & Fight For Your Life details Niki’s 17-year struggle with depression. Along her journey to recovery, she devised strategies to heal herself through self-care and self-love. She shares her plan and personal stories in her new book.
Readers will see how Niki transformed from being severely depressed to living a positive and productive life, filled with hope and confidence. She’s now a life coach, helping women find their purpose and live their best life.
I was honored to be a beta reader for Niki’s book. You can read my review here.
Recently I had the chance to get to know Niki better. Even though we live thousands of miles apart, it felt like we were sitting and chatting, enjoying a latte together. Please join us…
First of all, congratulations on publishing your first book! When did you decide to write it, and why?
Thank you, Jenny! Well, it’s not something I planned on. I was actually inspired to write a book while washing the dishes one day. I thought it was a strange thought to go through my mind because I was listening to a podcast and I had no idea where that idea came from. The very next day as I washed dishes again, I had to stop, wash all of the soap bubbles off of my hands and get to my laptop because the title came to me and I wanted to write it down before I forgot it.
I sat down to type it up along with a vision I had for the cover. I ended up drafting the first three chapters of the book. This was back around the end of September of last year. I’ve tried writing a couple of fiction novels in the past that didn’t go anywhere; part of me thought that might be the case with this. Deep down I knew this was something I was going to move forward with because I’ve never had that sort of experience before. I felt like the words were flowing out of me and I had to type as fast as I could to keep up with them.
You have two little girls. How old are they? I’m sure they’re curious about what you’ve been writing, and what your book is about. What do you tell them?
I do! My oldest is 8-years-old and my youngest recently turned 2. My youngest doesn’t quite get it yet. She’s seen the drafts and I tell her it’s a book but she can’t understand why it’s not in her hand or on her bookshelf. She gets excited when she sees me on the computer and asks if that’s my book and wants to see the pictures. I actually just explained the content of my book to my oldest a few weeks ago. I wanted her to hear it from me rather than overhearing a conversation. I explained to her that Mommy went through a really rough time up until a few years ago. I felt so bad about myself I didn’t want to exist but that I found a way to get better and I thought it was my duty to share that with other people. I explained that there are lots of other people that feel the way I did and even though I was scared to share that, I had a feeling it might help someone. She had a lot of questions and was confused because thankfully she was too young to remember me in those days. She’s very proud that I’ve decided to move forward with the book and is one of my biggest supporters.
There’s a lot of stigma surrounding mental illness. Was it difficult for you to open up and share your story on your blog, and now your book?
There is, I think talking about it and having open honest conversations is crucial. You know, it wasn’t as difficult to share on my blog. I don’t think very many people that I know in person read my blog. I’ve made a lot of really great friends blogging and they know me in a way many people don’t. I actually feel very comfortable sharing about this topic on my blog. Writing the book itself was relatively easy although there were some parts that were a little harder for me to write about. I reveal things about myself that those closest to me know but that’s it. So knowing that some of my most personal struggles will be out there for everyone to see makes me feel vulnerable. I felt that transparency was crucial and decided I just couldn’t worry about what people would think.
As I wrote, I really tried to take myself back to that point in my life so I could speak to people that are where I was. I was actually surprised by how much harder it’s been for me to move forward with the last few stages of the publishing process. I’m very excited to get this out but I’m not going to lie, there’s a part of me that’s thinking “are you crazy? you’re really going to go through with this?”. I’m a little nervous but most of all I’m proud of moving forward even though there’s a little fear. I’m also humbled to share my story in a way that is meant to empower those who can relate to it.
You’ve taken a photography class, and from what I’ve seen, you’re taking beautiful pictures! Did you take the photos for your book?
I did complete a photography course! Aw, thank you! You know, I put a lot of effort and energy into writing the book and wanted to make sure the content was of the quality I wanted to put my name on. I wanted to take the photos but I thought that might delay the process. In the end, I used images on a site that photographers can share their work under a creative commons license that doesn’t require attribution. I in turn, shared the number of photos I used for my book and felt that was an even exchange. I do have one photo in the book that I took which is of my girls. The photos of me were self-portraits but the rest are not my own. I have to say the images are beautiful, and I’m so in awe of the talent of the photographers that shared their work.
Have you enjoyed the process of writing and publishing? Will you be writing a second book?
I have! Inspiration is a funny thing. Sometimes I’d start writing late at night once everyone was asleep. Other times I’d be sound asleep and wake up at 3 in the morning and know it was time to write. As a creative, I love the writing but don’t enjoy the process quite as much. This is my first time publishing so there was a lot of research to do and once I fell into that black hole it was hard to get out. That stifled my creative part of the process, so I decided to just write and take breaks a week at a time to do research. That ended up working out well for me. I have to say, I was able to lean on my network of bloggers which was a great help.
Actually yes, there will be a second book. I already have the outline of the second book ready and soon I’ll start working on my first draft. I wasn’t planning on it but as the book came together, I realized it was probably best to break it up into two parts. This book details the process I used to overcome depression. The process happened in two stages. The first stage was roughly two years and consisted of me climbing out of rock bottom and trying not to fall back in the hole I climbed out of. The second stage was once I was far enough away from that hole, I just had to keep my distance and keep moving forward. I also combine life coaching into the book so I thought it might be easier for the reader to work on using this two-stage approach as well because it’s not a weekend read, the reader needs to take action as well.
Favorite food? Green chili chicken enchiladas
Favorite genre of book to read? Crime thrillers
Do you like to cook? Favorite dish? I love to cook! A family favorite is a spinach and pesto stuffed pork tenderloin with a red wine reduction sauce I learned to make in a cooking class. I serve it with baked sweet potatoes and roasted vegetables on the side. I’ll have to send you the recipe. (she did, and I can’t wait to try it!)
Do you like to travel? Where would you like to go next? Oh my gosh, I love to travel! My dream is to own an RV so we can full-time within the next 5 years. I’d like to take my family to visit a town I lived in as a child in Germany.