Kristie Booker is an author, blogger and a Wellness Coach. She enjoys coaching and inspiring women through her writing as well as in person. As our Author of the Day, Booker tells us about her latest novel, Blooming into Life, and the inspiration behind it.
Please give us a short introduction to what Blooming into Life is about.
Growing up on a farm in Brockville, Illinois, did not prepare Colleen O’Brien Adler to be the wife of a wealthy entertainment lawyer living in Chicago. It certainly didn’t prepare her to be Dinah Adler’s daughter-in-law. The stay-at-home mother of two has more than she’s ever wanted—a personal stylist, a prestigious country club membership, a multimillion-dollar home—but she finds herself not only struggling with depression and body image but also failing as a parent and fearing for her marriage. Her life is about to change when an invitation to a wellness meeting arrives in her inbox. With some coaxing from personal coach Kory Stone, she commits to a new beginning. But will she be able to overcome the things that are holding her back?
What inspired you to put a farm girl in a high-society city environment?
I’m a farm girl at heart. I was born and raised in a small rural town in the middle of Illinois. Much of the fictional town Brockville is based on my hometown of Chrisman, IL. Although I am not part of the high-society city culture described in the book, I often find myself in social situations very different from how I grew up. I wanted to take the character on a journey of self-acceptance. This quote from Maya Angelo perfectly sums up Colleen’s lesson: “You are only free when you realize you belong no place. You belong everyplace. No place at all. The price is high, the reward is great.”
Tell us more about Colleen O'Brien Adler. What makes her so special?
Colleen’s self-worth has been broken by her desperate need to fit in and belong. She numbs her pain with a bottle of wine every night followed by caffeine and sugar all day long until she can get to her next glass of wine. Her fears about her husband having an affair drive her to get her act together. In order to find peace, she must dig deep to find the courage to be vulnerable and develop enough empathy and compassion for herself to begin to love and accept who she is. Her journey is a journey that all women must go through. Learning to love and accept who we are is hard. But, until we fully love, accept and celebrate who we are, we deprive the world of all the gifts we have to offer.
Why did you decide to call the book "Blooming into Life?"
I’ve always associated life with the seasons. Spring is when life begins, summer is mid-life, fall is retirement, and winter is the end. Technically, life begins when we are born but for most of us, we have to figure out a lot of stuff before we can really live a meaningful life. Although we may have mini blooms during our springtime, the real blooming usually happens after life has dealt us some tough lessons. Blooming Into Life represents the experience my character goes through in her journey of rising up and shining through her struggles.
You have been working as a wellness coach. How much have the experiences in your job influenced your writing?
My work as a wellness coach inspired my story. I began noticing how many women (myself included) measure their self-worth by the number on the scales, the price tag of their clothing, and the status of the social group they belong to. Knowing that this was all in the name of acceptance, I decided to write a story about a woman searching for acceptance.
Your book not only deals with emotional wellbeing, but also physical wellbeing - where your main character gets to do a cleanse. Why did you take this approach?
A writing teacher once told me to write what I know. I know that emotional well-being and physical well-being go hand in hand. I wanted to create a story that touched on body, mind, and spirit. I wanted to illustrate the power of replacing unhealthy food with healthy food and taking out alcohol and excessive amounts of caffeine. Colleen needed a total reset.
Besides writing, what other secret skills do you have?
I love to cook. I enjoy going to our local farmer's market and do my best to cook what's local and in season. When my kids were little and I wasn’t working, we spent several summers eating exclusively from what we could purchase at the farmer’s market.
Readers say that they gleaned a lot of practical tips from this book. Why did you opt to write it in story-form instead of writing it as a self-help book?
I love self-help and personal development books. I’ve read so many and didn’t believe I had much more to add to what has already been written. I was excited to take a lot of the information that I had read over the years and put it into action with fictional characters.
What was your greatest challenge when writing this book?
The most difficult thing I had to overcome on my path to writing this book was to get over my own self-limiting thoughts. I wasn’t able to accept myself as a writer until I found the courage to allow my best be good enough and was able to love and appreciate what that looked like for me. I had to learn that the things that make me different make me unique. The history and experiences in my life help me craft the stories that I tell and make me as worthy as anyone else that calls themselves a writer.
Do you consider yourself a disciplined writer? Do you have a schedule that you stick to, or is it more in the moment?
I am a disciplined writer. When I’m working on a project, I dedicate 4-5 hours in the morning to my writing. I have to have a schedule and I have to be alone.
What do you hope readers take away from the novel?
Blooming Into Life is meant to be a fun and light read that warms your heart and leaves the reader feeling inspired to be their best.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
Although I enjoy inspiring women in person through my coaching practice, I most enjoy inspiring through stories. As a wellness coach, I love creating relatable characters with similar issues that I see women face every day. I love the entire writing process. I could spend an hour pouring over one sentence. The mornings that I spent writing this book were some of my most magical moments.
What are you working on right now?
In addition to working with clients in my coaching practice, I’m currently working on a story about another woman with difficult life circumstances and self-imposed roadblocks. After the sudden death of her husband, Sydney Klein must figure out who she is and how she is going to raise her 10-year-old son alone.
Where can our readers discover more of your work or interact with you?
Readers can discover more of my work and interact with me on my website, facebook or Instagram: http://www.kristiebooker.com/ https://www.facebook.com/KristieBookerAuthor/ Kristie Booker (@kristiebooker) • Instagram photos and videos