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Interview with Mannette Morgan

She is an inspirational speaker, life coach, and the author of Finding Your Voice. She survived 24 years of abuse that included emotional, physical, and sexual abuse starting as a young girl.

Her commitment to self-improvement and trauma recovery led her to becoming the committed and passionate abuse advocate she is today. She chose to transform from victim into survivor. She long to share that same determination, empowerment, and knowledge with other survivors.

Through speaking, workshops, coaching and retreats, she encourage and lead survivors on a path of recovery while helping them strive for their best life. Her wish is for others to live a life free of abuse and ultimately to end the abuse cycle.

Q.1 Tell us something about yourself not many people know?
A. I am dyslexic and have always struggled to read and write which affected my self-confidence as a child and young adult. It took years for me to overcome the challenges of my learning disability and to ultimately write Finding Your Voice – A Path to Recovery for Survivors of Abuse.

Q.2 When should we expect your next book? What will it be about? Do you have any plans to write an autobiography?
A. I have written a rough draft of my memoir, however, currently I’m working on a children’s book. This project teaches children how to find their voices if they find themselves in an abusive situation. I hope it will be a valuable resource for families, teachers, law enforcement, and justice system workers who help children speak up for themselves.

Q.3 When did you decide to write Finding Your Voice?
A. I decided to write Finding Your Voice when I was teaching at a local organization aimed at helping women in challenging, abusive, or dangerous situations. After several years of teaching, I realized I couldn’t fit all of the information I wanted to into a nine-week workshop. This realization, along with encouragement from family, and great consideration, prompted me to write Finding Your Voice. I have always wanted to educate others and help other survivors heal from their past trauma.

Q.4 How did you deal with the emotional impact of a book (on yourself) as you’re writing the story?
A. The whole experience of writing Finding Your Voice and sharing my own personal stories was empowering. I believe the process cleared up some unresolved emotional wounds from my past. I learned years ago that when I face my emotions as they arise and work through them, I consequentially have more joy and capacity for happiness. Personally, writing Finding Your Voice provided closure to years of healing and a path to purpose and fulfillment. 

Q.5 What were your feelings when your novel was accepted/when you first saw the cover of the finished product?
A. It was a monumental moment to see the finished product, and I certainly felt a sense of accomplishment. It took seven years to write Finding Your Voice. In that time, I spent many days wondering if I would ever finish and then considerable time strategizing what to do next. I didn’t know anyone who had written or published a book. Once I secured a publisher, it was an amazing journey to see it come to life with a beautiful cover as a finished product with the potential to help so many others.

Q.6 What do you want readers to take away from your book?
A. I want readers to know they are not alone and deserve more than the abuse they have experienced. I also want them to understand they have a choice to take back their life, heal their pain, and live with more happiness and joy - a life absent of abuse. My ultimate goal is to help survivors break the cycle of abuse in their lives and their children’s lives.  

Q.7 What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing your book?
A. What surprised me most is the fact that I could write a book; I could learn how to share my thoughts in written format. I had an amazing writing coach that thought me so much about the structure of writing along with so many other things.

Q.8 What was the hardest part of writing this book?
A. The hardest part for me was writing in such a way that was easy for others to understand. I’m dyslexic which makes it challenging to write and spell-even building sentence structure is a challenge! I naturally like to write sentences in reverse as I did as a child when I reversed letters and numbers. It has taken a tremendous amount of time and effort to learn how to flip my writing, and it took more than a year to learn how to put my thoughts on paper in a way that others could understand.

Q.9 Your book depicts many social issues, according to you what is the main reason that women have to go through all that?
A. Once a victim experiences abuse, self-worth and self-value collapse.  This lack of self-value leaves survivors vulnerable to more abuse. I feel it is the mindset of a victim that creates additional personal challenges.

Q.10 What is the best piece of advice anyone has ever given you?
A. My mom always told me each person has value and a unique set of skills. The challenge is to learn what we have to offer as individuals and to apply it to our lives. My mother shared great advice. She is the reason I am the person I am today.

Q.11 Who would you most like to thank for their involvement in your writing career?
A. I would like to thank Jen Clark. She is my editor and writing coach who has taught me more than any teacher I ever had in school. She is my sounding board and a tremendous gift in my life. Even today she edits all of my work and gives me insight on how to keep improving as I work on new projects and improve my skills.

Q.12 How does the empowerment of women affect development?
A. For every woman who becomes empowered, their children and their community in turn will become stronger. Women are known for being nurturing and compassionate. It is time for women to be known for their strength as well. When women embrace strength along with compassion then their girls will learn to strive for more in their own lives and value themselves as individuals. Strong women teach their sons to respect and value all women and recognize them as equals.

Q.13 Tell us about your writing process while you’re working?
A. I write as if I am speaking directly to someone as if in person. I focus on a question or subject then I share my thoughts. Once I express my thoughts on paper then I go back through what I have written and alter it into a more cohesive product. Next, I read it aloud and listen for any distractions or what I call bumps that keep the words from flowing consistently. I don’t try to make the process too challenging; I keep it pretty simple.

Q.14 Do you have any unique and quirky writing habits?
A. Not really. I prefer to write outside when the weather is good. Sometimes I listen to soft instrumental music with my earbuds to get in a rhythm. I do require a certain amount of quiet and solitude when I write.

Q.15 How does your family/friends feel about your book or writing venture in general?
A. I am extremely lucky that my entire family was encouraging - including my father who was emotionally abusive during my childhood. My parent, brothers, husband, and children are all supportive of my book and my mission to stop the cycle of abuse. My husband has been a huge support emotionally and financially, especially during my most challenging times as I wrote my story which was emotional. My mother who passed away only a couple of weeks after the release of my book was my biggest fan and my best friend. At least she was able to see the finished book. She encouraged me for years to write the book because she believed I needed to find a way to help other survivors of abuse. She was always so supportive of my healing work as a survivor.

Q.16 Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with good and bad ones?
A. Yes, I read all of them. I recognize that everyone has an opinion and not everyone agrees with me or my views. I always say: I only know my experiences with abuse and the healing I went through as a survivor. My ultimate goal is to share what I know in hopes that it will make a difference in someone else’s life.

Q.17 What would you share with folks who are skeptical of reading Non-Fiction?
A. I happen to be a non-fiction junkie. I love learning and growing as an individual. I personally feel non-fiction is a great way to obtain knowledge and has the potential to encourage others toward self-improvement. It can also be done privately for challenging subjects like abuse. I also love memoirs and learning about other people’s stories.

Q.18 Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
A. I would love to meet Oprah Winfrey to discuss how we as survivors of abuse can stop the cycle of abuse in our society while strategizing on how to help other survivors heal the pain of their past. I feel that as a victim of abuse the most valuable thing we lose is our self-worth which affects our self-respect and self-empowerment. These are the key beliefs every survivor needs to reclaim in order to break the cycle of abuse. I feel Oprah embodies both of these beliefs on multiple levels. She possesses years of insight on how to survive abuse, valuable information on various topics of self-help, and a wealth of knowledge from her own personal perspective. I would be honored if she would share even just a fraction of insight or knowledge she has acquired over an amazing lunch and a glass of wine - my treat, of course.

Q.19 What books have most influenced your life?
A. The Courage to Heal by Ellen Bass and Laura Davis was the first self-help book I ever read and started me toward a path of healing and recovery.

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls had a tremendous impact. I could see and feel her experience through her words. I also could relate to so many pieces of her life even though her story is very different than my own. It touched me on so many levels. 

Q.20 Share the experience of your journey so far?
A. My life’s journey has been amazing, and I feel I have come so far from that little girl suffering from abuse and growing up in small town, Texas, USA. I have overcome so many obstacles and live an amazing life. I’m happily married to a great man. Both of my children have graduated from college and have healthy relationships with their partners. My relationship with them and my family is loving, compassionate, and respectful. I couldn’t ask for anything more. I feel so honored to get to share my story and the knowledge I have acquired with other survivors of abuse, and I can’t wait to see what is next.

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