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Interview with S.P.B Berry

Q.1 Tell us a little about yourself?
A. I currently reside in Washington State, south of Seattle. I live with my partner, Anthony of five years, we both work day jobs in offices and are just trying to figure out our twenties. First and foremost I am a proud pet mom. I just recently adopted an adorable mutt in December and Gracie has been the perfect addition to our family. She loves her big brother, our 20lb cat named Oliver. She is brave and wild. She inspires and pushes me to be brave and wild myself. I know that is a little strange, but it's true. I have so much more joy in my life since adopting her. I go places I'd never go because of her. We love the beautiful outdoors here in WA.

Q.2 Are we going to read more from you shortly? Any new project you’re working on?
A. Yes! I actually stopped writing my sci-fi fantasy series to write this book. I hope to have the first book in the series published by the end of the year. I also have the audiobook version of B*tch, F*cking, LoveYourself coming out next weekend 08/10/2019. It’s narrated by Pete Ferrand and he is doing such a fantastic job. He truly brings the book to life, and if you thought reading Chapter 3: Assholes was funny, hearing it is even better.

Q.3 Where do you get your ideas?
A. B*tch, F*cking, Love Yourself was inspired by all the lovely women in my life. In times of crisis, these women, whether we were friends or acquaintances have shared some of the most amazing advice. We would sit down and deep dive into what we think it means to love ourselves. I decided that those deep conversations were important enough to write down. Strong women are so powerful, they are dynamic and insightful. I can only aspire to be like the lovely woman I am surrounded with. The people I feel lucky enough to call my friends.

Q.4 What advice do you have for writers?
A. Don't be afraid of what you have to say. Whether good or bad. We need writers all over the spectrum. We need gruesome horror to nonfiction inspirational stories. So write whatever your heart is calling you to write. And know that we all will hate our own work at some point, feel like what we are writing is stupid and no one will want to read it. Just don't listen to that thought; it's not true. I promise someone does want to hear what you have to say.

Q.5 How do you come up with the name of this book?
A. I just wanted to make people laugh. It's relatable and I think captures the book's essence.

Q.6 If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
A. Don't wait. Don't put this to the side. Don't give up your dreams. Don't be afraid of your ideas. I wish I would have started my writing earlier in my life. I always loved it. But the things I liked to write about were considered scandalous in my very religious home. I wasn't allowed to read Harry Potter, to give you an idea of how things were. But I loved and craved fantasy, I would hide books I wasn't allowed to read all over the house and read them when no one was around. Writing also wasn't considered something I could make a living off of (not like I am) so I was pushed into the traditional nine-to-five job. I tried to convince myself that I didn't want to write, that I wanted to sit in a cubicle for eight hours straight. But it wasn't me, and it caught up with me in the form of panic attacks and depression. I found that once I started writing again, it felt like I was at home, the panic attacks stopped and my depression started to clear up. So young me, please pursue your dreams.

Q.7 What are the most important magazines or websites for writers to subscribe to?
A. This one of course. I think blogs like this one are important to help writers have an understanding of the community that is out there. I am still trying to find my place in it.

Q.8 In what areas of your life it is easiest to demonstrate self-care? In what areas it is most difficult?
A. I think it's easy to practice self-care during your normal daily routine. I try to have it worked into my day. Right now, self-care looks like cuddling up in my bed with my pets and watching RuPaul's Drag Race when I get home from work. I think for me personally, where I struggle with self-care is when I have to schedule something outside of my normal routine. For example, making time to see my friends, getting a massage, making appointments with my therapist, going to the gym. These things are difficult because I have to set aside extra time for them. So I struggle with consistency with these things. I do them here and there; I need to be better about it. I'm working on it.

Q.9 How do you deal with that lingering, creeping thoughts of doubt and fears?
A. I am trying to get myself accustomed to sitting in these feelings. With generalized anxiety disorder and depression, I struggle with routine toxic thoughts. When I am experiencing creeping thoughts of doubts and fears, I acknowledge them first and foremost. I try to figure out where they are stemming from. Sometimes they are coming from nothing, and my anxiety is causing them. So I am kind towards those thoughts. I let them exist for a bit. I get familiar with them. I sit with them. And then I slowly climb my way out of them. It's much easier to work your way away from those thoughts once you understand why they are happening. I get out of them by writing them down, talking with a friend about them, or even talking out loud to myself as I work through them. Sometimes you just need to get out of your own head. So going to the gym or a walk helps. Eventually, I know the thoughts will pass and I take comfort in that.

Q.10 How long on average does it take you to write a book?
A. Depends on the content. I have been working on my Sci-fi, a fantasy novel for almost a year now. But B*tch, F*cking Love, Yourself only took me a month to write. Simply because it was drawn from real-life personal experiences and conversations. I don't have to create a whole new world like I am currently doing in my next book.

Q.11 Does your family support your career as a writer?
A. They actually don't know that I am doing this and I don't think they should, I doubt they would support it. The only person that does know is my partner Anthony and one cashier at my local Trader Joe's, she is a writer too. I am kind of in the closet. I need to come out and tell my friends. I will eventually, I am still working up the courage to be public with my decision.

Q.12 Do you believe in writer’s block?
A. Oh yes. It is very real and happens to everyone.

Q.13 Does writing energize you or exhaust you?
A. It energizes me. Gives me life. Makes me feel whole and full of purpose.

Q.14 Do you have any unique and quirky writing habits?
A. I like to write from start to finish. It's hard for me to write disjointed chapters.

Q.15 What do you consider being your best accomplishment?
A. Hands down publishing this book. It's my first one. It is a huge milestone. I can't believe I did it. I still want to pinch myself daily to make sure it's real. I am on cloud nine.

Q.16 What is the most unethical practice in the publishing industry?
A. Censorship. I knew with the kind of content I wanted to publish, that I couldn't go to a traditional publisher. So I self-published with Amazon. While I am so grateful for Kindle Direct Publishing, Amazon as a platform will not allow me to advertise my book because of the use of the word orgasm and the censored curse words on the title. I feel that it's an infringement on my freedom of speech as a writer, but it is the world we live in.

Q.17 Who edited your book and how did you select him/her?
A. I actually did not use an editor for my book. I need to find one. So any recommendations?

Q.18 Which famous person, living or dead, would you like to meet and why?
A. Emma Watson. She is a feminist icon. She is so graceful, witty, and uses her platform for good. I admire her.

Q.19 What is your favorite book and why?
A. Terry Goodkind's Sword of Truth Series. It is so well written in my opinion. He created these dynamic characters and wasn't afraid to push the boundaries of the fantasy world. I binged that entire series.

Q.20 Share the experience of your journey so far?
A. It has been eye-opening; I am forever learning what it takes to be in this field. It is not easy. It takes persistence and patience.

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Twitter - @S_P_B_Berry

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