Truth, Next Exit by Michele Paiva Q&A + Blog Tour

Our guest today is Michele Paiva, author of the spiritual self-help book, Truth, Next Exit.

After a successful career as a television news reporter, writer and anchor, and previously, as a television choreographer, Paiva concurrently owned a performing arts and yoga therapy studio for almost two decades to satisfy her creative kinetic spirit and love of the arts and wellness. During this time, she refined her research skills, calling upon skills from her print journalism days, and embarked upon a new journey of exploring science and law more deeply. In addition, her decades of work in health and wellness; from myoskeletal therapy to yoga therapy and medical research and writing; she has been a writer of countless articles and several books on the topics of wellness that is attainable for every body. Spirituality is central to Paiva's life and she has enjoyed bringing this aspect to her work life as well.

The experience of working as a national legal advocate and seeing firsthand the damage of federally funded program abuse expedited her focus on educational advocacy writing and outreach. This catapulted into developing learning methods for gifted and twice-exceptional students as well as developing a national online coop to serve a niche that has been wildly ignored.

Although law and justice has been an integral aspect of Paiva's professional focus through writing and research, another area of specialization includes science; delving into biology, chemistry and health and wellness; with an added focus on advocacy in these realms.
From lepidoptery (study of butterflies) to the Title IX (anti-discrimination law), Paiva enjoys a variety of research and study outlets and is always open for more opportunities.

Always looking to problem solve and help others in their ventures, Paiva is always researching, and always networking with others to get their messages out; there is power in one but more power in many. is Paiva's site and she is always interested in hearing from others. She also has a blog, Musings, and welcomes visitors to leave a comment and interact.

One motto Paiva lives by, which was a basic foundation instilled by her parents, is to never limit challenges but challenge your limits and to strive to leave no opportunity wasted. Paiva feels that life is about being the best you can, without hurting anyone (including yourself) along the way, to learn to love, be loved and to forgive. )

Welcome to The Writer's Life, Michele Paiva. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

Aside from playing with chicken intestines and being brought to a psychologist when I was five for being able to disassociate when pretending to "blink" people away, I had a very normal childhood. Let me explain; I was brought up on a farmette and one time my father decided to butcher chickens. I was in elementary school and enjoyed science and was intrigued by the anatomy of the chickens.For the record, after that experience my family decided to stick to keeping the animals as pets only. 'Till this day, I do not eat chicken!

As far as the psychologist, I was obsessed with the show "I Dream of Jeannie", and the psychologist told my mother not to worry, that I was just creative. A few decades later and I still enjoy the show and have a show memorabilia collection!
That being said, I have been writing my entire life; always intrigued by the world around me, and always feeling that everyone has a story worth listening to and exploring. I've had an eclectic professional life in media that is closely interconnected, like the coat of many colors. I'm a spiritual person and love my life mostly, for the people in it, my family and friends and even my bratty little chihuahua.

Can you please tell us about your book and why you wrote it?

Let me tell you why I wrote it first, as that really helps understand the concept of the book. I guess I'll have to be honest here. It's not very nice how this book came about. It was the one book I did not set out to write. In fact, it came from a combination of observations. People would constantly ask me how I stayed thin, or what special diet I was on, or how often I worked out. At the same time, I am surrounded by many people who consider themselves religious or spiritual.

It occurred to me one day that people seemed so intrigued by my appearance of being fit and healthy or my lifestyle, that it was not the norm to them. It also occurred to me that people had no problem dedicating themselves to their churches of belief systems but the one gift that we have, life, we tend to abuse the most.
So, the truth is, I realized if more people lived in truth and stopped making excuses, and put their spirituality to work for their own body, mind and spirit, that they may actually find a peace and will power, and thus, empowerment.

The book, Truth: Next Exit, is a spiritual approach to dealing with issues of weight, finances, toxic relationships and even inner struggles. One need not be spiritual or religious but those who are may find more motivation. Those who are not, atheist to agnostic, still find the book extremely helpful. It is for people who are ready to make changes now, and own that responsibility.

What kind of research was involved in writing Truth: Next Exit?

A lifetime of research! I have had years in dance and yoga, professionally from television choreography to yoga therapy at medical clinics; I am a syndicated writer and do focus on wellness and medical research as some of my forte's and I am someone who has lived a life with both Judaism and Christianity, hand in hand, whilst being open to all religions and belief systems. So for me, this was a book born out of over twenty years of working with people and research that spanned reflex sympathetic dystrophy to how to lose weight, how to get over fibromyalgia, how to deal with a jilted lover and everything in between.

Has it been a bumpy ride to becoming a published author or has it been pretty well smooth sailing?

It's all relative. Life in general is a bumpy ride; I have just always had an attitude that if you are passionate about life you enjoy the bumps that come with it. Was it easy? Depends. Compared to writing a 1500 page article, yes. Compared to holding my dying mother [cancer] and telling her that it was alright for her to pass away, yes. So, if you keep things in perspective, it was bumpy but enjoyable to write and have this book published.

For this particular book, how long did it take from the time you signed the contract to its release?

Hmmm, to be honest, I am not sure. The idea was in my head for years, to be able to write a no-nonsense book that would help people empower themselves and feel good about while doing so. I knew it needed to be able to cross different obstacles, from weight to managing pain, to tackling finances and toxic relationships. It wasn't until I realized that the spiritual component was the missing factor. I suppose that came together about two years ago, but don't hold me to that, it's just an estimate.

Do you have an agent and, if so, would you mind sharing who he/is is? If not, have you ever had an agent or do you even feel it’s necessary to have one?

I have never had an agent and the friends that I do in writing who have them seem to have mixed feelings about their agents. I believe if you are not good at being assertive or promoting yourself, or you are not connected in media, that an agent would be a wonderful addition to your team. It is a team, it is a business, and like any business one must look objectively at the weak links and strengthen them. It an agent will strengthen the business of writing for a person, they should most certainly acquire one.

Do you plan subsequent books?

I am already in the process of writing more books and am very excited about the places they are stretching me as not only a writer and researcher but as a human. Our capacity is always higher than what we think.

Can you describe your most favorite place to write?

Oddly, there is not one specific place. Wherever I plant myself and begin writing is where I end of revisiting to complete the project. Truth: Next Exit was actually done for the most part, in the sitting area off of my bedroom, and the deck off of my bedroom, looking out over the aviary and listening to the zebra finches. I have an open aviary, meaning the birds are free all day and when they return at night, they are secured for safety. So many times, the finches flew right up to my deck to visit me.

If money was no object, what would be the first thing you would invest in to promote your book?

If money was not an object, I would simply give my book away. I think everyone should read it. They would feel better about themselves and better about others if they did. Inner peace and outer happiness; that is priceless. If it was just about promoting my book, I would hire a book promotion company, someone who only deals with authors, and I'd have them on speed dial and have them working with me every day of the year.

How important do you think self-promotion is and in what ways have you been promoting your book offline and online?

This actually ties into my book theme of being your own responsible party. Just like in spirituality, you can worship God and go to Church or Temple, you have to live a certain way to actually follow a path that is in alignment with your beliefs. Book promotion is similar. You should not just assume the book is ready to purchase and a few press releases are all you need. I do not care who you are, how great your agent, publisher or friends say you are, or how high-profile your publicist is, if you do not take matters into your own hands you are doing yourself a great disservice.
Remember, this is a business. If you had a lemonade stand and so did everyone else on your street, you'd have to get creative. I work hard at being creative. I utilize social networking sites and blogs, and hold contests. I love to interact with people and do strike up conversations often. I speak at colleges and universities, hold seminars and classes and because I'm also a syndicated radio host, I can utilize my air time here and there as well. In a nutshell, everything and anything I can think of is what I try to accomplish. I'm passionate about my work, so that makes it easy.

What’s the most common reason you believe new writers give up their dream of becoming published and did you almost give up?

I'll be painfully honest. Most people give up writing because their ego can't handle it or they realize it is more work than they thought. Everyone likes the idea of being a writer. I've talked to more book groups where really, only a small percentage of the people actually have finished manuscripts and sent them out. It is mostly people who want to write because they are looking for someone to confirm their talent or to feel accepted or something external. If a writer does not have that inner drive, where they do not care what someone else thinks or how hard they have to work, then they probably won't succeed. When I say succeed, I do not mean even just being published, I mean making a living off of writing. It's got to be their passion. Lose the ego and flex your muscles, writing is not for wimps.

Any final words of wisdom for those of us who would like to be published?

Do not let anyone else, be it a publisher, agent, your mother, your spouse, your kids, your mailman, the sarcastic nosy neighbor or your inner critic - do not let ANYONE put a limitation on you. In Truth: Next Exit, I talk about closing out external noise and how to do it. Look inward, and stay focused. You can do it. Believe in yourself. Don't be afraid to try. Don't be afraid to fail a few times; you may. People do not learn how to walk without a few stumbles. If you believe in God, or in some spiritual force, realize that this may be a gift for you to share. Feel the obligation to be the best you can be. Share your gift with the world.

Thank you for your interview, Michele Paiva. I wish you much success!

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