AUTHOR INTERVIEW: Jackqui Letran, author of 'I Would, But My Damn Mind Won't Let Me!'

Jacqui Letran is a passionate and energetic leader who is truly gifted at helping teens transform into confident, happy and successful young adults. Jacqui teaches teens that success and happiness are possible, regardless of their current struggles or circumstances.

Jacqui is an International Best Selling Author, National Speaker, and Founder of Teen Confidence Academy. She has 17 years of experience in Adolescent Health as a Nurse Practitioner, Success Coach and Teen Confidence Expert. Jacqui is passionate and committed to guiding teens to achieve remarkable success in their academic and personal lives.

She is also the winner of the:
2016 Literary Classics Lumen Award and Gold Medal for Youth Non-Fiction
2016 Readers' Favorite Gold Medal Award for Young Adult Non-Fiction

When not working with teens or writing, you can find her traveling in her RV, hiking with her dog or spoiling her three cats. She now lives in
Asheville, North Carolina.

Her latest book, I Would, But My Damn Mind Won't Let Me! is available at Amazon.



Q: Welcome to The Writer's Life!  Now that your book has been published, we’d love to find out more about the process.  Can we begin by having you take us at the beginning?  Where did you come up with the idea to write your book?

I grew up with a love for books.  I struggled a lot with low self-esteem and difficulty connecting with people when I was younger, so books were my friends.  I remember going to the library and checking out 3-4 books at a time and devouring them.  Having these books gave me a sense of escape from the pressures of daily life.  As I got older, my love for books continued.  

I never entertained the idea of being an author until my clients requested it repeatedly.  I am blessed to have a private practice helping people take control of their lives by taking control of their minds.  I believe in helping people overcome their problems and giving them the tools to be their source of strength and power. So with each client, I would teach them about their mind and how to take control of it.  There is a lot of information to digest so my clients would ask me for a written summary.  After repeatedly hearing this request, the most logical thing to do was write a book.  

As the book evolved, I became more excited. I realized how important books were to me when I was a teen in need of help, and here was my chance to pay it forward.  And although the content in my book applies to anyone, whether young or old, I wrote the book specifically to help teens.  I hope that my work can reach teens who need some extra support. I want the book to help them feel less alone, give them some insights, as well as tools so they can go after what they want in life.

Q: How hard was it to write a book like this and do you have any tips that you could pass on which would make the journey easier for other writers?

My journey to becoming an author started slightly bumpy but turned out pretty smooth. When I decided to write my books, I sat down at my desk and started typing. I wanted every sentence to be perfect, so I would type, delete and rewrite. Then type, delete, and rewrite again. After hours of hard work, I only had a few paragraphs to show for it.

It was so frustrating.  I knew my topic very well, yet, I couldn’t articulate it.  I knew that if I continued to write this way, it would take years to complete my book.  I had a message that I wanted to share, and I did not want to wait (or work) that long to get it out.

This was when I decided to write everything out in longhand.  I bought a cute notebook, something small enough for me to take everywhere I go.  I would go to a local coffee shop or to the beach, and when the inspiration came, I would begin to write.  I wrote as if I were teaching the material to a client.  I wrote freely; no re-reading, and no editing.  I spent two to three hours writing each day, and within seven weeks I had the first draft done. It took several days for me to type everything up and then the first round of editing began.

I self-published my book approximately eight weeks after I started the writing process. It hit #1 in several categories and several countries on launch day and has consistently stayed within the top 20 books in those categories for the past two years.  

My tip to other writers is to take a deep breath in and just go for it.  Put your best effort into your work, but avoid aiming for perfection.  That’s just an excuse to not get your work out there.  If you believe in the message you have, then be willing to take a little risk to show the world your knowledge and talent.  Know in advance that not everyone will like your work and that you might receive some criticism… and that’s okay.  You will reach the people who need to hear your message, in a way that only you can deliver it.  Think about it, if you can reach just one person and change their life because of your work, wouldn’t that alone be worth it?

Q: Who is your publisher and how did you find them or did you self-publish?

I self-published my book. The ability to self-publish definitely gives me more confidence in moving forward with my work.  When I first started research publishing options, the traditional publishing route was overwhelming.  There is so much more that I would have to do to secure a publisher.  If traditional publishing was my only option, I’m not sure I would have gone ahead and written my two books.  There’s definitely a lot to learn about self-publishing, but it is a much easier entry into the authorship world.

Q: Is there anything that surprised you about getting your first book published?

I was very pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to get a book published.  Yes, there is a lot that goes into publishing your book, but there are a lot of amazing resources out there.  CreateSpace for print books and Amazon Kindle for eBooks are probably the two biggest players in the self-publishing world, and they have many free resources available for authors.  

Q: What other books (if any) are you working on and when will they be published?

I have two books in the works.  One is the second edition of my book, 5 Simple Questions to Reclaim Your Happiness! I have been getting some awesome feedback and requests, so I’m working new ideas into the next edition.  Many readers requested more case studies, so I’m adding in several more.  Also, I’m making part of this edition a workbook so readers can follow along and use the questions and other tools provided to quickly reclaim their happiness.  

The second book I’m working on is called, How to Unleash Your Inner Super Powers and Destroy Anxiety and Self-Doubt.  This is the third book in my Words of Wisdom for Teen Series, and it is the most fun to write so far.  I’m working toward a late August release, just in time to help teens to go back to school with increased confidence, having learned about their own Inner Super Powers!

Q: What’s one fact about your book that would surprise people?

I think people will be pleasantly surprised to learn that they do in fact have the power to control their thoughts and feelings, and it’s easier than they might believe today.

Q: Finally, what message (if any) are you trying to get across with your book?

Through my book, I hope to either introduce or reinforce the concept that you have the power to control your thoughts and feelings and whatever you focus on, becomes your reality. Even if your current external environment is not favorable, you can change your mindset, and you are able to free yourself from your suffering.  

Unfortunately, as humans, we will experience pain from time to time, but suffering is optional.  You are always at choice on how to feel, and by that I mean, you have the power to decide how to feel about any situation. You can choose to focus on the negative aspects and feel bad and weighted down, or you can focus on the positive aspects and purposefully decide on your next course of action that will bring you more peace, success, and happiness. The choice is always yours.

Q: Thank you again for this interview!  Do you have any final words?

Yes, I want to leave readers with two simple, yet powerful lessons I learned several years ago.  The first lesson is, “Change your thoughts, change your life!”  The second lesson is, “Happiness is an inside job.”

What I mean by that is if you look for happiness in your environment, whether it's to be popular, or to date a certain person, or have a particular material thing — you will find your happiness short-lived because the things that “happen out there” aren’t within your control.  The person or conditions that you are validating your happiness with can change or go away. And when that happens, you’ll need to search for another source to make you happy.  

When you are happy with yourself, regardless of what happens in your environment, you can look inward and focus on the things that bring you true joy and happiness.  

This all begins with taking control of your thoughts and feelings.  Even if your circumstance is not ideal, or even if it is painful, as long as you are willing to change how you think about the situation, you will notice a change in how you feel.  Keep focusing on the positives of every situation and create more happy moments for yourself.

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