My series of author interviews has given me the opportunity to chat to some amazingly exciting guests, and today’s guest certainly falls into that category. It is my great pleasure to introduce you to entrepreneur, freelance writer, author of self-help books for children and adults, and an international life coach Jaylen Grace.
Born in North London, Jaylen’s Dad was Greek Cypriot and her Mum came from Manchester. At 21 she landed a ‘dream’ job for a holiday company which took her travelling to far- flung places and writing reviews. By 23 she was Personal Assistant to the Rolling Stones and added public relations and managerial skills to her talents. Although she climbed a career ladder other young women could only dream of and she absolutely loved this period of her life, her interests changed. She wanted to help others find success and turned her aspirations to life coaching. Supporting herself through freelance writing and part time public relations work, Jaylen took accredited courses in Psychology and Psychotherapy, and added Clinical Hypnosis to her qualifications.
Jaylen thrives on working with children and her interactions with them inspire her children’s adventure stories, notably: ‘Omzak’ and ‘Porridge, the Two Faced Parrot’, for which she was nominated for the Greenhouse Funny Writer Prize in 2012. Deeply committed to helping children’s development, Jaylen initially created ‘Omzak The Space Cat Warrior’ as a script for children to act out the characters. Omzak’s space adventure was such a hit, Jaylen was asked to write Omzak’s adventure story. Jaylen and Omzak would be delighted if you would visit Omzak’s website.
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Jaylen is a keen advocate of meditation, which she practises on a daily basis, and she also loves to get her adrenaline pumping. She loves jumping out of aeroplanes (with a parachute, I’m relieved to say) and is committed to testing her limits by learning something new every year – last year being Kayaking. Her daughter describes her as “the most fun person in the world, if you can keep up with her”. Much more about Jaylen and her work can be found on her website.
Wow! I’m breathless simply introducing this lady; and I don’t know about you, but I’m eager to learn more about her. Welcome to ‘An Author’s View’ Jaylen, and thank you for finding the time to join me today. I’m very interested in Omzak, please do tell me more.
Jaylen – Omzak the space cat warrior was my debut children’s book. It was published in November 2012 and Omzak has already been featured in Your Cat, Cat World, The Cat and numerous other publications. On World Book Day this year I was the featured author for East London (where I currently live) and taught five back to back Omzak workshops to five different schools by lunch time! On the school visits I have done, kids love Omzak’s character. He has his own warrior club that children can join. My team and I are now planning a children’s short story competition with great prizes and free workshop in London to celebrate Omzak’s 16th birthday in December. He keeps me pretty busy – especially since his Facebook page has hit over 8,000 fans and I take care of most of the admin!
Alison – He sounds like a hugely successful cat! What gave you the inspiration for Omzak’s stories?
Jaylen – Omzak came to me in a dream and told me his story. It was so funny (and touching) I felt compelled to write it. Whilst it is humorous, has the excitement of battles and villains etc, I would describe it as a children’s personal development book. I was thrilled that Kellogg’s review picked up on what I’d set out to do, and that reviews on Amazon not only have 5 stars but are so generous in their praise
Alison – Knowing that people have really understood your stories, and have enjoyed them enough to write glowing reviews, must be one of the best feelings for an author. What is is that encouraged you to write in the first place?
Jaylen – I became an author at 6 years old after a kitten called Pirate marched through my front door as if he owned the place. I used to write stories about our imaginary adventures and read them to him while he listened in dribbling ecstasy.
Alison – I think I can detect a theme here; you’re clearly a cat lover, as I am. I love the cover art for Omzak. Did you have an idea how you wanted the cover to look?
Jaylen – I am thrilled that you love the cover art for Omzak. I am blessed to have found an illustrator (Almuth Scheller) who is so in tune with my way of thinking. I told her I wanted to convey Omzak’s fall from grace when his ruler banishes him to Earth for being so arrogant. So, on the left side of cover we see who he was and the important role he played on his home planet of Catopia. On the right side we see the vast change in fortune that awaits him when he is rudely awoken inside a dustbin on Earth.
Alison – Will you stick to writing children’s books, or would you like to experiment with different genres? Please give examples.
Jaylen – My forthcoming children’s book (also illustrated by Almuth Scheller) will be published in October 2013. It is called Porridge The Two Faced Parrot. I was shortlisted for Greenhouse Funny Writer 2012 award for this story and there will be sequel in 2014.
However, I do not just write for children. For the past thirty years I have worked as an international life coach; (with qualifications in psychotherapy, clinical hypnosis and Reiki to name a few), so apart from writing fiction, I’m an author of personal development books for adults. Omtopia (The seven steps to enlightenment) will be published end July 2013.
You can check out all three books at http://www.jaylengrace.com
Alison – Is there any advice you would give to a budding author?
Jaylen – The only advice I would give budding authors is – do not beat yourself up if you have a bad writing day because it’s a normal part of a writer’s life. When you start writing, don’t spend forever picking over one page. Keep going, without censuring yourself, until you reach ‘the end’ Only then come back to the beginning, read through each chapter to see what is and isn’t working and then tackle your first rewrite.
Alison – What have you learned from the publishing experience? Are there things you would do differently in future?
Jaylen – I have learned so much from the publishing experience that it would take me a week to answer this question! Suffice to say, I gleaned enough info to go it alone and have now set up a successful, low cost, money making self publishing company. I will be tracing my step by step route in my forthcoming blog series ‘Self Publishing – from the rudiments to the riches,’ and will take the lid of the concerns, doubts and questions that may have held other authors back from starting their own successful publishing companies.
Alison – That sounds like an excellent idea, and I’ve no doubt it will keep you even busier than ever. I can’t thank you enough for finding the time to answer my questions for this great interview, and wish you all the best for your future writing, life coaching and adrenaline pumping enterprises.
A date for your diary: 26 August when Jaylen’s FREE 12 week course helping others set up their own low cost, profitable self publishing companies (that will make money from day one) begins. Although the course is aimed at authors, it contains a goldmine of information that could be put to use by anyone starting up a new business. For more information please visit the self publishing page on Jaylen’s website. I shall certainly be taking a look!
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