Hi guys! Today I’ll be interviewing the inspirational memoir writer, Jennifer Peacock-Smith.
Hi Jennifer! Tell us a bit about yourself.
Hello, and thank you for this opportunity. I am a South African Australian and I live most of the time between both countries, but we also spend a lot of time in the US and other places. I am a full time writer and memoirist and my hobbies are now mostly writing but I am also a potter, a jeweler, and an artist.
Have you always wanted to write books? What made you start?
I haven’t (which now amazes me). I have always communicated well and as we spend most of our lives away from family and friends, I have always been a huge letter writer. So while it never occurred to me to write books, others have always told me that I should I slowly began to realize that maybe I could. But I didn’t know where to start. Then a few years ago my father turned 80 and made a few statements that I found really hurtful. The resulting backlash and discussion on Facebook made me realize that I needed to tell my story after all.
You’re also an avid blogger, what topics do you cover and where can we read them?
Yes, I love to blog, and I have two of them. I write about my writing journey and the pain and discovery behind that on my writing blog here and I also have a chronic illness which has plagued my life without answers until recently. So I blog and tell that story here.
What are your favourite genres to read and write?
In theory, I only write memoirs. But in practice that comes out in all kinds of ways. For me, memoirs aren’t just about telling the story of one’s life, they are about inviting people on a journey. So my recent book is essentially a “self help” book as it is on anxiety and how to overcome it in simple and practical ways. But at it’s core it is a memoir because I don’t like telling people what to do. Instead I bring them on along and I open up my heart and soul, warts and all, and I find that people learn way more from walking in my shoes than being told anything.
This also means that I love to read other people’s stories. Biographies and memoirs of course, but also Historically correct fiction and well researched novels that speak on the topics that pull at my heart strings and are at the core of my own stories; abuse, neglect, redemption, survival, strength and perseverance.
What three things could you not live without?
My bed is the only thing I can think of. I live constantly with a lot of physical pain and spend a good portion of my life in bed. This gives me the strength to also spend a portion of my time in the real world and so the times of rest are crucial.
Where is your favourite place you’ve ever been?
Being born in Africa means that the heart and soul of the continent become imbedded in your DNA and so it will always be in one sense my favorite place on earth, but we also lived for over three years in Fiji and I left a good chunk of my soul there. It is by far my most favorite place that I have been.
Tell us about your book!
My book is a short read so that it is easily accessible to everyone and is written for anyone interested or has experienced anxiety. As I said earlier, it is somewhere between memoir and self help book. The bulk of the book is simply telling my story and how I got rid of my panic attacks for good, the rest of the book includes how I have gone with it recently, the first chapter of one of my full length memoirs, and a workbook for anyone interested in applying what I learned to their own lives. There is something for everyone.
What a different book this is to all the others out there on Anxiety and Panic Attacks! A short yet inspiring read that is at the same time both deeply vulnerable and intimate, and extremely practical. Jennifer is someone who has been crippled by anxiety for years and had to hit rock bottom before she was able to find a way to climb out again.
Using a very simple yet engaging analogy, Jennifer weaves a tale that helps to turn the complicated processes within the body and the mind into an inspiring story that pulls the reader into the inner workings of anxiety and shows the way to win.
She then unpacks the story and continues to share her journey as she learns to tweak her own biological systems in very practical and easy to understand ways. In doing so, she clearly spells out the steps that she went through to win her battle and conquer anxiety, so that others may also benefit. Jennifer has included a workbook at the end of the book, so that the reader can easily apply Jennifer’s experiences to their own situation.
One of the best, most practical and easy to master books on anxiety today. This book is inspiring and empowering to read.
What will grip people the most about it?
I am told that what grips people, whether they have experienced anxiety or not, is the sense of walking deeply in my shoes as they read my story. As one reader said “I found myself cheering her on as she started winning”… the reader becomes invested in the outcome which I think we all like feeling.