ideas take life in Words
A blog following the works (and shenanigans) of J.E. Klimov
"What got me through those periods of self doubt was remembering my purpose in writing a memoir, which is to inspire and lift up other women..." -Hilary Burns
Welcome back, everyone. While I'm trying to stay cool in the dog days of summer, I invite you to check out the latest author interview with Hilary Burns. She is a woman with it all: a blog, YouTube channel, and... you guessed it, a riveting novel of self-worth and self-realization.
J.E.: "The Second Piece of French Toast" is your first novel. What inspired you to write and publish a book?
H.B.: My memoir focuses heavily on issues regarding body-image, marriage, and self-esteem. When I realized that I wasn’t the only one feeling a certain way or experiencing a certain problem, I knew I had to put my story out there in hopes of helping other people feel less alone.
J.E.: This is definitely a relatable topic! How long did it take you to write and edit it?
H.B.: I completed the first draft on 12/31/2012, but it wouldn’t be for another 7 years until it was finally published. In those 7 years, I edited, rewrote, then edited again. Part of the reason that it took so long was because not only was I a new author, but I never went to school for writing. Despite having no prior professional training, I was able to sign up for a great local writing class, which proved to be incredibly eye-opening. At the beginning, I didn’t even know the basic techniques and conventions of writing, like scene vs. summary, flashbacks, correct dialogue formatting, and so much more. I took these classes for over 5 years, rewriting each chapter dozens of times with feedback from my classmates and teacher. After that, I was able to finalize my book with the help of two different copywriters and get it published, 7 years after I finished the first draft.
J.E.: Wow. That's incredible- and inspiring. My background is in pharmacy, which is nowhere near writing, so I can understand the obstacles that were laid ahead of us. Now, what were the most challenging aspects of writing this novel?
H.B.: Not giving up. I constantly had the thought, “Who was I to write a book? Why is my story so important?” What got me through those periods of self doubt was remembering my purpose in writing a memoir, which is to inspire and lift up other women in similar situations as I was in. And, as I mentioned before, I have no formal training as a writer, which means I was unfamiliar with the industry in terms of editing, designing a cover, formatting, and publishing. I constantly felt like I wasn’t doing it in “the right way.” Luckily, I was fortunate enough to have mentors, teachers, and partners who believed in my project and helped me along the way. Their support really kept me going.
J.E.: What do you hope your readers will take away from your memoir?
H.B.: I hope that this memoir helps people realize that no matter how their life looks right now and no matter what problems they are facing, they won’t be stuck in that situation forever. There is always light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s never too late to turn things around and create a life you truly love. My story is proof of that.
J.E.: I am just chomping at the bits to read this! What is your next project, if any?
H.B: "The Second Piece of French Toast" was very recently published last December, so I currently don’t have any new writing projects in the works. However, I am devoting time to my YouTube channel called 'Getting Real With Hilary', where I share stories about my life and reflect on my experiences. On my website, gettingrealwithhilary.com, I run a blog and offer life coaching and planning services. My ultimate goal is to inspire others and help those going through difficult times, and my channel and blog is a vessel for that goal.
J.E.: Tell us one thing about yourself that you enjoy doing other than writing!
H.B.: I love laughing, spending time with loved ones, and being active. I also love working on my website and YouTube channel, and I love talking with my clients. I am truly passionate about helping others achieve their greatness.
J.E.: Any tips for aspiring writers?
H.B.: Just start writing. Don’t worry about getting it right on the first go. Accept the fact that you’ll have to edit and rewrite, but for the time being, just let your fingers fly. So many new writers get caught up with needing to have every word and every detail perfect that it prevents them from getting any actual writing done. If you just write, you can always make revisions from there.
J.E.: Before you go, tell us a little about your YouTube channel "Getting Real with Hilary"
H.B.: My YouTube channel is a way for me to connect with people in a real and authentic way. For most of my life, I put on an act of being pleasant and proper, always preoccupied with how to please other people or what others thought of me. When I decided to let that all go and be my true self, my daughter suggested that I start a YouTube channel. I had no idea how YouTube worked at first, but I started recording videos about what was really happening in my life and what I was really experiencing and thinking. YouTube has allowed me to take off the facade of picture-perfect Hilary, and I haven’t stopped since. Some of my favorite videos I’ve filmed are Getting Out of Victim Mode and 5 Steps to Creating the Life You Want.
I want to take the time to thank Hilary for stopping by and answering a few questions. If you are interested in a paperback or e-copy of her inspiring novel, click on the buttons below and start LIVING!