👉 Caryl Westmore interviews author Jenn T. Grace about her riveting memoir “House on Fire” and her work as CEO of Publish with Purpose and Podcast host of “Invisible Stories -Write to be Seen”.
You will love this podcast if…
*You are currently facing or have overcome trauma and challenges in your life – and want inspiration.
* You are a healer, therapist or heart-centered entrepreneur who wants to help others overcome their traumas so they can speak up and shine as they serve the world
* You want to write your MEMOIR
Jenn T. Grace, a nationally recognized business strategist, speaker, and author whose mission is sharing the story of underrepresented voices such as the community known as LBGTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning)
Topics in her memoir include:
*Her chaotic childhood with an alcoholic mother
*Her adopted sister having the undiagnosed Mental Health problem of RAD (Reactive Attachment Disorder)
*Later how she and then-wife adopted her sister’s daughter (also suffering from RAD)
* Coming through the dark times (including the fire) to see her purpose and mission
She has helped 100+ such voices to publish their books as the Founder of Publish Your Purpose Press and has written 6 books including this memoir.
LINKS from the Jenn T.Grace episode:
👉 House on Fire – Available on Amazon https://amzn.to/3j7hjOf
👉 Podcast: Invisible Stories, Write to Be Seen
👉 Jenn’s website: https://publishyourpurposepress.com/
👉 FREE GIFT: 5 Book Hook Tips to Kickstart Writing your Book https://www.writethebookinsideyou.com/freegift
✅ Connect with me on social media!
Caryl Westmore 0:00
If you are facing or have overcome trauma and challenges in your life right now, if you are a healer, therapist or heart centered entrepreneur who wants to help others speak up and shine so that they can serve the world. Or if you have a memoir book inside of you, then my guest today gente Grace is the perfect person for you to listen to. Hello, and welcome to the write the book inside your podcast, tips tools in interviews for coaches and healers like you want to write a nonfiction book to boost your visibility clients and cash flow while making a difference. I’m your host Caryl Westmore, a multi published author and energy psychology tapping book coach. Now let’s jump into today’s episode.
Today, it’s my great pleasure to introduce you to Jen T. Grace, who is a published author of more than six books, and has helped through her business, publish your purpose, more than 100 authors publish their books. So it’s a great pleasure to welcome you here today, Jen. And I will put your bio in the show notes. But I really want to say there were two things that intrigued me about you. One was your book house on fire, which I relate to, for personal reasons having been through a fire and that change transformed my life. But also, because you have this and this mission to help purpose driven entrepreneurs and people without a voice to publish their books, and to wrap their books and be seen and use it in their business. So tell us a little bit more about your book house on fire? Because it’s a memoir, and not necessarily a business book. Am I right?
Jenn T. Grace 2:04
Yes, that is correct. But what’s interesting is that I, I somewhat use it as a business book because I use it as a teaching tool. So as you said, I founded publisher purpose. And it’s been around for about six years now. And I had already written a number of nonfiction books starting back in I started my first one in 2012, published it in 2013. So when it came to working with authors and coaching them, I had it I have, you know, kind of the nonfiction side down to a science like where it’s, you know, very, there’s like, there’s a formula in many ways to a nonfiction book, same thing with a memoir. And so what I realized is that, I have worked with a lot of people on their memoirs as well. And it was one of those things, I feel like I had to go through the process myself to really be able to empathize and relate on a very cellular level with other authors who are sharing their stories because it’s really exposing an overwhelming and vulnerable to put all of your storY out there. And so I’ve needed to do it for myself anyway. But I also use it a great deal as a teaching tool the with the folks that I work with.
Caryl Westmore 3:11
Let’s start with one thing when someone wants to tell their story and probably inspired by the pain that you overcame, and your story, which we’ll get into just now. What would you say people need to do just get it down? and not worry about you know, as the big thing is, what will people say? And what will people that I’m writing about, say? or? Yeah, what is your take on just approaching the memoir, publishing a book?
Jenn T. Grace 3:39
You know, there are 100 things I could say. But I think the most important would be to just start. Because I think what happens is that we get stuck in our head where we start to question ourselves, is Our Story valid enough? Will people read it? Am I going to hurt people that I write about? You know, how am I going to publish it? They get into all like logistical and emotional questions. But I think if folks can just start writing it, and then when they’re writing it, two things, one, pretending like nobody else will ever read this, because honestly, the first draft and what ends up in print and what whether what a reader gets are usually wildly different, you know, just because of the editing process and making it better. But then also, I think we all have this misconception that in order to write a book, because we read books in a linear fashion from the beginning to the end, people believe that we have to write them that way too. And the reality is if you can just write where you’re feeling inspired in any particular day or writing session, you’re going to make so much more progress rather than trying to go back to your birth to present day because that’s a really overwhelming tack thing to tackle. So I think if you just focus on kind of writing where you feel inspired, that alone can transform and really make this a lot less painful.
Caryl Westmore 4:54
And of course, we both know as authors and you know, book coaches ourselves. That when that’s all done and the editing takes place, it’s always great to start the book like your house on fire, with a dramatic moment that pulls the reader in. Whereas a book that starts I was born, I grew up, is never going to really do that correct?
Jenn T. Grace 5:16
Yeah, exactly what I tell people is just still write it. However, you know, whatever order it’s coming out in, that’s fine. You can always figure out what that dramatic story opener is later, you know, you don’t have to know what that is immediately. And I, I feel like mine, in hindsight kind of felt obvious that that would be where I would open open my story. But at the same time, I could have probably opened up in any dramatic area, because the point is to, to really grip the reader to say what the like, I need to know how this author got to that particular place. And so you know, if you do that after, like, Don’t try to figure that out now, because it’s just added stress Secchi.
Caryl Westmore 5:53
Exactly. And the other thing, which I think you do touch on is to and or maybe some one of your podcast interviews with other authors that you’ve inspired to write their their memoir is that you don’t write it at the beginning, you may have unhealed parts, which you then added, I think you are with a therapist that help you heal some of the childhood trauma. Had you done that before you read the book? Or as you went? did you stop? And did it take you how long actually to maybe recover from some of the the emotional pain when writing it? Did you need to see a therapist and have a little bit of help?
Jenn T. Grace 6:32
Yeah, but it’s such a great question. Because I tell every author, you know, even if you’re writing nonfiction, with nonfiction, even though you’re teaching something, you still have to include yourself in your story in there. And for some people, even just sharing a little bit of who they are in a nonfiction book can be very triggering for them. And so I usually advise right out of the gate with anybody and like, if you have not worked on yourself, and you are, you know, there is some kind of unsettled trauma that’s kind of circulating in your body, then I would highly in strongly encourage you to seek out a therapist. And you know, some people, they want nothing to do with therapy, they, they think it’s a you know, a bad thing, or it makes them weak or whatever the, you know, emotions that might be going on. And so in those cases, I’ll say like, talk to a life coach that like get get somebody who can give you some kind of advice, who can be that person that’s in your corner, that’s helping you through these emotional highs and lows, because they will absolutely happen through this process. And so for me, personally, I knew I had a lot of healing to do before I could put anything down in writing that would be beneficial to a reader. And I think that that’s something that most authors need to kind of recognize to because if you are writing from a place of pain, or anger or resentment or hurt, it’s going to come across in your writing and a reader is not going to be interested in it. They don’t they don’t you know, they watch reality TV for that kind of drama. They’re they’re not looking for that in a book.
Caryl Westmore 7:59
But Exactly, and especially if you want to get a message across. Now, you know, I mean, most of my listeners know that I call myself the tapping book coach, because I use Emotional Freedom techniques to help people through some of these obstacles not necessary to all their traumas. But sometimes that is the case. Because why it’s sometimes where they kondratyev book is because they had a trauma when they were young specifically about that. And so yes, and I don’t know if you know, Oprah’s new book called, she wrote recently with Dr. Bruce Perry, about healing trauma, the resilience, what happened to you? I was just listening to the other day. And he says, It’s not about the trauma, but about what happens to the brain going back as early as the first three months of life. And I think this really relates to your book, because not only does the fire trigger a change in your life when you’re 18. But also there was the trauma of what you think it’s called ra D living with a sister. And then her daughter, who had this mental health problem, which Dr. Bruce Perry says, is a question of the brain. And I thought that was very interesting, because I’ve been doing this work for 20 years. But when Oprah and Dr. Bruce Perry talk about her early childhood traumas, and what really helps heal, he says at the end, is the feeling of community and support that you give to someone who’s who wants to be seen for their trauma, you know, to get through it, and to understand. So I think it’s not exactly what your book is about. But it points to the fact that you have just said it helps to have a therapist support you or a book coach or someone who so that you’re not alone. Because as we know, in the trauma work I do. The nature of a trauma is that you’re an isolated, you’re unsupported and it’s unexpected and you know, triggers you And then stays in the emotional part of the brain, or the, you know, not the cognitive part at all. So talking about it’s not always the answer. But let’s get back to your book house on fire. And some of the high and low points, which as someone, one of your reviewers said, you kind of get pulled into the editor, and then you come up again and pull it into the editor. Can you tell us how you would describe your book? What is your memoir about?
Jenn T. Grace 10:28
I always find that to be such a hard question to answer because it is so multifaceted and complicated. And so I think the way that I would describe it as an overarching theme would be adoption, the kind of the adoption world and community and meets mental health meets the mental health community. And then, you know, I think that there’s, you know, like you actually, you just said it really well, in referencing Oprah’s book, which I have not read yet is it is on my my to do list I have my whole purpose in writing, it was to help free people from that isolating feeling that they experienced when they’re going through something that other people don’t understand. And I think for me, while my book is specific, and specifically talks about a very small, I shouldn’t say small, it’s a big mental health problem. However, it impacts a very small percentage of people. So there’s not a lot of data, there’s not a lot of research, there’s not a lot of support groups around reactive attachment disorder specifically, which is already read reactive attachment. So when I think about that, I feel like most people could apply a different mental health diagnosis on what I’m writing and bring that bring it into their own personal application. So maybe it’s someone in their life that is maybe has schizophrenia, or someone who might have bipolar disorder, or or anything like that, where there’s a lot of misconceptions around what those diagnoses mean. And so while Yes, I’m talking about one that very, very small does, I think it’s there’s a much broader, more universal feel for other people.
Caryl Westmore 12:08
Yes, for me reading it, it was the fact that you not only suffered from the minute your parents adopted your sister, you’re not only suffered the consequences of an undiagnosed problem in your sister, but you know, it’s just such an interesting thing that you then repeated with her daughter, you put up with that screaming for years and years and years. And, and the fact that when she was in front of anyone, she was the sweetest part. But at home, she was just really like, you know, she had a monstrous problem, you know, with screaming and, and manipulating. And that’s the fascinating part for me is at one point, you come to the part where you say, as an adult child of an alcoholic and the and the chaos in your home, and how you had escaped it. And even when you had the daughter repeating that pattern, you were escaping, it was running. So I think that your book is very rich with different layers. I mean, there already is one aspect of it. But it’s also how you coped with it first, silently, and without being able to name it, Mr. Rat, and then later you were able to pull back what I call, you know, the the lens and see it in perspective. And then if we move to the end of the book, which without, you know, giving all the pieces away, it’s turned you towards your life purpose, which gets to the publishing side, and how I don’t know if you started off helping how you started as a publisher, but I know that you feel from what I’ve read about you that your love purpose is to give voice suited underrepresented and that brings the sexuality part of your life and story into it. Would you like to just, you know, see how you bridged from all the pain you went through, and the times you will not seen or understood to helping others in the world as your mission?
Jenn T. Grace 13:59
Yeah. And it’s so like, even as you were just saying that kind of get like chills, just kind of thinking about how I ended up where I am now. But, you know, it’s one of those things that I, in my 40 years, I feel like I have had a lot of experiences already. And so one of the things that I had done previously was business coaching. And in my business coaching, I started to recognize a pattern of people that I really loved working with. And when I looked to see what is the commonality about these people that I’m so fired up about, I recognize they were working on books, and they weren’t just working on any random book, they were telling their life story that was intended to impact a much larger group of people. And so when I started to connect the dots with that, that was kind of the beginning thread that I started to follow to see what you know, what is this without making any major commitment. So from a professional standpoint, I had already been recognizing, okay, I’ve written at that point. It was probably already four books. I noticed This now I’m seeing, okay, I’m really loving working with other people, what does this look like. But then on the flip side, you know, just the the polarity of my outward success, as someone would view it, you know, like looking at the accolades, the awards at all the accomplishments, like all of the things, it looked, you know, very, very wildly successful on the outside. But then when I would be home, and I do write a bit about this, then I’d be home. And it would be absolute hell, it would be complete and utter torture. And I would be as low as you could possibly get not knowing how I was going to make it to the next day. And so it was this very, very extreme environment that I was living in, where I’m having these moments of complete and utter, just like feeling like failure, helplessness, hopelessness, all those things. And then in the business setting, I’m rocking it and you know, I’m loving everything that I’m doing. And so it was kind of marrying those two things. And so when I started to look at my story, as again, like you said, Not without giving away, kind of like how things unfold, because there’s, there’s a lot there. But when there’s a resolution toward the end of the book, it’s then that I was sitting, I had a very specific moment where I was sitting, and I had this aha moment of, I’m already helping people share their stories. I have this story that I am so isolated by that, like, so few people in my life, I know probably 1000s of people, and maybe less than 10. People knew what we were going through and my family. And I recognized that that was a problem. And so I did seek out therapy at that time. So I sought out therapy years before I started writing my book. And when I was looking at that, I was like if I can tell my story than other people who are having this exact same problem with this exact same mental health illness, because there’s so many books around so many other mental health disorders, but there’s so few there’s like three that specifically speak about reactive attachment. And so it’s like, well, let me be let me be that voice. And so what was really interesting, as someone who is a publisher, a book coach, and author, myself, my whole goal with my author’s is how do we get a return on your investment? Like, we know that we’re going to get the impact that is given based on how it’s structured, what you’re doing, we know you’re going to get an impact. But beyond that, how are you going to make a living from this? How are we like, what does that look like? And so because of that the plan is to create a plan for how you’re gonna make an ROI. With my book, which was complete opposite of every piece of advice I have ever done in my life was, I’m just going to put it out there. And I’m going to let the book Tell me what it wants me to do. I am not going to force my agenda on the book, which is completely in contrast to literally anything I have ever said. And it has worked flawlessly so far because I haven’t pressured myself or the book to have some desired outcomes exactly as the people who need to get it and listen to it or read it or getting it listening to it and reading it. And that was the only purpose
Caryl Westmore 17:57
I love what you’re saying because anything I kill in a Tara she consults for Hay House. And she’s she’s I’ve often heard her say, Your, your your memoir, not it might even be the book with the widest your final book, you know. And so I think all of us have that book inside us who’ve had trauma who’ve overcome it. And in my case I read you can break free fast because how I healed my trauma was through the journey and EFT and going back to the emotional brain and healing my inner child if you like. today’s podcast episode is sponsored by my book, you can break free fast EFT tapping the second edition, which comes with power boost the law of attraction with matrix reimprinting, using EFT tapping available on Amazon, and other places where you can buy books. Tell me about the authors that you’ve helped the 100 I think it says authors, you’ve helped draft the books. How How do you work with an author tell us the way you approach it, how long it takes. And your team heard support said process?
Jenn T. Grace 19:05
Yeah, so we have, we have to deep publish just about 100 books. We’ve worked with many, many more people than that. But not everyone gets to the finish line of having their book complete, unfortunately, which makes me sad. But you know, it does happen. So, you know, we work with folks in a couple of different ways. So we have writing programs, we have a six month intensive that carves out time for strategy conversations in terms of you know, structuring your story, your theme, you know, your intention, your purpose, all of those things as well as carving out time for a writing group. So that way in that six month period of time, they can actually make significant progress on their books. So we have, we have that we’ve had that for quite some time, we kind of re repackaged it over over the course of COVID. And then we have our publishing. And so when our publishing, we either do it for people or we’ll do it with them. It’s kind You know, just depends on people’s timelines, their budgets, all kinds of fun, fun discussions like that. But you know, what I love the most is that I am a terminally curious person. I do not need it does not matter what the topic is, I’m interested in it and I will go down, I will read books, I will listen to podcasts, I will go down any rabbit hole about any subject with 00 qualms about whatever I might be reading about. And it makes me good for trivia, which is probably the only time that my my random, useless, useless knowledge comes in handy. But beyond that, working on books is such a rewarding thing. Because number one, unlike so many other businesses, there’s a physical tangible thing that exists at the end of our work together that will live on forever long before you know we will be long gone. And that that creation will still be here, which is so incredible. But then then it’s the content. So we work on a lot of self help a lot of leadership related books, diversity, equity, inclusion, a lot around LGBTQ we have a number of books around race. And so these are all very, very important topics in a variety of different kinds of ways. And so what’s great is that in our working with our authors, I get to learn all sorts of new things. So like, we have a number of books that are on trauma specifically. And so I’ve learned so much just by being able to help an author kind of birth, what they’ve gone through, and then everything that we learned from one book, we’re able to kind of apply all of that knowledge to the next author that we work within them the next author. So it’s this beautiful, kind of synergy and community that’s created just inherently because of because of the fact that it’s a book, you know,
Caryl Westmore 21:42
I love that it reminds me I don’t know if you know, but I was a I was a journalist for 30 years before I became a healer. And it’s the same. I think the same thing about helping people write books or writing books. There’s so much I’m so fascinated by, although I’ve honed in, in my niche on people who want to make a difference with their healing work, or their businesses, heart centered entrepreneurs. I do like what’s very different with you. Is that the whole what you call it the lb dis LGBT? Yeah, that’s quite a theme. And also, you know, from your own perspective, and how many of the 100 books that you’ve helped Do you think have been on that topic? Just just explain a bit?
Jenn T. Grace 22:25
Yeah, so LGBTQ is lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer. And, you know, it’s been a topic that I would say it’s becoming more of a, quote unquote, hot topic as of late, you know, it’s certainly, you know, people’s sexuality and gender expression have been around forever. But we have, I would say, it’s probably close to 40, or 50% of our authors are part of that community. It does not mean that the book itself is about that community. So we have a number of LGBTQ authors who have written leadership books, or they’ve written their memoir that’s maybe sharing, you know, we have a couple of memoirs that two of them, there’s one memoir, it’s called awaken love. And there are two clinical psychologists to women, they’re married. And it’s kind of their love story. But it’s like their love story meets their profession in clinical psychology. So it’s just a really fascinate, right? Like, it’s just, it’s a fascinating kind of glimpse of like, who people are. And then like, we have another one called served in silence, and his is about serving openly, openly gay in the military. Under Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. So that was, you know, there’s a lot obviously, that went into that, you know, like, we have another one that’s about, you know, two men, two gay men adopting. And so like, there’s stories like that, where it’s very clearly focused around the community. But then we have a lot of authors that have written just really amazing leadership books that have not like, obviously, their identity comes into play, because it’s part of their leadership strengths and leadership skills. But the book serves a much more broader audience. And so, you know, it’s a little bit all over the map. And you know, and so, you know, if it’s 50% LGBTQ people, then it’s obviously, you know, the other 50% or so, are straight folks. And, you know, for us,
Caryl Westmore 24:12
it’s a, it’s a, it’s a place for what was once and seen and unspoken about or hidden, to discuss it in your community that you’ve developed isn’t a you know, your book writing community, even if that’s not the final theme of their book, they feel safe. You know, that’s another thing that I think Dr. Period talks about in what happened to you is the feeling that this and you mentioned it when you couldn’t sleep that if you’re not safe, if you reach a point of hyper vigilance in your brain where he says, you know, this is what we’re reaches, people can’t relax, they can’t be creative, you know, if they don’t feel safe, if they’re hyper vigilant, if they’re feeling shame, and I think even That in itself must be a plus to working you know, with you and in your community, the feeling that they can be safe with it, whether they’re going to make it the focus of their book or, you know of a book, they’re at their best be one of the pluses, I think.
Jenn T. Grace 25:11
Yeah, I absolutely agree. Because if we look at publishing broadly, you know, there’s not, there’s not a lot of completely safe spaces within publishing, because it is very, you know, you know, at the top, and from a leadership standpoint, it’s very white dominated, it’s very male dominated. And then it’s very, you know, there’s not a lot of LGBTQ visibility. And so, you know, it is important, and a lot of our authors are women, LGBTQ people, people with disabilities, people of color, and so we have a strong emphasis. And it’s not to say that we don’t have authors who are straight white men, because of course we do. But we definitely have a market carved for folks that are marginalized or underrepresented in some way, because there are concerns coming to the publishing table are different than someone else’s concern, who might be carrying some sense of privilege. And so for example, you know, we’ve worked with a number of black women, for example, and what inevitably comes up in conversation with whether it’s a black woman, or it could be a black man is that the concern is that their their words are going to be, this is my word, they did not say this, but like whitewashed, like watered down. Because through the editing process, as we both know, a lot changes through editing, there’s a lot of, you know, a lot of things that come up. And, you know, I’ve had like, I have one author in particular, which I won’t mention her name, but you know, she was writing a column for a notable business magazine. And every time she would get the edits back, they really kind of stripped her dialogue in her, like her ways that she would word things because they wanted it to feel more white for that publication. And that is, so the opposite of what a book should be a book needs to be authentically in you in every single way. And so that is our real core focus is we don’t want to change people’s voices, we want to double down on what their existing voice is not make them feel like they have to conform or fit into some, some box because, you know, and so I think there’s a lot of spaces that unfortunately, that happens, whether it’s intentional, or just kind of like this is how the system was created.
Caryl Westmore 27:20
Yeah. And of course, we breaking free to use my favorite terminology of some of that, as you said, is you trends and the way shows have to move ahead and be Mavericks, you know that. So I love, really appreciate what you’re doing there. Again, is there anything more you’d like to add cover? For my listeners who you know, want to write a book inside them? Is there anything I haven’t asked you that you’d like to share? You know,
Jenn T. Grace 27:48
I think the only thing that I kind of circle back to was just start No, like, just just get working on it. Because I think and without having a lot of pressure this this seems like contradictory advice that I tell people frequently. But you know if it’s not coming, because there’s there’s two schools of thought, there’s the one, you sit down in front of the computer, you carve out the time every single day, or whatever your writing routine is, and you just get it done. And then there’s the other of just kind of let it incubate and let it percolate. And like let it just kind of simmer and wait for you to be ready. And so I kind of err on the side of like, I’m a very structure structure, organized person in general. So like, when I’m actively working on a book, I will carve out the time, like I will, I have very clear schedules, and I got a whole routine. But you know, like when I was working on my book, actually, right now, I’m working on my seventh book, which will be you know, a publishing writing type of book. And I don’t have a schedule yet, because I just want it to percolate. Because I know once it hits me the inspiration strikes, I will just sit down and I will write whatever comes to me. So I would say you know, if you have the book inside of you, that you want to get done. Just make a commitment, even if it’s just quietly to yourself that you will get it done. And then just let it marinate and simmer and let just kind of wait until the inspiration strikes and then work on it. Or if you are a person who needs the accountability and organization seek support and help in getting that accountability.
Caryl Westmore 29:13
Yes, does depend on the person but I think you’re taking the pressure of people to have that approach, even if they think they’re just journaling. So thank you, Jen. It’s been really a pleasure speaking to you and opening up the whole aspect of what publishing writing and publishing a book is all about. And there’s no one way and there are communities and they there’s the right coach for you and you ready to write your book. So thanks again. And it’s been lovely speaking to you.
What an amazing interview with Jenn T. Grace. I want to jump on here with a quote that she has in her book. She says “I want to encourage people not to give up.Your current situation may not end the way you want to or think it should. But you can reboot and take a different journey; respond in a different way when you’re ready. And then she adds, from the time of the fire that destroyed my childhood home, which was 18 until writing house on fire in 2019. I didn’t see the future.” So what a difference writing her book made. If you want to connect with Jen t grace and you spell her name, j E double n t grace. I’ve put her links in the show notes. But I particularly urge you to listen to her podcast in visible stories right to be seen, where you where you’ll hear her in action with the authors she mentors. Thanks for joining me on today’s podcast. Once a free gift to inspire you further on your book writing adventure. My free checklist five book book tips to kickstart your book writing journey will help you get clarity on the key essential to make your book winner downloaded at rat the book inside you.com forward slash free gift. The links are in the show notes. Until next time, a big virtual hug and keep writing
Transcribed by https://otter.ai