Written by JJ Barnes
I interviewed author and Reiki Master Anya Goode about her career, her inspiration, and the creative process behind her new book, Awakening Your Soul’s Truth.
Tell me a bit about who you are.
My name is Anya Goode and I teach energy healing methods, ancestral healing, and spiritual development courses. I started my career as a private practice energy healer and have been doing energy work for just over 20 years now. In addition to my Masters Degree in Metaphysical Science, I am also a Reiki Master Teacher and have taught Reiki Masters worldwide. I have a passion for exploring healing techniques from many different traditions and have trained with teachers of Celtic mysticism, Tibetan Buddhism, Toltec shamanic practices, and many other diverse cultures. I currently live in northern New England and primarily teach and focus on writing these days.
When did you first WANT to write a book?
I have always loved writing, and actually placed in several writing competitions as far back as my high school days. Like many people, though, I always sold myself a little short and never thought I could write anything with enough content to turn into a book. In my teens, I certainly had thoughts of how wonderful it would be to publish a book. I definitely had a perception for much of my life that it takes a certain type of person with a certain level of experience to write a book that is worth reading. I suppose I’d say I wanted to write a book since adolescence, but it was a pipe dream until I first put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard really).
When did you take a step to start writing?
I first decided that I was going to attempt to write a book after I had a string of clients mention it to me on separate occasions. I needed that bit of unsolicited encouragement. I had just finished teaching a workshop that involved energy healing techniques for recognizing and shifting limiting beliefs, and as I was teaching the course, I realized that I had a lot more to say about it than I could fit into a four hour workshop. I started writing, and paragraphs just poured out of me almost as if it had been waiting to come into being for some time.
How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?
I started writing Awakening Your Soul’s Truth around four years before it was published. I had completed seven chapters over the course of about four months, but I got stuck. I knew the book wasn’t finished, but I also wasn’t sure where it was headed next. Several people encouraged me to go ahead and publish it, but some part of me knew it just wasn’t right yet. I shelved the book and it sat untouched for several years. Then in 2019 my office building was bought by a new company and I was forced to move out.
While I was in the process of re-working my business structure and contemplating a new office, memories of childhood sexual abuse that had essentially been erased from my memory as a self-protective mechanism began flooding back to me after I had a triggering conversation with a friend. The next several months led to an intense personal healing process that forced me to use every healing method I had ever come across and develop new techniques to overcome the excruciating process of healing from this type of trauma.
Ultimately, this experience was my Chapter 8, and the processes for healing that were developed through this experience followed in subsequent chapters. I finished writing the book, or maybe I should say the book finished itself when it was ready to be finished, and it was published this past June.
What made you want to write Awakening Your Soul’s Truth?
As an energy healer and spiritual teacher, I worked with people day after day who were having problems with very similar solutions. Decades of experience had naturally given me a template to follow for working with someone through uncovering the imbalances in their life that needed healing. I knew that people would greatly benefit if they had an understanding of this same template and could realize how their limiting beliefs, generational programming, challenges in life, and emotions were trying to teach them something about themselves and where healing needed to occur.
I wanted to write a book that would guide anyone interested in personal healing and spiritual development through a process of understanding themselves and revealing more of themselves, ultimately to empower people over their own lives, healing, and well-being. I wanted to do this in a way that guided people to find their own unique self, and not my version of who they should be or what they should believe about themselves. I also wanted to provide tools from my personal and professional experiences that anyone could use to fast-track their healing process. This was my goal for the book when I first started to write, and I got there eventually.
What were your biggest challenges with writing Awakening Your Soul’s Truth?
My greatest challenge in writing the book was picking it back up to begin Chapter 8. While the chapter does not go into great detail regarding my personal experiences, it shares enough to teach what I wanted others who have experienced painful trauma to learn about the healing process. Writing the chapter was very emotionally taxing for me, however it was also extremely healing to share my experience through the lens of helping others to overcome trauma, no matter how impossible it might seem to overcome. It gave my own excruciating experience some sort of meaning beyond my own life, which was really important for my own healing. It has also been challenging for me to navigate the initial phases of publication.
As an author, especially a first-time author, you really put your heart and soul into what you have created. Once you have the final product in your hands, there is a sense of pride of having completed a huge creative journey, yet there is also an underlying whisper of, “now what?” Figuring out what to do with this creative piece once it becomes “real” has been an interesting challenge of its own that I never thought about or anticipated while I was writing it.
What was your research process for Awakening Your Soul’s Truth?
Most of my research was collected through my own personal experiences with clients over the course of my private practice career. I used these case studies as anecdotes to show practical examples of the concepts I teach in the book. I had to dig through case studies in my own files to assess the best ways to exemplify the points I was trying to make in a way that was relatable for most people. I also used my background in historical research to support some of the more evidence-based information I relay in the beginning chapters of the book, which was an interesting throwback to my college days. I was always told that my history undergrad degree would be useless, but it definitely served me well as I was writing this book.
How did you plan the structure of Awakening Your Soul’s Truth?
The structure of the initial chapters came out of the workshop I had designed and taught several years before. I already had an outline of the major concepts in the book that I created for the workshop, and from there I expanded on those major ideas and added to them as I wrote. The last chapters are the next step in the process, a leap beyond what I taught in the workshop. They take the concepts taught in the first seven chapters and portray how that understanding looks and can be applied in real life.
Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did Awakening Your Soul’s Truth need?
I probably re-read my book thirty times before anyone else laid eyes on the whole thing, so I had done a significant amount of editing myself prior to getting editing support. While this took a very long time for me to do, it did make for a fairly complete piece of work when it was finally turned over for editing. I did remove a couple of stories and added to my explanations in certain places where the editors felt more understanding was needed by the average reader. There were of course grammatical changes here and there, but overall the editing process was not as lengthy as I’m sure it can be for some. If I were to do it again, though, I’d worry a little less about it myself and let the professionals take care of it from the get go.
What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a book?
I would say to let go of any expectations of what you think the book will read like when it is finally finished. My book went through many changes through the writing and editing process, and even sat unfinished for years. I had no clue how it would turn out, as I literally had to go through some really challenging experiences to even have the wisdom I needed to complete what I started. If you had asked me if the final piece is what I expected it to be when I first started writing it, I’d say no way. Am I proud of it though? Absolutely.
Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?
I just finished putting together an extensive online ancestral healing course, which was a really massive endeavor. It’s possible I might consider a book in the future that explores ancestral healing concepts and methods, as it is such an important facet of healing for anyone interested in personal development and empowerment. I’ll start thinking about my next book once I can get my head wrapped around the fact that the first one was published I suppose.
And, finally, are you proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?
Absolutely, on so many levels. This wasn’t just a book for me. It traces wisdom gained from really successful parts of my life, as well as wisdom gained through the most excruciating parts of my life. The fact that I was finally able to bring it all together into a piece that helps others and has received so much positive feedback is genuinely amazing. It was worth the effort, both for how I hope it will help others, and for how it helped me as I moved through the process of its creation.