Written by JJ Barnes
I interviewed author Jennifer Hobbs about her military career, being inspired to write, and how her new book, CALMED. Growth After Trauma, helped her and others.
Tell me a bit about who you are.
My name is Jennifer Hobbs. I am a combat veteran and a wife of a combat veteran that I met in the Army on a deployment in 2004. I served for 9 years in the Army National Guard as an 88M truck driver. I was a Special Education Teacher for 7 years and then moved into a third-grade teaching position. I obtained a Master’s in Educational Leadership as well as a Master’s in Curriculum and Instruction. Then, after writing my first book, Calmed. Growth After Trauma, and a whole lot of personal growth, I resigned to follow my heart and dream of helping other veterans and their families.
I have three kids, two girls and one bonus son. I have two dogs that make me regret my life decisions sometimes. I am working from home to build my own business BUFF & HOBBS IMPACT LLC as well as sharing stories of struggle and triumph on my podcast “Celebrate the Struggle”.
When did you first WANT to write a book?
Honestly, I started to write more as a coping mechanism 18 years ago, but told myself I would put it into a book someday. I don’t think I truly believed in myself. It wasn’t until May of 2020 that I knew for sure that I wanted to write a book.
When did you take a step to start writing?
June 2020 when I participated in a free five-day writing workshop for beginning writers. After a few months, I obtained a book coach who helped me to make my dreams come true!
How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?
Honestly, I would have to say eighteen years.
What made you want to write CALMED. Growth After Trauma?
I wanted to finally finish what I started 18 years ago. I wanted to enlighten the world about a soldier’s journey and the war at home. I wanted it to share understanding and hope to others.
What were your biggest challenges with writing CALMED. Growth After Trauma?
My biggest challenges with writing were making time to write and overcoming the fear. I had to work hard to “get out of my head” and just write. I had to do a lot of self-reflection and decide that I was going to be honest and share all the good, the bad, and the ugly in my book regardless of what judgement may come my way. Another challenge was having to dig up the hard and painful emotions that came with writing a dual memoir based on the traumatic deployment my husband and I shared together to a combat zone in 2004.
What was your research process for CALMED. Growth After Trauma?
I started by enlightening myself more on post traumatic stress. It was then that I came across the term post traumatic growth. I started research that more and identified that power of trauma and how it can make us stronger. I talked to friends and fellow battle buddies about their perspectives, and it set my soul on fire even more.
How did you plan the structure of CALMED. Growth After Trauma?
As I mentioned, I had an amazing book coach. She helped me to look at different strategies I could try to see what I was most successful with. I found creating a timeline was most helpful for me. I made a visual ten-foot-long timeline that extended across my office. I continued to add to it as my writing went on.
I organized it by putting my perspective at the top and my husband’s perspective at the bottom. This really allowed me to lay it out and brainstorm where the gaps were and where my attention was needed.
Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did CALMED. Growth After Trauma need?
I invested in obtaining my book coach for twelve months. She, Lauren Eckhardt, has her own publishing company, Burning Soul Press.
As my book took shape, she asked me if I would like to publish with her company. She was my friend, coach, and rock through that process. I saw her passion and why she does what she does. She truly wants to help others find their voice and share it with the world. I knew I wanted to publish with her and BSP because I knew she had just as much passion and love for my book as I did.
So with that, BSP coached me through obtaining beta readers and investing time in that process before I sent it to the editor that BSP uses. The editor thoroughly edited it a few times for me, allowing me to make it better with each draft.
What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a book?
Believe in what you are feeling called to do. Fear will rush in and try to make you doubt yourself often. Identify that fear, then push it away. You are called to write for a reason. You have a voice and a story. It is your duty to share it with the world.
Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?
Absolutely! I found that the hardest part of writing Calmed. Growth After Trauma was writing about the “war at home”. To me, that war at home is not just what a soldier endures. The war at home has a ripple effect on the soldier’s family, friends, and employer.
The war at home is present for a lifetime, not just when a soldier is deployed. As I tried to wrap up the ending of my book and discuss the war at home, I found myself feeling as though I couldn’t do it justice. It needs to be its own book. The war at home is so hard to even begin to put in words, but I am going to try.
So, my next book is about the war at home and how that looks for everyone, not just the soldier. Let’s remember those hidden heroes that stand with the soldier and how that process of post traumatic growth continues for a lifetime.
And, finally, are your proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?
100% YES! Someone asked me what the feeling of success is. To me, the feeling of success is not seeing myself on podcasts, in the newspaper, or the paycheck. Success to me is hearing how my voice and my story has helped others. When someone across the nation sends me an email to tell me how my book helped them, that is success I never even imagined. Success is finding out that a veteran sat and read my book during his dialysis and couldn’t get up until he finished it because he was so enthralled.
Success to me is when a fellow battle buddy reaches out to me after 18 years to tell me that my book changed her life. She found herself, her strength, and her voice. She found the courage to leave an abusive relationship and step into the journey that was always meant for her. That is my idea of success, and it was so worth it. I would do it over a hundred times again!
Pop all your book, website and social media links here so the readers can find you:
Instagram : https://www.instagram.com/author_jennifer_hobbs/
YouTube: Jennifer Hobbs – YouTube
Link for ordering my book and the link for the audiobook:
Celebrate the Struggle podcast (various platforms):
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