Written by JJ Barnes
I am delighted to share with you my interview with author of Strip Naked and Redress With Happiness, Maria Hocking.
Tell me a bit about who you are.
I’m a life coach, motivational speaker, author and a happily married mum! I love to change lives with my heart and my words and thrive on helping others transform. This passion stems from knowledge and experience gained from my own personal adversities. I lost all of my hair after the birth of my second child and hit rock bottom. I felt physically and emotionally ‘naked’, feeling as if I’d lost my identity. When I realized that I couldn’t control what had happened to me, but I could control how I reacted to my circumstances, I decided to change. I found more confidence and happiness than I’d ever experienced.
When did you first WANT to write a book?
About 5 years ago when I realized that my knowledge and message wasn’t reaching enough people. Someone had heard my being interviewed and emailed me to say that my story needed to be heard by so many. She said she found it inspiring and powerful. Being an avid reader and having always loved writing, a book seemed to be the best way to reach people globally.
When did you take a step to start writing?
The very next day, about 5 years ago. I didn’t have any idea about how to actually write a book, edit a book or even publish a book but I just started writing, fueled by my drive to help others. I very quickly discovered that my best time for writing was very late at night!
How long did it take you to complete your first book from the first idea to release?
I started writing but then stopped for a little while, probably being overwhelmed by the whole process. When I decided to write again, I ended up re-writing a lot! I think it took about 3 months of solid graft when I eventually committed to the process. When fully immersed, it became much easier as I would wake at 3am with amazing ideas for the book! I’d take these opportunities to get up and write!
What were your biggest challenges with writing Strip Naked And Redress With Happiness?
It took me a while to realise that I was most creative either late at night, or in my local coffee shop. Initially I tried planning to write for 2 hours a day every morning. This really didn’t work for me! When I learnt to maximise the times when I felt most creative, the process became so much easier. I also found it quite challenging initially to know my writing style but this evolved naturally as I wrote.
What was your research process for Strip Naked And Redress With Happiness?
I was my own research. I’d lived through significant adversity and re-built my life. All I needed to do what to identify exactly what I did to re-build and find happiness. Step by step, I went back in my mind and asked “What did you do that made the biggest difference at that time?”. I discovered so much and realized that there were very specific thoughts that I changed, and actions that I took that played a huge part in my transformation. This process revealed large chunks of content for the book. I did spend a little time researching cover design, word count and book sizing but also had a lot of help from the publishing company that I worked with.
How did you plan the structure of Strip Naked And Redress With Happiness?
If I’m being honest, I didn’t! I tried but this stopped me being creative. Just deciding to keep writing worked for me and the structure naturally evolved. I don’t recall ever making any structural changes within the editing process.
Did you get support with editing, and how much editing did Strip Naked And Redress With Happiness need?
I was very fortunate to be put in contact with Alison Jones at Practical Inspiration Publishing. Her company took my book on and did all the things that I didn’t know how to do such as editing and cover design etc. The editing process was very interesting, I learnt so much. Although the editing was carried out by Practical Inspirations, I still had full control and had to approve all edits so saw in great detail ways to improve my writing. I would say that the book needed a fair amount of editing, but not so much that it changed significantly in any way.
What is the first piece of writing advice you would give to anyone inspired to write a book?
There is someone out there who needs to hear your story. If you don’t allow yourself to write, then people will suffer without your inspiration or knowledge. Writing is serving others; creating an experience for them to feel, to think, to change. Start writing and don’t stop until you feel that you have created an experience for someone that needs it.
Can you give me a hint about any further books you’re planning to write?
I’m halfway through my next book which is super exciting! My first book is about involuntary nakedness; losing ourselves to find ourselves through adversity. My next book is about voluntary nakedness; understanding that we don’t have to wait for personal challenge to change!
And, finally, are your proud of your accomplishment? Was it worth the effort?
Yes! I will never, ever forget the moment when I received the delivery of my first batch of books! I literally collapsed on the floor sobbing. In that moment I fully appreciated every personal challenge that had resulted in this book. My whole life suddenly made sense. It was a very powerful moment. So yes, it was worth the effort!
Find Strip Naked & Re-Dress with Happiness here: https://amzn.to/33FgapR
You Tube: https://amzn.to/33FgapR