Please introduce yourself and your book(s)!
Hi NFReads.com, thanks for having me! My name is Miriam Verheyden, I’m a Canadian author of two books, Let’s Pretend This is Normal and Quit the Hustle. I work as an x-ray technologist by day and write any other time.
What are the real-life stories behind your books?
Both my books are based on my life experiences. Let’s Pretend This is Normal tells the story of how heartbreak led me on the adventure of a lifetime, where I not only fell in love with Canada, but also with a man who seemed completely inappropriate at first: a father of 4 daughters, 25 years my senior, and still married. We fell hard for each other though, and the book describes how following our hearts was the best decision of our lives. We have been together for 17 years and are happier than we ever thought possible.
Quit the Hustle just came out in August and was inspired by the burnout I experienced last year after the release of my first book. It explores our need to improve everything about ourselves and encourages us to make peace with imperfections and enjoy life as it is right now, flaws and all.
What inspires your creativity?
Life! My stories find me, not vice versa, and I decide if I want to write them down. An idea will come to me, I sit with it for a while (sometimes a long while; it was years with my first book), and if the story won’t leave me alone I will start to work on it. I’m currently having an idea for book #3, a novel, and it’s a very exciting process to wait for the story to take shape in my mind. It’s magic!
How do you deal with creative block?
I get blocked when I think too much and live too little. The solution is to get off my butt and go out into the world!
Do you have tips on choosing titles and covers?
I start out with a working title just to have a name for my project. The real title always reveals itself throughout the writing process as the story unfolds.
For the cover I choose what I love, which are nature and bright, vibrant colours. I believe that a good cover should reflect the mood of the book and give the reader an idea of what they can find inside it.
How do bad reviews and negative feedback affect you and how do you deal with them?
So far I haven’t received a bad review for my books (phew!), but as a blogger I had a few negative comments over the years. Their hate was so generalized that it was clear that it came from people whose hobby it is to write negative remarks to people who do more than them, so I simply deleted them and went on with my day. I keep Brené Brown’s words close to my heart when it comes to dealing with negative feedback: “If you’re not in the arena also getting your ass kicked, I’m not interested in your feedback.”
How has your creation process improved over time?
I’m more disciplined now than I used to be. Once I start on a book I aim to work on it every day, even if I don’t feel like it. It’s so much harder to come back to it after a break than it is to keep working on it daily. My goal is to write at least 500 words every day, even if I end up deleting some – or all – of them.
What were the best, worst and most surprising things you encountered during the entire process of completing your books?
The best part by far is having completed them at all! I’m very proud of that accomplishment, because it’s always been my biggest dream to write a book. That I have more books in me is definitely the most surprising, I thought I would be done after one.
The worst part for me is promoting the books, I’m terrible at it. I’d much rather hide behind my screen than go out and try to sell them. That’s why I’m grateful for having my day job, because I would starve if I had to rely on my nonexistent skills as a saleswoman to make a living.
Do you have any creativity tricks?
Journaling, lots and lots of reading, writing ideas down when they pop into my head. I get inspiration from TV shows, books, my work and life in general. As a writer you are an observer of human behaviour, which is my favourite part about it .
What are your plans for future books?
As I mentioned above, I’m currently in the process of starting my first novel. Picture Grey’s Anatomy but in a small town hospital, with lots of quirky characters, a life crisis and of course some love thrown in!
Tell us some quirky facts about yourself.
I cut my own bangs, because perfection is overrated.
At 20 I learnt how to cut down a tree with a chainsaw and subsequently spent 6 months in the forest, working as a lumberjack as part of my Forestry education. It was winter and I quickly realized that I had made a terrible mistake choosing Forestry as a career. I dropped out of college soon after.
One time my husband and I ended up sitting around a campfire with a man who had spent 14 years in prison for a murder he didn’t commit. Talk about a scary campfire story!
Most of the people I hang out with are 20-30 years older than me.