CALIFORNIA HERE I COMEI am getting very excited about traveling to California on Monday and can't wait to meet up with everyone. As a reminder, I will be hosting a "Meet and Greet" on April 17, 2019, at the Sheraton Park Resort. Please come and say hello. I will be giving away free autographed copies of several of my books. If you already own one of my books and you want me to autograph them, I am happy to do so. See details below.
Bri McKay "The Grey World: Understanding Bipolar Disorder"
Today's author interview is of particular interest to me as I have friends and family members who suffer from Bipolar Disorder. This book gives clarity as to how they suffer and is an honest and straightforward account. Please take the time to read this interview from author Bri McKay and her book Bri McKay "The Grey World: Understanding Bipolar Disorder."
Name of Book: The Grey World: Understanding Bipolar Disorder
Year Published: 2018
Pinterest: Bri McKay
Tell your readers a little about yourself, where you grew up, where you live now, where you went to school etc. Let them get to know the personal you.
My legal name is Brittney Kay Shoemaker. I took the name Bri in 5th grade because there were so many Brittney’s in my class. I wanted a way to stand out. Now my parents and siblings are the only people who call me Brittney anymore. I was born on the Keesler Air Force Base in Biloxi, MS. I only lived in Mississippi for six months and grew up in Arlington, Tx. I spent all of my school years in the Kennedale ISD; a small town outside of Arlington. I’m 25 years old (Jan 26 and an Aquarius for anyone interested) and about to move to Dallas.
I have a huge passion for music and performing. I frequent the musical theatre, film, and music industry. Technically I started writing when I was about 13 years old in the form of lyrics. I talk more about this in the book. I thrive on creativity and adventure; it feeds my soul.
What inspired you to write this book?
Being Bipolar myself and being diagnosed at such a young age, the illness has become a critical piece in shaping who I am, my experiences and how they are handled. When another family member was diagnosed a couple of years ago, that part of my family had a hard time understanding and coping with what to do and how to move forward. Hearing about their feelings and confusion got me thinking. I have experience from over half my life. Why not write a book answering the big questions and use my story to help others. So basically, it started out as I wanted to help my family understand and have some hope, and then it turned into a much bigger initiative: wanting to bring awareness and hope to the world. It was a very healing experience for me.
Where did you get the inspiration for your book’s cover?
When I came up with the title of the book, the cover is what instantly popped up in my head. It’s all symbolism. The tree represents life. The split between color and black and white represents the polars. The color represents the good days where everything seems bright and okay in the world. The grey (hints the title of the book) is the hard depressive days where the illness takes its toll.
My father has his foot in the photography industry, and he was gracious enough to lend his skills in making the cover come to life so magnificently. For more of his work you can follow him on Facebook and Instagram: Shoemaker Photography.
Who has been the biggest influence on you personally and as a writer?
As a writer, all the biographies and self-help writers are a huge influence. No one in particular honestly, but it’s the complete opposite when it comes to my songwriting. I won't dive into that though, because that could take a while ;)
Personally, my grandmother is my most significant influence. She helped raise me when I was younger and we’ve had such a close bond. Her and my grandfather have always been so supportive of my passions and my career. Their love, encouragement, support, and everything else in between are diamonds in my treasure chest.
What were your struggles or obstacles you had to overcome to get this book written?
My biggest obstacle in almost everything I do is myself. I had to deal with insecurity about my writing skills, and if anybody really cared about what I had to say. I had to make sure the book didn’t come across as “all about me.” Also, this book is super personal and has information and experiences that one usually doesn’t talk about in everyday conversation. Getting through that and writing openly and honestly was a process all on its own. It’s still uncomfortable sometimes to know that such personal information including my flaws, bad decisions, and things that I’m not proud of are out there for anyone and everyone to know.
I had to take a step back and get out of my own way. This book was written to help people and as soon as I let that sink in, I knew no matter how scared or apprehensive I was, I had to write it AND get it out in front of the public. No matter what my family or friends would think of me or if I was going to be judged, this book needed to be written and shared.
Looking back, the whole process helped me grow in ways I never thought possible. Not only will it help the community but it helped me too. I found bravery and courage that had been buried deep.
Tell your readers about your book.
“The Grey World” is an educational, inspirational, and biographical book all in one. The book goes through the need-to-knows about Bipolar, debunks myths, and has my personal touch immersed within. People should be able to walk away with a better understanding of Bipolar and how it affects those who have it. It is short but filled with valuable information and some insight you can’t get just from googling it.
Who is your target audience and why?
As I wrote and reviewed the finished product, I realized that yes, this book is about Bipolar Disorder and my experience with it but, the content inside is relevant to everyone. The target audience is people with experience with Bipolar, but the “coping” and “loved ones” section of the book are great for all mental illnesses. The short answer, I guess, would be people with or touched by mental illness.
If you were going to give one reason for anyone looking at your book to read, why should they buy it?
Look, if you’re looking into this book- just buy it. If you don’t suffer or know anyone with the disease, this book is still relevant to you. It is a book meant for inspiration and motivation. Not tooting my own horn, but the lessons and experiences I’ve lived through are great lessons for anyone in a tough spot looking to make things better. This book is so much more than just another book talking about Bipolar.
What do you consider your greatest success in life?
My greatest success in life is growing from a pessimistic, insecure, scared human being into a vibrant, positive source of encouragement. I aspire to be a light for people in hard times. That was a difficult journey of transformation and the journey is not over, but ultimately that is what I am most proud of.
Everyone has life lessons to learn, tell your readers one or two of yours and how they make you the person you are today.
My hardest life lessons are in the book. They are not spelled out for you perse, but how I got to learn those lessons are there.
One of them is that you absolutely cannot lose yourself and who you are in a relationship. I went through some significant growing pains to learn that one.
Another major lesson I had to learn (that’s not in the book) was financed. If you had met me a few years ago, you would know I was not as financially savvy as I am now.
What one unique thing sets you apart from other writers in your genre?
My book is easy to read, follow, and understand. Most books on Bipolar that I have come across are written by experts: doctors, therapists, and the like. I don’t have a degree in psychiatry or medicine. I’m not using a bunch of terms that look like a foreign language. I’m not watching and writing my observations. I’m living it. I live with and around this illness every day, and that’s why this book is so valuable. It’s an inside look into my life, and how I think woven into the information people need to know about Bipolar.
Tell your readers anything else you want to share.
This book is very near and dear to my heart. It’s my first one after all, and it’s over a subject that means so much to me. I love hearing feedback so feel free to follow me on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, etc. and join me on this journey of stopping the stigma.
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