Welcome back to the Author Interview series. Today, we are visiting with a wonderful lady, Lexa Harpell. I discovered this heartwarming lady on Facebook, and have enjoyed the developing friendship. She hales from Sydney, Australia which typically means she’s around on one of my late night media runs.
Lexa, I’m going to turn this over to you. Mind telling us a little about where you’re from, and something about your earlier years?
- I was very fortunate growing up in the diverse multiculturalbeachside suburb of Bondi, Sydney, Australia.The surrounding beaches allowed me to explore my physical freedom.The diversity of nationalities allowed me to explore views of the world and my mental freedom. I think this set me up to seek possibilities in life.
- It still surprises me when I think of my chronological age and how my soul prefers to live.
That sounds like it made for an interesting school experience as well. I’m willing to wager you were one of the students (both in school and at home) who always wanted to know “why”.
- I like my mental and physical freedom to be able to pursue the many varied projects that touches me throughout life. Being born with a curious and questioning mind, I drove my parents crazy from a young age forever asking, “But why is it …” this questioning has never stopped, and has drawn me into a diverse range of formal and self-education and at times, extreme experiences which included three years of sky diving.I have been blessed with an incredibly beautiful, creative daughter whom I would choose as a best friend in life.
Would you consider writing to be one of your “extreme experiences” or was it something a little less intense that drew you in?
- Laying on a beach at Bryon Bay in 2009 just a few weeks after our mum’s 90th birthday, I thought “What would I really love to do – what would fill my soul for my next cycle in life?” That little inner voice soon said: “Write and Travel”. Travelling I was up for, although I scoffed at the idea of writing. All I had ever written were business related documents. Over the next few years it kept nagging and directing me to small pieces of writing. I began writing reviews for an online publication of fun things to do in Sydney, then writing short stories about our ancestor’s journey. I hadn’t considered the book I wrote for my mum, it was personal, a gift, never for publication. Yet the powers to be had other ideas I guess.
Was there a specific event you can point at and say, “Now, that’s when I knew I was an author and writer.”?
- A writer? Perhaps an Accidental Writer, although the so called title is a little difficult to adopt.
- It [the writing] compelled me rather than an interest.
::Chuckles:: I understand that one. Don’t you love when a work nags you and demands to be brought to life? Was this the inspiration for your first book, then?
- My mum’s ninetieth birthday was looming and I wanted to give her a gift to show her my love for all the things she did for me through my life.
When you’re writing, do you adopt a specific writing style for your work?
- Simple, from the heart.The book was written in a simple child’s ‘voice’ with hope that my mum could understand. I don’t think I could write books with characters and intertwined story lines. I greatly admire those who do.
Do you have a favorite method for selecting your titles, or does the work itself hint at what those should be?
- As I began recollecting my childhood, I saw everything she did for me as beautiful gifts and I wanted to show her that they were gifts from her soul.
Did you design your cover yourself, or work with someone else?
- I designed the cover, finding the perfect image that would tell a story was time consuming.
In your writing, what challenges or lessons did you encounter during the journey?
- Culling words! Arghhh
- Digging into the depth of my soul, exposing my vulnerability. I spent months crying, sobbing, yet the tears washed away much debris. In the end I exhaled! Well worth the journey.
- I learned much about myself and what was more important to life and living. It was also ok to be less than ‘perfect’ which gave me an acceptance of who I am.
I’ve read your book, so I will say it definitely was. Looking back now, is there anything you would have changed if you had to repeat the process using what you know now?
- I do look at some minor things and cringe a little, yet I see those imperfections will resonate with the reader. Like life, nothing is perfect.
Do you draw from your own experiences to keep it real, or do you draw from others as well?
- It’s all real in my world of memories and events. I did not want to gloss the book or myself to be perfect, I wanted it to be raw and real.
- Everything is raw and real between my mum and myself.
Do you have a favorite author you look up to as a mentor, even if you haven’t met them yet who has helped you along the way?
- I love many classics, however Dr Seuss’s books have incredible life messages for all ages. Just re read ‘Oh, The Places You’ll Go!’ – Oh I just realized why I say oh so much! Now that is an influence!
- Dr Seuss. His writing has many levels, everyone sees a different message from his books. I like books that make me think, ponder possibilities.
- His fun, simplicity of carefully chosen words and fanciful characters, woven into timeless messages for all ages. He touches our inner child to dream, explore possibilities, and draw out our own creativeness. I dream to write in this fashion…ahhh a dream.
Looking at the future, do you consider writing to be your career?
- I have no idea at the moment, I shall let it take its natural course.
Fair enough. Do you have any new projects in the works that you can share with us?
- Oh my! 2015 will be a busy year! I have just sent out Media Packs to quite a number of TV chat shows around the world – English speaking countries. In time to promote the book for Mother’s Day. Another book at the editors to be released shortly and a six week trip ‘meeting our ancestors’ with my brother in May.
- The next book is similar to my first, with a slightly different message, seeing my dad through the eyes of a son.
- [It] is currently at the editors, it will be to my dad – interesting what came up for this one. I wanted to see him through the eyes of a son, so had some input from my brother.Another project in its infancy about the incredible Silent Generation who were pivotal in changing society. It will make people ponder and question…though it will take a while to capture the images.
In your writing, do you leave messages for the readers to find?
- Perhaps to see how the small things have some of the greatest impacts on their lives. Those small ‘gifts’ from you mum created the person you are today. Simplicity is the key to happiness!
Are you reading anything right now, or does your schedule keep you too much on the run?
- Very little at the moment unfortunately, however I have 8 books in back log desperately crying out to be read!
I figured your reading time might be a little on the limited side, with everything else you’ve mentioned brewing in your life. When you do get a chance to read, do you read any new authors who have caught your attention, or old favorites?
- Margaret Ann Loveday. I love books that opens my heart. To remind us of our true selves and basic human yearnings for love. I’m looking forward to reading her next book!
Through your journey have you had support when you need it beyond your immediate family?
- No one in the beginning as I didn’t tell anyone, however I have come in contact with incredibly uplifting people along the journey.
When you don’t expect to write much, I’m sure it is a bit daunting to admit you’re writing anything. This leads me to the big, dreaded question. Do you have any words of wisdom for other up and coming authors?
- Write about what you have the most passion for and be yourself. Listen to those little voices and be open to where they may take you.
Lexa, it has been wonderful having you here today. Thank you so much for stopping by. Any last words for our readers before I wrap up your interview?
- Take a walk down your own memory lane and watch what unfolds for you. Love has no bounds, it yearns to be heard. My intention was to give a heartfelt gift to my mum, it also turned out to be the greatest gift I gave to myself.
Thank you everyone who’s stopped by. If you wish to learn more about Lexa, you can find her on Amazon here, and her website here that she leaves “open to anyone who also wants to share their experiences.” If you want to discover her wonderful, heartwarming debut book, you can find my review of it here, or you can head over to Amazon, and pick up your copy here.
If you enjoyed the interview, and wish me to host an author interview for you, please stop by my offered services page, and send in a submission. Thank you all once again for coming out to support our authors and writers on their journeys.