Tell me a bit about yourself….
My name is Grace Rockwell. Since I was a young girl, I’ve always wanted to write a book. As an adult, I’ve thought about sharing my life story of chronic pain, domestic abuse, and mental illness. But I struggled to know exactly how to write it and when.
In the summer of 2018, that all became crystal clear to me. One day I sat down in my dining room, with my laptop, and started writing. I wrote, and I wrote and I wrote. Eight weeks later I had a first draft–about 120 pages and 18 chapters.
After those eight weeks, I was stricken with debilitating depression. Month after month…I was stuck and sat despondent in my recliner. Then, in March 2020, I started feeling better.
In June I decided that I needed to add “the rest of the story,” as Paul Harvey used to say. I finished my story and started looking for a publisher.
My manuscript was published and released in October 2020 by Westbow Press. The book is now available for purchase from the publisher and on amazon.com.
What genre/s do you write in?
I write poetry, stories, non-fiction, and fiction. My book is a memoir.
How long have you been writing?
I’ve been writing since I could hold a pencil in my hand.
Do you have any published books or articles?
Yes, my book was published last year (2020) in late October. It is called “Our Only Hope: Living a Life of Freedom”.
Tell me a bit about these and what publishing route you took.
From the back of my book:
For those trying to weather through the storms of life, Grace Rockwell offers encouragement by sharing her own experiences and what she has learned from them. Growing up with chronic pain and in a negative, abusive environment, where she was often rejected and alone, Grace learned to put her trust in the Lord. No matter what storms she faced, or how much pain she endured, Grace always came back to the Lord for help.
Grace’s experiences will encourage you as you face your own storms in life. She reassures the reader that we can trust that God is always with us; He has a plan and a purpose for our lives. Our Only Hope will take you along Grace’s journey to find that the redemptive power of God is our only hope, and it can become an anchor for our souls.
Grace’s passions include not only spreading the good news of Jesus Christ but also advocating for those suffering from chronic pain, domestic abuse, and/or mental illness.
Did you use an editor? If so who?
No, I did not. I have a BA in English and felt confident that I (along with a couple of friends) did a good job at the editing process.
Did you use a book formatter and cover designer?
No, I did not. Although a friend drew the anchor on the front cover. I just told my publisher what I wanted, and they made it happen.
Did you self-publish or get traditionally published?
Self-published with Westbow Press.
How did this go for you?
I was a bit frustrated with the process, but it was my first time so I didn’t know what to expect. Overall, it went well.
How do you market your work and promote your brand?(Include links)
I do a lot on social media. I have a blog, and I do in-person author events in my local area.
What social media and writing platforms would you recommend?
I use WordPress for my blog and really like it. I’m on Facebook and Instagram. I’m on Twitter also, but don’t find that compatible with what I’m doing.
Do you use an agent?
No, I do not.
Do you use paid advertising? If so what?
I do not pay for advertising.
Do you have a blog or website?
Both. Please see the above links.
What inspires you most to write?
I write when and what the Holy Spirit inspires me to write. This morning it was a prayer that I posted on my blog.
What do you do to help with writer's block?
I usually write only when I’m inspired to do so. It’s a lot different than writing fiction. I write about real life and the things I experience.
How do you plan your writing and start?
I usually just start writing whatever I’m thinking about at the time. Once I have some content, I will sort through it and put it into an organized fashion.
Is writing your full-time job? If not, what else do you do?
Writing is not a job for me. It is a passion. I’m disabled and unable to work outside the home. I was a teacher before becoming disabled. Writing works well for me as I can do it as I’m able. I’m also thinking about going back to college for a master’s degree.
What are you working on at the moment?
I’ve been trying to get started on my next book called “Lessons Learned from my 100-Year-Old Grandma”. But I have not been well and unable to go visit her to work on it. Hopefully, we can get back to it soon!
What is your target audience?
My target audience is anyone who is struggling with domestic abuse, chronic pain, and/or mental illness. Or anyone else struggling to get through the storms of this life.
How long does it take you to write a book?
It took me a little more than eight weeks to write my book. That was in two separate sittings. It was truly God who wrote my book. The words flowed effortlessly from my head onto the keyboard.
When did you first discover you enjoyed writing?
As soon as I could write a sentence. I’ve always wanted to write a book. And I love to tell stories either from books, by doing dramas, or making up my own stories.
What is your writing schedule look like?
I have none. It always depends on how my body and brain are cooperating.
What does your family think about you writing?
My family has been super supportive. They are proud of me and help me when they can. My daughter is a marketing specialist and my brother sells real estate. They have both helped me immensely. And my husband goes with me to my author events and helps with selling the books.
What do you do when you are not writing?
I love to read. I think reading is imperative to becoming a good writer. I also love to go walking with friends. And going to Bible study.
Where do you get information and ideas for your writing?
Life. I just write about what I know. My experiences. My relationships.
What do you think makes a good story?
For me, a good book needs to pull at my heartstrings. It needs to have emotion. And I want to learn something from my reading. I don’t read fiction very often. I usually read non-fiction in order to improve myself in some way. That is my goal for my readers as well.
Thank you, Grace, for sharing your story and for the chance to get to know you better.
If you would like to be interviewed on "The NZDream blog" please contact Elise at firstname.lastname@example.org.