An Interview with Juanima Hiatt: Author
Sylvia: Welcome Juanima. Please give our readers an introduction of yourself and a little about your book.
Juanima: Hello Sylvia. I am Juanima Hiatt and live in Oregon with my husband and two daughters, who
are 9 and 13. My book is about my nine-year journey with PTSD (Post traumatic Stress Disorder), which was triggered by the traumatic birth of my second daughter in 2003. It’s the most difficult thing I’ve ever lived through, but given the fact that one soldier commits suicide every day because of this disorder, being able to overcome it is an achievement that begged for the story to be told.
Sylvia: Wow, I commend you for sharing your story. I am sure it has been therapeutic. What inspired you to write your first book?
Juanima: I wrote The Invisible Storm because I wanted hurting people to see that healing is possible. I wanted sufferers of PTSD to feel validated, and I wanted to bring their loved ones deep into our world, to bring insight to what we endure so that communication and understanding between them could improve. I’m just so delighted whenever I receive feedback from readers that my goal was accomplished. To me, that means one more relationship may be saved. PTSD is known for causing destruction and dissolution. I want to prevent that as much as possible. I nearly lost my own marriage, but I’m happy to say my husband and I made it through the worst part of PTSD, and now I’m elated that our relationship is even stronger than it was before.
Sylvia: Well you should be. Your courageousness is a blessing to others. Is there a message in your memoir that you want readers to grasp?
Juanima: Definitely. There are millions of women who have a history of childhood sexual abuse. I want to encourage them, and tell them their voice matters. PTSD was triggered by the traumatic birth of my daughter, but what came to the surface was my hidden past of childhood sexual abuse. I was forced to face it head on, or risk losing everything I held dear. But I did face it, and now I can say I’m free from the past. I SO much want others to experience that freedom. For sufferers of PTSD, it doesn’t matter what the source of trauma is – the debilitating symptoms rip apart every good thing that exist in a life. It inflicts hopelessness, helplessness, and a state of constant fear or terror, among many other devastating symptoms. Too many people with PTSD are convinced it’s a life-sentence. It’s NOT, and I shared every step of my journey to prove it is indeed possible to overcome.
Sylvia: It is interesting that you were able to suppress your inner most horrific deep pain. Do you have any advice for other writers?
Juanima: If you’re writing a memoir, don’t be afraid to go deep. I know it’s scary – sometimes terrifying. There were times I cried writing my book, asking myself, “Am I really going to let the world see this? My deepest wounds and darkest secrets! But my motivation to help others won out every time. When I get an email from a stranger about how much they needed my book, or how it helped them understand their daughter (with PTSD) better, I know it was worth being real and vulnerable in writing the toughest parts. I wouldn’t go back and change anything. I have no regrets. I also want to say if you have a story that keeps knocking in the back of your mind – a story you know needs to be told – TELL IT. Don’t wait. I try hard to live life with wisdom, which means making decisions I won’t regret later. NOT writing a book is a decision, even if you keep saying you’ll write it “someday.” Start it now. Don’t let your hesitation today become regret tomorrow, when you realize that suddenly ten years have passed and you never wrote that story that needed to be told. Now is the time.
Sylvia: Who might benefit from reading The Invisible Storm?
Juanima: I received an endorsement from a therapist that The Invisible Storm should be mandatory reading for all doctors, therapists, police officers, child welfare, sex abuse victims, veterans, people experiencing PTSD, as well as their family members. I agree it would benefit all of those people, but anyone who suffers from any kind of anxiety – officially diagnosed or not – would benefit, and feel understood and validated. I’ve also had a few readers who do not fall into any of those categories, all of whom shared with me how eye-opening the book was. PTSD is a catastrophic dismantling of the human spirit, and it affects 5.2 million people in the United States in any given year. It is my strong desire to remove the stigma attached to this disorder, and help people understand it in a real way. The Invisible Storm will do that for anyone who reads it.
Sylvia: That is a great endorsement. What marketing techniques have you used to sell your books and which ones have been most successful?
Juanima: I try to be very visible online in helpful and non-intrusive ways. I have my author website, and a Facebook author page as well as one for my memoir, The Invisible Storm. I’m on Twitter and LinkedIn. I don’t tweet as often as most people, but my account is linked to my Facebook pages and my blog, so all my activity gets tweeted. I try to blog once a week. I have found that word-of-mouth so far has been the most effective method. I occasionally post on Facebook with a link to my book, but I try more than anything to provide useful and valuable content on related topics. I don’t want to shove my book down anyone’s throat, or annoy them with “buy my book” pleas. I want them to see that I’m really about helping people first. In the next month, I will be arranging some book signings at local bookstores, and I’m starting a PTSD workshop with a local therapist where my book will be available.
Sylvia: Word-of-Mouth is king! To build a reputation on honesty, integrity and trust is huge. I commend you! Why should we buy your book?
Juanima: Do you want to break free from something in your past? Do you or someone you know struggle daily with life because of deep-rooted pain? If you have doubts that you can ever be free from the pain of your past… If you’ve ever said, “I’ll never get over that”… If you ever feel hopeless and desperate for hope; If you ever say, “I can’t”… If you want to be inspired, The Invisible Storm is a must-read.
Sylvia: Great! Is there a special place that you prefer when you write?
Juanima: If you walk into my house, chances are I’ll be sitting there in the front study at my desk. I have no problems with the “butt in chair” requirement to write (and today it’s pretty sore! Ha Ha). But my absolute favorite place to write is at the beach. I am always so inspired by the cool breeze, the crashing of the waves, the solitude, and just being out of town. It’s my favorite place to be.
Sylvia: What projects are you currently working on?
Juanima: I’m so excited about my next projects! Originally, after I finished The Invisible Storm, I was going to pull out the screenplay I had outlined before PTSD came along. But because of my heart for teens, I became inspired to start a YA novel series, where each novel deals with issues teens deal with such as eating disorders, running away, abuse, peer pressure, divorce, etc. Each novel will be told from a different character’s point-of-view.
Sylvia: What is your POWER WORD? Why this word?
Juanima: My power word is “INSPIRE.” People need inspiration, as we are constantly receiving negative input from a broken world. I want to give hope to others, and inspire positive change.
Sylvia: I like that word… it is very empowering. Well, thank you Juanima. I enjoyed learning about your story. I also salute you for overcoming it. Please share your social media and book contact information.
Juanima: Thank you Sylvia. I appreciate your time.
- Website: http://www.juanimahiatt.com
- Website: http://www.theinvisiblestorm.com
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/juanimahiattauthor
- Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/theinvisiblestorm
- Twitter: http://www.twitter/jhiatt4
- LinkedIn: http://www.linkedin.com/pub/juanima-hiatt/46/99b/b0a
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org