Writing As A “We” – Interview With Authors Catherine and Duane O’Kane

by Marilyn R. Wilson

Okane (002)

Please share a bit about your journey to become a published author?

We have been working in the self-improvement and helping field for decades, and ultimately this book was written at the request of our clients, who wanted something in writing to anchor the live changing experience they had with us. Consistent with the theme of the book, the first hurdle we had to overcome to write it was a disappointment in the past.

In 2001, after some members of the company experienced our work, we were contracted by Nightengale-Conant to write an audio program. Nightengale-Conant is a well known as a producer of inspirational programs by well-known authors in the personal growth/motivational field. At the time, they were interested in potentially publishing a book (ours!) as well as an audio program, exciting given that we were not well-known and thus not signed to a publishing contract. A book was a possibility, but our audio program ‘Through Fear to Love’ was test-marketed and released… on 9-11. Needless to say, despite it’s strong test-market indicators, our program did not do well. Our message of love and connection was not where America’s consciousness was after 9-11.

We continued to put our energy into our company, Clearmind International, which offers personal development and professional programs; however, we felt the loss of our dream whenever we considered re-entering the ‘book writing’ territory. Finally,15 years later, it became clear that it was time. Our Marketing Director took the bull by the horns and signed us up for an InspireABook program with Julie Salisbury. This forced us to work through that old loss and start the process.

We then continued with private coaching which was extremely helpful. Julie provides a structure that allows creativity to thrive, and provides just the right balance between encouragement and critique. We are very grateful that we found her.

How does the writing process work for you? Do you schedule a time every day, work madly when inspiration hits or ?

We had a few challenges, the first of which is that we are a ‘we’. It is one thing to work organically together facilitating or speaking; it’s another to write. We ended up dividing the chapters, Catherine writing one, Duane the next, and then let the other add and adjust what we had produced. The challenge was creating a unified voice, as well as our individual voices.

The content for us was not an issue, as we know it inside out. Our schedule is busy, so we mapped out writing times in outlook and stuck to that. The first draft was complete in less than a month, which is astonishing considering that we waited 15 years to finally schedule that month!

Our first book is based on the foundational themes of our work, and we have many more books in us!

What did you find most difficult about the writing and publishing process?  What was the easiest?

The writing process was easy once we actually got to it. The difficulty was all psychological and emotional: and we do have the skills to address that once we actually decided to do so. Having someone to answer to in Julie helped enormously in terms of forcing the issue.

Beyond producing a manuscript, the world of publishing is very intimidating for a newbie. The 6-8 month process following the initial ‘writing’ was actually far more intense.  Julie was able to explain options clearly, and we certainly felt we had an expert at our disposal.

What title (or titles) have you released? Please include a short synopsis of what your book is (or books are) about.

Real: The Power of Authentic Connection is about discovering joy of being fully alive through authentic, vulnerable connection.

Most of our struggles in life are relationship struggles, although we don’t think of it this way. Depression, anxiety, mental and physical illness, low self-esteem, high divorce rates, and all the myriad ways we explain our pain are a result of lack of real relationships. We don’t know how to connect, and the ways we go about attempting to do so often contribute to the problem. We hide, pretend and defend instead of being real. Connection is the doorway to being fully alive, and it is only one vulnerable step away in any given moment.

In this book, we take the reader through an intimate journey using exercises and examples from our personal and professional lives. We wanted to replicate, to the best of our ability, the life-changing experience that our workshops provide. Practical tools are shared, including 5 skills of emotional responsibility, and the 4 step ‘getting real’ process to correct the self-limiting beliefs and feelings that are at the root of our relationship dilemmas. This book is a road map back to a fully connected life for all of those who have suffered in isolation.

Do you have any new books in the planning or writing stage?

We have lots of ideas! The next book will be focused on intimate relationship. We shared some of our story as part of ‘Real’, and our next book will continue the personal story with a more in depth focus on our relationship, including how we dealt with infidelity. We don’t have a title yet (Real Relationships?), but the focus will be growing through relationship crisis.

What would you like readers to know about you?

Hopefully this won’t sound too cheesy, but we want our readers to know that we genuinely care. We want to ease the suffering that people (mostly unconsciously) cause themselves. Pain is part of this life experience: we will all experience challenge and loss. However, as Haruki Murakami said, ‘Pain is inevitable but suffering is optional’.

Links:

Website – www.clearmind.com and www.realauthentic.ca
Blog –www.clearmind.com/latest-blog
Facebook –
www.facebook.com/ClearmindInternational/
Instagram – @clearmind_international
YouTube –http://bit.ly/2fYRkvt
Amazon Central Author Page –
www.amazon.com/author/duaneokane
Goodreads Author Page – www.goodreads.com/author/show/16054661.Catherine_O_Kane
Twitter – @clearmind_intl
Hashtags – #realauthentic, #realthebook