First in the series of Indie Authors is a great book by Lisa Kugler titled 10 Things I Learned from a Schizophrenic Mechanic. Lisa was also kind enough to grant an interview!
Lisa’s father was diagnosed with Schizophrenia in his 20s and suffered psychotic breaks that resulted in frightening scenes and hospital stays. All through this, Lisa credits her mother’s influence to be able to see that he was doing the best that he could. Even more, she was able to find that her father was still a human being capable of kindness, generosity, and imparting life lessons.
Now, here’s what Lisa had to say:
Jenn: How did your journey as a writer begin?
Lisa: I have been writing for many years. Mostly fiction but I have never published the fiction (yet). Recently I felt an urge to write out the nonfiction that was burning in my heart and I finally did. It became 10 Things I Learned from a Schizophrenic Mechanic. I knew I wanted to share this story because so many people live with a chronically mentally ill family member or have a chronic mental illness and there is so much shame and stigma and it shouldn't be the case. It should be something as a society we are not ashamed to have a conversation about.
J: How did you come to the point where you were able to compartmentalize the psychotic break “version” of your father from the kind and generous person who taught you these lessons?
L: I can credit my mother with that. From a young age, she explained to me who my father was before he became ill. She let me know who he was before the illness took over his life. How outgoing he was. How he enjoyed so many of the same things like fishing but wasn't so "grumpy", to use kid phrasing. Also, I saw so much compassion in my father. It only seemed natural to return that compassion back to him.
J: Do you think that growing up with your father gave you some of the tools for parenting a child with spina bifida?
L: Oh my goodness, yes! I think everything in our life prepares us for the next thing.
J: In the book, you mentioned church as a comfort to you in childhood. Does faith play a part in your life today?
L: I'm not sure where I would be without my faith. It has always been a very personal thing for me. I hold it close. I talk to God, mumble little prayers throughout my day. There have been many times people in the church have hurt me, but I don't feel that God has ever hurt me… if that makes sense.
J: If a reader were to come away with only one lesson from this book, what would you hope they’d learn?
L: That all people are valuable and not to discount somebody just because of a label of mental illness.
J: What would your father say about you as a person today and even your book?
L: Daddy was always proud of me. I think, somewhere in Heaven, he is living his best life. But if somebody told him about my book, he would be so, so proud that I shared something that might be of benefit to somebody else. Especially that I included him as part of it.
J: What project are you working on now?
L: I am always writing. My next project is another try at fiction.
J: How did you decide to become an independently published author?
L: I knew that no traditional publishing house was going to publish my Mechanic book and I knew I wanted it out there. So, with encouragement from my family… I just did it!
J: Do you have any advice for other independent authors?
L: Yes. Get a good editor. Though I have had excellent luck finding all manner of help in this process, I did not find a good editor. I should have gone with a more trusted local source instead of one through the internet I didn't know. I am still finding errors I am having to go back and correct and it is much harder to correct after the document has been formatted for upload. This is my best advice. A good editor will save you time and headaches. I don't care how well versed in grammar and punctuation you are, nobody can or should edit their own work. After a while, your eyes will gloss over the mistakes as you have read the passages so many times.
J: What authors do you follow/read most often?
L: The general rule is: if it's laying around the house, I'll pick It up and read it. We are avid library-goers, so it could literally be anything.
J: What are you reading now?
L: I am on the lookout for my next fiction read. Currently, I'm reading a nonfiction work, The Body Keeps the Score by Bessel van der Kolk.
Okay, that’s all for now. I hope that you’ll check out 10 Things I Learned from a Schizophrenic Mechanic and recommend it to your friends. This is really one of those books that will educate and inspire.
Have a wonderful day, everyone!