She’s also the founder of the Jewish Emotional Health Institute (JEMI) which provides holistic tools and techniques designed to transform mind, body and soul.
Without further ado …
Hi Rivka! Could you describe your writing background, and also what inspired your books?
Before changing track to God-based holistic health, I owned my own PR firm in London, UK, and before that, I was a top ghostwriter for some of the biggest names in the British Government. The deadlines and pressure nearly killed me, and I burned out at the age of 35, moved to Israel, and started looking for some real, spiritual answers to many of the health and personal issues I was facing in my own life.
For a while, I couldn’t even so much as look at a keyboard, and I thought I was going to becoming a holistic health practitioner instead. I did course after course, and got officially certified as an aromatherapist, emuna spiritual coach and energy medicine practitioner specializing in the link between Chinese Energy Meridians and emotions.
While I was learning all this stuff, I started to piece together a much bigger, holistic health paradigm that explained how happiness, holiness and health really fit together. Enough time had passed for me to return to my keyboard, and I realized that I could help far more people by writing books about what was really causing their health issues, and how to really resolve them, than I could by doing one-on-one sessions.
Now, I’m on a mission to transform the way people relate to their own health and happiness by helping them make the connections between their own physical health, their feelings, and their spiritual dimension in a non-weird, scientifically-proven way.
What especially motivates you about the content that you write about?
That it actually works, and can help people to start finding real answers to the health problems they might be experiencing, across the board. These days, everything is so specialized that we can’t see the wood for the trees, when it comes to working out what’s causing our physical issues and emotional difficulties.
There’s a theme that runs through pretty much all of my work, that human beings are made of up body, mind and soul, and if any one of those areas is missing, weak or blocked in some way, we’re going to experience some big difficulties as a result.
Every health issue we have is made up of these three components, whether it’s a cold, a bout of depression, or something life-threatening. In order to really resolve the problem, you have to figure out what’s contributing to it at each of these three levels. And once you do that, 9 times out of 10, the illness will disappear by itself without any further work required.
How much research is typically involved for your books? Do you have experience or contacts in the relevant fields that you write about?
The short answer is: it depends on the book. ‘Causes and Cures of Depression‘ required a fair bit of research, because even though it’s a short book, I had to distill a lot of information about the current ‘science’ behind depression down into a few key themes. It’s easy to make sweeping statements about anti-depressants only working because of the placebo affect, but if you don’t have the evidence to back that up (at least in your own notes), at some point you’ll get into trouble.
My latest book, ‘Talk to God and Fix Your Health’ also required a lot of research, because it sets out a blueprint for how to tackle health problems across body, mind and soul, and again you have to know your stuff. I was researching different stuff for that book for three years’ solid before I wrote it, everything from what causes personality disorders to what energy meridian is associated with what particular physical illness, and which energy psychology techniques work the best to ‘free’ stuck emotions.
By contrast, ‘The Happy Workshop’ was based more my own mind-map exercises and personal experiences of what had worked for me, so there wasn’t very much research or scientific studies involved in the writing.
Do you find it easy or difficult to set time aside for writing?
Easy, thank God. I type like a lunatic – I took a secretarial course when I was 18 in case I failed my A-levels, and learning to touch type at that point in my life was one of the smartest things I ever did. I type as fast as I think – with all my fingers!
I also find the writing process very enjoyable, especially now I don’t have to stress about meeting other people’s crazy deadlines and can write about things I’m genuinely interested in.
Are there many distractions in life to keep you away from the writing chair?
A couple of children and a husband are the main culprits, but otherwise I’m pretty disciplined about getting my work done at fixed hours in the day, usually when they’re out of the house.
My other big problem has been the internet. I resolved it by getting WiFi out my house and accessing the net with a stick on key instead, and trying to only be online 3 days a week. The weeks I stick to that, I get so much more real writing done.
Are there days when you get out of bed and simply can’t get any work done? If so, how do you combat that?
I accept that God is trying to tell me to slow down a bit and I go to the zoo, or the beach.
For an indie author, what do you think are the best ways to market your book?
From my experiences, word of mouth seems best – but you have to write a truly great book to activate it, as friends and family have a limit.
I’ve read a lot of ‘social media’ stuff for authors and I’ve dipped my toe in the pond a few times, but I generally always feel that I’m spamming people when I talk about my books (and that may even be true).
So I think it’s much better if you can get other people to do the recommending, honestly, for you. But that takes time to build.
Yes, a little, but probably very badly. What helps me is to stop talking about my book, even to ignore it, and to just go out there and write about stuff I care about. One great forum that I really enjoy writing on is Quora – where people ask questions and anyone can answer.
I write a lot about emotional and psychological issues, as well as things like anxiety, depression and personality disorders.
As an indie author, what would you say is the most challenging obstacle?
Having to do everything yourself, or pay out for it upfront. For example, I hate proofreading and it’s really not my forte. But you can’t put out shoddy work, so I’ve been caught in a bind either re-reading my stuff 20 times over (which when you’ve written it as well is actually a horrible form of torture) or paying out hundreds of dollars to outsource the job.
You have to really believe in the value of your writing to make that sort of upfront investment in a book that may not recoup the money (as you also need to market it yourself…), and that’s not always easy for new indie authors.
Please tell us about any future books you have on the horizon.
My next book that’s out imminently is: ‘Talk to God and Fix Your Health: The real reasons why we get sick, and how to stay healthy’.
It sets out a clear paradigm for health that starts with the soul, moves through the mind and emotions, and ends with the body. At each stage of the process, it gives the reader tried and tested ideas, exercises and techniques that will help them to work out where the health problem is actually originating, how to work out what’s really causing it, and then what to do to try to fix the problem.
I’m hoping this book will become the bible for God-based holistic health.
After that, I also have a couple more books at various stages of production. One is a spiritual blueprint for how to overcome personality disorders, and the other is a book of God-based healing visualizations.
Thanks so much for taking part, Rivka!
Are you an indie author? Fancy an interview? Drop us a mail and we’d be happy to chat to you.