Today’s guest is Shaneka L. McClarty, author of the nonfiction, The Heart of a Woman: Reclaim, Release and Renew. Shaneka is a southern girl with a love for all things sweet; she enjoys sweet treats, sweet talks and sweet people. She is a licensed therapist with a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology from Argosy University (Atlanta, GA) and a Bachelor’s Degree from Stillman College (Tuscaloosa, AL). Shaneka has been practicing for over ten years focusing on relationships, particularly women’s issues and couples. Her company, Therapy Girl LLC, is set up to provide counseling services, consulting, workshops, and motivational speaking. Shaneka hosts a weekly internet-based radio show, Open Up with Therapy Girl, on Blog Talk Radio each Sunday @ 2:00 p.m. EST.
Thank you for this interview, Shaneka. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?
I’m a Bama Belle who fell in love with a Georgia Peach. I was born and raised in Alabama, but now I live in Atlanta, Georgia. I love seafood, music (any genre), travelling and lazy rainy days. I also wear many hats. My primary hat is wife to Leonardo and mommy to Sage, Sydney and Sarai. My secondary hat is that of a therapist where I counsel people who are pushing through their problems. I’ve been writing ever since I could put words and thoughts together. In high school, I was on the newspaper staff and after college I became more passionate about the art of writing. If I had to give a number, I would say twenty years.
Can you tell us briefly what your book is about?
The book is about helping women overcome a heart break by guiding them through a journey of healing their wounds and reclaiming their power. It’s about letting go of an unhealthy relationship and choosing to renew your heart and mind to position oneself for authentic love. My book will not give you dating advice but I do share the key to marrying the right guy.
Why did you choose your particular genre?
Choosing to write a non-fiction was easy for me because life’s experiences are real. I didn’t have to step into an imaginary world as all I had to do was connect to the human spirit. Furthermore, writing a book for women who have been hurt in their relationships was something that I had experienced and it felt natural to start there.
What was your greatest challenge writing this book?
The greatest challenge was having a plethora of information and deciding what I needed to share. I wanted to make sure it was something women had not heard before. There are so many relationship books that explain how to date, how to get a guy to marry you and so forth. I wanted women to look into their hearts and examine each wound or heart break that prevents them from having a loving relationship.
Are you published by a traditional house, small press or are you self-published?
I am self-published. I always knew that I would self-publish versus a traditional publishing house. It’s because I didn’t want anyone to keep me from sharing my message. In the future, I would like to have the opportunity to publish the traditional way.
Was it the right choice for you?
Yes. Self-publishing was the best choice for this particular project. I knew when my fingers touched my computer keys that everyone would not like what I had to say; it comes with the territory. Self-publishing allowed me to control my message without dishonoring myself.
How are you promoting your book thus far?
I started out by sharing my book release with my clients, friends and church members. I recruited my sorority sisters as my marketing soldiers. Basically, they shared the book buy link with their contacts. I’ve been interviewed on a few radio shows and now I am on a virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book. On May 31st I will have an official book launch luncheon at Villa Christina here in Atlanta.
How is that going for you?
It is going very well. I can truly see how many people support me and I am surprised each time someone approaches me to buy a book. Now I’ve learned to travel with at least ten books in my car so that I am prepared.
Can you tell us one thing you have done that actually resulted in one or more sales?
I decided to donate 10% of my April proceeds to a charity. Each time I tweeted or talked about the book, I informed people that supporting me was also a way to support the charitable organization. I think this resonated with people because I didn’t make it about me; it was about helping someone which is what I love to do. With that, I had sales.
Do you have another job besides writing?
Yes, I am a licensed therapist better known as ‘Therapy Girl’. In my practice I counsel women and couples. I consider myself a master “hope-builder” helping people move from fear to faith.
If you could give one book promotion tip to new authors, what would that be?
Schedule opportunities to speak to book clubs. Lately, I have been coordinating this and it has been a blessing. These are the people who will buy your book, read it and share it. Spend time connecting with book club members face-to-face or via Skype or Face time.
What’s next for you?
Well, on May 31st I will host my book launch luncheon at Villa Christina in Atlanta. I am really excited about this event because I will have the opportunity to combine my speaking presentation skills with my book. Also, I plan to release a book for couples later this year.
Thank you for this interview, Shaneka. Can you tell us where we can find you on the web?
You can visit my website www.therapygirl.net. There, you will find a buy book link, my speaking schedule as well as how to contact me for questions, comments or events.
Pick up your copy of The Heart of a Woman at Amazon.