Episode 79: On Letting Go of Perfection, Vulnerability & The Art of the Pitch with Lisa Whalen (Equestrian Author Spotlight Podcast)
Episode 79: Welcome to the Equestrian Author Spotlight podcast! In each episode, you’ll hear inspirational stories from horse book authors including writing advice and marketing tips to help you write your own horse book. If you are an author, aspire to be an author, or simply love horse books, then you are in the right place!
In this week's episode, you'll meet Lisa Whalen who teaches composition, creative writing, literature, and journalism You'll learn ...
Watch Lisa Whalen's Interview on YouTube!
Or Listen to the Audio Only Version.
About Lisa Whalen
Lisa Whalen is a writer whose debut book, Stable Weight: A Memoir of Hunger, Horses, and Hope, was published by Hopewell Publications in 2021. Her writing has also appeared in An Introvert in an Extrovert World; The Simpsons’ Beloved Springfield; Introvert, Dear; and Adanna, among other publications.
Whalen has a Ph.D. in postsecondary and adult education and an M.A. in creative and critical writing. She teaches composition, creative writing, literature, and journalism at North Hennepin Community College, where she was selected Minnesota College Faculty Association Educator of the Year in 2019. In her spare time, she is an equestrian and volunteer for the Animal Humane Society.
Lisa Whalen Interview Excerpt
Carly: Tell us about your book Stable Weight: A Memoir of Hunger, Horses, and Hope.
Lisa: Stable Weight is a story of resilience, empowerment, and the transformative power of the human-animal bond, revealing how even the most sensitive soul can ditch being a good girl for becoming an independent woman.
One minute, I was leaping fences on horseback; the next I was splayed in the sand-mirroring a fall at age sixteen that ended in a psych ward. I chased perfection, in the form of an eating disorder, to the brink of suicide. Treatment helped, but my turnaround came from meeting ten special horses. They challenged me to love my body, live in the moment, and face my fears.
Carly: Why did you decide to share such a personal message in your memoir?
Lisa: It took me a while to get to that point. There were a lot of times where I thought I might not even ever show it to anyone, but I was getting so much out of writing it. I was learning so much, healing so much, and understanding things from writing it. I had to keep telling myself to just write it. I decided to worry about how people perceive it and what readers would think later. That's how I really approached writing the book. I took tiny baby steps to get it to the point where I was comfortable with it.
I expected a lot of judgment, but people were so compassionate and empathetic. The more I shared it, the more affirming it became, and the easier it was to be open about it. I found the more open about it, the less of a grasp the the eating disorder and the depression had on me because so much of an eating disorder is all about hiding, secrecy, and not being your authentic self, so it was very tiny incremental stages to get to a point where I was comfortable with it.
Carly: What would you say to people who are struggling with trying to be perfect?
Lisa: One of the most helpful things that I learned through therapy was this idea of all or nothing thinking. I didn't realize that's a lot of what perfectionism is, like I have to do something perfectly or I can't do it at all. I didn't realize how much this all or nothing mindset was a thread through everything I did, how I saw the world, and how I thought about myself until I started seeing it through therapy. I think being able to recognize when you're falling into that all or nothing mindset is really helpful.
Also, I had to one of the hardest things to learn, and it sounds so obvious, so basic, but one of the hardest things for me to learn was just having some compassion for myself, some patience for myself, and being kind to myself.
Carly: How are you reaching readers and and getting your message out about your memoir?
Lisa: A lot of it is brainstorming and thinking up a unique angle or a way that I can link my story to something. As writers, we're always thinking of audience and purpose. I talk to my students until they're sick of it about audience and purpose. That is so much of marketing. I actually ended up having a lot of fun. I've met so many cool people learning the process of marketing the book.
Whether it is a publisher, an agent, or a media outlet, I read their bios and decide if I have something in common with this person that fits with their angle or their interest. I'm always looking at how can I draw a connection. It is a process of learning how to tailor my message and portray my book as something that fits what they're looking for.
Connect with Lisa Whalen
Blog: Writing Unbridled https://lisawhalen.wixsite.com/lisawhalen/blog-1
Information on the call for submissions mentioned:
Narratives and Empathy in the Digital Age Abstract
This collection explores how narratives affect empathy in the digital age. Contributions may examine narratives in any genre and address topics including but not limited to activism, consumerism/shopping, education, entertainment, social media, apps, diet, identity, mental health, celebrity, transportation, trash, politics, manufacturing, marketing, agriculture, news, or climate.
Link to the submission information:
New Author Interviews Each Week!
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About Your Host & Author Carly Kade
Carly Kade is an award-winning author, horse owner, creativity coach, and the host of the Equestrian Author Spotlight Podcast. She helps fellow writers start, grow, and expand their author careers. Creative writing makes her spurs jingle!
Carly's In the Reins equestrian romance book series was written with horse lovers in mind, no matter which discipline they ride. The horses are as vital to moving the story forward as the human characters are.
These books are perfect for poolside reading, taking to the beach, or settling down with after a day of horseback riding.
Books by Carly Kade
Carly Kade writes for anyone who loves horses, handsome cowboys and a great romance. Creative writing about horses makes her spurs jingle!
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