Today I am extremely happy to share with you my interview with Corine Toren, author of Dear Mom & Dad I Have Anxiety: A Book For Parents From A Child’s Perspective (Review). While much has been written on anxiety and how to deal with it, Corine’s book offers a fresh and inviting mix of personal experiences and smart advice for parents.
1. First a little about you: who is Corine Toren?
I am a recent graduate from UC Santa Barbara, a passionate writer, burrito enthusiast, and a House Hunters fan! I love writing and I am hoping to really ignite my career as a writer. “Dear Mom & Dad, I Have Anxiety” is my first published book. I can’t wait to publish some more, hopefully sooner than later! Besides writing and burritos, I also enjoy yoga, baking, crocheting, and learning foreign languages.
2. How did you break into the publishing world?
I knew my book was going to be short and so I knew it would be hard to go through an agent and a traditional publisher. When I learned about self-publishing on Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing program, I thought that would be a perfect way for me to get my book out into the world! Amazon has been extremely helpful, and there are so many other self-published writers on KDP that I’ve been learning from.
3. What were some of the challenges you faced on the road to publication?
It took me a very long time to actually finish writing the book. I originally started writing it about 4 years ago. It became difficult for me emotionally to continue it. After I became emotionally stronger, I decided it was time to finish the book, and I am so happy that I did!
4. What are the upsides and downsides to being an Indie author?
The upside is that you publish your book your way. You can make it as long or as short as you want. You can set your own price. Some publishing outlets don’t even take commission. It’s a great way to get your pieces out into the world. The downside of being an indie author is that it’s hard for people to know about you and your work. You have to work extremely hard marketing yourself and your book.
5. A big obstacle -especially for anxious people- is searching for perfection, or “fear of failure”. How do you -as a young writer- overcome that?
Part of the reason why it took me so long to finish writing the book is because I was afraid it wouldn’t be good enough. I thought it wouldn’t do well, and no one would be interested in reading it. It would never be perfect. After working on myself and learning how to manage my anxiety, I decided that I wanted my book to send a message. I didn’t care about how well it would do anymore, I just cared about having my family and friends read it to learn more about what I was going through. To my surprise, a lot of people (that I don’t know) ended up downloading it too. It really moved people, which completely amazed me! So the way to overcome that “fear of failure” is to decide what your priority is. In my case, my priority was to educate people, so I no longer cared about making money or getting a literary agent.
6. “Dear Mom & Dad, I Have Anxiety” is your first book, what moved you to write about your experience with anxiety?
The truth is that while I was struggling as a teenager, my parents weren’t always there for me. Sometimes they didn’t believe how tough things were for me. They didn’t understand what I was going through at all. I felt like it wasn’t fair, not just to me, but also to them. It wasn’t their fault that they didn’t understand what was going on in my mind. I wrote the book for them, and really for other parents to better understand their children. Anxiety is such a relevant topic these days. So many kids struggle and a lot of parents just don’t know how to help. I’m not a professional, but I understand how these kids feel because I went through it. I felt like I could help other parents by being really open and honest about my experiences. Sometimes advice may be more effective coming from someone who experienced the difficulty, rather than from a professional who hadn’t.
7. Let’s talk about the stigma of anxiety. The attitude to use pejorative labels such as “mental illness” or “personality disorder” is one of the largest factors that makes the stigma so powerful. Since being “crazy” carries significant stigma in American culture it can lead people to reject or exclude others. What would you say to a young kid struggling with anxiety?
The first thing I would say is, “You are not alone.” So many people struggle with anxiety, and they are embarrassed to talk about it because of all of the stigmas. Having anxiety does not make anyone crazy, no matter how ridiculous you think your thoughts and fears are. There is always someone that went through something similar. The best way to overcome anxiety is to be open and talk about it with someone that understands or is willing to try.
8. What’s your inspiration? What keeps you positive?
I’m inspired by people who don’t give up. I learned how to use my determination to accomplish my goals from watching other people have such a strong desire to accomplish theirs. Determination and setting goals keep me positive. I love to write, so my goal is to turn that passion into a career. The journey to achieving that goal also keeps me positive. It gives me something to work for and something to look forward to.
9. What is the main thing you want readers to take away from your book?
The main thing I want readers to take away from my book is that it is 100% okay to ask for help with anything. You don’t have to have anxiety to ask for help. Sometimes people are embarrassed. They feel the need to show strength. They associate help with weakness. Getting help doesn’t mean you’re weak; in fact, it makes you stronger. Talking about what you’re going through with someone will only help.
10. Future projects?
At the moment, I am planning on working on some fiction novels. In the future though, I am really hoping to write a musical. It’s something I’ve never tried to do before, but I am definitely up for the challenge!
You can find Corine here:
Goodreads: Author’s Page
Thank you Corine for taking the time to answer these questions and for giving us the chance to enter your creative space! Thanks for sharing your experience with us!
Check out Corine’s book review at Turn Your Anxiety Into Strength .