As writers, we often want to tell a story, but Heather Hogan is an example of a writer who has used her life and personal experiences to help the lives of others. There are writers who share stories and writers who share pieces of their heart. Heather is one of the latter. Enjoy this interview as she shares with us her personal story.
Tell us a bit about yourself. Where are you from and how long have you been writing?
My name is Heather Hogan and I can say I am, from experience, an expert on divorce, alcoholism, abandonment, death of a parent, and abuse. I lived through all of the above for thirty five long years, learned many lessons, and have helped hundreds of people deal with their dysfunction.
I am from the Chicago area. I grew up in Chicago, moved to Maui at twenty two, Santa Fe New Mexico at twenty seven, and finally, ended up in the San Francisco Bay area at thirty two. While moving all over, having children, getting married and divorced twice, I reflected on my life, let go of the past, forgave myself, and others, and wrote my memoir Can There Be More?
I am a very honest, open minded, forgiving, and gracious than human being. I feel my writing is compelling and mesmerizing. I began to write four years ago. And I haven’t stopped since!
You will cheer my family on while reading our story. My goal was to make my reader look within and come out better emotionally and mentally after they finish the last page of my book!
I currently lives in Concord California with my fiancée Mark, our five children between the two of us, three are mine, two are Marks, our three cats, one dog, six fish, and the frog recently passed away due to not being fed enough crickets!
Tell us about your latest book. What do you hope readers take away from it?
Can There Be More? begins when I was three years old. My mother walked out the door one very cold New Year’s Eve day in 1972 in a suburb of Chicago called Grayslake and never returned. She was killed in a tragic car accident on the way to the grocery store. My brother was only eight months old and my sister was seven.
Subsequently, my father became a raging alcoholic and physically and mentally abused me until I left home at nineteen. Our family endured more tragedies than most. I touch on all the tragedies in my book, but what my book is really about is entering adulthood filled with anger, inner turmoil, resentment, and demons that had their claws dug so deep into my skin I couldn’t shake them.
I tried for many years to get to the other side of the river, where peace and happiness awaited my arrival. However, every time I grasped the rope to get to the other side I let go. I had built up too many calluses on my hands from the years of dysfunction. It was simply too painful to hang on to the rope! I touch on all of my mistakes in my book, and how I slowly callused my hands.
Finally, at the age of thirty five I grasped that rope and hung on until I was deposited on the other side of the river. Once there, I found happiness, peace, light and love. The only reason I was finally able to make the jump was because I had never lost faith, and with faith you have hope, and with faith and hope you can turn your life around. I wanted people to know that, so I wrote my story and gave them Can There Be More?
People need to realize that even if they were dealt a hand that they wanted to fold before being shown the river cards, they don’t need to fold. They too, can end up winners. I have touched hundreds, but I want to touch thousands.
The book deals with how to let go of the past, divorce, being raised by an alcoholic parent, how to look within and forgive yourself and those around you, and how to finally love yourself without needing others approval! I would be a liar if I didn’t still have insecurities and doubts, but I have learned to live with them, work them out in my mind, and let the anxiety go!
Share some of your writing goals. What’s next for you?
My next book is titled, Just Ask My Husband! 101 Women’s Perspectives on Why Marriages Go South & How To Keep Yours Sexy, Peaceful, Interesting, & Alive!
Just Ask My Husband gets down to the basics of marriage and relationships. It answers all the questions women want and need to know: What works in a relationship? What doesn’t work? How do you compromise? How do you reconnect with one another after children? How important is sex? This book will become your bible in your relationship.
The main reason this book is a must read on how to solve your relationship problems and keep your marriage going until death do you part is because the advice being given to you comes from women just like you: every day soccer moms, working moms, stay-at-home moms, all of whom are stressed, and trying to keep their marriage hot, steamy, realistic, sexy, interesting, and alive!
I sent a questionnaire out to 100 women that I do not know and asked them all the same nine questions. Some sample questions are: Have you ever cheated on your spouse? What steps have you taken to keep your marriage going until death do you part? What is your number one worry today as a woman? What parts of your marriage are not going well?
The answers these women give are enlightening, entertaining and worth the read. I believe this book can save millions of marriages, and help future marriages and relationships run smoother from the start.
By the way, I am number 101. You get to read all I have to say on how to keep a relationship alive, healthy and happy. Let’s just say I have learned from my mistakes.
Just Ask My Husband! Will be released in early 2010!
What’s the most interesting book you’ve ever read?
I love James Clavell, Alexandre Dumas, Robert Ludlum, Mayou Angelo, James Patterson, and Dr. Wayne W. Dyer.
Book you’re currently reading?
The Power of Intention by Dr. Wayne W. Dyer.
Any type of writing ritual you have?
Believe it or not, I do not have a writing ritual. I am also a personal stylist. With five kids, three cats, styling women and men, my dog, Mark, and all the kids sports I write when I can. When I was writing my memoir there were times when I would only get in 15 minutes in a day!
Do you believe in writer’s block? If so, how did you get past it? If not, why not?
I haven’t gotten writers block. Of course I believe in it. I believe stress can cause all types of problems, and I would put writers block right up there with them. I write about things I love. I am not a fiction writer, my writing comes from my heart and my spirit. I feel strongly about the messages I want to deliver and I never waver on them!
In your opinion, what’s the measure of a successful writer?
The measure of a successful writer is how big the smile on their face is when they are finished writing their piece. I have finally learned, you cannot please everyone all the time, you can only please yourself. A successful writer is not measured by their royalty check, they are measured by how much happiness writing brings to their soul and to others around them. I can tell you, if I only sold one book, but that one book changed someone’s life for the better, than I am a success!
Advice for other writers?
Keep doing what you love. Believe in yourself, and the rest will fall into place.
Where can we learn more about you?
You can learn more about me at my website, www.plottoohot.com
Anything else you’d like to add?
To me life comes down to the five senses. Through smelling, hearing, touching, feeling and seeing.
How we feel dictates our entire existence here on earth. How we feel is determined by what we hear, what we see, and to a some what lesser extent, what we touch, and what we smell. The sense of touch and smell can bring happiness or sadness, and bring good or bad memories to the our present state. But what we hear and see really determines how we feel.
If you are constantly looking at the negative in every situation, and you never see light at the end of the tunnel you are creating anxiety and unnecessary stress on your body. When that happens you feel stressed out. It is proven; stress causes sickness and disease. Your body has a harder time fighting off the illness if you are stressed.
How you feel at any given moment will dictate whatever is happening to you at that moment will be played out. You can create a marvelous life full of gifts from God, or you can create a life filled with stress, anxiety, disease, and heart break. It is truly up to you!
This is why I say life for me comes down to the five senses. I stop to smell the roses, to hear the birds sing, to touch someone with a loving hug and feel that hug in return, to see the good in everyone and every thing around me, and in turn I feel like the most blessed individual walking this wonderful earth 92% of the time.
The other 8% of the time, I might have just forgotten what is important, or put me on the bottom of the list that day, or I had terrible PMS, or I lost the gratitude for all I have for a moment because I was feeling weak, jealous, abandoned, angry, and stressed out. During that 8% when I am feeling sorry for myself, the smell of the ocean air will smell like old sea weed, instead of hearing birds singing I will complain about the traffic I hear around me, instead of hugging someone maybe I will touch my dog with a push instead of an embrace, I will see a person that is driving too slow as incompetent instead of with patience, and all those feelings will cause ME to have a bad day!
The good news is it only happens 8% of the time now. Hey, no one is perfect. I get better every day, and it used to be only 50% of the time I used the five senses to make my day more glorious. Now I can say that 92% of the time I use the five senses to make my life richer and more blessed than I thought possible!
Hope you enjoyed my thoughts! Go out, smell the clean air, even if it is dirty, imagine it is clean, look at the beautiful sky, listen to the birds sing, or the trees rustle in the wind, embrace someone you love, see the beauty in a sunset, and take a moment to realize how those experiences just made you feel!