When Jennifer Monahan announced her intention to leave her well-established career as a business strategy consultant and give up her rent-controlled apartment in San Francisco to do a global walkabout for an undetermined amount of time, her friends and family thought she was insane. But Jennifer was excited about taking the time to truly explore and immerse herself in a variety of cultures, so their scepticism didn’t faze her; plus she was used to traveling alone as a woman with only one carry-on bag. What she didn’t count on was discovering all the excess baggage she had been carrying with her from her past.
WHERE TO? chronicles one year of Monahan’s life, primarily in the Guatemalan jungle, but also in Japan, Cambodia and Thailand. Living in a thatched-roof hut in a tiny village, Monahan connected with local shamans and participated in their ancient rituals, became fully integrated into the daily life of a local family, and ultimately faced down some of the greatest losses and long-buried pain she had experienced. WHERE TO? shares the six steps she took to heal and courageously create the life of her dreams, and includes a workbook for readers to do the same.
Hello book lovers! Today is a day where I will be writing another author spotlight for a well-accomplished author whose work I have loved. As you know book lovers I love learning about authors and the inspiration behind their work, it fascinates me and adds to the depth of the book because the reader will be able to better understand it. That is how the author spotlights were created because I soon discovered that you lovely readers ALSO love learning about author’s, so I am excited to tell you a little bit more about author Jennifer B. Monahan whose book Where To? Captivated and entertained me from beginning to end. I personally would recommend this book to all of those that love travel books and memoirs but really the book can be read by anybody as it is flawlessly written and highly enjoyable. With today’s author spotlight, a biography of the author and an interview between me and Jennifer B. Monahan will be shared, and I hope that you book lovers enjoy reading it! To kick this off here is an author bio about the wonderful!
Jennifer B. Monahan is a business strategy consultant, shaman and coach who helps people all over the world live courageous lives. Her first book, This Trip Will Change Your Life: A Shaman’s Story of Spirit Evolution (She Writes Press, 2016), has won six literary awards, including two first place Body, Mind, Spirit Book Awards and a 2017 National Indie Excellence Award. Her second book, Where To? How I Shed My Baggage and Learned to Live Free, was published in April 2019, and describes her personal journey through Guatemala, Japan, Cambodia and Thailand as she faces down some of the greatest losses in her life. It recently won a Finalist medal in the 2019 International Book Awards.
She is a regular contributor to Medium.com, Sivana East, and has had articles published on MindBodyGreen.com and Inc.com. Her podcast, Living A Courageously Authentic Life, can be found on BlogTalkRadio.com, and focuses on a variety of topics to help others be true to themselves.
She holds a BA in Mass Communications from the University of Bridgeport (CT), an MBA in Marketing from the University of Connecticut, a Masters in Natural Health from Clayton College, and completed an accredited coaching program through Coach U. Her shamanic training began with a Mayan shaman in Mexico and then expanded to include shamans in Guatemala and her own personal guides.
She currently splits her time between the United States and Guatemala when not traveling and is in the process of writing her third book, a handbook for people looking to define, create and live their courageously authentic life.
Now, how wonderful does Jennifer B. Monahan sound?! Jennifer B. Monahan is a truly exceptional writer and I hope that you lovely readers have a read of the author’s work because you will not regret it! Please see below an interview between me and the author and I hope that you enjoy Jennifer B. Monahan’s answers to my questions, they are incredible and provide some great advice too!
Thank you for joining us today at Red Headed Book Lover! Please tell us more about yourself
I do my best to live my life courageously and authentically. What I’ve found is that when I do that, my life goes in directions I never could have imagined!
I’m a nomad at heart and tend to move every couple of years. My work as a business strategy consultant fits that lifestyle well, since I’m usually on a flight to somewhere each week. My work as a shaman also ties in well to my nomadic heart, since my shamanic journeys take me all over the place.
Currently I’m living in Texas with my cat Jaguar. We moved here from Guatemala, where I had been living for the last year and a half.
Could you please tell us readers about your book and what inspired you to write your book?
This is my second book. I had a number of people who read my first book, This Trip Will Change Your Life: A Shaman’s Story of Spirit Evolution, reach out to me and ask me if I was going to write a second one. They were the ones that inspired me to write Where To?: How I Shed My Baggage and Learned to Live Free. My other inspiration was a bad accident I experienced in 2014 that really served as a wake-up call for me to start doing different things with my life. I decided to quit my job, give up my apartment, put my stuff in storage and just start traveling for fun. Where To? chronicles my journey during this time and takes place in primarily in Guatemala, but also in Japan, Cambodia and Thailand. I lived in a tiny thatched-roof hut in the jungle, participated in Mayan shamanic ceremonies and became enmeshed in the community. Along the way, I also faced down some of the greatest losses and long-buried pain I had experienced in my life.
What would your advice be for aspiring writers?
Don’t let anyone tell you that you can’t do this! Everyone has a story to tell – whether it is one about their life or one that they’ve created in their mind – and when you share your story, you can connect with, teach, guide or entertain others. And that is a beautiful thing!
In your opinion, what is the most important thing about a book?
To me, books help others “step into” the minds, hearts, and souls of other people who may be living in different times, locations or lifestyles. Every time someone reads a book, he or she has the opportunity to connect and feel empathy for someone who is different from themselves. That, I think, is the most important thing. Books connect us.
What is your writing process like?
It varies. I wrote my first memoir in about seven weeks. The only reason why I was able to write it that quickly was because I had been in a bad accident and was stuck alone in my apartment on my couch for several months. I couldn’t work, didn’t have a TV, and, except for when the painkillers knocked me out, had absolutely nothing to distract me from writing. (I don’t recommend this writing approach to anyone!)
I wrote my second book in about three months, mostly from a hammock in a little thatch-roofed hut in the Guatemalan jungle. (This is a much better approach to writing!) For my second book, I set aside time each day to write – usually about an hour. I found the daily discipline was good and helped me to keep the story line in mind.
That being said, when inspiration strikes, I open up my laptop and write away until I run out of words!
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
The two books I have written have been memoirs, so they haven’t required much by way of research. My next book is going to be a “how to” book. I’ll be pulling from years of shamanic and coaching client examples as well as my own experiences for that book. I’ll also be looking at and referencing other authors for this book.
Do you have a set schedule for writing, or do you only write when you feel inspired?
It tends to be a mix of the two. Currently my “day job” is keeping me busy, so scheduling is critical.
Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors?
I love to read! When I was in grammar school my grandmother would take me to the library every week during the summer and I would come home with a huge stack of books…and devour them. Once I was old enough to go to the library by myself, I would be there sometimes more than once a week. It is harder for me to fit in reading right now with everything else that I’m juggling but I try to find time to read whenever I can. Some of my favorite authors are Stephen King, Caroline Myss, Jean Auel, Dan Brown, and Dr. Seuss (he made making up words and conveying important messages into an art form!). I loved Michelle Obama’s book, Becoming. I enjoy any books about history, shamanism and ancient civilizations, such as the Mayans. And I truly enjoy reading other memoirists and authors that I have had the pleasure to get to know over the years, such as Charlene Jones, Irene Weinberg and Lane Michel.
Lastly, when can we readers expect to read more wonderful books from you?
If you enjoyed Where To?: How I Shed My Baggage and Learned to Live Free, you might want to check out my first book, This Trip Will Change Your Life: A Shaman’s Story of Spirit Evolution, which is the prequel to Where To?. I’ve just started working on my third book and hope to have it written and ready to go into the publication process in a year.
Its official book lovers, I am obsessed with Jennifer B. Monahan! If you have liked what you have read about the author and are interested in learning more, then please do have a browse of the links below and be sure to have a read of the preview too! You will not regret it.
Goodbye for now book lovers,