What is this book about?
Gettin' Back to Happy is about my quest to put myself in a happy place; a state of emotional well-being in terms of my happiness quotient through the use of positive self-affirmations.
How did you get the idea for this book?
I felt as if too much negativity was creeping into my life and taking over. My thoughts were negative; my words were negative. I didn’t want that sort of pessimism to rule me so I decided to do something about it. Being a creature of social networking, I vowed to post at least one “Happiness is...” thought every day on Facebook to provide a bit of inspiration for myself. Often, that thought provided amusement, clarity or a moment of reflection for many of my Facebook friends. After a couple of months, I realized how cathartic the process was. I’m an analytical person at heart and the entire time I was posting to Facebook, I was simultaneously keeping a running log in an excel spreadsheet of each thought. On many of those days, I kept notes as to why I wrote what I did. The end result is Gettin’ Back to Happy.
Is this your first book? If not, what else have you written?
No, this is not my first book. I have also written two other books. My first, An Affair to Remember: Bellissimo Italia, is a travelogue of sorts recounting a 12-day trip through Italy (Venice, Florence and the Tuscan countryside). My second is also in the vein of a travelogue and is titled From City to Safari: One Woman’s Exploration of Johannesburg, South Africa.
When did you start writing? Do you have any advice for beginning writers?
I actually began writing in elementary school. As an enterprising yet bored child, one day I sat down and created The Barnyard Gazette, a newspaper featuring animals as reporters. My writing interests turned more serious in 2001, but ironically the piece that I wrote was also borne out of boredom. I wrote a one-act play titled Just Us Sistuhs -- Keepin’ It Real, and it ended up winning first place in Clark-Atlanta University’s Thirty-Second Annual Writers Workshop Conference. The following year I wrote act two of the play, and it also won first place accolades. I’ve essentially been writing ever since. The advice I would give to beginning writers is this: Be persistent, be diligent and be consistent in your writing. Read various genres and authors, but develop your own style of writing; don’t try to emulate the masters of the craft. Instead, pick out the best of the best and incorporate it into your writing style so that your voice is unique.
Why did you decide to write a book in this genre?
The book wrote itself. The genesis of the book was needed in my life and I felt that, once I had all of the material, it was a shame not to put it in book form and share it. My thinking was that perhaps it would be an inspirational tool for someone else who was trying to find a sense of happiness in the everyday, little things in life that we may sometimes take for granted.
Do you plan a sequel or future books?
While I don’t plan a sequel to Gettin’ Back to Happy, I do plan to continue with my writing. In fact, I am working on a novel that is many years in the making titled Peace Be with Us.
Do you have a website? How can we order this book?
My website is www.valeriealbarda.com. All of my books can be found on Amazon.com, and as of this writing From City to Safari: One Woman’s Exploration of Johannesburg, South Africa can also be found on www.barnesandnoble.com.
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