The first time I envisioned myself as a published author I was twelve years old; the year was 1962. My seventh grade Social Studies teacher planted the seed in my heart; she praised my writing and said I should be a writer one day. Being acknowledged like that was a strange and sweet sensation since at home I was invisible and my talents and accomplishments were entirely ignored. My teacher’s name was Mrs. Forrester and she made me feel valued. More than fifty years has passed yet in my mind I can still see her perfectly formed signature on my report card; we remember those who value and appreciate us; they are etched into our eternal essence.
It turned out that I did write professionally for many years when I was conducting marketing research in Chicago and Shanghai but the only things I published were analysis reports for my clients. The idea of publishing my own books always lived in a silent space of my mind and heart, hidden on dusty shelves that I seldom visited because I was too busy meeting deadlines for bosses so I could support my two children.
Decades passed and jobs took me from Asia to Africa when in 2008, I was living alone in a very remote area, twenty-two kilometers outside the capital city of Addis Ababa, Ethiopia and the dirt road in front of my place would virtually wash out nearly every day during the heavy rains. It was then, most of the time without electric and phone service, that I started writing my book.
On the days that I had electricity and the other days when I did not, but still had a few hours of battery power left on my laptop, I wrote as much and as quickly as I could–always racing against the moment my battery would completely die.
My first book, Empathy Warriors, autobiographical in nature, poured out of my heart like the deluge that flooded the road in front of my little house, turning it into a muddy, rushing river. My first, rough draft was completed around the time I accepted a new job in Korea in 2009. My plan was to publish and field test my book there so before I accepted the job offer, I shared with my new employers my intentions for my book in their school. They claimed to be on board with my plan, but two years later, it was clear it was not going to happen. I listened to my heart and determined the best thing for me was to leave that job behind, return to America, and be my own boss–so in 2011, that’s exactly what I did!
My desire to publish Empathy Warriors and empower young girls with it was pulling at my heart strings and telling me to stick with my plan to get it out in the world and available to the millions of young girls who need to hear its message. In January 2013, I started revising and editing with the goal of self-publishing on Amazon. For the next eight months, I was glued to my computer, determined to achieve my goal and on September 20, 2013, Empathy Warriors first became available for purchase on Amazon!
My challenge and intention now is to learn how to make Empathy Warriors go viral so it gets the attention it deserves to fulfill the unmet needs of multitudes of deserving girls around the world whose hearts and minds are open to receiving what is their birth right–a chance to live an empowered life.