Interview and Giveaway: World of Ink Tour for Tal Yanai – Life Is Not a Candy Store. It’s the Way to the Candy Store. Ends Sept 10th
During his formative years, Tal Yanai was not happy with his reality. What he was creating in his life was not in alignment with what he wanted in his heart or what he knew and deeply felt was possible. As a struggling student, he was considered a troublemaker in school. Then one day, during a bike trip from the kibbutz to the sea, he was asked to take charge and make sure none of the other kids lagged behind. For the first time in his life, at age fifteen, Tal got a taste of what it meant to assume responsibility and be a leader. This one experience planted the seed for his goal to assume a leadership role in his later life. After finishing high school, having been raised on Kibbutz,Einat,Israel, he volunteered to serve as a leader in the Kibbutzim Youth Movement, which focused on principles such as volunteering, mutual help, and giving to one’s community and country.
In tenth grade he was diagnosed with dyslexia, which explained his learning difficulties but it did little to ease his frustration with himself and his everyday struggles. He had no mentors he could confide in or look up to. And no matter how hard his parents tried, his living on a kibbutz meant they had little influence during his teenager years. At the age of twenty-three, when he moved to theU.S., Tal found solace in a higher power and started on a spiritual path, which has led him to align himself with his soul’s essence and mission.
For two years he worked as an historical analyst at the Survivors of the Shoah Visual History Foundation, established by Steven Spielberg after the filming of Schindler’s List. As part of his job, he listened every day to testimonies of Holocaust survivors. Many were children or teenagers during WWII and their stories greatly influenced Tal’s decision to become involved with educating youth, so he proceeded to get his Teaching Credential in Social Studies.
Bringing two wonderful children into the world gave him a new sense of urgency to share and teach everything he’s learned about God and spirituality. Today, Tal teaches Hebrew and Judaic Studies in Temple Beth Hillel in theSan Fernando Valleyas he continues his quest to explore the meaning of soul and achieve his full potential as a spiritual teacher.
Interview with Tal Yanai author of Life Is Not a Candy Store. It’s the Way to the Candy Store
I want to thank you for being my guest here on Mymcbooks Blog.
What inspired you to write?
A. As a struggling student, I was considered a troublemaker in school. In tenth grade I was diagnosed with dyslexia, which explained my learning difficulties but it did little to ease the frustration I felt. I had no mentors I could confide in or look up to, and my parents had little influence on me at that time. In addition to it, being a secular meant that I was trapped within the limitations of the five senses.
At the age of twenty-three, when I moved to the Los Angeles where I found solace in a higher power and started on a spiritual path, which has led me to align myself with my soul’s essence and mission. Since that time (1993), I wanted to share my story with young people, hoping it will give them the tools necessary to overcome the pain and frustration we all experience.
Do you consider yourself a born writer?
A. I consider myself a born teacher. But no, I never thought I would become a writer, and for that matter neither anyone else on earth saw it coming. It is my desire to be a co-worker with God (asMLKJr. put it), and the passion to share the simple truth that pain and frustration can be transformed into a meaningful life of self fulfillment.
Have you ever suffered from writer’s block? If yes, how did you ‘cure’ it?
A. In my writing I want to inspire people, so when I suffer from writer’s block, I put the pen down (or close the computer) and wait. When I write, I like to feel inspired. I let ideas, concepts and feelings flow through me, and when those are absent, it is time for a break. The way I minimize writer’s blocks is by taking notes where and whenever an inspiring thought comes to me. Later, sitting in front of the computer, I take that thought as far as I can; a process that most of the times brings with it more inspiring thoughts.
Have you had any training to become a writer?
A. I took English classes in collage, but didn’t have any training to become a writer.
What type of books do you mostly write?
A. I write books with the intention of helping others find emotional and spiritual freedom. My books inspire people to connect with their higher self and overcome pain and frustration by using a spiritual way of thinking.
Do your children or family inspire any of your books, characters, or plots?
A. I’m inspired by things I see and experience so, indirectly, family members play a role in some of the issues I write about. And because I write about feelings and choices we make in life, some of them play a bigger role than others.
Can you share with us a little about your current book?
A. Life Is Not a Candy Store: It’s the Way to the Candy Store is a spiritual guide for teens. It is an introduction to basic spiritual principles that can help teenagers deal with daily issues they face. Too many fine young people who didn’t know how to resolve situations involving anger and frustration ended up hurting themselves and others close to them. This book gives teens who feel trapped tools to let go of the anger and overcome difficulties.
What type of book promotion works for you? Any special strategies you’d like to share?
A. In order to promote Life Is Not a Candy Store I hired a company to help me with promotion and P.R. They sent press releases to many newspapers, magazines, blogs, radio and TV stations in order to create interest among book reviewers. Another promotion work we did was a book trailer.
What like most about writing?
A. I am on a journey of rediscovering God and rediscovering myself. When I come across something meaningful, I write about it and share it with the readers. So in a way, my writing is a “journey journal”. This is an exciting journey, and this is what I like most about writing. I also enjoy the process of taking a “seed”, an idea, and developing it into something bigger, a ripe fruit, ready to be enjoyed by the readers. Finally, there is nothing more rewarding than hearing from readers how Life Is Not a Candy Store helped them in their lives.
Do you find it hard to balance your personal writing time with your other job(s)?
A. Yes! But there is a reason for everything. I wanted to be a father so I need to devout time to my family. I need to work to support myself and I want to write. I don’t have to do any of that but I like all of them to be a part of my life. Love, patience, persistence, and good time management skill will give you the ability to balance your life, and so much more. So as I said before, there is a reason for everything:)
Do you have any other works in progress? Can you share a little about them?
A. Right know I am writing two new books. One is the second in the series of is Life Is Not a Candy Store: It’s the Way to the Candy Store. If the first one is for teens, this one will be for young adults and will look at ways spirituality can help dealing with issues YA face. I’m also in the process of writing another book for teens. This one will deal with the subject of happiness and will help teens find ways of becoming happier.
Tell us about your writing space?
A. My writing space is everywhere I go. I get inspiring ideas in many different places, and when possible I would write them down in my notebook. And if I have time during the day, I would pull out my pc and expend on my thoughts. Live your wringing, don’t limit yourself to a writing space because many inspiring ideas come when you least expecting them.
The world of publishing is extremely competitive, with many authors hesitating between trying their luck with a traditional publisher or self publishing. What advice would you offer writers who are oscillating between these two publishing venues?
A. Naturally it’s better to find traditional publishers. They have the money and the experience to make your book a reality. But if you get rejected for too long, you should consider self publishing. If shelf publishing, you should consider hiring the services of someone with some experience to guide you through the process of editing, designing, printing and marketing. You may find that writing was the easiest part in the process of publishing a book.
Do you do first drafts on a computer or by hand?
A. I use the notebook in my phone to write done inspiring ideas. Later those ideas would become the first draft, which I write on the computer.
How do you see the future of book publishing, both traditional, electronic, and print on demand?
A. I have no doubts that the future of book publishing is in e-books so be sure to convert your book into all the different formats. Hopefully one day all the different online stores will use the same format.
What is your creative process like? What happens before sitting down to write?
A. The subject of God and spirituality is never too far from me, so during the day I find myself thinking about it a lot. And when I have an inspiring image or thought, I write it down. Later, in my “writing time” I develop it farther. This is how I write on my blog, and this is why I recommended in Life Is Not a Candy Store to have with you a special notebook.
Do you do a lot of research for your books?
A. Because I write about the human condition and inspiration, looking inside and doing self reflection is the most important “research” I do. However, I enjoy and learn from reading books or listening to talks on the subject God and spirituality.
What well-known writers do you admire most?
A. I admire Mark Twain, not only for his books, but also for is commentary on people and politics. Another writer I admire is Shelby Foote for his writing on the Civil War, a subject I studied and read about a lot.
Do you participate in competitions? Have you received any awards?
A. Few months ago, a teacher who teaches in the same school I teach told me that reading my book saved her marriage because she was able to let go of the resentment she felt towards her husband. Hearing such stories is the only award (and reword) I’m seeking.
What discipline do you impose on yourself regarding schedules, goals, etc.?
A. I am a teacher, and spirituality is a way of life for me. My desire is to be able to combine the two and become a spiritual teacher. Writing and lecturing on the subject is what I want to do full time. I have a clear goal and know where I want to get. All I need to do is to remind myself without self-discipline I will not reach my goal.
What do you surround yourself with in your work area in order to help your concentrate?
A. When it comes to my working area, less is more. I keep it simple so not to distract myself with objects that are interesting but can easily take my mind somewhere else. However, I do keep around few things that inspired me, reminding me why I’m writing and what I try to achieve.
What do you recommend I do with all those things I wrote years ago but have never been able to bring myself to show anyone?
A. When you will stop caring so much about what other people think, you will find it easier to publish. Very few writers know how their work would be received, still they don’t let it stop them from creating then publishing their works. The things you wrote years ago are fine, even if no one would ever read them; it’s your prospective of what’s important in life that needs to be adjusted.
Is there anything else you would like to share with us?
Like anything in life, we give our writing a meaning and a purpose. If we like it or not, we create every moment of every day, so don’t be afraid to create, love, weep, and laugh. And do it for the love you have in your heart for God, yourself and everything else which is life.
I thank you for taking the time to share with my readers about being an author.
Month of World of Ink Tour: August
Title of Book(s) up to six books per tour: Life Is Not a Candy Store: It’s the Way to the Candy Store. A Spiritual Guide to the Road of Life for Teens
Publisher: Bat-El Publishing
ISBN Number(s): 978-0-9832025-0-9
Publication Date(s):June 15, 2011
Author’s Name or Pen Name: Tal Yanai
Author Website: www.talyanai.com
Blog Address: www.talroadsigns.com
Twitter URL: http://twitter.com/#!/Tal_Yanai
Book Review: Spirituality for Teens—Turning Frustration into Meaningful Life
Many teen behavior issues are the results of confusion and lack of clear direction in life. Oftentimes, teen problems start when frustration that has been hidden inside for many years finally surfaces. Troubled teens are teenagers calling for help, asking for direction and meaning, and who believe no one understands them.
But there is a way out; there is a different way of looking at life’s challenges. Life Is Not a Candy Store gives teens a spiritual path to help them deal with their frustrations. It takes young readers on a journey to figure out some basics concepts about life and its meaning. This guide not only provides an alternative way of looking at life, it also empowers teens to start changing their lives for the better.
Giveaway (US ONLY)
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My name is Ella Johnson. I started Mymcbooks to promote reading. As a former teacher, I know that making basic education fundamentals interesting to children can be challenging. Education can be fun, exciting and captivating for children with the right learning tools. So my goal is to “make learning interesting and fun” for the children while they learn, by introducing them to fun books with colorful and captivating illustrations.
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