We are so excited to share an interview with one of our clients who has recently published her first book! We hope you’ll be inspired by her journey to share her lessons about courage with the world.
So without further rambling (long intros are the worst, right?), let’s chat with Shanita Liu about Dear Durga: A Mom’s Guide to Activate Courage and Emerge Victorious.
Have you always wanted to be a writer?
Yes, but I never admitted it to myself. Despite journal-writing as a little girl, producing newsletters as a high school student, writing papers and applications as an undergrad English major, and writing copy and content for just about everyone and everything as a professional, I didn’t call myself a writer. However, this practice has been prevalent in every aspect of my life, so I’m finally claiming it–I am a writer y’all!
Tell us about your book and what made you decide to write it.
Dear Durga is based on my own story of how I joined forces with a supreme warrior goddess named Durga to activate my courage, overcome deep-rooted fears, and find fulfillment. As a result of Durga’s support, I went from being a scared mom-to-be to birthing three children, building a business, disrupting ancestral patterns of self-sacrifice, and embracing my authentic self.
I wrote this book because Durga, my courage metaphor, told me to write it. I am not kidding. In 2021, she said it was time for me to share both my story and my Courage Kit® framework to support others with finding their courage and emerging victorious. I was scared, especially since I was dazed after navigating motherhood (I had just birthed my third child) and pulling through amidst the pandemic, but I walked my talk by overcoming my own fears to start writing. A little over a year later, I gave birth to my first book-baby!
What surprised you most about the writing process?
I was pleasantly surprised by the creativity that flowed once I started my book proposal. When I activated my courage and committed time in my schedule to ground my body and spirit, I got out of my head, quieted my inner critic, and wrote my little heart out.
(Learn how to create a writing plan you can stick to HERE.)
Who is your ideal reader and what do you hope they will learn or experience from reading your book?
My ideal readers are women and anyone who considers themself a be a mother, whether they are an expecting mom, existing mom, or mom to the communities they serve. And if you don’t fall into any of those categories, but could still benefit from getting a boost of courage, you can use this guidebook too!
Did you self-publish or go with the traditional publishing path?
I won the runner-up prize in Hay House’s 2022 Writer’s Contest to self-publish and collaborated with Balboa Press to birth my book.
What advice would you give to someone choosing the same path that you did?
If you are looking to self-publish, please give yourself enough time from start to finish. Find people who can encourage you along the way (including your courage metaphor!). Also, pace yourself. There are a lot of resources available online to support you with navigating this wild ride, but it takes time to wrap your head around all the things and take steady action.
(Check out our complete guide on how to self-publish your book HERE.)
How did KN Literary Arts support you in your book journey? Can you describe that experience?
I connected with an amazing editor who provided comprehensive coaching during the book proposal process. She edited my proposal, as well as my manuscript. She was incredibly thorough, helped me clarify my message, and encouraged me to unapologetically be me. So when I felt a bit self-conscious about including rap songs, Guyanese accents, witty remarks, and 90s throwback references, she totally helped me see that that was part of my authentic author flow. She was amazing!
Where can everyone find you and your book online?
You can find more about my Sagitarrian NYC-bred background, as well as my free courage rap song, courage manifesto, and courage activation exercise, HERE.