I’m thrilled to be featuring today’s guest, Sally Cronin here on my blog! Many of you in the blogosphere may know Sally, and for the many more of you who don’t, you’re in for a treat!
After working in a number of industries for over 25 years, I decided that I wanted to pursue a completely different career, one that I had always been fascinated with. I began studying Nutrition and the human body twenty years ago and I opened my first diet advisory centre in Ireland in 1998.
Over the last 18 years I have practiced in Ireland and the UK as well as written columns, articles and radio programmes on health and nutrition. I published my first book with a Canadian self-publisher in the late 90s and since then have republished that book and released eight others as part of our own self-publishing company. Apart from health I also enjoy writing fiction in the form of novels and short stories.
Sally is not only a talented and diverse writer of several books, but she’s one of the most generous bloggers around who offers several author promotion series on her blogs for authors to promote their books on her blog. I am honored to have been one of those author’s who she has promoted several times, and blessed to have her friendship. And in today’s interview, we will be learning a little more about Sally, and about her interesting decision she made to write her latest book, The R’s of Life, on her blog.
“Thank you for inviting me over today Debby …”
It’s my pleasure to have you over Sal, and now let’s get into the goods!
Sally, please tell us a little about how and why you came up with the idea to write The R’s of Life?
I was actually browsing an online thesaurus looking for some alternatives to describe respect. While I was in the R section I noticed that a great many words applied to life’s experiences and I jotted down a few. Just for the fun of it I then expanded the list and found around 35 possible chapter headings. I had no intention of writing another book but I became intrigued about where it might lead me.
Can you share with us, a little excerpt from one of the ‘R’ chapters?
Chapter Two – Respect – For ourselves and others.
It is always so easy to criticise and I don’t want these observations on the aspects of life that I have experienced to be completely negative. However, there are some human traits that seem to be devolving rather than evolving and I don’t believe it is a trend we want to continue.
In this chapter I am going to explore the very thorny subject of respect. This is a topic that needs to be divided into two areas to do it justice. It is one of the fundamental survival tools we have at our disposal and sadly does not receive the prominence it deserves in the headlines.
Self-respect has to come first, as without that basic component, we are unlikely to succeed in life in a way that is acceptable to those close to us, and those we meet along the way.
It should not be confused with self-esteem. This is a value that we adopt and then present to the world in varying degrees. It is interesting that you hear the expression ‘low self-esteem‘ frequently and there are many specialists who are happy to help you raise that to an approved level. It is quite strange to me that anyone considered to have overstepped that approval level is treated quite harshly and labelled arrogant or full of themselves!.
One way to reach a healthy and productive level of self-esteem is to first establish your self-respect which is a process that begins the moment you are born.
We arrive in this world as wildlings and continue to scream and demand food and attention during the first few years. If we are lucky, and in an ideal world, we have parents who guide us into a more civilized mode of behaviour. Slowly but surely we learn the accepted social graces that enable us to exist side by side with others. This includes courtesy, respect for others and the ability to co-exist peacefully with them……
We know you are writing The R’s of Life live on your blog and sharing the process with your readers. What made you decide to write the book in this manner?
I wrote Tales from the Garden using the same process and I found that I received feedback immediately in the form of comments and I quickly realised what aspects of the stories were the most popular.. Humour, romance and a touch of wickedness. When I edited the stories at the end of the process it enabled me to tweak some of the stories. There were around 50 regular visitors to the series and they were my Beta readers. Something that would have been very difficult to achieve conventionally if I had written and then sent copies out. At first I was concerned about sales of the book but at the end of the series I took all the stories down and people who had read them all still bought the book.
Many who know you, know you’re a versatile writer from fictional stories to nonfiction, to books about health. Are your fictional stories created from real life experiences too?
I believe all of us include elements of ourselves and those we have met in our writing. People underestimate even small events from their past and how they can be great prompts for short stories and even novels.
Also I have read books from a very early age and that stimulated my imagination. I love to give that free rein too.
Can you tell us about how you acquired your knowledge in health and nutrition?
I started studying nutrition in relation to the body about twenty years ago. I always enjoyed biology at school and I trained as a dental nurse and intended to also train as an RN. However, life got in the way and that was put on hold. At 42 I developed severe health problems because of my obesity and I needed to lose 11 stone. I had followed every diet under the sun it seemed but needless to say they always failed leaving me desperately unhappy.
I knew that I had to take matters into my own hands so began to look at my body in different way and also the food that I was eating. Whilst it may sound boring, the fact that I was eating Vitamin A, C and E for breakfast with Omega 3 for lunch and plenty of anti-oxidants for dinner with lean protein, encouraged me to treat my body with a lot more respect.
I love food and that will never change, but I love my life and health more. Understanding how my body works and what it needs in relation to food and nutrients was a huge turning point for me and for the clients that I work with.
You are well-known in the blogging community as a great sharer of information and of the works of fellow writers. Can you share some of your wisdom about building a platform and how new bloggers can gain new followers?
I knew nothing when I wrote my first blog post and I am still learning every day. There are a great many very helpful sites that are happy to help you and at first I was a bit confused by all the dos and don’ts but gradually I developed my blog and social media over the last three years.
Key for me.
An interesting ‘about page’ with a name to attach to the blog as people do feel awkward addressing Ms Smorgasbord. People buy people first.. A photo is a good idea as people will relate to you more.
Use of all the share buttons on your posts including for social media that you might not use yourself as some of your readers do and will share there.
A clear menu system where people can find past posts
Automatic linking to social media so that when a post is published it immediately travels through cyberspace bringing readers to your blog.
Reblog and share the posts you find interesting by other bloggers and build a reciprocal relationship with them. Interviews, guest posts are a great way to reach a new audience.
Accept that it does not happen overnight and be consistent even if it is one post a week.
Always respond to comments on your posts
Remember that your blog is not all about you but about others and their interests. Constant self-promotion seldom wins followers on a blog or on social media. But, make sure that you have a page in your menu that does promote your work and send it out to the social media sites at least once a week.
Love the process.. If it is a chore to keep your blog going then perhaps it is not for you.
How do you manage time to write when you’re so busy settling in your new home, putting out many posts daily, and sharing the work of others?
I consider blogging and writing in general my job. For example, I have my own books to promote and also our self-publishing services . I also love putting together posts that interest people and that they find useful. I may not be practicing as a nutritional therapist currently, but making a difference to how someone feels is very important to me.
In recent years we have been quite isolated in our home in Madrid and since I began blogging I have met amazing people from all around the world who I can connect with at the touch of a button. Time zones do not matter and I love the relationships I have been lucky enough to develop that are very important to me.. Such as being interviewed by an author and friend who lives in Canada!
Okay, this one is a biggee! I know I’m curious, so I’m sure other readers here would love to know, what magical formula do you use to have the time to read and comment on many blogs, share around on social sites and your blog, and prepare so many different promotions you put together from your generous offer to other writers to promote their work on your blog, keep your other blog series going, and function in ‘real life’? I’ll have what you’re having! LOL
You make me sound like wonder woman Debby. One of the useful tricks I discovered was to schedule my posts in advance for several days ahead. At the moment I am two days in advance because there is a great deal of activity going on in the house. But sometimes I can have a week of posts in the buffer. I cook that way too!!! This means that I can pop in first thing in the morning , midday and then at night to answer comments, reblog others, respond to social media but it actually leaves big chunks of the day for writing my books and at the moment, making curtains.
I worked in an industry that required project planning and time management and those skills have crossed over to this career. I think that is key as I view it as a long-term project that I hope to be developing for many years to come.
Oh and did I mention coffee, chocolate and a self-sufficient husband!
Thanks very much Debby for inviting me over today.. It has been a great deal of fun and I hope that you will be able to make it to the Blogger’s Bash next year along with many others so that we can all meet our friends face to face.
Thank YOU Sally for taking some time to do this interview, and for sharing some of yourself and blogging tips, as well as your excerpt and open invitation to all readers to follow your book, The R’s of Life, as you write it live on your blog! I have every intention of getting to the Bash next year!
For all readers here who would like to read all chapters previously published on Sally’s blog of her book, you can follow this link.
You can also view all of Sally’s books HERE where you will find her ‘buy links’. Or just hop on over to Amazon by CLICKING HERE, where you’ll be taken directly to her author page.
Visit Sally’s blog at The Smorgasbord Invitation, which is aptly titled. You can check on her menu for her many categories of blog posts and her section where she offers authors to promote their books and stories on her blog.
Follow Sally on Social Media!