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Threads of Change: An Interview with Amrita Rose, author of No Plaid Suits

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Author, life and career coach, Akashic worker, and all-around provocateur Amrita Rose has navigated three major careers, lived in two countries and seven states, and continues to plan her next adventures. She has garnered enthusiastic appreciation for her community-based programs of yoga, meditation, integrated art practices, and Positive Psychology “Positivity Slams,” all of which have enhanced the lives and not depleted the pockets of diverse groups of attendees.

Amrita skillfully weaves her deep knowledge of Yogic Science, Pranayama, and various forms of meditation with a background in education, clinical mental health, Positive Psychology, and more esoteric mindful and spiritual practices. She developed one of the most highly regarded yoga and meditation programs for in-patient mental health clinics and notably lowered the return rate of patients by more than 50% in the first year.

Doing her best writing while camping, hiking, and cabin-sitting or perched atop a coffee-shop stool or a rocky mountain, Amrita loves to educate and inspire…motivating readers to be bold and dive into the work of honest transformation in their lives. She offers lived experience and wisdom garnered from hard work, taking a no-BS approach to herself and to life in general, and encourages readers to do the same!

You can buy No Plaid Suits here.

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?

The title took a little while to find because I was searching for something that conveyed my sense of humor as well as the useful and practical nature of content in my book. Many people suggested titles but too often they felt dry or boring and, I’m definitely not into boring. I finally decided to use the original title of one of the included blog posts.

No Plaid Suits was originally a post that I expanded and reworked into a book. It was written about a friend who kept having trouble getting past date #1 and couldn’t understand why. When I explained to him that he was “wearing a plaid suit”—meaning he was showing up with old patterns of behavior and belief that were getting in the way of connecting with his dates—he understood what was happening and was able to begin the process of change. (He is now happily married.)

The title feels like it hits the balance for me between being able to laugh at what happens in our lives, and the often-serious events we need to learn to handle.

How did it feel when you first saw your book cover? Or when you first held your book in your hands?

I love the cover and Ronaldo and the team at Atmosphere Press did a terrific job channeling my voice and the tone of the book itself.

When I first held my book, I was so excited. Despite the months of writing and work that went into creating this work, it wasn’t until I held it that I felt “This is a REAL thing!” At that moment, I felt that all the work had been worth it to create this practical handbook and I was inspired to get it out in the world in as many ways as possible.

Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?

I’ve been writing since I was a little kid. In high school, I produced a hand-sewn book of (not terrible) poetry in an edition of three. I’ve always been interested in good writing and in creating books.

I was a university photography instructor for almost two decades and always required my students to write about their work and the work of others. I have a deep love of languages in general and of finding different ways to communicate our inner worlds.

I’m a huge fan of Andrea Camilleri’s novels, and the writers Wallace Stegner, Ivan Doig, Salman Rushdie, Elif Shafak, Billy Collins, Shakespeare, David Wagoner, and Valerie Perrin, each for their wonderfully skillful use of language.

I am a fan of painting, sculpture, and architecture and especially love the works of the Impressionists Alberto Giacometti and Zaha Hadid. Funnily enough, I’ve never spent a lot of time looking at photographs. I think because I was teaching and working in that medium for so many years, I was more interested in what other artists had to say about the world.

What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?

It’s funny you ask this as I was just pulling together a list of all the jobs I’ve held. For the most part, I’ve always taught, educated, led, or otherwise advised people, no matter what job or career I’ve been in.

My first career was as a photographer. I taught all things photo and photo-related at universities, colleges, high schools, and freelanced. I helped run several photo studios and then moved into more technical roles working for Leica Camera and Johnson & Johnson. I often found it challenging to garner the energy to make my own art while giving so much to my students, but frankly loved teaching and educating too much to give that up for many years.

I’ve also taught traditional yoga and meditation for several decades. I organized community-based free yoga programs as well as programs for yoga, meditation, and mindfulness within residential mental health and addiction recovery centers.

Something my readers wouldn’t know about me is that when I get mad, I garden, and when I feel sad, I bake and then give the baked goods (usually brownies, cookies, or cakes) away to my neighbors. Both of those activities work to lift my mood pretty quickly.

My favorite places to be are on mountain trails. The ones that no one else goes on, on days when the weather is not perfect. I love the feeling of being out there on my own, feeling whatever weather shows up, and simply allowing myself to enjoy the experience.

What was the most rewarding/meaningful part of publishing your book?

The most rewarding and meaningful part of publishing my book was having it all come together and being able to open the box with the first shipment. Seeing the actual book for the first time—not just one but a bunch of them—THAT really made my heart sing!

I never expected to write a book. I had been writing a blog six days a week for about three years and people kept asking me when I was going to put it all in a book. When I finally decided to pull everything together, I imagined I’d have it to give to my coaching clients, or people attending a workshop or community event. In short, I was thinking small about it and never really imagined it would be a “real thing” out in the wide world.

When I opened that first box and saw two neat stacks of books with their beautiful covers and the title so bold…well, that was when I felt I had really achieved something. And it was something that surprised me in many ways. I think the whole time I was writing and editing the essays and pulling it together, I never actually believed I could make it a real thing.

If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?

I grew up with a large and very eclectic musical background. Maybe that’s part of what has influenced my broad range of interests and trickled down into the subjects I’ve studied and the topics I wrote about in No Plaid Suits.

For the more “serious” essays, there would have to be some modern “classical” in there, so let’s start with Clarisse Assad’s symphonic works. Then I’d toss in a couple from my current playlist: King Princess, Tash Sultana, Manchester Orchestra, and, finally, Nathasha Brava singing with Jorge Glem on cuatro.

Turning to the lighter, everyday topics like how to cook when you think you’ve got nothing to cook, or why learn to change a tire…I’d toss in some Charlie Puth, CharlieXCX, Dispatch, and Dominick Antonelli.

I think that would about cover the whole book.

What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?

The one thing I truly hope readers take away is a renewed feeling of confidence in life. I want my readers to feel like no matter how difficult something seems at the outset, they can find their way through it.

We’ve all been faced with hard times, difficult decisions, and frustrating events. What I set out to do was to provide some wisdom for others—wisdom that comes from my own experiences. I believe that if I share what I’ve learned in my half-century on this planet, it will help others.

I really want people to see that in every situation they have choices; they can take actions that create new outcomes; they can increase their resilience and can feel more authentic and aligned in life. When we have confidence and a broad set of perspectives, we can create from a place of generosity and community, and that is what I hope people will gain from my writing.

What new writing projects are you currently working on? Or, other projects that are not writing?

Maybe this happens to all writers—in the process of writing No Plaid Suits, three new books kind of wrote themselves. They are children’s books and also parables, so really everyone can get something fun and (I hope) useful out of them. They are linked in a story that flows through all three. I was surprised when each one showed up to be written. The first in a four-hour stint while I was attending a festival in North Carolina, the second during a camping trip, and the third while hiking in Colorado. They weave together exploration, the search for answers to questions about life, the universe, and everything, along with magical realism and traditional cultures’ stories about the world. So far they’ve been vetted by several groups of adults and children aged 7-8 years old and they keep getting the “thumbs up”…so now I’m in the second stage of editing them.

How was working with Atmosphere Press? What would you tell other writers who want to publish?

I’ve recommended Atmosphere Press to a bunch of first-time writers because Atmosphere was so easy to work with. I think Atmosphere makes it really straightforward to bring a book into the world and that can be a daunting experience for new authors. I enjoyed the team of people I got to work with and am hoping to continue my relationship when my next books are finished.

You can buy No Plaid Suits here.

Are you a writer, too? Submit your manuscript to Atmosphere Press.

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