Jillian Arena lives in Jupiter, FL, with her husband, children, and countless pets. When she’s not writing stories, digging her toes in the sand, or hanging out with her family, she spends her time running her holistic coaching practice and empowering amazing humans from all walks of life to dream big and take life by the horns. Her experiences doing deep inner work with others have shaped her heart-centered writing style and all of the characters she has developed.
Tell us the story of your book’s title. Was it easy to find, or did it take forever?
I came up with this title almost immediately—however, I thought it was too easy so I proceeded to torture myself for months, wracking my brain to come up with different titles. Ultimately, when it came down to the wire and I absolutely had to choose, I realized that sometimes it can actually be that simple and this was the best title! Who knew?
How did it feel when you first saw your book cover? Or when you first held your book in your hands?
I’m pretty sure I burst into tears when I opened the package the first time. I also smelled it. It was absolutely amazing to hold something that I have put so much love into creating.
Who/what made you want to write? Was there a particular person, or particular writers/works/art forms that influenced you?
I have written since I was a little girl. I always knew that writing needed to be a part of my “adult life,” but I’ve been open to receiving any opportunities to include it that have presented themselves. Some of my favorite books growing up were A Tree Grows in Brooklyn by Betty Smith and The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck. The characters and storylines drew me in and made me feel like I was actually there, experiencing every moment. I’ve always wanted to create something that made somebody else feel that way.
What other professions have you worked in? What’s something about you that your readers wouldn’t know?
My husband likes to call me “a Jill of all trades” because I’ve dabbled in LOTS of different things. Even now that my life feels settled and I’ve found a career path that works for me, to achieve balance still means juggling lots of different balls. I have a successful life coaching business, I write books, and I work as a marketing director for an international company. Something my readers wouldn’t know about me is that I’m a total tomboy and nothing makes me happier than getting dirty outside.
What was the most rewarding/meaningful part of publishing your book?
The most meaningful part of this was the support I received both from Atmosphere Press and my friends and family. It’s been extremely humbling and gratifying to have people call, text, or email me to tell me how much they enjoyed the story and ask me when I’m going to write another.
If your book had a soundtrack, what are some songs that would be on it?
That’s a tough one. I think maybe it would have its own songs…as the title suggests. Every book is so unique that maybe it writes its own soundtrack.
What is one thing you hope readers take away from reading your book? How do you envision your perfect reader?
I would love for my readers to walk away with a sense of hope and purpose. Life is super hard sometimes and bad things happen, but I truly believe that it’s what we do with those hard moments that counts. I envision my perfect reader as anybody who has been in the trenches and maybe needs the gift of a fresh perspective.
What new writing projects are you currently working on? Or, other projects that are not writing?
I’m currently writing a training (which, although not nearly as fun as a novel, is pretty rewarding in its own right). I’m also working on the framework for another novel that I hope to dive into by the summer.
How was working with Atmosphere Press? What would you tell other writers who want to publish?
It was an incredible experience. Prior to publishing with Atmosphere, I worked with another publisher to release a children’s book, the experience of which was lacking, to say the least. I was so nervous to go through it again, but I felt so supported throughout the entire process by Atmosphere. Everybody seemed so genuinely excited to be a part of it and there was so much enthusiasm every step of the way. I would tell other writers to take a deep breath and do it!!