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Serenity Amid Chaos: An Interview with Marian Vallotton, author of Unraveling Fate

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Marian Vallotton has been practicing yoga and mindfulness since 2004. She is a certified yoga teacher through the Yoga Alliance and a Y4C Yoga Certified Instructor specializing in supporting cancer patients. She has been a Corporate Coach and Leadership Speaker/Trainer/Facilitator for more than twenty years. Marian has combined her business background, yoga, and her spiritual training to de-mystify mindfulness, introducing it to the workplace and making it more accessible to employees in the corporate setting.

As a cancer patient herself, she has sought to help others diagnosed with cancer. She started and led a cancer support group for newly diagnosed breast cancer patients at Bryn Mawr Hospital outside Philadelphia and acted as a Surgery Sister accompanying and supporting breast cancer patients on their day of surgery. Prior to her last cancer diagnosis, she taught yoga to cancer patients at Penn Medicine and the Cancer Support Community of Greater Philadelphia. As a multiple cancer survivor, she looks to give back and support those who have been touched by cancer through the stories and mindful practices she shares in her book, Unraveling Fate.

You can buy Unraveling Fate 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?

I played with the book title for some time. Then I was inspired by another author who wrote a book called Unwinding a Miracle and it just came to me after that. It feels like a perfect title because I shouldn’t be here, I am a four-time cancer survivor working on my fifth diagnosis, starting at age eighteen and now I am in my sixties.

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

I, of course, had myself videotaped, which was a great way to see and remember my reaction.

I was apprehensive about opening the proof copy. Mixed emotions traveled and scattered—I was scared, excited, and thrilled once I opened it and had the cover in front of me. It’s perfect! A big thank-you goes out to Ronaldo for bringing my illustration to life!

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

My ninth-grade English teacher always thought I would be a writer. She walked into a store I was managing post-college and said those very words to me. Yet I had no idea she felt that way. Why didn’t she tell me back then?

I followed a path in business leading me to facilitating leadership and management series for many businesses. In this field I did a lot of business writing and began to crave writing something creative. I didn’t envision writing a book until 2007, but I had no story or topic yet. I played with a few themes around spirituality since yoga is a big part of my life, but still couldn’t come up with an idea that stuck. Not until my fourth diagnosis in 2016 did I come up with my topic. The eastern philosophizers and gurus might say the universe brought me the idea when the timing was right.

Sounds a little woo to my western-thinking mind, but it resonates with me at the same time. And, here the book has come to be in 2023.

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

I am a public speaker, facilitator, coach, and yoga/mindfulness teacher with a husband and three daughters. Sadly our two dogs passed last year. Now as an empty nester, both kids and dogs no longer with us, I babysit dogs to bring tail wags and unconditional love into our home.

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

The most rewarding part is that I actually did it; I wrote that book and found Atmosphere Press to publish it!

The enormity of the task was a huge, scary mountain staring down at me. Between the actual writing, publishing, and marketing, I was intimidated every step of the way and dropped the writing on many occasions over a four-year period. Two of my friends said why don’t you give it to a cancer patient to read, and so I did.

The cancer patient, Kamila, and her best friend Dianne read it together. They invited me for dinner one night after finishing the book, and over a glass of wine they both said emphatically, “You have to publish this!” They both felt I could help so many people with my words and that’s all I needed to get the writing done. Then, it turns out Dianne’s cousin, Luci Gabel, had published her book with Atmosphere Press and highly recommended them. As they say in an overused statement that rings true to me: the rest is history! Thank you, Atmosphere Press, for ushering me through this daunting challenge. I could never have done it without your support.

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

Whether they are cancer patients, family members, caregivers, or friends, I hope they can find a bit of solace, grit, coping, and peace in the pages of my book.

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

I have another book on my mind, not fully fleshed out yet. Stay tuned.

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

It was overall a great experience and I have already shared Atmosphere Press as a resource for other authors.

You can buy Unraveling Fate here.

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

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