Shaneka is doing a Blog Tour for her Book, The Heart of a Woman, and I am lucky enough to be one of her stops. I really enjoyed this book - you can see my review here.
Now, before we get started on the interview, let me tell you a little about the book.
The Heart of a Woman
Shaneka L McClarty
Genre: Nonfiction, Self-help, Relationships
Publication date: 2.16.2014
Summary: Are you a single or divorced woman who is tired of the roller coaster of emotions? This book captures the essence of a woman's heart after a painful break-up. Readers are led on a journey from pain to purpose; no more dating drama and no more emotional sacrifices.
Shaneka L. McClarty is a licensed therapist and a relationship expert. She provides insightful steps to help women unpack their emotional baggage, reclaim the strength that's needed to walk away, and re-position their hearts for authentic love with a real man. Get ready to open up your heart to reclaim your power, release the pain and renew your mind to get the man that you want.
Hello, Shaneka. Welcome to The Gal. Why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I'm a southern girl with a heart of hospitality. I think I got that from my grandmother; she was sweet and helped everybody. I figured the best way for me to help people was to become a therapist. I truly love what I do because every day I get to sit at the seat of someone's soul as they open up to me. When I take my therapist hat off, I am a wife and mom of three girls that are full of energy, talent and laughter. I love my family very much, but you know who else I love? Prince!!! I am a huge Prince fan and finally, for the first time, I will see him in concert this year in New Orleans at the Essence Festival. Whew, don't get me started because I can talk about Prince all day!
That is awesome!! I hope you have a great time. Wait, I KNOW you'll have a great time. Tell us 5 random facts very few people know about you.
I love water but I cannot swim, I studied American Sign Language at The Atlanta School for the Death, I don't like to drive at night, I love to run but not on a treadmill, and I'm a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.
What is the first book you remember reading?
The Little Engine That Could was the first book I remember being read to me and the first book I read on my own.
What book(s) have most influenced you?
Ethical Ambition by Derrick Bell, Choosing to Cheat by Andy Stanley, and Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston.
What made you decide to begin writing in the first place?
I've always loved writing. In high school, I wrote for the newspaper and won a few awards at journalism camp. Writing has always been a creative and free process for me. Furthermore, publishing a book has been on my list for more than ten years. Each year on December 31st I would look at my goals and scratch the ones I'd accomplish from the list. I didn't have a good explanation for not writing so I decided it was time to achieve my writing goal once and for all.
What inspires you the most?
Life and truth inspires me. There is wisdom in the truth no matter if the truth is revealed in bliss or tragedy. Also, my life experiences and the experiences of others inspires me as well.
Which of your characters do you think is the most like you?
In chapter nine I write about forgiveness. There, I describe a scenario where a woman in an unhealthy relationship learns to let go and how she forgave herself for staying in the relationship too long. That woman was the 26-year-old me. That experience taught me the measure of my strength and launched my personal growth to self-love. Once I healed, I met the man that would become my husband.
Where is your favorite place to write?
I don't have a favorite place to write because I can write anywhere as long as no one bothers me. I can write in quiet places and noisy places because I disconnect from my surroundings and enter my own space. I am aware that people and things are around me; however it's more like a big blur.
Is there anything about writing you find most challenging?
Writing blocks are challenging. I think every writer has them at some point, but I embrace the writing blocks as an opportunity for growth because it stretches you.
What do you think makes a good story?
The characters and plot make a great story. I like the characters with intrigue and suspense. After I read the plot, I began to speculate who did what and what's going to happen. I love it!
What kind of things do you do when you're not writing?
When I'm not writing, I'm either working or being mommy and wife. I am a licensed therapist with my own practice; I counsel women, couples and families. It's what I love and I couldn't imagine not being able to do it. When I am not working, I am mommy to Sage (age 6), Sydney and Sarai (age 19 months). My girls keep me busy and it's my husband, Leonardo, who takes me to paradise just by loving me each day. But then there are those moments when I run away from home, get a hotel room and just love on myself. That's when I get a massage, manicure/pedicure, eat my favorite foods and rest well.
What can we expect from you in the future?
Expect a non-fiction book for couples. My clients know that it's only a matter of time that I release a book for couples because I passionately help so many people restore their marriage in my private practice. I also want to write a fiction book in the next couple of years.
More about Shaneka:
Shaneka McClarty is a southern girl with a love for all things sweet; she enjoys sweet treats, sweet talks and sweet people. She is a licensed therapist with a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology from Argosy University (Atlanta, GA) and a Bachelor’s Degree from Stillman College (Tuscaloosa, AL). Shaneka has been practicing for over ten years focusing on relationships, particularly women’s issues and couples. Her company, Therapy Girl LLC, is set up to provide counseling services, consulting, workshops, and motivational speaking. Shaneka hosts a weekly internet-based radio show, Open Up with Therapy Girl, on Blog Talk Radio each Sunday @ 2:00 p.m. EST. In addition, she is a published author of the book, The Heart of a Woman: Reclaim, Release and Renew.
Shaneka is a hope-builder helping people move from fear to faith. She speaks frequently to women’s groups, conferences, and non-profit organizations. She resides in Atlanta with her husband, Leonardo, and their three beautiful princesses.
You can visit Shaneka’s website at www.therapygirl.net.