THE AUTHOR : TRISH JENKINS
Now, onto the interview.
James : When did you begin to write?
I’ve found the spiritual value of journaling as a teenager, though that didn’t tell me if I had any real flair as a writer. From 2003-2005 I wrote a monthly “wealth creation” ezine sharing what I was learning about real estate. I started writing a “success” book when we were doing so well we no longer required jobs. I’m glad I didn’t publish because we lost everything we had to a fraud. Then I began to research and write a book on fraud warning signals, so that what happened to us wouldn’t happen to anyone else. I began working for a Corporate investigator who taught me a lot about fraud and what makes people vulnerable. He asked me specifically to write my book for women, because by the time they called him, they had no money to pay him. Most often they were ripped off through romance.
At the same time I was facing prosecution for breaching the Corporations Act, so I held off publishing until I got a penalty. That penalty turned out to be 8 months in prison. The prison experience brought out the real writer in me.
James : When did you first discover that you were a writer?
When I started receiving letters in prison from strangers who’d had my prison letters forwarded to them. That’s when I really knew the Lord was doing something with my writing. I had no internet access so I would post a letter for our family and friends to my husband, Justin. He would type it out in an email and send it to them. The letters tracked my journey through prison, how I coped, funny stories and my relationship with God during that time. Those emails went viral and the feedback I received was very encouraging. I wanted to keep a record of my experiences. I also kept a journal of things I couldn’t put in letters and my intimate moments with God. I instinctively, knew what I was writing was important and the feedback showed the Lord was using my letters to touch people.
James : How much did you write before you were published?
Not much. I’m easily distracted and prefer talking to writing. I’ve heard real writers just have to write, they can’t help it. I need a reason to write. I find it hard to sit still and write, so I’ve learned to do it in bite sized chunks. That’s probably why the prison letters worked so well.
James : What is your favorite part of writing?
Seeing it in print! Writing is hard work, it takes a lot of thought, so I love it when I’m “moved” to write. I get on a roll and pour it out. Then I go back and slash it down to the best words.
James : Tell us about your latest release.
My latest release is Weapons of Cash Destruction: Protect Your Fortune from Fraud. It’s the gender neutral version of my women’s fraud book. I’ve produced 3 books in 3 years and the one most people are interested in still, is my “Treasures of Darkness: A Prison Journey.” When I first came home I put all my papers in a box and shoved it under the couch. I couldn’t even look at it without feeling shaky and ill. I was told that was a symptom of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). A year later, the Lord impressed on me that I needed to collate the letters and journal entries as a book. It was difficult and I found myself having to forgive certain issues and people all over again. Fortunately the Lord gave me the grace to work through it. Now I see the hope and courage I didn’t realize I had at the time.
James : Wow! This book sounds really good. Are you planning on writing more in the years to come?
Yes, on leadership. There has been a journey of healing and rebuilding that I believe the Lord will have me share from. I’ve had time to reflect back on what the Lord did and will include keys to healing, self-leadership and dealing with difficult people too.
James : So far what is your worst criticism/attacks, and how have you overcome it?
The worst attack came from my own mind. I felt ashamed of my failure and didn’t think I had the right to offer anything. Some months after I got home, the Lord impressed on me to publish my first book, “Dangerous Wealth: What Every Successful Woman Needs to Know to Avoid Being Ripped Off!” I wondered, “How can I publish a book and people not find out I’ve been in prison?” I was deeply ashamed. I had to make the decision to go public and tell them myself.
How did I do that? I knew in my heart that the Lord expected me to. I believe the only thing worse than going through an adversity, is to waste it. I was afraid, but I did it afraid anyway. Then I was invited to speak to a business group. My story and it’s lessons were appreciated. From that engagement I received more and more invitations to speak. The Lord opened the doors.
A second criticism I received was at a Christian business conference designed to encourage and release us in our calling. I had recently published my prison book “Treasures of Darkness” and was looking for guidance and encouragement. Perhaps I was looking for “man’s” approval? One of the leaders said I should stop what I was doing and burn all my books. Fortunately I had travelled enough with God down that road to recognise there was something about my story that offended him. I realised I could let him rob me of my courage or defend it. I quietly and firmly told him his “word did not witness to my spirit, but thank you anyway.” Fortunately the other leaders disagreed with him as well. I was shaken but pleased I had defended the precious, hard won gift the Lord had given me.
James : What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
My family. In particular, helping my children heal from the damage they suffered due to my imprisonment, the length of time I was absent and the PDST I suffered afterwards. My husband and I have been careful to guide them through the pain, teaching them to position themselves for the Lord to be able to “make all things work for good”. We parent carefully, prayerfully and with purpose.
James : What does your writing process look like?
Undisciplined and eclectic. I keep a folder with topics that come to me. Every now and then I’ll look at one and pray. I start with brainstorming questions around that topic, putting them in a logical order and answering them.
James : How did you get published?
I researched self publishing companies. I wasn’t interested in being rejected by a traditional publisher. I didn’t know if my books were any good or if anyone would be interested. I only knew I had to do it. As it turns out, people are interested. My prison book sells just as well as my business books, even at secular events.
James : How do you come up with title of your books?
I came up with Dangerous Wealth, because wealth is a double edged sword. It can do good and it can get you into trouble. The subtitle “What Every Successful Woman Needs to Know to Avoid Being Ripped Off!” was necessary to clarify what it is about.
“Treasures of Darkness” is from Isaiah 45:3, “I will give you the treasures of darkness and hidden riches of secret places, so that you may know that I, the Lord, which calls you by name, am the God of Israel.” The Lord had showed me many treasures in the darkness of prison.
“Weapons of Cash Destruction: Protect Your Fortune from Fraud!” is my third book and a “gender neutral” version of the women’s finance book. For that title I turned to the male members of a Face Book business group. I wanted to butch it up and make it appealing to men. It worked. It’s a combination of the best suggestions. I thanked them each with a PDF of the book.
James : Can you enlighten us a little more about your books?
Not all things are good, but the Lord promises to make all things work for good when we love Him. My business books will show you how to find what makes you vulnerable and what to do about it as well as how to overcome financial setbacks. They bring out the Warrior Prince or Warrior Princess in you.
Treasures of Darkness is different. It’s not even a memoir based on a selective memory. It was written as it happened, real and raw, so you will go through it with me. The good new is, the Lord was there with me too, showing me how to overcome, challenging old assumptions, bringing fresh revelation. You will see how much He is with you, when you draw on Him.
James: Tell us your guiding principle that governs your life?
Love God. Maintain an intimate relationship with Him. Love people. See Christ in them, but be discerning about them too. Ask the Lord for His perspective of any circumstance, blessing or person. That’s when you’ll find treasure and purpose.
James : How have you cultivated these values?
Choosing to trust God in a circumstance, rather than blame Him for it. Practising forgiveness. Modelling and teaching these values to my children. Prison really defined and tested these values. It taught me to see past the exterior to Christ inside a person, to genuinely care about them. When people sense you genuinely care, you can reach them.
James : Do you have any advice for writers looking to get published?
Yes. It’s not about YOU. Your writing is for His glory, to further His purposes, whether it be simply a heart-warming romance or a serious “How-To” book. In all your ways acknowledge Him and He will direct your path (Proverbs 3) Walk humbly, don’t confuse your opinion with the gospel. “Passion without Compassion, is just Ambition.”
Write to be understood rather than to impress. Pray to be effective.
You can do things very, very cheaply if you are resourceful. Outsource using websites such as oDesk. I recommend CreateSpace as a print-on-demand service because it requires simple formatting and has excellent customer service.
Be humble and market your books. Literary snobbery against the business of books dishonours God. If He has given you a message to get out there, you don’t have the right to sit on it and wait to be discovered. Hire a professional editor so you don’t sound illiterate, yet still retain your own “voice” in the work.
Choose a title that will get the reader’s attention.
Make a book trailer. Make it attention getting from the start. Mine is here Watch Book Trailer "Treasures of Darkness - A Prison Journey"
If you have a how-to or helpful book, learn to be a speaker and sell your books at the back of the room. If you can’t speak in front of anyone, talk to your computer camera and record a video teaching what you know. Separate the audio and you suddenly have 3 products from one.
Meanwhile, I also keen to review your book, Treasure of Darkness, if you have no objection.
Thanks and look forward to co-operate with you.