Sunday, December 1, 2013

Interview with Keith Maginn

Interview with Keith Maginn, author of Turning This Thing Around
1.     Welcome to Vonnie’s Reading Corner. Can you please tell us what your book is about in one sentence?
Thank you for having me, Vonnie. Turning This Thing Around is an inspirational memoir about overcoming personal struggles.

2.     What inspired you to write Turning This Thing Around?

When I started writing what eventually became Turning This Thing Around, I had no plans of ever publishing it. I wrote for myself, for my own sanity. But what started as a personal diary evolved into something that I wanted to share with others.

My then-fiancée was struggling terribly with manic depression and was adamant that no one know what she was going through. I was perilously close to a complete nervous breakdown and knew I couldn’t keep everything bottled up inside. Not wanting to betray her trust and talk to anyone, I started writing. It was my therapy, the only way to get some of the anger, sadness and confusion out of me. I realized that others might benefit from my story. I felt people could relate to at least some of what I went through—heartbreak, depression, chronic pain, frustration…

3.     What goals do you hope to achieve with your book?

I hope to inspire people, especially those that are struggling in some way. I want people to know that they are not alone and that better days are ahead. If I could overcome what I did, then others can, too.

4.     Who is your intended audience and why should they read your book?

This memoir is for anyone that is facing challenges in life. Doctors and the like can help, but they often do so from a second-hand vantage point. I actually lived through very difficult times and share what helped me. I cover a lot of issues, so almost anyone can relate in some way, either in their own life or the life of a family member or friend.

5.     This book has personal things about you. What was the hardest thing to write about?

Writing my memoir was actually easy and quite therapeutic. It felt good to get the emotions out of me. The words flowed out of me like an unkinked water hose after being bottled up so long.

The hard part was “putting it out there” for anyone to read. I share some very personal information, so I had no idea how people would react, especially family and friends that didn’t know all that I was going through. Luckily the response has been wonderful. The first week or two were especially scary, though!

6.     Give us a random quote from your book:

“The huge difference to me, of course, was that in this real-life psych ward, my fiancée was the main character.”

7.     What draws you into nonfiction?

I am fascinated with everyday life and people’s stories. I like to read (and write) fiction occasionally, but I prefer nonfiction. I like knowing that something actually happened (so I was really bummed when I found out that A Million Little Pieces was sensationalized!). I often find life stranger and more interesting than fiction.

8.     How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?

I consider myself a work in progress and still have a long way to go. I am always trying to improve, perhaps to a fault. But I used to write for myself and now I am writing to inspire others, to make a difference somehow.

9.     What advice would you give to your younger self?

Relax! Don’t be so hard on yourself and stop trying to be perfect (and to make everything around you perfect). There will always be more to do, so make sure you enjoy life and don’t spend all of it being “productive.”

10.   What is your favorite motivational phrase?

I love Eckhart Tolle’s claim in The Power of Now that our biggest challenges are often our greatest teachers and give us “depth, humility and compassion.”


Thank you Keith for taking the time to answer my questions J
Thank you, Vonnie!!
Turning This Thing Around is an inspiring memoir of overcoming personal struggles. This brutally honest, deeply personal account of redemption takes readers on a moving spiritual journey. Confronted with a myriad of obstacles–a debilitating arthritic disease, narcolepsy, anxiety and depression–the author was outwardly happy, but inwardly miserable.

Pushed to the lowest point of his life, he discusses how he gradually turned things around and used his experiences to grow as a person. Supplemented by quotes from Gandhi to Dr. Wayne Dyer to Eckhart Tolle, Turning This Thing Around has universal themes that speak to nearly everyone, as we all must face challenges as part of being human. It is a self-help memoir of sorts: The author discusses not only what he had to overcome, but how he did so–and how others can, too.

Unlike many popular memoirs on the market, this is a story that more people can relate to. The author didn’t grow up in an eccentric family (Jeannette Walls in The Glass Castle, memoirs by Augusten Burroughs), nor did he travel to Italy, India and Indonesia, as Elizabeth Gilbert did in Eat, Pray, Love. Rather, Turning This Thing Around is a story of a normal young man’s resiliency when battling extraordinary circumstances.

I received this book to review, which I hope to get to soon. So, keep on the lookout for my review!

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