On April 18, 2018, one of my favorite authors, Katy M. Shultz, published her first book – Life after the narcissist: A collection of essays from the blog Madeline Scribes. Lucky for us, I was able to fit into her busy schedule and ask her a few questions. I hope you find her as inspiring as I do!!
PAULA: Congratulations on publishing your first book! Tell us how that feels.
KATY: So many different emotions! Really high highs and then paralyzing terror! But mostly, just sheer happiness that I was able to do this.
PAULA: It’s clear you like to write. You have a blog and now a published book. What sparked your initial passion for writing in general? Did it start as a child? Teenager? Later in life?
KATY: When I was an adolescent I kept a diary until my cousins found it, took it to school and read it aloud to everyone. When computers came along my passion to write out my thoughts returned with a vengeance and I have been banging on my keyboard ever since.
PAULA: The essays in the book come from your blog. When did you create your blog? What was the original purpose and intent to start your blog? Did your blog’s purpose transform as the months and years passed?
KATY: My first blog was created years ago and was a complete disaster. I don’t think my heart was in it and getting used to it being available to the public was kind of difficult for me. It was my second blog, the one I write for today, that really stole my heart and soul. I love opening it up, picking a topic and just letting it rip. I created this blog about 8 years ago. My original intention was to have a place to tell my side of the story. I felt too often people are silenced because they don’t have a place to even start to share. Blogs have changed all of that. For years I wrote about the difficulties I experienced with abusive personalities and that has transformed for me again as a place to heal and to help others heal as well.
PAULA: Why publish a book?
KATY: It’s always been a dream of mine to publish a book. I think the most exciting thing I can imagine about authoring a book now would be seeing it on a library shelf. I hope it makes it there someday too.
PAULA: Why should readers be interested in your perspective on narcissists and their effect on the lives of everyone they touch? You admit you’re not a formally trained professional in the field of psychology, counseling, mental health, or medicine. So what makes you an expert?
KATY: I would never claim to be an expert, but I am definitely someone well-versed on how to recover from the abuses they dole out. I think hearing it from a former victim and reading tried and true methods is always better than anything from someone that’s never experienced it firsthand and lived to tell about it. I was also inspired by a few of my fellow bloggers on the same subject, you in particular. When I found your blog I felt like I had discovered the Book of Thoth, except it was the Book of Paula. There were many others, but only a few I completely devoured. Reading about other’s experiences turned the lights back on and I was no longer stumbling around in the dark. I was on a mission!
PAULA: Without giving away too much, what’s one of the biggest life lessons you learned from your experiences with a narcissist? In retrospect, do you recall having lived this lesson more than once in other relationships?
KATY: The biggest lesson I learned was not to participate and to turn all of those insecure feelings around and take care of me instead of trying to please someone that doesn’t care one fig about me. And yes, I have been on the receiving end of this abuse on several occasions throughout my life. You are doomed to repeat what you don’t fix. For years I thought I was the problem until one day I had an epiphany. That’s when I started getting busy.
PAULA: From a transformative perspective, how have you been forever changed by your experiences with the narcissist?
KATY: Most definitely. Today I am stronger and I know myself a bit better. I still backslide and I still break my own rules, but I come back to my senses faster these days than I used to.
PAULA: Writing is a powerful, self-healing tool many of us fail to recognize within ourselves. I’m a proponent of writing and encourage all of my clients and students to journal while working with me. Tell us a little about your writing process and how the deep inner truths revealed themselves to you in the midst of writing…perhaps use one of your favorite essays to discuss the emergence of these empowering epiphanies.
KATY: There are times, especially editing the essays for the book, that I would read something that sounded so incredibly profound and smart and think to myself, “Did I write that?” Admittedly, I am an undisciplined writer and really have no process except to read something aloud so I know how it sounds. You are right to ask about revelations while I’m writing too because that happens on a regular basis! I don’t know if I could pick just one. Often as I am meandering around a topic that has me passionately tapping away I will realize I’ve answered my own question about it.
PAULA: As a published author, what are your dreams for the future? What are some ideas you have bubbling up inside you for book #2?
KATY: Book #2 is almost completed. This one is fiction, funny and about something that happens everyday. It’s steeped in the term “catfishing” and I hope it’s a real cliffhanger.
PAULA: What final words of encouragement would you like to share with my readers?
KATY: I believe we all have a story to tell. Believe in yourself enough to get that first story out and the rest will be a breeze to write. Sharing your experiences is cathartic and the best kind of therapy you can give yourself. I look forward to reading it!
PAULA: Thank you so much for sharing your inspiration and your book with the world, Katy! I downloaded my copy and can’t wait to dive in. As an avid reader of your blog through the years, I’m confident it will be a 5-STAR experience…YOU ROCK!
Purchase your copy of “Life After the Narcissist: A collection of essays from the blog Madeline Scribes” today! And catch up on Katy’s daily insights on her blog Madeline Scribes.