Recently, I read an inspiring book called Perfect Circles, Redefining Perfection by John Michael Stuart. Stuart was born with Cerebral Palsy, a neurological condition that has impacted his coordination. In his book, he challenges all of us to view our adversities as opportunities for growth and personal development instead of defeat. His life stories become our stories, as we discover the healing power of perspective and as we deal with what appears to be standing in our way. His story reaffirmed what I long thought: That if you live your life with honor and truth, you can achieve anything.
Author John Michael Stuart takes The SPQ. His first book, Perfect Circles: Redefining Perfection challenges each of us to face our own disabilities, what he calls our “imperfections,” by rethinking the real meaning of perfect. With humor and humility, John’s own personal experiences will motivate you to not only accept others, but also accept yourself.
1. How long did your manuscript take, start to finish?
The actual manuscript took me about nine months to complete.
2. Did you do special research?
The research for my book, Perfect Circles came through the rich accumulation of insights from living with a physical disability, Cerebral Palsy. Much of the information was also drawn from the professional experiences I received while working as a social worker in both hospice and rehabilitative settings.
3. How long before you held the first copy in your hands?
Being that Perfect Circles is my first book; it took a year after completing the initial manuscript to get it published. I did a lot of research of different publishing options before finally deciding on a publisher that accepted the manuscript. It took about five to six additional months to get the finished product from Stephens Press that I was quite pleased with.
4. How do you write? When the mood strikes or certain time of day for writing? Word count goals?
I wrote a lot of my book while at my family’s mountain house in Lake Arrowhead, California. A good walk in nature sparked my creativity. I wrote up to 4,000 words on some days. Sometimes I wrote as little as 300 words and sometime none if there was writer’s block. I tried to write five days a week.
5. Do you outline first?
Absolutely! I wrote a complete outline before beginning the actual writing of the book.
6. Do you listen to music while you write? If so what type of music?
Yes! I listened to all types of music from Classical, Jazz to New Age depending on what I was in the mood for.
7. What is your favorite adjective and verb?
“Beautiful” and “Being”
8. Which book have you read again and again?
A Course in Miracles
9. What is your favorite book title (not the book, just the title)?
Man’s Search for Meaning
10.Which author would you most like to meet, living or dead?
Viktor E. Frankl
11.Would you rather get paid to read or get paid to write?
Getting paid for writing would be nice.
12.What is the strangest comment or experience you’ve had about your book or writing?
It’s funny how creativity always came while in the shower.
13.Your best advice for novice writers?
Start with writing down ideas/thoughts, holding nothing back. Think creatively, outside the box! Believe that there’s a book within you just waiting to be written and that your message/story is important to your future readers.
14.Your best marketing techniques?
I’ve written small articles for magazines. This gives readers a sample of your writing both on style and subject matter without actually giving them your book. Always give the website or other information at the conclusion of the article, directing them where they can purchase your book.
15.The future of printed books . . . ?
People love to hold a book and technology will never take that away. There will always be printed books.