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Dr. Angela Carswell is an accomplished author, educator, and advocate for personal growth and transformation. With a Doctorate of Education in Curriculum and Instruction, she brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her work. As a devoted mother and mentor to her two co-authors of "A Workbook for Men/Women," which is based on David Deida's influential book "The Way of the Superior Man," Angela's passion for supporting young adults in finding their path is evident. Throughout her 17-year career as a middle school teacher and her role as a beloved "community mom," she has witnessed the challenges faced by young individuals in their journey towards self-discovery. This has fueled her dedication to self-help research, mindfulness techniques, and fostering transformative conversations. By asking the right questions, Dr. Carswell believes in opening doors to understanding and empowering individuals and families alike. Embark on a journey of growth and inspiration with her thought-provoking titles.
What inspired you to write your first book?
Three events inspired me to write "The Top Shelf Wife." Having friends and family who gather around and talk about how it's going with meeting men, deciphering dating whoas, and pinpointing marriage expectations, I found myself hearing their confusion and tiredness, listening with my heart and ears, then encouraging them to practice new ways by tailoring approaches to them. Secondly, raising an accomplished daughter who is a "good person" to then ask myself, "Did I raise my daughter to be a wife?" I was speechless when I realized that my answer for myself was "No." I believe in being present and assertively problem-solving with both of my adult children as they shoot for their own goals. So, we set about having conversations and talking through situations surrounding dating and choosing well. Lastly, I walked this walk after my divorce after 15 years of marriage. In my heart, I was a wife (without a husband) and really had to understand the dating marketplace differently. Understanding my value to a man, a new husband, led to reading, introspection, a lot of observation, and pushing myself to get out of my comfort zone and establish exciting ways of being that were more inwardly nurturing to myself and outwardly supportive of my village.
Do you have a specific writing style?
This book is written in first person with I /me because the research suggests two things. One, how we speak to ourselves is most important to motivating ourselves, and many of us need to speak more kindly with our inner voice. Two, using the text as practice for shifting the mind and behaviors is most effective. That's why we read, right? Two other style components are references and experiential input. The text is enriched with over 20 references. Many of which are research-based and add a bit of credibility to the suggestions for action. There are also encouraging experiences in the forms of "True Story" excerpts of my life's shenanigans and end-of-chapter experiences that the reader can take part in now to begin practicing the "Top Shelf Wife" life right away. These style components make this book quite different from any other text.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Great question. It would mean the world to me to have women walk away feeling empowered to mix it up a bit, try some new actions, and feel comfortable challenging themselves to throw caution to the winds regarding relationships and how they show up. And not just our relationships but the relationships of our girls and community. If this book is the first stop, try another. And another. Until the dialogue is changed away from the Disney love story with prince and pony into one more trusted and true is in our hearts and head. Yours and mine. We hold the tools to be objective in our self-assessment and our capacity to choose differently. Choose better.
What book are you reading now?
Funny you ask. Over a decade ago, my best friend, Larissa, suggested that we read a book about womanhood and life. Well, life happened, and we never visited the title. I've remarried and moved to an entirely new environment; new people and experiences are all around. A new friend, Larisa, with one S, has also suggested the same title. I'm going to listen to the universe this time. In our two-woman book club, we have just started Women Who Run with the Wolves: Myths and Stories of the Wild Woman Archetype (Estes, C., 1996).
I'm looking forward to understanding how the author connects with and exposes the wildly intuitive nature of the feminine. I'm ready for this now in my own personal journey.
Do you see writing as a career?
Being published as a doctoral graduate and teaching language arts for many years, I never felt like a writer; I was a student and a teacher. Publishing three book offerings within the month spanning mid-April to mid-May was the culmination of two years of creating the Workbooks for Men and Women based on David Deida's "The Way of the Superior Man" and eight months with "Top Shelf Wife." I didn't feel like a writer in the tasks. With the men's and women's workbooks, I was asking questions to analyze past and current habits or to predict and imagine a purposeful and worthwhile life as a couple. With "Top Shelf Wife," I brought forth the research and references with anecdotal evidence that flowed effortlessly from outline to draft to edit. It was so personal and focused that I didn't actually consider it writing.
Now that I'm on the marketing and exposure side, it feels like a career. Work. An investment in learning. Strategy for long-term impact. I'm happy to do the work now because there's a wealth of value for us (as a culture) in better learning to balance ourselves and purposeful relationships. As I see it today, investing in providing action-based, inquisitive, and transformative texts for individuals who desire to work in families and with children is my career in the future.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Actually, two parts were challenging. The title took quite a beating since I didn't want to be exclusionary or judgmental. Yet, I did want to be provocative and motivating. I didn't want to make an empty promise of marriage to every reader. I wanted to give something in a title that one could work towards. The second "hard part" was addressing the nuance of roles and personalities that make each relationship unique. For example: Do men lead and women follow? Are relationships based on leadership or more partnership? How do I give suggestions and honor the authenticity of finding one's groove? I hope I've hit the mark and avoided the landmines with the title. And it was my intention to encourage women to explore learning themselves with integrity and an open canvas in the 5 areas: Spirit of self, Husband, Family, Plan/Program of the family, and the Community.
Do you write an outline before every book you write?
My teaching background and research for my doctorate in education forced my hand to make an outline, gather references, modify my plan in line with the evidence, write, and then gather feedback to validate or suggest changes. I'm pretty structured in it. The titles that impacted its structure were:
- The chapter preview blurb idea from The Way of the Superior Man (Deida, D. 2017)
- The post-chapter task idea was from The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success (Chopra, D. 1995)
- The five nurture and support categories from religious texts of the Bible and Quran
- The nurture categories assessment housed in Chapter 8 sprouted from my teaching career and every magazine survey I've taken throughout the years.
- The text case study found in Chapter 12 unfolded from The Light We Carry, chapters 6 and 7: Partnering Well and Meet My Mom (Obama, M. 2022).
How do you relax?
Aside from writing and marketing, I am traveling to Central America, spending time with my aging mother and adult children, being a local foodie, and creating new recipes from my travels at home. I mix the old with the new and end up with mofongo with curried vegetables from Puerto Rico, and buffalo patacones are a few of my most recent plantain creations.
How can readers discover more about you and your work?
I welcome readers to follow my Amazon author profile (https://www.amazon.com/stores/Dr.-Angela-Carswell/author/B0C3X6QTTX?ref=ap_rdr&store_ref=ap_rdr&isDramIntegrated=true&shoppingPortalEnabled=true ) and/or my Instagram page @familypathways.books. I'd love to get messages for in-person blog spots or conversations at email@example.com.
Picture this: You feel uninspired and sit at the computer for an hour without conquering any words. How do you get your creativity flowing?
Well, you either do it or don't! If I'm studying, I'm hard at it, and when I fade, and productivity falls, I go to bed. Study or sleep. Writing is the same for me. When I write, and it flows, I keep going. When I have a block, I stop after ten or fifteen minutes to walk outside or chat with someone about things entirely off-topic to let my mind wander. Waiting for an hour to allow the feeling of doubt and worry to overcome me is way too long for me. I like to go with momentum when I'm working.
Do you like audiobooks, physical books, or e-books better? Why?
I love physical books because I'm a note-taker. I also like to rummage through the pages of a trusted book and see where I land, then read.
Find out more about Dr. Angela Carswell or follow her on social media at
The Top Shelf Wife is available for purchase on Amazon.
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