Tell us about yourself and what inspired you to start writing.
My name is Aarti Patel and I’m a naturopathic doctor, writer, blogger, self-publisher of books, and mom who likes to explore what life has to offer and constantly seeks out new things to learn and experience. I’ve always enjoyed writing, but when I was younger I just assumed you first have to demonstrate a level of expertise or get advanced degrees in literature in order to write anything worthwhile. Then one day, a friend told me that I should try to write anyway just for fun and see how I liked it. I replied, “Me? I’m not a writer and anyways my English teachers had never been bowled over by what I turned in for essays. Plus, what would I even write about?” My friend insisted that I just do it anyway because who knows, I may have a good story to tell.
So I took his advice and tried it, and sure enough writing opened up a whole new world for me. I enjoyed the challenge of expressing things I didn’t even realize were in me until they appeared on paper. I found I could write health blogs or articles in my chosen field of naturopathic medicine, but I could also travel beyond my profession and write short stories or even work on a novel. Eventually, I learned about avenues for self-publishing and ventured off to take what I had written and open it up to the world.
Tell us about your books.
“The Art of Health” is a book I wrote to answer a question so many of my patients kept asking in office: Why don’t I feel like myself anymore? In this book, I talk about how a disconnect from health is not only a product of lifestyle habits, but it also stems from how society treats individuals who are trying to live their own lives. It takes courage to be healthy in this world, while all around us we have the images of perfection, success, and fame shoved in our faces day by day. My book talks about how to support health while staying true to who you are. Forget about the gimmicks and fads, the true key to health is in you.
“Modern Day Fables” is a co-authored collection of 11 short stories, each one containing a moral that applies to today’s way of life. The beginning of the book’s description says it well:
In the modern world, life lessons are not always as black and white as who wins a race between a tortoise and a hare. Modern Day Fables features eleven lessons for us adults, we who face challenges that present a palette of grays in which the morals are often more gritty, trampled on, hard fought, hard won, and not always glorious. In these eleven fables, travel the subterranean world of lessons not oft told because they are challenging to the status quo, and championing of the individual who stands alone amid the world around us. Decide what you think, who wins and who loses, who stands and who falls. Most importantly, just think.
“Picture It: Homeopathy” was my first book, and it’s an illustrated and humorous guide to homeopathic remedies. It’s great for students studying homeopathy or anyone interested in that medicinal art. I had tons of fun drawing the cartoons in that book, and yes, I did it during class.
Finally, “Screen” is a short story that tries to project where screens are going to take us in society. What will happen to personality and character over time? What will happen to human interaction? I know that smart phones and gadgets are as integrated into daily living as bread and butter now, but these questions still seem important to ask in my opinion. What do you think? “Screen” is also the first short story featured in the collection “Modern Day Fables.”
How did you go about getting published?
I’ve self-published all of my books so far. I’d be open to the traditional publishing route in the future, but I’ve definitely had some great fun and experience come out of publishing on my own so far.
What is your writing process? Do you have a time, day or place you like to write?
I’m a night owl, so I end up writing too much of what I could write in the morning at night. There’s just something about this time of the day (it’s night right now), when everyone’s sleeping and your thoughts are crystal clear. We have two kids at home, so you can imagine the difference in noise level between day and night. I like writing on my boyfriend’s keyboard, but he understandably doesn’t want me to spill coffee there. So, I’ve moved my practice over to the dining room table or bedroom table. I also like writing at Starbucks with a Caramel Macchiato in hand (I just discovered those!)
What do you like to do when you’re not writing? Full-time job, pets, hobbies?
I take care of my two babies, my daughter who is seven months old and my son who is two and a half. I’m also trying to start up my naturopathic practice part-time in a new area we recently located to in the Pacific Northwest.
Any advice for authors about book covers?
I like using PixelStudio on Fiverr.com. Seriously, they make awesome covers at such an affordable price. Other than that, it’s fun to envision in your head what you feel your book cover might look like before anyone even works on it.
Any marketing tips you’d like to share with other authors?
Just stay open to what you (right now) think you’re scared of. I was scared of social media, but I tried to stay open to it. And now it’s coming in pretty handy. Writing is a good means to market your writing as well. Try blog posts and guest blogging. I also like www.Braintobooks.com, Goodreads, www.Booksends.com, and www.Ereadernewstoday.com. Lemme see, what else… I’m definitely not an expert in this area, but I would say that sometimes one thing you try leads to the next thing you try. So just take the first step. And just try a variety of approaches, because you never know. Oh yeah–and see if book bloggers would be interested in reading and reviewing your title! Try out different pitches and see what works best.
What’s your favorite book?
What are you reading now?
“America: Imagine a World Without Her” by Dinesh D’Souza
What’s your next book project?
Ahh, I see that the space for this answer is pretty big. My next project is a natural health book about acne. I don’t have more info than that right now, because I’m still working through all the writing, first in my head and hopefully more and more on paper. All I can say is, the way I’m writing about this symptom and how to treat it is not conventional.