Today we travel to Devon to chat with Abigail Yardimci about how mindfulness, creative living, a seaside coffee shop, body acceptance, Nina Simone, postnatal depression, dark chocolate, and Elizabeth Gilbert come together as part of Abigail’s current and past life.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Abigail and I’m an author, blogger and creative mindfulness teacher. I live by the sea in Devon with two terrifying kids and a Turkish husband. I love to write and get my kicks through mindful parenting styles, creative living and chocolate.
In which genre do you write?
I guess my books span several genres including women’s fiction, positive psychology and self-help fiction. ‘Life Is Yours’ would sit comfortably under chick lit too (although I’ve had lots of male readers send me messages about how much they love the story!)
How many published books do you have?
I have one published novel called ‘Life Is Yours’. It’s the first part in a trilogy and the next two parts will be hot on its heels.
When did you first realize you wanted to be a writer and what ignited your author’s flame?
My mam and dad were both journalists when I was growing up so I remember knowing right from the start that writing was a thing you could actually do for a living. I loved the clickety-clackety sound of my mam’s typewriter (yes, I’m old enough to remember those!) and I felt very important and grown-up sitting there typing my own stories even from the age of 7. It just felt like an entirely magical process from the start and I always felt I was ‘in the zone’ when I was writing stories.
What does your ideal writing space look like?
I’m very lucky in that a few years ago my husband and I decided to move our little family from the North East of England to South Devon. I always loved the idea of looking out at the sea as I wrote and now I get to do that! My favourite thing is to take my laptop to a seaside coffee shop, order a latte and get writing. Plus I like to find a quiet little corner in the cafe so I’m not too much in the hustle and bustle otherwise I get sucked into other people’s stories! The ocean is absolutely THE best place to stare out at when I’m stuck on a plot point or struggling over a certain character. One day I will have my own at-home writing desk with a huge window and an ocean view. A girl’s got to dream . . .
What are you currently reading?
Funnily enough, the book I’m currently reading isn’t fiction, although I do love a good yarn. It’s called ‘Health at Every Size’ by Dr Linda Bacon and examines how society has given us a lot of untruthful ‘facts’ about the relationship between health and weight. I’m very much a body positivity advocate and try to weave some aspects of body image into my stories. It’s not difficult as I get a lot of my inspiration from my own experiences and body image is something I used to struggle with a lot. I try to be realistic and sensitive about it as I write – and reading books like this help me to understand the science behind the growing activist movement of body acceptance and body positivity.
Where did the idea for your most recent book come from?
‘Life is Yours’ is based on my own lived experience. At the beginning of 2006, my fiancé and business partner of seven years just decided he didn’t want that life any more. He left with hardly a whisper of warning and I felt like all the rugs had been pulled out from under me. Ultimately, I had to decide if I was going to disappear into a shadow of my former self, or, eventually, pick myself up and open my eyes to the world in a different way.
I chose the latter and because the repercussions of that were so life-changing, I decided to record my experiences as a novel. I’m so glad I did because not only did it help me work through what had happened and make sense of it all, but I now have readers all over the world telling me they identify with so much of the story and, in particular, they love the self-help element to the tale.
We’re all likely to suffer from heartbreak at least once in our lives – whether it’s from the end of a relationship or something completely different – so tales of recovery and renewal are always going to be important.
What do you do when not writing or marketing your books?
I work part-time for a charity that supports mums with their mental health and wellbeing around the time of having a baby. I suffered from postnatal depression myself with both of my boys, so it’s good to be able to give back and share the skills that got me through those difficult times.
I also teach mindfulness meditation to young people and families across South Devon which I love. When I’m not doing those things, I tend to indulge in at-home yoga, dance fitness videos on You Tube, long put-the-world-to-rights chats with my mates, heaps of dark chocolate and giggling with my lads.
If you could have a fantasy tea or coffee date with an author from the past or present, who would it be and what would you ask them?
I would most definitely be inviting Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat Pray Love) to my coffee table. In fact, when I first read Eat Pray Love about twelve years ago now, I panicked that she had already written my book! Although we have entirely different stories, we were both writing about a break-up and heartbreak and self discovery and circling back to yourself. I worried that she’d beaten me to it. But, the further I got into the book, and the more I had very stern words with myself, I realised we’ve all got our stories to tell and our own unique voices to tell them in. I’ve since read many of her other books and particularly love what she has to say about creativity. My background is in creative arts and I’ve always had a highly creative soul so Elizabeth’s frank and empowering relationship to creativity intrigues me. I guess I’d ask her about that – I’d love to talk with her about creativity into the wee small hours over a bottle of something nice and a huge bowl of pasta – I think she’d like that.
I’m an Elizabeth Gilbert fan, too. I think Big Magic is a powerful book, and love following her career and activism. Can I join you two?
What is the most enjoyable thing you’ve found through writing?
That when it’s flowing it’s the most amazing feeling and the best way to have fun with yourself.
Do you journal write or keep a personal diary? Has this helped with your published writings? If so, how?
I don’t currently keep a journal, but there have been episodes of my life when I have done and it has been enormously helpful. When I went through a particularly awful break-up in 2006, I started a journal with a list of reasons why ‘Being Young, Free and Independent is Bloody Brilliant’. That morphed into further empowering lists and dreamy diagrams and silly sketches and poems and lines and observations. I had no idea what I was doing at the time, but now that journal has turned into the ‘Life Is Yours’ trilogy. It was a particularly lovely experience to go back through that journal as I was editing the final draft of the first book, and picking out hand-written excerpts to actually be included inside. It made me feel really happy and satisfied that creativity is something we should never block and just go with when the mood takes us as we never know where it might lead.
You are about to speak publicly to a group and read from your latest book. What song do you listen to before speaking? Or, what do you do to prepare yourself?
I absolutely thrive on talking about ‘Life Is Yours’ – it’s one of my favourite things to do! That’s not to say I don’t get nervous though. I’m a mindfulness teacher so I definitely try to practice what I preach and spend some time breathing mindfully, soothing my nerves and fully accepting I’m in the right place at the right time. I have a lovely mala meditation bracelet that I tend to wear before speaking publicly and I breathe in and out deeply as I squeeze each bead alternately. A nice hot cup of tea (or a glass of something stronger if the gig was in a pub) helps too. If I had to pick a track (I absolutely love music) it would be ‘Ain’t Got No – I Got Life’ by Nina Simone.
I’m a Nina Simone fan, and adore this song. Another two of my favorite Nina Simone songs: “Here Comes the Sun” and “Sugar in My Bowl”. What a powerhouse of deep soulful singing!
List 3 interesting facts about yourself.
I’m an Eastenders addict
I’d sell my soul for a parsnip chip
My kids think I’m a hippie
What do you miss about being a kid?
The freedom to do what I like all day.
What are you currently working on?
I’m currently editing the second book in the ‘Life Is Yours’ trilogy and getting it ready for publication. It’s called Destiny Is Yours and will be out this year although The COVID19 breakout has sadly put things back a bit. I know all the ‘Life Is Yours’ fans are eager to read the next part in the adventure, so I’m working with my publisher to get it in their hands as soon as possible.
Tell us about your most recent book.
‘Life Is Yours’ – From heartbreak to heart awake . . .
Who can say what has brought Jess and Lindy together? Maybe it’s the beach, the stars and the warm Turkish night air. But they may as well get settled for the night, because Jess has a story to tell and Lindy is ready to listen . . .
Jess had life sorted. A gang of great mates, an adoring fiancé and a thriving business – she couldn’t have asked for more. But the proverbial rug is whipped out from under her feet when the fiancé makes a sharp exit on New Year’s Eve. Therein follows the Week From Hell, eternally streaked mascara and Chardonnay-a-plenty.
But this is the story of a woman on a path. Sure, there are a number of trips and falls along the way but Jess is on a journey that will change her life. On a boring business course, she remembers what she really wants. Strange new friendships are made, new ideas grow; and a last-minute discount holiday to Turkey helps her heart wake up to a whole new rhythm. A rhythm that is just beginning to get going . . .
It was was wonderful to have you on MTA, Abigail. I’m adding your book to my list to read. It’s not my favored genre, but knowing it’s based on your own experience, makes me want to read it! Sending you oceans of blessings! – Camilla
Where to find the book:
You can buy ‘Life Is Yours’ from the following sites:
Amazon UK (Paperback):
Amazon UK (Kindle):
Amazon US (Kindle):
Life is Yours Online Boutique (signed copies, original artworks, tote bags, badges, postcards etc):
Want to find out more about Abigail and ‘Life Is Yours’? The best place to be is on Abigail’s reader list and if you sign up now, you get a FREE hidden prologue to Life Is Yours. This is not available in the book but can be sent straight to your inbox as soon as you sign up! Just visit this link to go straight to the sign-up form:
Abigail also kind of thrives on social media so make sure to follow her there too:
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