Author Focus - Heather Drummond (Author of Dear River : Love, Loss & Spirituality)

1. What Motivates you to write?

A strong urge to share my life lessons with others. A feeling that all of humanity is part of me, that every breath I take belongs to them too. That all my joy, I hope to share with them and all my sorrows I want to grow with them. Together we fly, together we fall. Together we smile, together we cry.  

2. How did you feel after publishing your book?

I felt liberated, ready to die having left what is most precious to me with my children. That is knowledge, the ability to tap into a calm state of mind when all seems hopeless. The power of breath to expand my consciousness, giving me the will to avoid drugs, alcohol and the many other substitutes we are sold when right in front of us the best things in life are free.  


3. What are some of your favourite novels and authors?

To be honest, I haven’t read many books but those that have touched me I have treasured my whole life. The Monk who Sold His Ferrari, The 5 Love Languages, The Celestine Prophecy, Conversations with God, Science & Health with Keys to the Scriptures and The Power of Now. 


4. Is there a specific reason for naming your novel?

Actually yes. I was going to name the book ‘Jesus was a Yogi’ but felt many, especially Christians would find this upsetting, however, if you read my final chapter ‘Was Jesus a Yogi?’ you may find yourself agreeing with me. I also thought about ‘Conversations with Garth’ my husband, because many of my revelations were through deep conversation with him.  I felt that writing this book to my son, people would read it in the 3rd person and not feel that I’m pointing fingers or judging them. I touch on some fundamentally debatable subjects, I hoped readers would feel less triggered with the book written to my son River and not directly to them. This way allowing space for contemplation rather than reaction. 


5. Where do you write from? Do you go to some specific place, like beachside or the hills?

I wrote this book at a very busy time in my life.  We had a newborn baby that had come as quite a surprise. We had sold our house to invest into our business, so we had turned 1 room at the office into a little lock up and go, hoping to travel Africa for the expansion. The only thing that expanded was my belly. We actually got so comfortable at the office that we had both our children there, eventually, half the house was home and half was the office. It was unusual but charming going through reception with babies in prams to get to the little place we called home for 4 years but it was the road we chose for our bigger picture. We are now blessed to live in Mauritius and I’m writing this after a lovely long walk along Mont Choisy beach. 


6. What inspired you to write books(in general)? Any tales to tell…

This is an interesting question. I was a third streamer and never excelled at English, in English? Hmmm, anyway.. moving on. My spelling was somewhat laughable and I was over the moon when I discovered spell check in our first computer lesson. So no, I never in my wildest dreams thought I would write a book. But you know (and yes, never start a sentence with but).. BUT I just had to write and share what was in my heart. What was keeping me up at night. What I was learning through this adventure of mine. Having experienced such tragedy, coming to my knees, finding that true love and knowledge can lift us out of any situation.  I didn’t care how the words came out, they just did. So if you’re looking to learn perfect English read the Collins dictionary. If you're looking for perfectly imperfect you’ll love ‘Dear River’. 


7. What was your biggest learning experience throughout the writing process?

That everyone has a book to write. You're probably not going to make money from it but the joy you will get in sharing your message, even with just your loved ones will be worth every cent. There is something deeply healing about putting your thoughts on paper.

This is your movie and you are the director. With my mom and sister passing on so tragically and realising that tomorrow is promised to no body, I’m happy knowing I’ve left a piece of me behind, at least for my children. I would give anything to read a book from my mom called ‘Dear Heather’. I wonder what she would say? Ah, I just choked up.  


8. Looking back, what did you do right that helped you break in as a writer?

I started keeping a journal, making notes of all those WOW moments but also the times that pinched me, that brought me to my knees. The experiences that made me deeply question my own belief systems and those that were taught to me.  Sitting down and putting structure to my scribbles and feeling guided by something way bigger than me. I just had to write it. 


9. Any best piece of writing advice that you would like to share with new or struggling writers?

People are busy these days, wanting quick gratification and needing to get to the point really fast. Someone told me once, ‘why use a long word when a short one will do’.  Less is more, get to the point. Dear River has so many short chapters, it’s very easy to read. I scooped the cream off years of journaling to bring forward something really punchy and hard-hitting. I think it’s because of this that many commented that the book was so hard to put down. 


10. Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?

Despite my lack of degrees and 1st stream education, I started my own business at 23 and sold it 5 years later. I’ve not had to work to make a living ever since. Therefore I do what I love and that’s putting my health and happiness first, then serving humanity in every little way that I can and of course taking care of my 3 beautiful boys, my darling husband included.


11. Any future books that you would like to discuss now?

Ooh, I have some ideas for ‘Dear Dune’ my second born. I’m not sure whether to focus on ‘Healing Spiritually’ or ‘Sustainable Living and Wellness’. 2 things I’m passionate about. 


12. What other profession excites you the most?

I would have to say without a doubt, anyone working in the field of sustainable living. Whether you are upcycling, designing green energy solutions, promoting a plant-based diet, selling electric cars, growing bio food products, selling fair trade clothing I’m 100% behind you. 


13.Any special mention about your reader (be it with reviews/feedback or anything else)

I absolutely LOVE hearing from my readers, it’s not their dollars that I want, but their take away from my story and where it has shone light in their lives. Some of my notable reviews are ‘suicide is no longer an option’ ‘this should be on Oprah’ ‘I stayed awake till 3 am’ ‘I could not put this book down’ ‘I cried so much reading about your tragedy’ ‘you are so brave’ ‘I’ve often thought these things but never spoken about them’ and the list goes on. I also invite my readers to join me for an online yoga course so we can go deeper into the experience together. I would love to get to know them personally. 


14.Do you write the story at a stretch or you take your time to complete it? If you take a longer time, wouldn’t you be forgetting the story? How do you tackle it?

It took me a few months to write, I was dedicated to finishing it sooner rather than later. It evolved as I went along, I had a few close friends and Garth read it before handing it an editor. I have many versions. I’ve printed this book now several times over the past decade, I hand them out and sell the occasional copy, only this year have I actively tried to reach people online. I’m always adding to the story and finding ways to improve my reader experience. I listen whole heartedly to people’s feedback. 


15.Traditional or Self-Publishing? Why?

If you’re unknown and if you don’t know someone working at the top of a publishing house it is unlikely anyone will even read your story. The lady I’m working with now used to work at a publishing house and she said they threw most applications in the bin. Thankfully with the internet now and social media, you can be your own gateway to the world. Go for it! 


16. How is the response so far for the book? 

It’s what keeps me going. I still to this day am blown away by the personal reviews I’ve received over the years. One of my most memorable, was 'Dear River' being blessed by the founder of the Art of Living, Sri Sri Ravi Shankar.  He had asked the teachers what obstacles we were facing and I put my hand up to say I wrote Dear River for all my fellow Christians to help them understand more about yoga and meditation.  

He called me up to the front and I gave him a copy to look through and asked him to please sign it, he said ‘is this not my copy?’.. I laughed and said 'of course you can have a copy'.  The following day when he came in for a session with the 170 teachers, he looked at me and said ‘I have taken another 3 of your books’ which were stacked outside, I was so touched.  For those who know how difficult it is to get even 20 close to Sri Sri Ravishankar, this was indeed a great moment for the journey of 'Dear River'.

Heather Drummond is the author of the book - Dear River: Love, Loss & Spirituality. You can see my review of the book here