Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Meet Leandra J. Kalsy, Author

Leandra J. Kalsy lives near New York and enjoys writing, reading, learning, traveling, crafting, and helping others to feel better by healing their relationships with food and learning methods to relieve stress. The author of The Woman's Guide To Building Self-Esteem, Feeling Good, And Getting In Shape With Belly Dance, Ms. Kalsy has a particular interest in writing about the many aspects of health, from physical to emotional to spiritual.

1. What motivated you to start writing about health and wellness?

Since my background is in health and wellness, namely nutrition, this is the direction which my writing naturally takes. Although I have other writing interests such as poetry and short stories, I love writing in the health and wellness genre because I feel you can address what really influences people's quality of life on a daily basis. These topics include emotional health, nutrition, exercise, spiritual health, stress relief and much more. Because we all share these aspects of life in common, I find that this serves to connect me even deeper to my target audience, because we've all been there. And if I've been there like you've been, then the advice I give has that much more authenticity to you, the reader.

2. As a writer, what are some specific things that you do (or specific techniques you use in your work) to forge strong connections with your readers through your words?

There are several practices I embrace in order to create writing that is worthy of my readers. These include:
a. Creating as ambient and quiet a writing environment as possible, so that I can deeply connect to that inner writing aspect of myself and deliver my best work.
b. Retreating in nature or in a calm space when I'm not writing so that I am re-energized and in the optimal mental state to write from my heart.
c. Constantly jotting down ideas with the old fashioned pen and paper.
d. Reading a lot of non-fiction on self-transformation and inspirational books.
e. Acting as the guinea pig for much of the advice I offer to my audience, by constantly exposing and immersing myself in many healing modalities and aids, stress relief techniques, holistic nutrition and wellness paradigms.
f. Always taking the approach of open-mindedness in my writing.
g. Making sure to always set the intention to help create meaningful change with my words, so that the reader's life can be enhanced by what I put out in my books.

3. Could you describe why you chose to publish in e-book format and how that format has been a good fit for your books?

I think that the e-book format of publishing is fitting with the way the world has been transformed by the internet and the introduction of multiple e-book reader platforms, especially the Kindle. Also, as a writer, using the e-book format allows me to self-publish and to focus more on my writing. I don't have to expend a large portion of my energy soliciting publishers and agents, and sending out manuscripts. I get to write on my terms, and although getting myself to become known is a challenge at times, it feels good to be fully in charge of what direction my writing takes. In addition, because I am directing my own marketing, and not someone else or a corporate marketing campaign, I get to connect more intimately with my readership and with the writing community in general.

4. What would be your advice to women who are curious about belly dance but feel a little shy about trying it?

I say go for it. Belly dance doesn't require an audience for you to become proficient at it, so there is no need for shyness. And taking classes in not my focus in the book, because I know that this can be daunting for a lot of women. The only audience while leaning belly dance you really need is yourself in the privacy of your bedroom or any comfortable space for you; and the only person you need looking back at you (at least initially) is also yourself, probably in front of a mirror.

I know that the image of belly dance we often have in our heads is of a skimpily clothed, slim, sexy woman in some Hollywood film gyrating her hips and dancing in front of a mostly male audience. Some people even equate belly dancing with exotic dancing like in a gentleman's club.

One of my goals with this book is to erase and transform this perception, and allow women in particular to see the beauty, art, and effective form of exercise that belly dance really is. They can belly dance in their sweat suit, t-shirt and tights, or home dress if they like and still feel sexy.

I grew up being one of the shyest kids in the class, and I also have been shy for much of my adult life. But when I'm belly dancing, there is no shyness, and it has given me more confidence in other aspects of my life as well. Belly Dance is the natural "happy pill, an emotional uplifter and stress reducer, and a wonderful form of exercise for women that hardly anyone is telling us about. This is the time more than ever for women to take back their power, and use their feminine grace to get what they want in life. Belly dance is a quick outlet to let your feminine grace shine and help you become more confident as a woman in your body, your well being, and your life.

5. In your own life, how do you balance work, family, and health/wellness?

To me I'm on an ongoing transformational journey every day to achieve and maintain balance and harmony in my life, and I'm just taking my readers along for the ride with my writing. I find balance by surrounding myself with gentleness as much as possible with such things like immersing myself in nature whether it be taking walks, using essential oils to uplift my mood, or using holistic products as much as possible. I also listen to soothing music often, especially instrumentals and brain wave technology creations from places like Evolution Ezine and Daily Om. I am constantly listening to webinars from leaders in self-transformation, and I read on a daily basis anything that allows me to feel good or better in that moment. Of course I belly dance to instantly uplift my mood and use writing as a therapeutic outlet. But I find that the simplest way to experience balance for me is when I allow myself solitude and retreat regularly to enjoy time with myself and recharge my batteries. Then I can be ready to face the world again.

Thanks, Leandra!

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