Q&A With Emma Nadler
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With Emma Nadler
latest Q&A is with author, psychotherapist & speaker Emma Nadler. Emma
is the author of her debut novel The Unlikely Village Of Eden.
Emma, would you like to tell the readers of the blog and I about your memoir The
Unlikely Village Of Eden, & when did you realize the right time to
write & release the memoir was now?
My memoir, The Unlikely Village of Eden is about becoming a caregiver to my daughter whose
disabilities related to a rare genetic deletion require around-the-clock care
and how our unexpected path redefined our family, my experience with
motherhood, and myself. At its core, the book is about various forms of love,
healing from perfectionism, and challenging cultural norms. Most of all it
explores how to recalibrate when life doesn’t go to plan. It is vulnerable and
shares my inner world as a therapist. And somehow, it is funny.
You are a psychotherapist & a speaker on top of being an author. What is a
psychotherapist and is it different from a psychologist? How do you juggle
being a psychotherapist, speaker & an author?
Yes, I am a psychotherapist—a Licensed Professional Clinical Counselor. It is
different from a psychologist because of different licensing boards, but we do
similar jobs. I am honestly not sure how I am doing those various roles on top
of being a caregiver, but my work brings a lot of meaning and joy to my life.
Those roles make the harder parts of having a child who faces a lot of
challenges easier for me. They bring perspective, creativity, and novelty to my
days. I’m not claiming to be in balance however—that seems like an impossible
standard to me.
What advice would you give to anyone wanting to write a memoir?
Go for it! Writing is an incredible chance to shape your own narrative and have
a say in your own story. Start with a sloppy first draft, then bring in
readers. If you can swing it, hire an editor to review the pages before you
send it out to agents. If you have friends or family members who will also read
it and give you feedback beforehand, that can also be helpful. Or do a trade
with a friend who is also a writer. But only take advice from people who are
your target audience. Ultimately, it is your voice and needs to match your
vision for the project.
can also begin with a smaller piece and try to get it placed in a national
outlet. Some people are lucky enough to get book deals that way, especially if
an essay goes viral. But writing doesn’t have to become a full-length book to
have an impact, either.
Unlikely Village of Eden took a lot more time
than I anticipated. I did three major rewrites and spent countless hours
editing. I used a lot of my vacation time working through drafts. I guess
writing is the new all-inclusive getaway. Thank you to my family, who put up
with this. I’m so glad I wrote my memoir—it was worth it—it’s been life
changing in powerful ways.
Are you currently writing your next book? If so, is it another memoir or are
you trying your hand at fiction this time?
I am a little hesitant to share this because you never know where writing—or
life—will take you. I am working on a collection of essays right now. And my
dream is to someday write a modern, quirky romance novel, but that feels
daunting right now and quite difficult. I have never written fiction.
Storytelling that draws from real life comes more naturally to me.
What lessons do you hope readers takeaway after reading The Unlikely Village
I hope people feel less alone after (or while) reading it. I’ve also received
feedback that it sparked readers to reach out more, to help their neighbors, to
become more connected in their relationships. That is my biggest hope for our
culture—that we could be less isolated and rely on each other more through
joyful and difficult times. So, I’m thrilled with any small part I can play in
my writing, I would also like to raise awareness about the challenges of
caregiving and parenting and, ultimately, advocate for systemic changes that
make life easier for families who are stretched so thin. Which is nearly every
family in the United States, whether you have a child with disabilities or not.
We need more structural support, more of a village for all.
What is your advice to anyone wanting to go into psychotherapy & being a
public speaker as you have?
Advice is such a funny thing. I guess it would depend on who I am talking
with—I’d want to know, “What are your goals and hopes?” I don’t think being a
therapist is for everyone, but then again, is anything for everyone? Not
everyone should be a stockbroker, either.
people who want to continue to learn and grow and think creatively about life’s
challenges, who can tolerate the discomfort of sitting with people in their
hardest moments, it’s an honor of a profession. It is never boring, just like
my family. I’d think about a specialty and lean into that. Do a lot of
training, read as much as possible on the topic. Learn what works based on
empirical evidence. A key part is about the relationship between therapist and
client. And be intentional about making friends with other therapists, because
then you can support each other through it.