Author, artist and journalist - doing what inspires (not tires). I'm the author of 21 books (mostly non-fiction). I an established artist and a health and travel writer. My current passion is the Enneagram, which is the subject of my latest book due out in October in the USA. So AMA!

Ann Gadd
Mar 9, 2018

Follow your passion. Do that thing that you've dreamed about doing but don't believe you can. Work with perceived failures to grow and develop.

I’m a non-fiction writer with 21 published books and 15 translations on a wide variety of subjects (habits, fairytales, relationships, making an income from art, feet - how the sole mirrors the soul, etc.).

I’m also a travel writer and health journalist, with over 70 articles published.

As an artist with over 5 000 paintings sold worldwide, I've walked the maze of rejection (and found my way out).

For many years I also worked as an art workshop facilitator and as an alternative therapist. I'm passionate about the Enneagram - its helped me understand not only myself, but what stops others from reaching their potential.

I have experience in a number of fields and would be happy to answer questions in any of them.

For more info:

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Do you still have unpublished books you’ve already written? Will you be publishing them one day?
Mar 13, 3:03PM EDT0

I have a bad romance from about 30 years ago that went through a couple of stages with Mills & Boon before being refused. So as far as that one is concerned no. I do have one more personal book I revisit from time to time, get wildly enthusiatic, then feel its not great and head to a different project. But its incompleteness concerns me, so I tell myself that when the book I'm currently writing is finished, I will complete it.

Mar 13, 3:34PM EDT0
Is formal education necessary for one to become an author or a journalist?
Mar 13, 12:30PM EDT0

No I don't believe so at all. Ditto with art. BUT that being said, I do believe you need to read and read a great deal. Also to familiarise yourself with grammar etc. If publishers love your idea or story, they'll often help edit the book to improve or rectify any deficiencies in your copy.

Mar 13, 12:36PM EDT0
Did you ever experience being invited by a sponsor, for instance a hotel or resort owner, to come to their location so you can write about them for a fee?
Mar 13, 12:25PM EDT0

Nope. The magazine would not allow it. But I do get to stay free at certain places when I'm writing a review of them. Sometimes though, I choose to remain incognito. So I get paid by the magazine not the resort owner. That being said, its not uncommon for people to sponsor some PR coverage.

Mar 13, 12:33PM EDT0
Among all the things you do, which one would you consider the easiest for you?
Mar 13, 5:58AM EDT0

Thats a tricky one, because on some days everthing is difficult and on others, the magic just seems to flow. I guess after 5000+ sheep paintings they are easy to do, but if I move into a new style of exploration I feel all the doubt and insecurity I felt years ago.  With writing as well. Somedays its effortless and then there are the other days...

How do you experience it?

Last edited @ Mar 13, 6:55AM EDT.
Mar 13, 6:45AM EDT0

When one is wanting to submit content to a magazine or online publication, they usually (not alway) ask for your media kit. What is that? 

Mar 13, 5:45AM EDT0

In truth, I've never been asked for this, but usually when approaching an editor, I'll will send a brief CV listing books published, magazines who've published my work etc. as an introduction. In my experience its the media who get given media kits at a promotion to assist with information regarding the story that the event is hoping you'll publicize, not the other way round.

Mar 13, 6:49AM EDT0

Hi Ann.  I'm an artist and trying to be a travel writer/blogger. I struggle with getting motivated to write a story. When I see what others have written, and the eloquent way they describe and write, I feel 'less than'.  How do I get myself into a space where I am confident that what i am writing about matters? 

Mar 13, 5:30AM EDT0

I used to feel very intimidated by other writers work, so I can relate to your feeling 'less than' (and it can still appear sometimes). I guess though, like most things (art included) in life, each small success builds courage and confidence to move onto the next step until you find that place where you start feeling you have developed your own style and comparison no longer haunts you. Where you find your own unique voice. But you have to work through the ratio of 1: 5 acceptance vs rejection until you can turn it around to 5:1. But, in most cases, its a process and the secret is not letting rejection way you down and to learn from each one - what could I have done better? For instance I once wrote what I considered to be a witty article on places to have coffee in a certain part of the country. The article was turned down because (as the editor pointed out), most of my experiences had not been good ones coffee-wise and who would want to read about where not to go? Trip Advisor does that. So sometimes its not the writing, just a faulty concept. Hope that helps.

Mar 13, 7:04AM EDT0
How long does it usually take to complete writing one book?
Mar 13, 5:21AM EDT0

I wrote one book in three months, but it was more of a list than an actual narrative. I often start them and then put them down in moments of despair  only to return to them months later when I'm once again full of enthusiasm. The exception to this is comissioned books, when there is a deadline and penalties for not meeting it. Also depends on how much research is required or if I'm collecting case studies etc. which may take longer. Typically though, eight months to two years.

Mar 13, 6:53AM EDT0
What’s your favorite health and the travel book and why?
Mar 10, 11:22AM EST0

I loved Rian Manser's Around Africa on my Bicycle also Lets get Lost by Craig Nelson and Dr Paul Bruton's A Search in Secret India (bit more esoteric). Also PJ O'Rouke's Holidays in Heck.  Manser's book probably me best, because it brought Africa alive for me - good and bad. Also as with his book paddling around Madagasscar, I was able to head to Google Earth and follow his progress visually. Health book possibly, Your Body Speaks Your Mind by Debbie Shapiro and The Healing Power of Illness by Thorwald Dethlefsen and Bruce Lipton's The Biology of Belief. Because all three (in different ways) speak to the body/mind connection in an accessible manner.

Last edited @ Mar 13, 6:54AM EDT.
Mar 10, 11:46AM EST0
What are some of the biggest illusions people have about health and travel writing?
Mar 10, 8:43AM EST0

Interesting question. Ok lets start with travel writing. Sometimes people think you only need to Google to write about a place. Not so. You need the smell of the place, the taste of the food, the interesting locals, the scenic vistas. The story only comes from actually being there.  There are also two types of travel writers: those who love the travelling and don't necessarily enjoy the writing, and those who travel so they can write. That its a glamourous lifestyle. I don't get hugely well paid, so its often back-packers or hotels with no star rating, sometimes even camping if you're in the bush - definately not glitz and glamour, but personally, I like it that way. It can also be scary - I've been charged by elephants a couple of times and had a rhino come so close I could have touched it - exciting but not for the feint hearted!

re health writing, which does require loads of research. I personally have never been paid by big pharma to write an article, but it does happen, often - when writers are paid to push a particular remedy.

Last edited @ Mar 10, 10:01AM EST.
Mar 10, 9:59AM EST0

What do you consider your greatest personal accomplishment so far?

Mar 9, 4:46PM EST0

This is going to sound horribly cheesey, but in the interests of authenticity, it would be my kids. Beyond that, it wouldn't be a particular book, number of books published or anything similar, but more the privelege of being able to live creatively and to do what I'm passionate about doing.  And, (hopefully) inspire others to do the same.

Mar 10, 1:49AM EST0

Hello, how long have you been an author and where can we find your work?

Mar 9, 1:43PM EST0

My first book was published in 2003. Amazon has some of them see here. Art would be art general. Hope that helps . I did write a Mills & Boon storyaround 1985 and it got through to the second selection, but sadly then got rejected. But I have always written  (well since about five), and in my twenties started getting the odd article accepted. The acceptance gave me the courage to continue to write.

Last edited @ Mar 9, 2:43PM EST.
Mar 9, 2:31PM EST0
Many authors, even established ones, still really struggle with social media. Do you think it is possible to be a successful author today without having a strong social media presence? Would you have any tips for other authors for that?
Mar 9, 12:29PM EST0

I'd like to say yes, but as one who fails rather miserably at social media, probably not. There are agents who won't accept an author unless they meet certain social media criteria, so it is and is becoming, more of an issue. Personally, and I probably shouldn't be saying this, I prefer to concentrate more on what I enjoy doing - writing. Social media takes my focus away from this. It can be exhausting. I get back to the thinking though, that I write beacuse I love writing. If, as a result, I get published, thats a bonus. But I fully admit, that that's not what many publishers are after. Perhaps the best compromise is to set aside a certain time each week for social media and then the rest of the time can be devoted to your craft.

Last edited @ Mar 9, 2:44PM EST.
Mar 9, 2:41PM EST0
What piece of your artwork would you like to be remembered for?
Mar 9, 9:48AM EST0

Thank-you. Its called 'Zulu Lulu (le blanc).'

Around 2000 I came across a Zulu Lulu doll at a street market.

It stirred memories of a past childhood, where the doll was seen as an affordable toy for the less priveleged.

Ironically Zulu Lulus were made in Japan and called  ‘Winky-dolls’ or Dakko-chan in Japanese, (meaning ‘embraceable’) They had become a hugely popular fad in the 1960’s there.

The doll was invented by Yoshihiro Suda. The stereotype ethnic design of the character was explained by Japanese intellectuals such as novelist Tensei Kawano s (quote): "We of the younger generation are outcasts from politics and society. In a way we are like negroes, who have a long record of oppression and misunderstanding, and we feel akin to them."

Zulu Lulus found their way to South Africa, eerily enforcing the view of separateness expressed by Kawano.

The paradox of the cute Winky doll and the underlying racial tension she conveyed, I found intriguing. As a result, I began this series of works examining racial issues through the (seemingly) innocuous doll.

Zulu Lulu (le Blanc)’ (the white) looks at what happens when we adjust stereotyped perception,. In ‘Zulu Lulu – blanc/noir’ (black/white) the dolls face each other yet seem unable to connect, even their characteristic open mouths seem to express surprise and they seem unsure as to what to do next – a reflection on the current political status quo. Where to now? I have used French as a pretentious way to confront a contentious issue, both present and in the past in South Africa. In other paintings I have the dolls in common situations – drinking tea for instance. Wanting to live up to their name and embrace each other but instead grinning inanely in pseudo surprize in what could be termed a superficial approach to the intimacy they lack. All is sweet/cute. But is it?

I'm most known though for my 'sheep' paintings which commonly look at corporate life:

Last edited @ Mar 9, 10:09AM EST.
Mar 9, 10:02AM EST0

Very cool, thanks for sharing!

Mar 9, 12:30PM EST0
If you could go back in time and tell your young self one thing about writing, what would it be?
Mar 9, 8:45AM EST0

"You can."

Ignore all the other voices that say anything else. Believe it. You can!

Last edited @ Mar 9, 10:04AM EST.
Mar 9, 9:27AM EST0

What are you doing today that inspires you?

Mar 9, 5:15AM EST0
Out of all your books could you suggest one book that you feel everyone should read atleast once?
Mar 9, 4:04AM EST0

Hmm. Would like to suggest my new book on the Enneagrams out in October, but thats because I'm passionate about understanding them and working with them. Currently, it would depend on what is happening in your life. If its relationship issues, then What went wrong with Mr Right, if its  a habit that you have that you want to understand more from an amotional perspective, then The girl who bites her nails and the man who is always late is best.  If its wanting to find out more about living from your art, then How to Make an Income From Your Art would be the book. The 'sheep' books are fun and hopefully will raise a smile.

Last edited @ Mar 9, 5:11AM EST.
Mar 9, 4:32AM EST0
How do people usually react when you tell them that you are a writer, author, painter and a journalist?
Mar 9, 3:03AM EST0

You know the weird thing is they often react in a dissaproving way. As if somehow you should stick to only one form of expression. As if thats more noble somehow. More specialist. As if being a Jack/Jill of these trades automatically assumes you can be master of none. I'm about self-expression, however that expression unfolds.

Last edited @ Mar 9, 4:24AM EST.
Mar 9, 3:58AM EST0
Do you ever get lost in a story? So lost you think you might never surface again?
Mar 8, 11:29PM EST0

I write non-fiction so I tend to lose myself  in research rather. I find an interesting piece of information which leads to another and then another... before I know it the day is gone, without writing a word. I assure myself its not procrastination, but it is. Its a tendancy I have to watch.

Last edited @ Mar 9, 3:55AM EST.
Mar 9, 12:49AM EST0
If you could time-travel to anywhere, where would you go?
Mar 8, 4:50PM EST0

There is this small island in Fiji. The only access is via boat and to go there requires special permission from the president of Fiji. There is a paw paw forest - ripe, sweet and juicy. There is also a small beach with hermit crabs and  the water so clear and turquoise, you can see several metres into its depths. The coral has not been destroyed by chemicals and the fish are still curious. Today that feels like a good option.

Mar 9, 12:53AM EST0
When do you get time to paint? And what does the process involve?
Mar 8, 2:25PM EST0

I start my day fairly early. Walk the dog, maybe have coffee with a friend and then answer emails. Then I usually paint in the morning, because in summer my studio can get quite hot in the afternnoon. So, I tend to write then, but each day differs. But I'll start painting - usually a few pieces at a time, and then leave them to dry whilst I start writing. The following morning I'll move to the next stage of the painting process. But there are days when I paint or write the whole day.

Last edited @ Mar 9, 12:29AM EST.
Mar 8, 2:40PM EST0
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