Hello Readers and Writers!
Today we are happy to introduce you to an author who is very attuned with nature and has used their life experiences to help others through her writing. Our first non-fiction author interview was a pleasure to speak with as this author is incredibly detailed in her work but also keeps it simple for people who are new to the topic.
Introducing Porche Berry!
RL: When did you start writing as a career?
PB: I first started writing as a teenager. I would write poetry with strong imagery and eventually entered a few poems into an international contest.
I made it to semi-finals multiple times. Unfortunately to continue past that required my physical attendance to a large international conference which wasn’t possible at the time.
RL: What's your current work in progress?
PB: I have multiple books in progress. I’m currently working on a herbal book that focuses on kitchen spices rather than more exotic options, a book on household pollutants, and my first book The Natural Path is being massively expanded beyond the original text.
I’m also dabbling in some fiction as a means to improve my non-fiction writing.
RL: You write Naturopathy books. What lead you to that subject matter?
PB: I was an unusual child who always took an interest in health matters. When I was about age 6 there used to be a very low budget nutrition show on public television, I would be up at the crack of dawn to watch it. As an adult, I had to tackle my own health challenges and then my child projectile vomited children’s Tylenol so I had to learn how to manage a fever without medications.
From there my knowledge base had grown so much that desperate mothers were being told to message me on Facebook for guidance. I provided whatever help I could without crossing the line of legality, however, it was starting to happen multiple times per day so I decided to write my first book.
RL: How do your books rebel against the status quo compared to other natural health books?
PB: They differ in several important ways.
First, I’m a stickler for accuracy, everything MUST be scientifically accurate. As a result, citations are found in abundance within the covers.
The second would be a lack of dogma. Generally speaking, I try to avoid pharmaceuticals as much as possible, however, that doesn’t mean they don’t have their place within the health framework.
And the third major difference would be my QRDS or Quick Reference Data Sheets. I developed these so important details about single substances would be forgotten (eg, drug interactions, cautions for medical conditions, topical or internal use). My hope is that they can be a practical bridge between pharmaceutical and natural health approaches. There are huge knowledge and communication gaps between the 2 approaches that must be solved, hopefully, my QRDS are one piece of that solution.
RL: Can you share with us one lesser-known fact about essential oils that we may learn about in your book "The Oil Apothecary"?
PB: Eucalyptus oil is not safe for babies! It suppresses the central nervous system which at a bare minimum will make the child severely lethargic and at it’s worst can put them in a coma or trigger seizures. My own child was exposed before I knew this and it triggered epilepsy that probably would have stayed latent if not for the eucalyptus oil.
RL: Do you have any plans to extend your knowledge in other forms such as products or services that use your expertise?
PB: I do hope to build a database of QRDS that can be accessed by anyone for a very low yearly fee (servers cost money so I have to charge something). There is no timeline for when that will be happening yet, but it will happen.
RL: Your books offer very detailed QRDS that cover important details on herbs and oils. What motivated you to offer that level of detail and information to your readers?
PB: Beyond the answer previously given, I wanted people to be able to show it to their family doctor so they can figure out personalized approaches for their health.
RL: How does your life influence your writing?
PB: Growing up my mother was on a plethora of drugs to try and manage severe fibromyalgia and there is a family tendency to develop allergies to pharmaceutical drugs. I personally have 5 drug allergies while my child has only needed 1 prescription in her 7 ½ years.
RL: You are also a book cover designer. Tell us about your designs.
PB: Publishing independently can mean big fluctuations in sales from month to month so designing premade covers can fill the gaps while helping other authors also have beautiful covers for a much lower price than a custom cover.
RL: Do you have any plans to write outside of your current genre?
PB: I’m currently writing a sci-fi book titled “First Earth”. I started it as an exercise to improve my non-fiction writing but others like it so much that I’m going to finish and publish it!
RL: How do you beat writer's block?
PB: I usually walk away and do something else like painting or embroidery. Sometimes the block is there due to overwhelm because I’ve neglected simple things like housework (what writer doesn’t do this?) so I’ll finish those tasks and that frequently helps.
RL: Talk to me about the path you choose in publishing.
PB: I opted to publish independently so I could retain ownership of my writing. Unfortunately, it does come at the cost of a marketing team. Consistent effort and time make up for the lack of a team and in the long run it is potentially more profitable.
RL: What do you like to do for fun?
PB: Hiking, watercolour painting, embroidery, gardening. I also love learning new subjects that add to my skillsets.
RL: Where do you see your writing career going in the future?
PB: Honestly, I’m just focusing on each day as they come and building on that. I would like to see my books be translated into other languages though!
RL: What can readers expect from you moving forward?
PB: Hopefully 3 more books before the end of 2020!