Interview with Leslie Householder, author of “The Jackrabbit Factor”

What makes this particular genre you are involved in so special?

Albert Einstein said, “The significant problems we face in life cannot be solved at the same level of thinking we were at when we created them.” This genre is special because the story itself elevates the reader’s thinking to a place where problem-solving inspiration is found.

What inspired you to write?

I was inspired to write The Jackrabbit Factor after a decade of devastation and financial struggle, followed by a simple epiphany that allowed my husband and I to triple our income in three months. But it isn’t about what we did; the change came simply from a shift in how we thought. When you perform the same activity with a higher awareness of natural laws that govern success, you get better results. Period. The Jackrabbit Factor is an entertaining story that facilitates that mental shift for my readers.

What did you want to become when you were a kid?

When I was twelve, I attended a church youth conference where I felt empowered to make positive life changes because of the guest speakers who inspired me. I thought, What better career could there possibly be than that of a speaker who has the power to affect thousands of lives? I decided right then and there that I wanted to be a speaker one day, but it would be many years before I would even know, let alone be prepared to share, the message that would be mine to deliver. After I was married with three children, while my husband and I were struggling to keep our heads above water (and sinking fast), I reflected back on my childhood dream and wondered, What empowering message could I ever have to share? I struggled with depression, and began to lose faith in God, hope, and all things good that had kept me going before. In fact, at one point, I was in such a mindset that I even called the police on a neighbor kid who broke my broom (and a few years later, on a five year-old who stole cookie dough out of my fridge). However, once we finally had our breakthrough, the answer was so simple, so elegant, and so much easier than we had ever imagined, I had to share what we had learned. I finally had my message. I began speaking, but as a young mother with a growing family, determined that the best way to share that message would be to write it in a book, and to let it BE my seminar while I continued to change diapers at home.

Tell us about your writing style, is it different from other writers?

I answer this with an emphatic YES. During the decade that my husband and I struggled, we attended more than one hundred personal and business development seminars, and read countless books that promised to teach us how to prosper. From each one, we gained some insight, but for some reason, we still seemed powerless to affect real change. It was extremely frustrating too, because we watched many of our peers attend the same events, read the same books, and ultimately experience change and success that nevertheless continued to elude us. So when the lights finally turned on, I knew I couldn’t just write another “how to” book on success; I knew this one had to be different. Some people may do well enough at implementing ideas when they are presented in bullet-point, non-fiction form. But for myself (and many other people, I’ve found), success only comes as a natural outgrowth after the heart is changed; and at least for me, no bullet point ever changed my heart. That’s why I wrote The Jackrabbit Factor, a book designed to deliver an EXPERIENCE that would cause that change of heart.

Do your novels carry a message?

Absolutely, my stories carry a message. That’s the only reason they were written. This first story, The Jackrabbit Factor, carries the message of “Why you CAN.” There are thousands of books that tell you HOW to do this or that, but this book shows you why you can believe in yourself and in your dreams. The “WHY” is one critical element that was missing in all of the other books I read. So when I finally “got it”, and when our lives finally shifted, I lamented, “Why couldn’t they have explained it like THIS? It could have saved us seven years of pain!!” That’s why I had to write the story I wrote: to help my reader experience the shift in just a few hours, instead of having to learn it all the hard way over seven years or more.

How much of yourself do you put into your books?

My books bare my soul. Every pain, every struggle, every setback is based on true experiences, but fictionalized in a way that connects with a wider audience: the businessman, the teenager, and the stay at home mother alike.

Have you ever incorporated something that happened to you in real life into your novels?

Yes, everything in The Jackrabbit Factor is based on my own experiences or epiphanies, but only one real event was worked in pretty much exactly as it happened: the restaurant scene in the sequel to The Jackrabbit Factor. The backstory: I had had a severe case of writer’s block as I approached the ending of the sequel, and a little voice in my head said, “You can’t write the ending, because you haven’t lived it yet.” So I put the book down and didn’t write for about six months, when I had a profound experience that rattled me to my core, and left me smiling, “I know now what needs to happen next in the story.”

Is there anything you are currently working on that may intrigue the interest of your readers?

Most of my readers get what they’re looking for in The Jackrabbit Factor. But for those who enjoy the book and want to understand the principles more deeply, I created an 8-week e-course and a 12-week home study course that really dig in to the ideas from the book in depth. They were created for those who need help implementing the principles to make the changes in their life that they want to make. The 8-week MINDSET FUNDAMENTALS™ program is described at www.JackrabbitFactor.com/ecourse and the 12-week MINDSET GENIUS™ home study program is described at www.ProspertheFamily.com

Who are your books mostly dedicated to?

My books are dedicated to all who (like me) have wanted to give up on a dream but decided to take just one more step.

Did any of your books get rejected by publishers?

Yes, every time. That’s why I threw up my hands and decided to publish them myself. Eventually, the books did well enough that foreign publishers contacted me for rights to my books. So in the United States, I still self-publish (which allows me to give them away as free e-books whenever I want to), but in foreign countries, I use traditional publishers.

Have you ever marketed your own books yourself?

I learned that even if I had landed a traditional publisher, it would have still been up to me to sell them. Publishers can open doors to give you exposure, but they still expect you to be the magic behind their sales. So to answer the question, yes, I always market my own books.

What is the secret to becoming a bestselling author?

There are a lot of secrets to becoming a best seller, but the good news is that you only have to use a few of them to achieve your goals. I spent a lot of money on mentors and programs to teach me how, and then after achieving bestseller status, I compiled everything I learned (including the mistakes I made) in my Profitable Author online course at www.ProfitableAuthor.com. One of the most surprising secrets I learned is that you don’t have to sell millions (or even thousands) of books to be a best seller; you only have to sell enough books in a short period of time. Achieving bestseller status even just once with a small campaign makes it easier to promote your book for even more sales in the future.

How do you feel when people recognize you in public and appreciate your work?

Honestly, it’s nice, but awkward. Sometimes my biggest fans get really nervous around me, start shaking, and struggle to communicate as they explain what the books have done for them. I appreciate knowing those stories – those are the best! But I don’t want my readers to put me on a pedestal. I’m a bigger mess than they know. I still struggle with all the same things I write about. I still think wrong sometimes because I’m human like anyone else. Just because I found answers, doesn’t mean I’m always perfect at living them. When I do live them, things go well. When I don’t, things go less well. Sometimes I read my own books to remind me of the principles I’ve learned. I aspire to be as good as my readers think I am.

Do you think you still have a story to tell to the readers?

Yes, because of all I’ve learned since writing The Jackrabbit Factor. Things went really well for a while, and then everything turned upside down again. It’s a long story, but everything I learned through those setbacks was ultimately worked into the sequel, Portal to Genius. I don’t have plans to write another book, although I may create an anthology from the articles in my blog one day.

If you die today, how would want the world to remember you?

I want to be remembered as someone who loved her family, who was generous and authentic with her readers, and whose work changed thousands of lives, ultimately affecting millions of people and strengthening families for generations to come.

Which writer’s work do you believe most resembles your work?

I think the most well known author with books similar to mine would be Og Mandino. I hope that what I’ve created will have the same kind of reach and impact as his books have had over the years.

Although all books say that all the characters in the book aren’t real or related, are they really all fictional and made up?

At least in mine, every character was based on at least one real person, sometimes a combination of a few. There is also a little bit of me in both of the main characters of The Jackrabbit Factor. I am Richard who struggled to understand the principles, and I am also Felicity, his wife, who struggled to believe in him. In a way, it personified my many internal struggles – the wrestle between faith and fear, hope and despair, belief and cynicism.

Can you tell us about your current projects?

Pretty much everything I’m doing is outlined in the footer of my main website, www.ThoughtsAlive.com – check it out 😉

Have you received any awards for your literary works?

Yes, I have been named a finalist in the International Book Awards, and the USA Best Books for the Self Help: Motivational, Business: Entrepreneurship & Small Business, and Business: Motivational categories. All three of my books have achieved bestseller status on Amazon.com multiple times, and sometimes for long periods of time. When The Jackrabbit Factor was finally released (after first only being an e-book for two years), it achieved #6 overall best seller at BarnesandNoble.com, outranking the new Harry Potter release for six whole hours 😉

You don’t have to be a writer in order to be an author – how true is that??

It’s absolutely true. I did not study to be a writer. My books are not perfect. In fact, I still find grammatical errors in them, or wish that I had said things a little more skillfully. I went to school and got my degree in Mathematics, actually. But I had a message, and a passion to deliver it. I call it the Portal to Genius (the name of my third book), which is the phenomenon that allows us ALL to be inspired with genius ideas when we become truly passionate about a cause.

In case one or any of your books honor the big screen, which book would you like it to be?

I see a day when both The Jackrabbit Factor and its sequel Portal to Genius are on the big screen. But I’m not in a hurry – I’ll wait until I am certain they will be done right.

How many children do you have? Do you see any young writers in any of them?

I have seven children, and almost all of them keep a journal. Recently my oldest started a public blog that shares his life lessons and epiphanies as well. I’m very proud and grateful to see him reflecting on his life’s lessons the way I have reflected on mine.

Which genre of book do you think should be most adopted for kids in school?

Well, mine of course! If the students are going to be reading novels at all, let them be stories with a message that empowers them to overcome every challenge and become their best. Let’s teach them through story how to take pride in making positive contributions to society. Let’s help them learn who they really are, and the amazing accomplishment of which they’re capable. Give them examples of people living exemplary lives, and show them through the character’s experiences the joy that comes from living according to true and successful principles. Stories that teach them how to think when faced with disappointments, as well as how to think when faced with opportunities. Imagine how different society would be if everyone believed they could succeed! Instead, too often the schools fill the students’ minds with trivia, fantasy, or social agendas that can lead to the disintegration of the very things that bring human beings the greatest joy: deep and meaningful family relationships, unhindered by the stress and despondency that too often accompanies poverty. Schools don’t teach these principles, because more often than not, the administration and teachers have never known about them themselves. I know this; I was a teacher during that decade that we struggled so much. I couldn’t teach the students something that I had never learned myself.

How often do you go on book tours?

I toured more when my books were first released. Since then, I’ve discovered that online marketing is much less exhausting, it’s easier on the family, and it can reach a wider audience, anyway.

Tell us about an interesting or memorable encounter you had with a fan?

Probably my most memorable encounter was not in person. I have yet to meet this young man, but several years ago, a friend of mine sent me a link and said, “Did you see this?” It was a video report with news personality Jeff Hutcheson from CTV, the Canadian Television Network, celebrating a man from England, Ben Southall, and his win of the “Best Job in the World” based out of Australia, for which nearly 35,000 applicants competed. In the interview, Ben credited his win to what he learned from reading The Jackrabbit Factor. They joked about how his unsolicited comment would probably cause my sales to go through the roof. I smiled when Ben said, “I came back here after it all happened, and I thought, this thing actually works, she’s got something here, this girl, I’m sure she has.” That was one of the more fun “encounters”, but there have been many more meaningful ones where readers have shared stories about how the book has prevented a suicide, or saved a marriage. These are the most meaningful to me.

How do you think concepts such as Kindle, and e-books have changed the present or future of reading?

The advent of e-books has revolutionized everything. I was rejected by several publishers, but knew that I had a powerful message. Being rejected turned out to be the best thing that could have happened, because I found that I didn’t need anyone else’s authoritative stamp of approval to make it a success. I’ve found ways to build a six-figure income with it, by giving it away for free (something I teach others how to do at www.ProfitableAuthor.com). If I had not self-published, I’m pretty sure I would not have been allowed to give it away as an e-book. By giving it away, I have been able to build a large and growing readership of fans whose lives are changed by the book, and who thus continue to tell their friends and family to read it as well. I spoke with a New York Times best selling author once who saw what I was doing as a self-published author, and who confessed that he had sold more books than I had, but that I probably have more readers than he does. During his New York Times best-seller campaign, large quantities of his books were purchased by company presidents and given as gifts to their employees. Many of his books, he said, were probably still just sitting on shelves. I wrote my book to share a message, and to change lives, so I’m pleased that even though we haven’t yet had enough sales to be a New York Times bestseller, we’ve probably had more readers than at least one of the books on the New York Times bestseller list. Is it about the status or the money? Or is it about the effect? Ultimately, I’m in it for the effect.

If you were given a teaching opportunity, would you accept it?

I have accepted many opportunities to teach, and I have rejected quite a few as well. It all depends on timing, because my family comes first. Once my kids are all grown, I foresee another season for speaking and teaching more.

Do you mentor?

I have mentored in the past, and I do on occasion still, but while I am still busy raising my large family, I help my students mostly through my blog and online training programs.

Get a free downloadable copy of Leslie Householder’s award-winning bestseller, The Jackrabbit Factor at www.JackrabbitFactor.com. Learn more about Leslie, her blog, and her other projects at www.ThoughtsAlive.com.

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