s4 Ep1: Leigh Robshaw

As a journalist, Leigh Robshaw is no stranger to crafting an epic sentence or two. But when she embarked on a quest to write her memoir, ‘You Had Me At Hola– In search of love & truth in South America’, she had no idea how different the journey would be.

Leigh’s book, which was released in August 2019, tells of the three years she spent living in Latin America in the 1990s. This is much more than a travel adventure, it also weaves in a spellbinding love story and discovery of self.

In the first episode of the new-look Phoenix Phenomenon, Leigh will take you behind the scenes and talk about the creation of her memoir, the highs and lows of the experience of becoming an author and the priceless lessons she learned along the way.

‘You Had Me at Hola – In search of love & truth in South America’ is a fast-paced, colourful and sometimes shocking memoir set in South America and Mexico in the 1990s.

The book is receiving excellent reviews and Leigh has been invited to speak at a number of events, including the prestigious literary festival, Outspoken Maleny. Leigh shares the real and raw journey from original inspiration through to becoming a self-published author.

You can buy ‘You Had Me At Hola’ by heading to: www.leighrobshaw.net or Amazon

Watch the video above or continue reading for a full interview transcript:

Roxanne – Hello everyone and welcome to “The New Look, Phoenix Phenomenon” and we are rehashing the series and focusing solely on the transformational process of writing books and the journeys that authors embark on to create new magnificent jewels that we get to read and enjoy every single day or whenever we do get to pick up a book. So I’m your host ghostwriter, Roxanne McCarty-O’kane and I’m joined today by the incredible Leigh Robshaw. So welcome Leigh. Thanks for joining me.

Leigh –  Thanks Roxy. Thanks for having me.

Roxanne – Excellent. So I’ll let you all in on a little secret. Leigh is a form- Well she is a journalist but a former colleague of mine at a Sunshine Coast magazine. So I’m very excited that Leigh is the first guest on this “New Look” series. So late last year Leigh also became an author and her amazing memoir, “You Had Me At Hola”, I feel like it’s not recording. Yes it is, sorry. There it is. “In search of love & truth in South America” has been released. I love that cover by the way. It’s always

Leigh – Thank you.

Roxanne – And so the book’s been out there for, for a while now. It has been receiving amazing reviews all around the world and she’s already clocked up fans like Constance Paul, Lisa Messenger and Clare Bowditch just to name drop a few there. I’m sure the list is going to grow and Leigh’s also been doing the rounds on radio, print media and live events, including literary events to get the amazing word out there about her book so, thank you so much for joining us Leigh and for sitting through that.

Leigh – That’s a great intro thanks.

Roxanne – You’re welcome.

Leigh –  There is a new one. Karen Brooks, she read my book. She’s a historical fiction writer, academic commentator. You may have heard or read her in the Courier Mail over a number of years. So yeah, she read my book and loved it and is gonna write a review on Goodreads for me. So that’s exciting.

Roxanne – Excellent. Yeah, I have no doubt. The list is just going to keep growing so congratulations. Thanks. I’m waiting for Ellen, Ellen or Oprah next.

Roxanne –  Oh, perfect. Yeah?

Leigh- They’re a little busy.

Roxanne – No well they’ve officially been called out now. So we just-

Leigh –  Hey.

Roxanne – Excellent. So I’ve had the joy of reading your amazing book but I’d love for you to give all of our viewers and listeners a run down on what “You Had Me at Hola” is all about.

Leigh – Okay. Well, it’s a memoir set in the 1990s, when I went for a backpacking trip to South America that was only gonna be three months and it ended up being three and a half years and the reason for that is that on my third day there I met a beautiful Peruvian artisan in a market in Buenos Aires and fell in love instantly and without being able to speak any Spanish and he couldn’t speak any English and it was just one of those amazing instant connections that you have with people sometimes and yeah, I ended up staying there and traveling and living with him. He made jewelry by hand and so I wanted to learn how to do that and basically lived there with him indefinitely, get married and have babies and the story is about what happened in the end.

Roxanne – Oh I love how you sprinkle a bit of mystery in there.

Leigh – Yes there’s very, there’s some pretty dodgy things that happened over there. South America is an amazing place. It’s also a little bit dangerous at times and the people that I hung out with and ran with were a lot of kind of street vendors and musos and people that were willing to do anything for a living. Let’s put it that way. So I’ve got into some tricky situations. It makes it for a good book though.

Roxanne –  It absolutely does and yeah I was curious to find out, I mean, you said it’s set back in the 1990s. When was it that you first had the inkling that, “Oh my God, like my life would make an amazing book”. Like when was that seed first

Leigh – I didn’t really think, “Oh my God my life would make an amazing book”. It was more, it was more I thought, “I have to get this story out”. It was like a little creature inside me that would not shut up and I had to do it and I had to get it out but I was terrified of writing a memoir, writing a true story and I really avoided it for 20 years. I was, I just kept pushing it down, pushing it down, going no way am I going to, am I going to tell this story because I was worried what people would think of me, I was worried about people I knew would feel if I wrote the story and I thought I’ll do it as fiction and I tried to do it as fiction quite a few different times and in a few different ways and it just never felt authentic and I just felt like I was trying to force it to be something that it wasn’t and it felt to me like it’s a true story and you have to just get over yourself and write it as authentically as you can and try not to worry what people think of you which I’m like 99% there now about, you know not worrying what people think of me. So yeah, it wasn’t like, “Oh my God, my life’s amazing. “Everyone read about it”. It was just, “I’ve lived this adventure and I really wanna share it”. Not because I thought it would be an interesting story only but also because I wanted to share my love and passion for Latin America as well and also just share some of the lessons I learned along the way.

Roxanne –  Absolutely because yeah the book is, you know, it’s very much a love story. There’s a bit of adventure and an unexpected twist in there as well but it is very much about your transformation in that stage of your life as well isn’t it?

Leigh – It is yeah. Like it is, it’s a love story and it’s a spiritual adventure story and ultimately it is a story of self-acceptance and like I did that really, I was a lost soul and I was really looking for something in my life. Love definitely but looking for purpose and meaning and my place and my place to belong. I didn’t feel I belonged anywhere. I didn’t feel really at home in Australia and I had just been incredibly drawn to Latin America from when I was a child and felt like some kind of strong connection to Latin America, especially Peru and I just felt like there was something there for me and as soon as I arrived there, I felt comfortable. I just felt totally at home and I believed that that was where I was meant to be and I am really tenacious and when I decide I’m gonna do something, I do it and so no matter how many obstacles there were I just would not give up. I was like, “No, I’m staying here, I’m staying here, “I’m staying here.” Until eventually I realized I had to leave but that was all part of my growth. My, you know, my growth journey and maturing ’cause it’s kind of a coming of age story really late sort of, you know, I was in my early twenties when I went there and in my late twenties when I left. So…

Roxanne – Yeah.

Leigh – Yeah. I did an interview at Outspokenmaleny with Steven Lang. He’s the Sunshine Coast author and he said, “I got the feeling that you were a very different “woman when you left.” And I sort of just answered it and said, “Yeah, I was”. But now when I think about it, I’m like, “Yeah I was a lot skinnier.” I was a lot browner. I was a lot skinnier and also I think a little bit wiser.

Roxanne –  Yeah. Absolutely.

Leigh –  Yeah.

Roxanne – That’s really awesome and I was going to ask you about that too. Like, ’cause obviously writing a book as you’ve already alluded to is like, it’s a transformation in itself like the many different ways you experimented with bringing your story into the world. So I’d love to yeah get a bit of a feel for when it was that you first started. Actually putting some words down for your book.

Leigh – Would have been seven years ago that I actually sat down and started and originally I wanted to, actually from the time I was sort of towards the end of my three and a half years there, I was thinking, “I’m gonna write this story one day “and I’m going to call it the ” because I’d loved that book “The Alchemist” by Paulo Qualia, the Brazilian writer and I was, I had, I wanted to sort of copy that fable type style and I started writing about seven years ago in that sort of fabley tone and it just, yeah, didn’t seem right and so on and off for seven years, I would do a bit and then I’d put it away for long periods of time, like a year and I guess about a year and a two years ago I really just went, “That’s it. “I’m just gonna sit down and write it as if “I was writing to a friend “and if the writing will come out as naturally as possible “if I do it that way.” So yeah. I’d say on and off over seven years but like really solidly it would have been like the last two years.

Roxanne – Awesome and what was the catalyst if you don’t mind sharing. What was the catalyst in you switching from you know, “I don’t want this to be about my story or my experiences “’cause I’m worried about what people think” to then going, “You know what, I need to be authentic “and this needs to come like straight from me”?

Leigh – What was the catalyst? That’s a good question. I think, just a lot of, yeah, I don’t think there was one catalyst. Like I met with different writers and mentors and one person was Steven Lang actually who I met with and had a coffee and said, “I don’t know how to write this book. “I’ve got this story.” And he said, “Well, I’ll tell you one thing, “whether you write it as fiction or “whether you write it as a memoir, “if you write it in a way that it’s, “then we got on this bus and then we got on that bus “and then we went there and then we went there. “It’s going to be really boring. “So you have to dig deep and find “what the driving force was behind you “during this journey and what is the underlying “sort of meaning or the deeper meaning in the story “and you have to, you know, still you got some find what that is.” And so, I spent a long thinking about that ’cause there were a few different childhood traumas and things that I felt had contributed to me wanting to kind of run away to South America and I didn’t wanna include all of them but I chose one particular narrative that I knew was one of the main reasons why I went there and I did a lot of soul searching going “Well, do I really want people to know this about me?” And I, my commitment is to the story really I realized above anything else, above what people think of me and what I’ve done or what my friends and family thought of me writing this. It just sort of paled into comparison when I thought the most important thing for my soul really is to be true to this story and the more I did that, the more it flowed and just came out really, really easily. Not easily actually, it was a really hard work but…

Roxanne – Yeah of course but it felt more natural.

Leigh – But it flowed. Yeah it flowed when I felt like I’m just being true to this story and yeah, Stephen Lang telling me that, you know, “so to make it your book not a total yawn fest “it’s gotta have a pretty juicy story.” So I realized like there’s no point doing this if I’m not gonna be committed. I have to be committed to just going all in and whatever people think about me is none of my business really. So, you know, you’ve heard that one before so.

Roxanne –  Yeah.

Leigh – Yeah it was a gradual, a gradual process of letting go of what anyone was gonna think of me and I think any writer or artist or anyone creating anything will have to get to that point to be able to be true to their art, their art form because any type of art form you’re kind of putting your soul out on a plate for the world to eat and spit out or eat and enjoy so you can’t really, you’ve just gotta do it and put it out there and then hope some people like it and you know, I’ve been really amazed at the feedback. Like my biggest fear was, what if people say it’s shit? what if people say it’s, you know I’m a bad writer or it’s a boring story or I’m so up myself writing this story or whatever.

Roxanne – And you still haven’t you haven’t heard any of those things, right?

Leigh – Not to my face. Maybe some people have said that but yeah, not that I know of so.

Roxanne – Yeah.

Leigh – Yeah. Did I answer the question? I don’t know if I did.

Roxanne – Yeah, no you did. Yeah, I’ve got another, I’ve got another one.

Leigh –  Think there were lots of little catalysts along the way actually.

Roxanne –  Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Leigh – Just yeah.

Roxanne –  Yeah.

Leigh – Yeah.

Roxanne – No, that’s great and you mentioned that, you know, even the process of, “Yes I’m gonna be authentic “and really look at the underlying things “and you know, all of those little, “those little veins that build up the bigger picture”, what was that process like for you too? ‘Cause I imagined, you know and I’ve seen with the authors that I work with as a ghostwriter, that the more you focus on things and try to understand, you know, how you got there, why these things happen, that so many lights switches are getting turned on for you that you may not and things that you may not have thought of before becoming, you’re realizing them now.

Leigh – Yeah what, so what’s your, what’s the question?

Roxanne – What was that process like for you? Yeah. To go- like was it something you expected when he said to you, you know, “You need to go deeper”? Were you expecting to have some revelations or did they come as a surprise for you as you started writing?

Leigh – Yeah, yeah. I like did actually. I mean, I’ve worked with a mentor as well, a writing mentor who helped guide me in that way because you sometimes don’t know what aspects of your story are gonna be interesting to other people and what aren’t or what are gonna be helpful and what aren’t and what to include and what not to include. So I did have an amazing mentor that helped me work through that and helped me narrow down the sort of some of the central themes. So, I did a lot of sort of background work like Joseph Campbell’s, “The Hero’s Journey”. That is something that I looked at a fair bit in terms of that character arc of “The Hero’s Journey” and you know there’s a lot of famous stories like “Star Wars” is based on “The Hero’s Journey” and lots of pretty well-known stories and I didn’t stick to that model exactly but it was good just to have that in mind as a bit of a framework, I guess and so I did have quite a good structure and quite a good outline in place before I started writing down to how many chapters I would write and how many words would be in each chapter and that sort of thing. I had a rough idea and then I, as I started writing and going back to my past and things like that, I did have some big realizations about people in my past and was able to let go of some past resentments or have a deeper understanding around why some people did what they did or everyone I think is on their own journey and I sort of came to a realization that not everyone is you know, out to get you. Like I sort of, I have a different mindset now about you know everyone’s, most people are trying their best and you kinda have to give people the benefit of the doubt and learn to forgive really. So, that’s sort of where I came to. So it was, yeah, it was kind of, it was quite a cathartic process actually working through all that and I don’t know if I’ve answered that question either very well but…

Roxanne – Yeah, no, you have. That’s amazing.

Leigh – Yeah.

Roxanne – Yeah. ‘Cause I think one, well one of my experiences with the authors that I work with is that, you know they come at it like, “I just wanna write a book” and it’s about putting words between two covers but it’s actually so much more than that and I can think that’s definitely been the case in your journey as well of creating your book.

Leigh – Yeah. Yeah you have to be willing to let it be an organic process as well as a structured process and like for a book to resonate with people you have to touch on some universal truths. So they don’t always come out when you’re, when you want them to come out. So sometimes it’s a matter of just sitting at the computer and doing it all or speaking it, recording it, however you do it being interviewed and as you talk, sometimes the ideas come to you and one thing I did that helped me that I’m now using for the second book that is the follow, it’s not really a sequel. It’s sort of a, it’s gonna be a separate book called “The Playa del Carmen Diaries” based on “The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. So it’s a, that’s a book about uncovering your creativity and part of that course is doing morning pages where you, first thing you do when you wake up is write three pages freehand in a journal without stopping whatever comes into your mind. So it’s stream of consciousness and I did that when I was living in Playa del Carmen in Mexico, which comes at the end of my book and so I have lots and lots of journals. I kept journals the whole time I was there but this one was particularly good because I had three pages every single morning of, you know, through doing these morning pages and so consequently like I’ve got a, pretty much the second book there. I just, I’m sure I’m transcribing it and just leaving out the boring bits and but doing that out of sway is another good process for allowing stuff to come out that might not otherwise come out. Yeah

Roxanne –  Absolutely and were there other times, ’cause obviously you’ve mentioned you’ve kept diaries you had that there to refer to but were there other times where, you know you were trying to recall something and you know maybe it wasn’t just coming back to you as nicely as you would have liked it to or there was some kind of blockage that you had to work through in the process of bringing your book to life?

Leigh – Yeah. All the time but thank God for the internet ’cause I could, you know because I was there like 20, 25 years ago so the whole story was very clear in my mind because I had been thinking of writing it for all that time, you know, 20 years.

Roxanne –  Yeah.

Leigh – And that’s, I’ve kept it like, pretty much, a lot of days gone by where I haven’t thought, “I’ve gotta write this book. “No you don’t, don’t write it. “You don’t wanna do that. “Yes you do.” So, I’ve kept that story clear in my head but yeah of course details like you need juicy, rich details. So for descriptions of places, I have photos, I’ve got a few photo albums and I have tons of journals which I’ve kept all years that I sort of went through and I had lots of letters as well between me and the artisan and also between me and friends in Australia who had kept the letters which was really good.

Roxanne –  Yeah.

Leigh – And then yeah, when there were places that I wanted to describe, that I’d sort of forgotten about, I did a bit of internet research. So it all came together and then there was, yeah my memory and then also when you’re writing memoir you can elaborate a bit like you, it is a true story and you have a pact with the reader that this is a true story and this happened but you can use a bit of creative license to you know, embellish certain details to, you know, make a day, you know, describe a day a little bit differently or whatever and you can even not make conversations up but if you can’t remember the exact wording,

Roxanne –  Yeah.

Leigh – you can,

Roxanne –  Yeah.

Leigh – recreate a conversation the way that you remember it happening that can be a bit tricky and legally a bit dodgy. So you have to be careful doing that.

Roxanne –  Yes.

Leigh – Talk to the people you’re writing about.

Roxanne – Yeah.

Leigh – But I had, I did have actual conversations recorded in my journal too so I was able to just use that knowing that that is actually what was said so.

Roxanne – That’s the thorough journaling coming out in you, isn’t it?

Leigh –  I know. I know. I’m really glad I kept all those journals and lugged them around the world from share house to share house with me and every time I went out on a plane, I said to either whatever boyfriend I had at the time or my mum “Their my diaries if I die in the plane, their my diaries.”

Roxanne – Oh dear.

Leigh –  Yeah.

Roxanne – Yeah, excellent and one of the things I come across with a lot of people who, you know they’re inspiring authors, they really have this calling as you had to take action and to write themselves a book is time. Now I wanted to talk to you about where it was that you found the time because obviously you’re a wife, you’re a mom to two young ladies who are full of energy and also working as well. So when was it that you were able to dedicate time to

Leigh – Oh my God. I feel exhausted just answering that question. Even thinking about it is exhausting.

Roxanne –  Yeah.

Leigh –  At times I got up at three o’clock in the morning

Roxanne –  Wow, yeah.

Leigh – and sat there working until six or whatever time the kids woke up. So I have a 14 year old and a six year old and weekends, my husband is incredibly supportive. So there were times when he would take them out for a day on the weekend here and there. Never at nights. I’m not good at night. Mornings if anything. There was a weekend where my husband booked me to go and stay at an Airbnb and he forced me to, he was like, “You need to go and just” and I wasn’t sort of getting progress

Roxanne – Yeah.

Leigh – and he was like, “Go away for a weekend.” And I was like, “No, the kids need me.” And so he just one day shoved the iPad in my face and went, “You’re staying here. “I booked you in, do not argue.” And it was at a place in Rosemount, near Nambour and I was like, “Why would I go and stay there? “If I’m gonna go away for a weekend “I’ll go stay at the beach. “I don’t wanna go stay there.” He’s like, “You don’t argue, you’re just going.” And I went, “Okay.” So I got to this place and I walked in the door and it was just a little room under this woman’s house sort of under out the back and when I walked in there was a massive map of South America on the wall.

Roxanne –  Oh my God.

Leigh – Like a floor to ceiling map of South America.

Roxanne –  Yeah.

Leigh –  It was like, “Oh, universe.” Like…

Roxanne – Yeah.

Leigh – If you believe in messages from the universe this has gotta be one, right?

Roxanne – Yes.

Leigh –  So I was like locked in that room for two days and got a fair bit done but those times were few and far between that’s why it took me so long, like on and off seven years to write it really and it was hard, like it was really hard and frustrating and I would find myself getting really grumpy with the kids if they interrupted me and I was in the middle of writing and in a really good flow and they just, you know, wanted to spend time with me or wanted some food and I’d be like, “Just stop interrupting me.” And so, yeah, it was quite hard to find the time I have to say

Roxanne –  Yes.

Leigh – and if I didn’t have any, if I didn’t have a job and kids and a husband and I could just sit down every day and write, it would probably still have taken me like a year or two.

Roxanne –  Yeah, yeah.

Leigh – So it’s more work than what people will think writing a book, like everyone writes as a part of their day life and it’s easy to underestimate just how much work goes into writing you know, a book length piece of work ’cause it is a lot and then the editing process is a lot as well so, yeah. How did I find the time? I snatched little bits of time, wherever I could and hoped that one day I’d get to the end and I did.

Roxanne – And you totally did, yeah.

Leigh –  Yeah.

Roxanne – Not only that but then you obviously took it through publishing as well so, I was gonna see if you were happy to share with listeners about the publishing process that you went through ’cause I know,

Leigh –  Yeah.

Roxanne – you were literally looking at all options, weren’t you?

Leigh – I was. Like I did have, you know, every writer’s dream of being published by one of the big publishers and that is still a dream but in my research and I do have contacts in the publishing industry you know, I was told that to try and get a publishing deal as a, you know, for a memoir being an unknown, relatively unknown writer is you’ve got Buckley’s really, you could spend years I just wanted the book out and I did send off to a couple of the ones like Penn Mack and they have like these Monday pictures or Friday you know.

Leigh –  Yeah. Days where you can, where they will supposedly look at submissions. I don’t know how many they look at. Apparently they get tens of thousands so.

Roxanne –  I can imagine.

Leigh – Didn’t hear back from those. Contacted maybe like two or three small publishers. One got back to me and sort of saying, “Oh, we really love her. “We’re not sure, we’re tossing it up.” And I just kinda got sick away- There’s a girl with blonde hair. That’s not like me necessarily. The person that did the cover did not have a photo of me. I don’t know if they googled me or something but…

Roxanne –  Oh right, yeah.

Leigh – So he just put that person on there and so it just seemed meant to be really. As soon as I saw it, I just knew in my heart that’s the cover and also I knew I’d be selling the book online and it had to be strong at thumbnail size.

Roxanne –  Yeah, yeah.

Leigh – So when people are looking on Amazon or wherever it has to look good at like that size because I don’t have distribution through books stores I only have local distribution where I’ve taken bookstores, books to bookstores myself. That has been a bit of a problem. I must say, just not having that visibility of being in bookstores around the country but I looked into distribution a little bit and you know they take 70% and it just wasn’t really bible. I thought, “No, I’ll concentrate my efforts more “on local bookstores than online.” So that’s what I did and yeah I did print on demand through IngramSpark who have a printer in Melbourne as well as all around the world and the quality is really good. Yeah.

Roxanne – So that’s all the practical things.

Roxanne – But tell me, tell me, tell me, take me back to the moment where you first got to hold the physical copy of the book in your hands. Oh my God. That was amazing and I heard, it was pouring with rain. It was a typical Sunshine Coast, hang on. No, it wasn’t summer ’cause the book came out in August. Anyway, I was at Sunshine Plaza and it was pouring with rain and my car broke down and I had the kids at the Plaza and my husband rang me and said, “There’s a book delivery here”, because books get delivered like in a certain sort of cardboard packaging.

Roxanne –  Yeah.

Leigh – “It’s here, it’s here.” “It’s here.” And I was like, “Oh my God but the car’s broken down” and I had to call RACQ and it was all a nightmare and I couldn’t get tired at anyway, that’s a long story but I finally made it home and he had champagne and chocolates and flowers on the table waiting for me and

Roxanne – He is a great husband.

Leigh –  There’s the book, in the cupboard and I opened it up and it wasn’t my book.

Roxanne – Oh my gosh, are you kidding?

Leigh –  It was another book that I had bought online and forgot. So I just burst into tears and opened the champagne and drowned my sorrows and then like about three days later my book arrived and then I was like, and I was just like awestruck and although the first cover that I got was matte, this is gloss.

Roxanne –  Yeah, yeah.

Leigh – It wasn’t as good in matte but apart from that like I was just going, “Oh my God what’s it gonna look like?”

Roxanne –  Yeah.

Leigh – And yeah, I was just awestruck. I was just kind of like looking through the pages going, “It’s a real book. “Oh my God, it’s got my name on it.” It was like definitely a surreal moment where time stopped and I just went, “Wow, I did it.”

Roxanne –  Yeah.

Leigh – I can’t believe it. I still do that actually. Every now and then.

Roxanne – Do you have pinch me moments?

Leigh –  I do. Yeah. I still look at it and go, “Shit that was a lot of work.”

Roxanne – And you’re a sucker for punishment ’cause you’re doing it again. Yeah. I’ve got actually a second and a third planned.

Leigh – So, you know, with Coronavirus, I may have lots of time indoors and

Roxanne –  Yeah.

Leigh –  the other, so there’s the second which is “The Playa del Carmen Diaries” which I’ll probably just release as an e-book to start with.

Roxanne –  Yeah.

Leigh – And then the third one is gonna be, “You Had Me At Konnichiwa”. So. After Latin America, I got back and I was devastated and I couldn’t get my head around, “Okay now I’ve got to start my life in Australia again.” And so I heard about working in Japan as an English teacher and I met a guy there and I tried to, he was an Australian guy living in Japan working as an English teacher and so off I went again on another adventure and it was not like the first one at all. I was trying to force the same amazing thing to happen

Roxanne –  Yeah.

Leigh – and it was not good. It was bad but that book is gonna be set in Japan juxtaposing Japanese culture with Latin American culture which you could not get two different cultures really and so there’s gonna be a lot of flashbacks to Latin America and there’s a lot about the first story that I couldn’t get into the first book that I’ll be bringing into the third book.

Roxanne – That’s exciting.

Leigh –  I know, I know. So I’ve got a lot of, a lot more computer time ahead of me.

Roxanne –  Yeah, yeah. Well hopefully some more Airbnb weekends too. That sounds

Leigh – I know yeah. Hope so.

Roxanne –  Yeah.

LEigh – Get some champagne.

Roxanne – That sounds awesome. All right. So just to wind up my last question. Well, one of my last questions for you. In your book “You Had Me At Hola” you mentioned obviously there was a time where you were working in London and you were actually working for New Age author like, internationally acclaimed, like big name and wowed for a period of time there and having, did you, were you able to incorporate any of his teachings or any of the things that he spoke to you about when you were creating your book and is there any pearls of wisdom from either him or yourself that you wanted to share with aspiring authors who may be watching this and try and get some inspo to get stuck into their own projects?

Leigh – Yeah, Stuart Wilde. He is an amazing, was an amazing guy. Passed away sadly and he was one of the big, New Age teachers in the 80s and 90s and he would be on stage with Louise Hay and Deepak Chopra and people like that and his whole thing was self-empowerment and self-determination and living your life out of what he called tick-tock, which is kind of nine to five being chained to a bank, not that there’s anything wrong really with, you know most people have a mortgage but being stuck in a job you hate,

Roxanne –  Yeah.

Leigh – so that you can pay off a lifelong debt to a bank and all this sort of thing. He was all about freedom. He followed Daoism and incorporate a lot of those teachings and a lot about wealth and abundance and bringing that into your life. I had a really full on poverty mentality ’cause I’d grown up with a pretty poor background and very working class and he really changed that. Working with him that was probably the biggest change because I wouldn’t allow myself to, like I was, I just had that poverty mentality where you don’t feel you’re ever gonna have enough and so you don’t splurge on things or you don’t treat yourself to anything or you’ve tried to hold onto things too tightly and so he really helped me see that the universe is full of abundance everywhere you look and it’s about believing you’re worth, you’re worthy and sort of tapping into your true sole purpose, I guess and your true reason for being here and following that and I was like in my mid 20s and I was a journalist in Sydney when I left and had, in my last year of uni was already working as a journalist and had good jobs and that I left behind and went off, you know doing this indefinite trip while other friends were building their careers or saving money to buy a house and things like that and he just said, “You’re doing the right thing you know. “You’re really drawn to be traveling in South America “and doing what you’re doing and having these adventures “and you should just keep doing it.” So, which was very different advice to my parents. I mean they were supportive too but I guess part of them was like “How many years are you gonna stay over there?”

Roxanne –  Yeah.

Leigh – “Don’t you think you need to get your life” you know, “on track?” But he, yes, he was very much about following your sole purpose or your heart’s desire or you know, finding your creativity and what lights you up and what gives you joy in life and then trying to make an new cut out of that and he was all about passive income as well. So trying to have something that you create that will make you money while you sleep, so a book is one of those things if you, I mean, you know, have a good enough product and know how to sell it and market it.

Roxanne –  Yeah

Leigh – Can earn you good money you know. There’s lots of people out there earning millions through Amazon or you know, Kindlepreneur type of people or authorpreneurs so, yeah. He was very much about, you know, having something that you can sell so that you’re not having to necessarily put in every hour of work to earn every dollar you make.

Roxanne –  Yeah.

Leigh – And yeah, self work, self love, self acceptance and that, one of his biggest messages was and he wrote a book about it called “Life Wasn’t Meant To Be A Struggle” and my whole upbringing was all about struggle. My grandma was, she was a single mom who struggled and it was all about you just gotta struggle and work hard and save every penny and my, then she raised my mum in that way too and then I was raised in that way too and always this feeling of lack and struggle and we’re never gonna have enough and he really helped me see and that comes from Daoist principles and I think called Wu wei which is the water course where water takes the easiest road, the easiest path wherever it goes.

Roxanne –  Yeah.

Leigh – So, yeah, he really taught me to see life as something that we can enjoy and we can, it’s like it’s okay you’re allowed to enjoy life ’cause that was something new to me.

Roxanne –  Yeah.

Leigh – You’re allowed to actually indulge your creativity and produce something that you feel proud of that you can share with the world. It doesn’t mean you’re egotistical or egocentric because you wanna put a book out into the world or something like that you know it’s, we’re all here for a short period of time and really so, you know, he was all about making the most of it and you know, he did firewalks and all that sort of thing and facing your fears and kind of forging ahead and going for whatever it is you want in life, just going for it and I just, I feel like a lot of society’s problems at the moment I mean, apart from Coronavirus, let’s not go there, a lot of, there’s a lot of dissatisfaction I feel in society because a lot of people are not really being true to themselves in what they would like to be doing with their life and be doing with their time and of course, yeah, people have commitments and debts and they have jobs and all that and responsibilities but I do think it’s essential to have a creative outlet of some sort and it really feeds the soul and yeah, that was something definitely that Stuart Wilde was into. He was also really into the stock market but I didn’t really get into that so. I wish I had of though I’d be a lot richer now than what I am. Oh yeah. Hindsight’s always awesome. It is. Yeah. Yeah but I would encourage anyone to go look up Stuart Wilde. There’s a new app actually the “Stuart Wilde” app that his son Sebastian is working on. It’s out you can download it and it has all the Stuart Wilde’s teachings on it so there’s a lot of them, I’m gonna be writing from that app too so sharing as much as we can of Stuart’s wisdom ’cause he was quite an unconventional guy.

Roxanne –  Yeah, yeah. All right and so if we, if I was to ask you for your top tip that you would give to aspiring authors, what sort of pops to your mind ’cause I know there would be many things but…

Leigh – Persevere.

Roxanne – Awesome.

Leigh – Would be the top thing and believe in yourself. Even when your inner critic tells you that you don’t have any interesting to say, there’s trillions of books out there, Why do does the world in your book? Everyone’s gonna think you’re an idiot. You have to, if you have that deep inner yearning that, you know that real drive that you just cannot ignore and that voice that keeps telling you you have to share this story. You have to do it. You just have to listen to it and do it and persevere because we’re not here for very long just do it and get it out. Like what’s the worst that could happen? Like maybe some people think it’s dumb and probably 99% of people will love it and

Roxanne –  Yeah.

Leigh – or even if 50% of people love it and 50% of people think it’s dumb, who cares? Like,

Roxanne – Yeah, yeap.

Leigh – or even if 10 people like, I have to say to myself like if the whole world laughs at me but like three people love it and it helps them in their life somehow whether they learn something, whether they just find it entertaining or informative or whether it inspires someone to go to Latin America and have an amazing adventure or whether it inspires someone to just follow their heart down a crazy path and do something that they’ll remember when they’re on their death bed and go, “Wow, like that was cool I did that.”

Roxanne –  Yes.

Leigh – Then if only three people get that and everyone else thinks it’s dumb, then that’s good. I actually put something out into the world that helps some people and I’ve already had quite a few people contact me and give me stories about, “Oh thank you. “You helped me face a truth that I wasn’t ready to face.” Or,

Roxanne –  Yeah.

Leigh – you know, you get these stories from people and you know, I’m no Elizabeth Gilbert and I haven’t sold 15 million copies but I know that my book has touched a few people so I would say authors just persevere and do it because life’s short you might not be here tomorrow.

Roxanne –  Yeah. Yeah, no thank you.

Leigh – Yeah.

Roxanne – That’s beautiful and yeah and I know for a fact that your book is going to touch many, many, many more than three people in the world. It’s a beautiful, beautifully written journey and I loved it every second of it. So,

Leigh –  Thanks Roxy.

Roxanne – how can people get a copy of “You Had Me At Hola” into their homes?

Leigh – Oh. So they can find it at all online retailers like Amazon, Booktopia, Book Depository, Barnes and Noble, all the overseas ones like Waterstones and Foyles and I sell them through my website as well which is leighrobshaw.net. Either paperback or e-book. The e-book’s available through Kindle as well. The Sunshine Coast bookstores have it. So anyone that lives on the Sunshine Coast will know the ones to go to the independent ones and yeah, mainly all the online retailers. So if you just Google, there is actually another book coming out with the same title this year.

Roxanne – Oh no.

Leigh –  So her book will probably come up. She’s a New York writer called Alexis Daria.

Roxanne –  Yeah.

Leigh – So I think because she’s an already established author she comes up in searches now and her book has got like a very Latino looking couples sort of embracing on the cover. So if you type in “You Had Me At Hola”, either my cover will come up. That one or this other one will come up which I’m sure that looks great too

Roxanne –  Yeah.

Leigh – and it’s a very different book. So it’s meant to be coming out I think July this year so,

Roxanne –  Awesome.

Leigh – Buy both I don’t know. One of the things is that she’s much more famous than me so when people look for her my book comes up and I get sales. So now I just need Elizabeth Gilbert to write a book with the same title

Roxanne –  I know.

Leigh –  And then I’ll be set.

Roxanne – Like the new form of marketing.

Leigh – Yeah. Totally. Roxy.

Roxanne – Awesome. Okay yes and I’ll make sure that I pop the links below and with the podcast as well so that everyone can easily click through and get the right, “You Had Me At Hola” from the right author who was here today Leigh Robshaw. Thank you so much for joining us. It was a real pleasure to have a chat to you today.

Leigh – Thanks, Roxy and all of Roxy’s fans. Nice to meet you all.

Roxanne – Absolutely and yeah just, I really hope that all of you take a little bit of inspiration from Leigh’s journey that, you know, it is hard work writing a book. It is a transformational journey but one that is so incredibly rewarding and one that will just make you a better person going forward. I mean look at Leigh’s face, she’s so happy. So.

Leigh – Yeah. I’m just about to go and open a bottle of wine and, no, no, I am. It’s the best, I have to tell you one more tiny thing is that apart from my two children, it’s the best thing I’ve ever created or produced in my life. It’s like my third child and

Roxanne –  Excellent.

Leigh – it is one thing if I died, I would regret not having done. So do it.

Roxanne – I really can’t say much better than that. So thank you so much I Leigh, appreciate your time.

Leigh – Thanks Roxy. Bye bye.

Roxanne – Bye.

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