Date Published: 06-15-2021
Publisher: Burning Soul Press
Jillian Bright has lived and loved the world over, wild and free, her soul awakened and destroyed, mended and strengthened. From empowering women through custom-made bikinis in Costa Rica to listening to a Bulgarian astrologer predict her son’s unplanned birth, her journey took her from country-to-country, unveiling passion and purpose. But it was the various crossroads along the way that taught her the most meaningful lesson: It’s never the first step off the cliff that’s the most terrifying. It isn’t even the free fall that happens afterward. The scariest part is the crash landing when self-doubt makes you think that maybe you can’t actually fly. That’s when you begin to understand that you have to grow your own wings. That’s why when Jillian found herself in South America, robbed of everything that mattered most and facing the biggest crossroads of her life, she went all in—and dived off the cliff. The Trouble with Wings is a deeply honest and stirring memoir about living life from your heart and trusting yourself to say yes—even when it means you have to risk it all. Jillian Bright is an award-winning travel writer, author, copywriter, retreat leader, and mother whose mission is to empower women, especially other moms by telling stories, amplifying voices, and creating sacred space and community. She is originally from Northern California and now lives in the Italian countryside with her winemaker partner and their son.
Can you tell us a
little about the process of getting this book published? How did you come up
with the idea and how did you start?
The idea for the book started out as a travelogue about a
trip I took around the world in 2016, but then at the end of that trip I got
robbed and there went all my bits and pieces of the unfinished manuscript,
along with thousands of photos and two other unfinished manuscripts, years
worth of work essentially. I still wanted to write it but a few weeks later I
found out I was pregnant so the travel-only angle felt so superficial that I
set it aside for years.
Then for purely cathartic reasons, I started writing it
again last December (2020). About the same time, I got on a networking call for
my copywriting business with a woman who had a small publishing company. We
totally hit it off and she asked me if I was interested in her company
publishing my book and less than a week later, we signed the contract.
What surprised you
most about getting your book published?
We did it on an insanely short timeline and don’t get me
wrong it was full of challenges but I had it in my head that it was going to be
this harrowing process to rewrite what was stolen, then I would have to deal
with all the rejections of traditional or learning curve of self-publishing but
it just happened so quickly and smoothly. I thought it was going to be so hard
and take forever but that’s not how it happened at all!
Tell us a little
about what you do when you aren’t writing
Reading! I have a three-year-old son so mom life and my
copywriting business are my two big ones outside writing but I still read
obsessively. I looove the historical fiction, historical fantasy, and magical
realism genres, but I weave important nonfiction reads in there too. Aside from
my lifelong obsession with books and my business, I love hiking and enjoying
the Italian seaside and countryside near our home. Like pretty much everyone
else on this planet, I haven’t traveled much for the last year and a half but I
do love it and I’m looking forward to it again soon!
As a published
author, what would you say was the most pivotal point of your writing life?
Aside from getting robbed and losing everything, and knowing
that I still wanted to keep writing no matter what, I think it was when I
realized that this book I was trying to write wasn’t the book that wanted to be
written. The ending just wasn’t fitting and I was struggling through beta round
and two rounds of edits when I finally realized this is two books! I’m not
writing one book and quitting, this is what I will be doing for the rest of my
life. I’m about a third of the way through the follow up to The Trouble with
Wings, about postpartum, grief, and motherhood, and it feels so good be just be
on the path.
Where do you get your
best ideas and why do you think that is?
I get my best ideas when I’m sitting outside, by myself,
with a glass of wine letting my mind go wherever it wants. Probably because I’m
not editing myself or trying to force anything to be something it isn’t yet or
will never be. I’m just relaxed and open to receiving without worrying about
what I’m going to do with the idea.
What is the toughest
criticism given to you as an author?
I think the feedback I got from some of my beta readers was
really hard to take. We had initially identified a different ideal reader than
the one the book ended up being for so a lot of the comments from one person
felt really deflating but like most criticism, it was valuable. I used it to
refine the book and make it better for who I really thought would enjoy it
rather than who we thought about at the beginning.
What has been your
best accomplishment as a writer?
Not quitting. I’ve had my work lost or stolen while I was
traveling probably half a dozen times, the last time was by far the worst. It
would have been really easy to say, “Well, I guess it’s just not meant to be,”
and find something else that I was good at or enjoying doing. It’s not like
writing was making me any money back then.
But I kept writing, even when what I was writing was
absolutely horrible and whiney. I kept writing even when I had almost no time
to write as a new mom and a new business owner. And when the contract came
through for The Trouble with Wings, there was pleeenty going on in my personal
life that made me think twice about getting it done on deadline. But I didn’t
quit, I didn’t push back our launch date, and here we are!
It’s easier to quit in the moment, and sometimes it’s the
right move, but there are certain things that if you quit you’ll regret it for
the rest of your life and I knew writing was like that for me
How many unpublished
and half-finished books do you have?
Oh wow, lemme think… probably five? Two of them I’m actively
working on, a historical fiction set in the Ancient Mediterranean and my follow
up memoir… Two others are from a historical fantasy series inspired by my time
working on cannabis farms in the Northern California hills that I’m slowly
rewriting as they were the manuscripts that got stolen, and a third one is a
nonfiction about travelogue writing that my publisher and I have been talking
about and working on. I love having multiple projects going on!
About the Author
Jillian Bright is an author, award-winning travel writer, ghostwriter, copywriter, retreat leader, and mama on a mission. She wants to empower women, especially other moms, by telling stories, amplifying voices, and creating sacred space, community, and a vision for a better future.
She believes that when we truly listen to each other, connect, collaborate, and organize, we WILL create a better world for our kids and our future generations.
Jillian has lived in California, Costa Rica, Argentina, and Italy and traveled throughout the world. She was the founder of a custom swimwear company that existed to empower women to embrace who they are rather than who they’re told they should be and organized several fundraising efforts to fight destructive, irresponsible farming practices in one of the Northern California cannabis communities.
She’s currently working on a historical fantasy trilogy series set in the ancient Mediterranean and organizing retreats and travel adventures for women in Italy, Argentina, and Costa Rica. She hopes her retreats will inspire women to come together, claim their passion for life, and collaborate with each for lasting change.
Rising Sisterhood is her second book as a contributing author and her memoir, The Trouble with Wings releases June 15, 2021 from Burning Soul Press.
Jillian donates a portion of her book and copywriting revenue to women and women-led organizations creating change for women, girls, and mothers across the globe.
Jillian is originally from Northern California and now lives in the Italian countryside with her winemaker partner and their son where she eats as much gelato as humanly possible and is determined to learn to sail.