Thursday, April 16, 2020

Talkshow Thursday: Meet JJ Gutierrez

Talkshow Thursday: Meet JJ Gutierrez

Linda:  Thanks for joining me today. Congratulations on your book Chickening IN-from FEAR to Courageous FAITH. It sounds like a wonderful book. Where did you find your inspiration for the story?

JJ: I imagine God having a good sense of humor because I struggle with fear daily, and it was my 6-year old daughter who gave me a new phrase that changed my life and led to this book. A new twist on an old idiom. At the moment it was spoken I was struggling with a VERY BIG, life changing decision that I had attempted to make multiple times. The kind of decision that gives your stomach butterflies; both excitement and anxiety at the same time. The kind of decision that requires a leap of faith into unknown territory. I was sitting at Panera Bread with my daughter and her tutor. I was explaining to the tutor that I was afraid of making this life changing decision and with a concerned tone I said, "I chickened out again!" We both giggled, knowing life decisions are difficult. From across the table a sudden confident, matter of fact voice came from my daughter and said, "Chicken IN mom, just Chicken IN!"

My thoughts stopped in their tracks...I had never heard of such a thing and I had to take it in and process what she just said. Did my daughter just invent a new idiom? The tutor and I both laughed at it, but the truth was, I had spent years struggling to make this one decision. With the help of that phrase, I was able to grow feet to my faith, and in one moment a wise 6-year-old inspired me to stop chickening out and rather to start Chickening IN by making this courageous decision.

From there Chickening IN grew from a silly phrase into a power word and a lifestyle. As I practiced Chickening IN, I realized there were 8 specific ways in which God was working to transform my fear into courageous faith. I call them the 8 Pillars of Transformation. I began to wonder about other women who struggle with fear, worry and doubt like me. That's when I realized the Chickening IN is not just for was meant to be shared because fear is an emotion experienced by everyone. We live in an unpredictable and uncontrollable world where things change often (as the pandemic has shown us), and fear can plant itself deeply within our hearts. And now here are are, Chickening IN-from FEAR to Courageous FAITH was born into the world on March 24, 2020!

LM: Research is an important part of the writing process. What sort of research did you do for Chickening IN? Did you unearth anything that was totally unexpected?

JJ: My entire life has been preparation for this book. My dysfunctional childhood and my broken early-adulthood led me straight to Jesus. It was there I learned of God’s love and His plan to restore my life. God used many methods to change me from the inside out and those methods provided the knowledge and wisdom to write this book. They include: 25-years of bible study, 10-years of counseling, 2-years of coaching with a life/career coach, my 17-year business sales career and reading multiple non-fiction books about fear, anxiety and courage. And though I felt ready to write a book I didn’t know anything about how to write a book. I worked with a writing mentor who helped me to learn a process for creating my manuscript. My biggest “Ah-ha” was discovering the joy I felt when I wrote. I finally understood that I am a writer…something I didn’t realize before. Writing makes me feel alive, gives me purpose and allows me to process life.

LM: What is your favorite part of the writing process?

JJ: The creative process is my favorite part of writing. Coming up with the idea and then watching how it unfolds. My soul is filled with purpose and passion as I write. There’s nothing else like it. Writing is an outlet for processing the world and it draws my closer to God. I feel like I am living my “best” self when I am writing!

LM: Who are your literary heroes/heroines?

JJ: I am a non-fiction junkie and my favorite writers are those who focus on God and knowing Him more. While I enjoy many authors, here are a few of my favorites: Priscilla Shier, Pastor Tony Evans, Beth Moore and Jennie Allen.  

LM: What has been the most challenging part of the road to publication for you? What advice do you have for fledgling writers?

JJ: Waiting is the hardest part of writing. I am a go getter and a planner and I like to have control. Once I signed the contract with my publisher I had to wait. I was ready to move forward but they weren’t on my time schedule (LOL). My advice it to be prepared to wait and be patient. It will happen in the right time.

I will also add…be prepared for the unexpected by being rooted in God. I never imagined when I signed my publishing contract in April 2019 that I would be launching my book smack dab in the middle of the pandemic! All my plans for launch parties and speaking engagements have been canceled. I could easily have become depressed, worried and afraid, but God prepared me for this and I realized that releasing a book about fear during this most fearful time in our world is God’s perfect timing. More than ever people need a book like mine.

LM: Here are some quickies:

Favorite season: Summer. I love the sun and the warm nights.
Favorite vacation spot: Cancun Mexico! My husband and I have gone every year for the last five years and we love it. We stay at all-inclusive resort and it’s the best way to travel!
Favorite place to write: Sitting on my couch in my living room. However, I wrote over half of my book in the car while my daughter attended homeschool classes!

LM: What is your next project?

JJ: I am in the process of writing a FREE facilitators guide so that women can circle up and study Chickening IN-from FEAR to Courageous FAITH together. In addition, I am working on recording my new podcast which will begin with episodes that will complement each chapter of the book. Look for that in late April.

Then, my plan is to continue writing under the Chickening IN brand. My next book is a Practical Courage Tips Devotional. My mission is to provide practical, manageable and repeatable steps to help loosen the power of fear in women’s lives. I am also considering a TWEENS version too!

LM: Where can folks find you on the web?



About Chickening IN:

Like the flip of a switch, Chickening IN created an epiphany of “God Moment.” Where there was once hopelessness, fear, and doubt…now there is new found hope, courage, and strength.

We live in an unpredictable, uncontrollable world where things change often, and fear can plant itself deeply within our hearts. Chickening IN is a practical approach to defeating the fear and doubt that is preventing us from becoming brave, bold women of God.

Do you long to overcome the fear and doubt that is sabotaging the life God has for you? Are you ready to grown in courage and put feet to your faith? You’ve come to the right place! I’d like to invite you to join me on a transformation journey to stop chickening out and start Chickening IN.

By accepting my invitation you will embark into the land of transformation. A place where fear-filled lives can be reconstructed into courageous faith-filled lives. Chickening IN will require hard work and honest assessment, but I will lead you step by step through the eight pillars of Chickening IN that have changed my life and that can change your life, too!

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