Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Interview With Author Jude Miller Burke

What type of books do you write? My writing and presentations have primarily been in the area of work place psychology. I am a psychologist and worked in employee assistance in corporations for twenty years and am fascinated about how psychology plays itself out at work. I have articles published in the Journal of Workplace Behavioral Health and the Journal of Occupational Health and Environmental Medicine on topics such as: the impact of critical incidents (bank robberies) on employees and managers and research results from a social science study I completed on how men and women become successful. I also published a children's book ten years ago with my sister, Pat St. Claire.

What is your newest book about? The Millionaire Mystique: How Working Women Become Wealthy and You Can Too! is based on  scientific research that I did studying 300 individuals on what factors lead to their high levels of professional success. The response rate was very high because participants were very interested in the key areas including: gender similarities and differences, leadership, detours, and failures. I made it clear my mission was to pass on their valuable information and lessons to others who were less fortunate and could use the guidance. Surprisingly, 160 self-made millionaires/multimillionaires responded which allowed me to focus specifically on those individuals, passing on their recommendations regarding:  how to overcome your family of origin and take the best into your career, building resilience, effective work styles, sexism, detours, failures, authentic leadership, how to integrate work and family, and giving back to others.

What inspired you to write it? Fifteen years ago I moved from a rural area of Minnesota to a wealthy suburb of Phoenix and was truly amazed at the homes, cars, and other symbols of wealth. It was a bit like Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz seeing the Emerald City for the first time. But, over a cup of coffee or glass of wine, the men and women would tell me about the poverty, abuse, and dysfunction they grew up in. I was astounded that these men and women had overcome such difficulties to find professional and familial success.

What is the writing process like for you? The research was fascinating and took three years to complete. And then, after finding an agent and a publisher, I had to discipline myself to sit and write. I would get up at 5:30AM when my mind was fresh and the house was quiet (I have 3 children) and would write for several hours per day. But, I would also write late at night when the mood hit me. I kept submitting chapters to my publisher to only hear that it was way too academic. I don't see myself as an academic after growing up in a working class family, so I found this frustrating and curious. But, I had been in school long enough to get a Ph.D. so it became the way I thought and influenced my world view. My agent suggested I find a co-writer/editor and so I did. This began the process of me writing 20 pages per chapter and then I would discuss it for hours over the phone each week with my co-writer. This took one full year. It was time consuming and tedious. We would discuss psychological concepts and research results and translate them into very practical tips and advice for individuals to become successful. Nancy Shepherdson was great and helped me write and speak in a fashion others would understand and enjoy. 

What did you do before you became an author? The past ten years I have been an executive and leadership coach working at the University of St. Thomas in Minneapolis, Murro Partners in Phoenix, and my own business JAMB Consulting in Arizona. Previous to that I was vice president of operations, Optum, at United Health Group for ten years and before that a manager of employee assistance and wellness at a large division of Honeywell in Minneapolis. I have presented my research at the American Psychological Association's annual conferences in Washington D.C. in 2011 and 2014. I also presented at the national Employee Assistance Professional's Association in Orlando, Florida in 2014.

How does it feel to be a published author? Wonderful! The day I was asked by my publisher, Nicholas Brealey, to attend the New York Book Expo was exciting and it all became real. And, last week when the box of printed books arrived on my door step it was incredible! By that point I had been working on the research and book for four years. I accomplished my goal! I have recently been doing PR for my book throughout the nation and have taped several news shows in New York. While at home this week with my seventeen year old daughter (she was ill), we turned on the T.V. and there I was on Better TV discussing my book. I filmed my daughter jumping up and down watching her Mom on TV explaining the relevance of her book and how it can help others. It doesn't get any better than that! 

Any advice for struggling writers? I knew I had something to say that would help others with their careers. I had been a leader myself in Fortune 100 companies for twenty years and an executive coach for another ten years. But, it was difficult to find my values, voice, and message. And, while trying to do so, some people will find what you are doing - amusing and a luxury. Many people I encountered in the publishing world were downright discouraging.  But, if you have a project you believe in something you need to say - find a writing/publishing conference, learn everything you can, establish a platform with Facebook, a web site, and twitter, find an agent, write a good solid proposal that your agent can distribute, and get over the ego issues of doing it all yourself for your first book. The agents, publishers, marketing people, and professional writers have been in this business for a long time and while the message is often discouraging, if you persist, you will reach success! You can do it!
Where do you see book publishing heading?  More and more people are choosing to self-publish, but the help I received from my agent and publisher was invaluable. They were experts in taking my concept and helping mold it into a book that was current and relevant. It grabs people's attention - The Millionaire Mystique: How Working Women Become Wealthy and You Can Too! 

Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014

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