Interview with Judith Guralchuk

Jen: This weekend we welcome Judith Guralchuk to Book Talk. Judy, will you please share a short bio with us?

Judy: Having suffered a stroke at birth, I was left with both physical and mental handicaps. For 50 years, I endured belittling and chastising and had no self worth. With the help of my second husband, John, I was able to overcome obstacles of my past, including overspending. I have lived in Florida, Georgia, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, and now live, retired, in Montana. We take pleasure in our organic garden and put up fruits and vegetables for the year. I enjoy sewing, quilting, yard work, exercising and visiting ghost towns. The things that are most important to me are integrity, kindness, leading a healthy life style and respect for the environment.

Jen: Tell us about A Life Preserver in a Sea of Debt and where it is available.
Judy: A Life Preserver in a Sea of Debt explains how to transition from overspending to permanent financial stability is not just a book but a new way of living that can change people’s lives. It offers an easy, detailed concrete program for overcoming attitudinal and other obstacles that can threaten healthy money management. It goes on to offer ways to reach goals by becoming aware of buying choices.

The reader learns how to absorb higher prices without stress, how not to get into debt, how to get out of debt, how to stop overspending, how to start saving money, how to teach these things to children, what programmed us to overspend, how to recognize and overcome these obstacles and much more. Here are a few tips from the book: When we have extra money, save it for when we don’t, always compare prices, spend money as if it were the day before payday, instead of the day after payday and how to recognize and deal with spending trigger points. The book also shows us how to be content and happy in our new chosen lifestyle because transitioning benefits us!

The book is available at Border’s, Barnes and Noble, and amazon.com.

Jen: At what age did you discover writing and when were you first published?
Judy: At age 59, I had spent 7 years taking notes on how my husband, John, who had never been in debt, accomplished his lifestyle; how he spent and saved, his mindset, and reasons he maintained a debt free life. As I took the notes, I found my own spending habits transitioning from overspending to permanent financial stability. I separated the notes into like titled stacks, and each stack became a chapter. I had found a way to share this font of knowledge with others.

The book was released in Spring 2009, taking almost 10 years from start to finish.

Jen: Are there any other writers in your family?
Judy: No, I’m the only one.

Jen: Describe your writing in 3 words.
Judy: Unconventional, informative and passionate

Jen: How do you approach your writing? Do you plot or go with the flow?
Judy: I go mostly with the flow, however, there are areas that I plot, so as to enhance a particular subject.

Jen: Do you have any “must haves” while you are writing?
Judy: Small note pads were everywhere, in all rooms, in pockets, everywhere I went. Taking notes while going on walks was the best time for ideas to pop into my head. Also, I needed quiet time on the computer, which relegated my husband to the bedroom TV. He’s a staunch supporter of my writing efforts, so he did it with a smile.

Jen: What kind of research did you do for the book?
Judy: Most of the book came from personal experience, but I did research on quotes and figures.

Jen: What’s the most challenging aspect of writing? Easiest?
Judy: The 2 hardest: #1. Was the frustration with not being capable of thinking of certain words when I needed them the most. This was part of my handicap. And #2. I was told the hardest thing in the world was for a writer to get a publisher…but when I had one, I was then told that if I thought writing was hard, wait until you have to self market it. I can tell you right now, marketing is no picnic! However, to get through the frustrations, I attack it as a pleasant challenge.

The easiest aspect? Relaxing and enjoying typing out a slue of information that will help people attain the same font of information that I acquired in order to be debt free.

Jen: What’s the most rewarding aspect?
Judy: When people come up to me and thank me for writing a book that has helped them to be financially stable.

Jen: What 5 people from the past or the present, have been important to you as an author?
Judy: My husband comes first. Then, The Authors of the Flathead, a critique group that helped me tremendously, and a few famous people that came up the hard way, but rose above their meager surroundings to help others and make a difference: such as Mother Teresa, Dr. Phil, and Bill Clinton. To those that made fun of me and put me down, I rose above that. I’ve come a long way. Anyone can do anything they set their minds to do, no matter the opposition. I say to them… I was smarter than you gave me credit for and I’ve succeeded where few have. And to those who gave of themselves to help others, I say Thank you for showing me the way.

Jen: What has been the highlight of your career up to this point?
Judy: Making presentations to teens, parents, teachers, general audiences, businesses, seniors and young ones…seeing their faces full of awe, wonder, and amazement as they soak in what was, until today, unthought of information. I also love the thrill of book signings, being on TV, radio and print.

Jen: Most people only dream of becoming a published writer. Now that you have accomplished that goal, is there anything else you dream of doing?
Judy: After marketing A Life Preserver in a Sea of Debt to as many people and businesses as I can, I plan to make it my first in a series, using positive attitude adjust, where present spending habits are replaced a new innovative awareness of buying choices, as the key to all of them. They will be specialty books, targeting teens, parents and seniors. Also, I’d like to write a book expounding on how to improve lives in other areas besides financial, for instance, a new mindset in the workplace, developing a new mindset for healthy living and a new mindset to plan ahead to get what we want.

Jen: What’s the most interesting comment you have received about your book?
Judy: “Well it’s about time someone wrote about how I can change my spending habits, that actually work, AND achieve lifelong financial security, without feeling deprived. Thank you very much!

And, while I was talking to the person next to me in line at the supermarket, he said “I know who you are! You’re the lady, a couple months ago, who was interviewed on that radio talk show from Billings! Where did you say I could buy your book?

Jen: Where can you be found on the web?
Judy: alifepreserverinaseaofdebt.com, JudyGuralchuk.com, tower.com, Facebook, MySpace, and useconomy.guide@about.com

Jen: Is there anything you’d like to ask our readers?
Judy:Yes, thanks you. I’d like to ask them to finish this sentence: Knowing that there is information available for improving finances and not taking advantage of it, is like…

My answer is: accepting mediocrity and the status quo when excellence is at your fingertips.

My book retails for only $14.95. Within a month after reading the book, your savings will be more than the price and continue throughout your life. It’s like buying a free book. And my readers say it also makes a great gift.

Jen: Readers, Judith is giving away a copy of A Life Preserver in a Sea of Debt to a random commenter. Due to the content, the contest limited to those in the US and Canada. Judith is including a lifelong book mark with the book cover on it, to be used with every book the person reads, as a permanent reminder to live financially astute. The other freebie included is a SPEND ALERT card, the size of a credit card that people keep in their wallets, next to their cash and credit cards. The card has questions that they need to ask themselves before spending any money. To enter the contest, please leave a question or comment for Judith. Then to finish your entry, you need to either leave your email address in your comment or send a message to contests.bookblog@gmail.com. The winner will be chosen on Friday, January 29.