Interview: Lana Grace Riva – Author of Happier Thinking

Welcome to the latest Books on the 7:47 author interview! Last month I read Happier Thinking by Lana Grace Riva (full review here) and was really intrigued by the ideas she talks about in her book, so she agreed to have a little chat with me about her inspiration and all things bookish. Happier Thinking is Lana’s writing debut, driven by her desire to share what she’d learnt when she embarked on her own journey of turning negative thoughts into positive ones and changing the way she approached certain situations in her day-to-day life.

Hi Lana, how long have you been writing?

I began last year. It’s not something I always knew I wanted to do, more something I discovered I enjoyed after I tried it.

Do you remember the moment you had the idea for Happier Thinking?

There wasn’t so much one defining moment – it started as reminders for myself of mental exercises and developed from there. My memory is pretty terrible – if it’s not written down it’s likely forgotten – so I started keeping notes and they grew into the book.

From idea to publication, how long did this book take you?

The actual writing of the book was not too long, partly because it’s short in terms of page numbers, but also by the time I started writing I had already collecting all the tips and exercises described in each chapter. Gathering all these was probably spread out over a year or so. This is a very rough time guess though – refer to previous answer about my memory!

Let’s talk books you like to read. Do you have a favourite author?

Non-fiction, I’ve read a lot of George Mahood – I find his books very relatable, funny and just enjoyable pieces of escapism when you want something light to read. For fiction, Gill Paul is a favourite I’ve recently come across.

If you had to, could you choose a favourite book?

It’s hard to pick just one, but a recent book that sticks in my mind is Born a Crime by Trevor Noah. I love his humour but also, I love to learn about life in other countries and what people experience living under various cultural belief systems. It’s often very saddening to read about, but important to be aware of what goes on in the world beyond our own individual little bubbles. My favourite books are ones that teach you things and make you stop and think.

Do you have a much-loved fictional character?

I like characters that go against their society norm. I think it’s important to see characters that are not considered ‘normal’ so that hopefully their representation makes people more accepting of human differences in real life. For example, The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion and A Boy Made of Blocks by Keith Stuart – I loved these books and their characters for that reason.

What are you reading right now?

No Wrong Turns by Chris Pountney – a great non-fiction travel story about a guy that’s cycling round the world. It’s an interesting read and inspires you to look at how you are living life and how others live theirs.

Are you tempted to write fiction next?

I have thought about it, but only briefly. Maybe I will attempt it in future, but for now I am focused on non-fiction.

Ah, so are you planning a follow up to Happier Thinking?

I’m working on a memoir about my experience with mental illness and it is a sort of follow up – it gives some background for how I came to write Happier Thinking.

Thank you so much for your time, Lana! You can find out more information about Happier Thinking over on Lana’s website.

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