Today I’m really excited to be interviewing Eva Docalavich, co-author of Crown of Thorns: Diary of a Beauty Queen.
Hi. Thank you for agreeing to do this interview.
Tell me a little about yourself and your background?
Well, I’m a 16 year old home school student, and the reigning Teen Miss Heritage Plus. Ms. Heritage Plus is a nation-wide pageant for plus-sized women and girls affiliated with the Miss North America Heritage pageant.
Please describe what your book is about in a few sentences.
Well, this book is a compilation, put together by Ms. Tanesha Smart, the reigning Ms. Plus America. It tells the stories of 9 plus-sized beauty queens. We are of all ages and races, we are geographically diverse; but we found that we all had experienced some form of tragedy or trauma, which we had to overcome in order to win our crown. It is a book about overcoming obstacles, ignoring naysayers and becoming the most authentic and best version of yourself at any age or stage in life.
How would you most like readers to respond to your book?
I would hope that people, woman in particular, would be able to look at these stories and find that they have the power to overcome the challenges in their own lives.
What are 2-3 key points they can learn/take away from reading your book?
I think one key point is that no matter how humble or difficult your beginnings may be, you can find a way to reach your goals. Also, I think it’s important not to make decisions out of fear. Many good opportunities look scary at first. I learned that by stepping out of my comfort zone and into the pageant world when I felt that my looks and body type were not typical “pageant” material. I learned a lot in the process, and eventually had an opportunity to be published!
I inspire my readers to create more time and financial freedom in their businesses and to step into their powers as women. How does your book or your journey relate to this?
Well, all of the stories in this book relate to putting the past behind you and stepping into your inner power. One of the ladies (who is now a plus size model and beauty queen) was agoraphobic and didn’t leave her house for a decade! Being plus sized queens, all of us had the shared experience of defying the traditional idea of beauty and being told that we were unacceptable in some way. The only thing that will get you through that is being able to see and accept your own self-worth.
Briefly, what led up to or what was the inspiration behind your book?
Well, I was 15 when I wrote my chapter. My mom had seen a call for submissions for plus-sized queens who had turned a tragedy into their platform and she asked me if I was interested. My platform is ending the stigma surrounding mental illness and this stems from my experiences growing up with a mentally ill father. So I wrote about that, and how my desire to do something meaningful for the millions of Americans affected by mental illness, led me into the pageant. As a teen Queen, I wasn’t sure if I would be taken seriously, but I am really thrilled to have my story included with the other ladies.
Which writers or other women in business (etc) inspire you to share your message?
My mom is a published author and really pushed me to share my experiences and I am grateful for it. My pageant director, Jan Bellinger, was also very supportive, and is such an amazing role model. Jan works for abused and neglected children, runs a 501©3 non-profit, and is the director of two pageant systems! You can learn more about her and Miss North America Heritage at www.missnorthamericaheritage.com
When did you decide to become a writer and what impact has it had on your life?
Well, I’m newly published and don’t know if this will be my only work or the first book of many. Right now, I have seen that I am getting a lot more requests for appearances and interviews, which is great because each appearance is an excuse to talk about the prevalence of mental illness and the need for more awareness.
Where do you write from and what is your writing style like, do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when or do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
Well, I write on a laptop in my room. I’m actually dyslexic, so using spell check is a must for me. My mom is always my first editor; I have her read through to see if I misspelled something so badly that spell check couldn’t catch it! Unfortunately, I have a big vocabulary and terrible spelling skills so that happens frequently.
What was the time frame for writing your book? Tell us an interesting detail or two.
Well, this chapter was born by editing and adding to a speech I had already written. Since it is only one chapter, I think it only took me a week or so to get it how I wanted it.
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book? Do you ever get writers block and tips for getting past this?
The most difficult thing about this work was telling the truth about things I experienced and saw when I was little. Since I am writing about my dad’s illness, I’m always afraid he will be upset when he reads it. The stuff really happened, but he may not have remembered the experience the same way I do.
How are you publishing this book and why? (Did you find an agent if so how did you go about doing this) (*e.g. Indie, traditional or both)
This is a compilation, so Tanesha was the one asking for submissions on behalf of her publisher. Suber-Pullins is our publisher. (I know they are small, not sure if that makes them “indie” or not).
What were your 1-2 biggest learning experience(s) or surprise(s) throughout the publishing process?
It was cool being able to hear the ideas of all the other others but I was surprised to learn just how were long it took to put together; the release was pushed back a few times.
Did you have a “marketing/tribe” platform in place? On this topic, what are you doing to build a platform and gain readership?
Well, the publisher is promoting it on Amazon, I guess. Individually each author has their own title, their own social marketing strategy based on their own goals and professional networks. So we are all reaching different audiences, there isn’t one cohesive strategy for the book as a whole. I’m offering signed copies direct from my website for the same price as the ones at Amazon until May 15, 2016. I’m hoping that my personalized touch will help get my message out there!
For a bit of fun – Something personal about you people may be surprised to know?
I hate make-up. I think it feels weird. I only wear it for pageant appearances to look “professional.” People who see me in pageant pictures with full make-up and hair can pass right by me on the street and not recognize me
What’s next? What is your next project? What have you been working on recently?
As far as what comes next, I’m not sure, but I’m excited to find out. I know I have college essays in my future for sure.
Where can you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
I have no idea. I have many short-term goals, but the big picture has not really come into focus yet. I think that’s probably a perk of being 16.
What is the most important message to women across the globe you’d like to share with them?
Let yourself be free from the fear that you aren’t good enough. Push yourself through the shyness and embarrassment. Don’t hide your struggle. Embrace it, and it will make you stronger.
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
• Website: www.evadocalavich.com
• Facebook: www.facebook.com/TeenMissHeritagePlus
• Twitter: @QueenEvaD
Such an inspiring interview from someone so young, shining a light for others about overcoming obstacles and more importantly ignoring the “naysayers”.
It’s so important as women entrepreneurs that we step out of our comfort zones, be our authentic selves and become the best version of YOU.
I’d love to hear your stories and breakthroughs and if this interview has inspired you maybe to tell you story, feel free to comment below and share with others.
Thank you to Eva for sharing her story and her new book.
Driving & Inspiring Your Freedom