Sophie Keller describes how her life experiences inspired her to write her new series of “How Happy Is..?” books.
When I was a fourteen year old girl in England I was actually a pretty good tennis player. I used to play tournaments and I was having some success.
Then, one day I went to serve and my arm collapsed. I couldn’t hit the ball, and I had this pain in my back. At about this time I was also being bullied at school, and somehow the two felt connected to me.
My doctors told me that I would never get better and I would never be able to sit without being in pain. I couldn’t stand without being in pain, either.
They said that they couldn’t heal me, so instead of taking their word for it, I went to a series of people to help. I started to do pilates technique with the one pilates teacher in the UK at the time.
I started meditating, something which I did twice a day until I was twenty-eight, after which I started doing yoga. I did Alexander technique and I went to a therapist.
So, I did a whole load of things to peel back layers of protective armour that I was carrying – this wasn’t only about the injury, but it was also about the bullying.
Not only did my injury start to heal but I started to become happier, and as those layers peeled back I thought, “Okay, this is what I am meant to do. This is meant to be my life path.”
I started to train in lots of different techniques; mind, body, spirit techniques.
I trained in NLP to start with, with so many people all around the world.
With the skills I’d acquired, I set up a company called NLP International. I used to teach seminars and give private sessions as well. At the same time, I was also acting and I got into the Central School of Speech and Drama and trained, and paid my way through by teaching NLP.
And I was also doing many different self-development trainings, very hands on, get your hands dirty, in Wales, in Ireland, all over. I was building up information of what I was going to do to create my own methods.
I left drama school, went straight into a TV series in the UK, playing a detective. I went on to do some theatre and film and then decided to leave England.
So I went to the US. Soon after I got my Green Card I did one audition and got a lead in a series called Gideon’s Crossing – a show that became huge.
After I left the show, I was on holiday in England when I met my husband, who is a documentary filmmaker.
I realised that I could put all the skills and life-experiences I have had to make a show that would reach out to hundreds of thousands. Olly and I created this show for the UK called How Happy Is Your Home. I was already trained in Feng Shui and the idea for the show was to go into a house and transform their home.
It wasn’t quite picked up. Close, but not quite.
It was at this time that I also discovered that I was pregnant. And then my baby died in the womb. For me, this was a call for me to change what I was doing. I decided to stop acting and start focussing on making a difference. One day, I was out hiking with a friend when the idea came to me. “How Happy Is Your Home” was just one idea – but the big idea was “How Happy Is…?” That meant I could write about all different aspects of life and use all my life experiences to really help make a difference to other people.
So, I trademarked the name the next day, called the Huffington Post and told them, “I’m going to do the How Happy Is series for you”. I wrote two years for free for them every day.
After that, I got a book proposal together for the “How Happy Is…” series. I wanted it to be a forty book series of self help books that wasn’t expensive and that could get out to anyone.
The books I had decided to write were going to have tips, be cool and be funky. I designed those books so you can just pick them up and have something really useful on every page. I wanted them to be affordable, so everyone can buy them wherever they are, so that I can be life coach and happiness expert to everybody, regardless of how much money they have.
The publishers Harlequin agreed to do the “How Happy Is…” series. They’re for everyone and they’re all about making life better. And I can see that drawing together my life skills into this series is a great opportunity to help so many people.
And that’s the story behind the “How Happy Is…” series of books!
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