Shaneka McClarty is a southern girl with a love for all things sweet; she enjoys sweet treats, sweet talks and sweet people. She is a licensed therapist with a Masters Degree in Counseling Psychology from Argosy University (Atlanta, GA) and a Bachelor’s Degree from Stillman College (Tuscaloosa, AL). Shaneka has been practicing for over ten years focusing on relationships, particularly women’s issues and couples. Her company, Therapy Girl LLC, is set up to provide counseling services, consulting, workshops, and motivational speaking. Shaneka hosts a weekly internet-based radio show, Open Up with Therapy Girl, on Blog Talk Radio each Sunday @ 2:00 p.m. EST. In addition, she is a published author of the book, The Heart of a Woman: Reclaim, Release and Renew.
Shaneka is a hope-builder helping people move from fear to faith. She speaks frequently to women’s groups, conferences, and non-profit organizations. She resides in Atlanta with her husband, Leonardo, and their three beautiful princesses.
You can visit Shaneka’s website at www.therapygirl.net.
Can you tell us what your book, The Heart of a Woman: Reclaim, Release and Renew, is about?
My book is about empowering women, who have been hurt in their relationships, to love and honor themselves, let go of the unhealthy relationship and choose to live a life that brings them joy. The book is formatted to help women to see the patterns of behavior that hurt them in relationships and to identify where their thought process was at the time that allowed them to become so vulnerable. This is not a dating advice book; instead it’s a life-lesson book about character, love and strength.
Why did you write your book?
I wrote this book because I see so many hurting women in my private practice who are struggling with the question, “Why?” Women are asking themselves, “Why did he cheat? Why did he leave me? Why did he choose her?” The question ‘Why’ causes more pain and it keeps women from healing. I wanted women to see beyond the ‘Why’ by choosing to lead them to the root of their pain.
What kind of message is your book trying to tell your readers?
The message is simply reclaim your power by honoring yourself, release the pain so that you can thrive and love again and renew your mind from the negativity so that you can see hope in your future.
Is it hard to publish a nonfiction book?
It was not difficult to publish this book because I considered it as a gift to help so many women. This was truly a passionate project for me as I wanted to reach so many women and share my message.
What would you do with an extra hour today if you could do anything you wanted?
I would sleep if I had an extra hour. My days are long and busy so an extra hour of sleep would be like paradise for me.
Which holiday is your favorite and why?
Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday. I am a thankful person but I like the energy Thanksgiving brings. It’s a holiday where people have the permission to boldly express what they are thankful for and its always for the simple things that we take for granted (family, life, friends, food, etc.).
If we were to meet for lunch to talk books, where would we go?
We would visit Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. There, we would walk through the beautifully lined Magnolia trees and the picturesque colonial style buildings to sit and talk at the Sheppard Library in the James O’Rourke African American Collection room where the walls are filled with the most sacred and pure historical writings by African-American authors. I graduated from Stillman College in 1997. I spent a lot of intimate, meditative time in that library. I didn’t go there to study; I went there to be inspired.
What do you like to do for fun?
I love music and laughter. If you put those two together I would say the best experience would be a comedy musical. I truly enjoy all types of music and going to concerts. Music is also my way of running away from reality in that it helps to soothe me whenever life becomes overwhelming. Laughter is my medicine that comforts my soul. I am lucky to have a husband with a sense of humor.
Can you tell us about your family?
If I must say so, I have a beautiful family. I have been married to my husband, Leonardo, for eleven years and we have three beautiful daughters. Sage is our talented and creative six-year-old and Sydney and Sarai are our active and inquisitive 19-month-old identical twins. We have a lot of love and laughter in our home and we are very close. I was born and raised in the South and I feel to have my mom and in-laws nearby as well as my sister and her family. Family is so important to me and I value the time we spend together. I lost my father and my only brother at a tender age. Those painful experiences taught me to honor every moment with the people I love.
What do you like the most about being an author?
Becoming a published author has allowed me to meet people that I probably would not have had the opportunity to meet before. I have received emails from women sharing their stories of heartbreak and how my book has helped them. In addition, I have been able to meet book club members, radio personalities and of course, you. I love connecting with people and this interview is another way for me to connect and open up.
What kind of advice would you give other non-fiction authors?
My advice would be not to write a book for fame or fortune. Write your non-fiction to inspire and encourage others. Leave a lasting impression that will echo in the future long after you have been silenced. Take your time with your writing project, get support from editors and work on a marketing plan before you publish.