Interview with writer Stephen Kristof

Today’s special writing guest is Stephen J. Kristof. We’re chatting about his new timely self-help book, Feeling Normal Again; A Post-Pandemic Guide to Emotional Health.

Stephen has written articles, columns and web content for many years, but only recently entered the “Author” lane, in terms of mass market books. Throughout his career, he has held many interesting and diverse positions related to management, employment consulting, education, writing, broadcasting, photography, public relations and advertising. His extensive experience has provided him with insights that are spot-on and relevant. He likes to share this in his writing and feels much gratitude when his content is helpful to others.

Stephen has a diverse range, moving between self-improvement, spiritual and political subjects to light hearted comedy and lifestyle. When writing about serious content, he has a unique take on the issues and events that surround us and his approach is brutally honest. When writing on the lighter side, he is highly relatable and entertaining; akin to enjoying a bottle of wine with friends!

On a personal note, Stephen enjoys hiking, nature, and tending to his landscaping and gardens. He also loves creating art through the camera’s lens. He’s a spiritual man whose greatest passion is his family.

Welcome, Stephen. Please tell us about your current release.
After two years of enduring the Covid-19 pandemic, people everywhere are yearning for a return to normal life. However, even as many restrictions are loosened and physical elements of regular life are returning, for many, the feeling of normality remains out of reach. Feeling Normal Again addresses the sources of our turmoil, identifies various mitigating factors (such as media and political influences) and clarifies the specific ways in which we are feeling distressed. My book then delivers what it promises as an important and timely self-improvement resource.

What follows is a series of detailed toolbox-type strategies to mitigate or overcome damage done by the pandemic. Applying various strategies will help the reader start to feel normal again. Feeling Normal Again provides tools to address several common problems that we find ourselves facing in 2022, including anxiety, sleeplessness, social avoidance, grief, malaise, Covid fatigue, lack of resilience and loss of hope, among other challenges.

My book also has specialty chapters that address unique situations, such as unexpected retirement and losing a loved one during the pandemic. Yet another chapter focuses on the topic of resilience and how to strengthen this tremendously important coping tool. As Feeling Normal Again comes to a close, the book doubles-down on positivity with discussions about how to unite the current state of divisiveness that was exacerbated by the pandemic, along with inspiring stories and reflection about faith and hope.

Ultimately, Feeling Normal Again leaves the reader with abundant practical guidance on self-improvement and restoring normality, while encouraging much-needed hope for the future.

What inspired you to write this book?
Several months ago, I noticed that people everywhere were singing a common chorus, that sounded like, “I just want to feel normal again.” My research revealed that rates of emotional upheaval and mental health challenges had skyrocketed everywhere. My inspiration in writing Feeling Normal Again was to create a meaningful and timely book that will provide clarity and practical advice that everyday people can use to begin healing. This globe-changing pandemic has taken much more from us than most people realize. I am also confident that my new book will restore hope and faith, which our world so desperately needs today.


Excerpt from Feeling Normal Again:
The fact is that even during the height of the pandemic, even as the dark clouds gathered, we were surrounded by more good than bad and more hope than dismay! It was just hard to see, because of all of the negative reinforcement. Maybe that was an integral part of a malevolent virus. Not only did it kill, infect with illness and bring the world to a halt; it also infected us with doubt and gloom.


What exciting story are you working on next?
As much as I absolutely loved writing Feeling Normal Again, it was a very challenging and serious literary effort. I felt the weight of a great deal of responsibility on my shoulders as I recognized the gravity of our situation and the responsibility to help. Now I need to recharge my batteries, so to speak, and have begun writing a light-hearted and humorous collection of short stories. The new book is titled ‘Go Figure!’ and contains tales about which we can all see laugh and see ourselves!

When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I’ve written in one form or another during a huge swath of my career, whether it’s been journalistic articles or writing content for the web. Writing has always been a part of what I do best.

Do you write full-time? If so, what’s your work day like? If not, what do you do other than write and how do you find time to write?
It depends on how you define “full-time”! I retired about a year and a half ago from a profession that took-up a big chunk of my career, and I looked forward to traveling and finally finishing some of those half-finished books-in-waiting. Covid made the travel idea a non-starter, so I threw myself head-first into writing. However, before I could take a second look at those other books, the inspiration to write Feeling Normal Again guided much of my time and effort. Since I love writing, it will continue to be something that occupies a good portion of my time.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
It would be curiously provocative if I said something like, “When I write, my toes involuntarily rotate in a counter-clockwise pattern.” However, nothing so strange actually occurs. My wife says that I look like a statue when I write (sometimes she has to check my pulse). The truth? As I write on a subject, other ideas spontaneously pop into my head. I find myself opening-up multiple word pages to record these ideas for future books or articles. I guess it’s a good thing, in that, I don’t think I’ll ever have a problem coming up with an idea for something new to write.

As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
As a child!?? I’m still trying to figure out what I’ll be when I grow up.

Anything additional you want to share with the readers?
Life is precious. We’re live in a tough time right now, but hope and faith will illuminate a far better future. Try to be a beacon of light for others who are struggling even more than you are.

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