Author Interview - Nyna Giles
Author I draw inspiration from: Andrew Solomon, author of "Far from the Tree." In his 2014 TED Talk, he discusses how the worst moments in our lives make us who we are. I live by his mantra: “forge meaning, build identity.”
Favorite place to read a book: On the beach, cozy by a fire, or on an airplane.
Book character I’d like to be stuck in an elevator with: I read almost all non-fiction. I have met many of my mental health advocacy heroes over the past five years. I would really love to meet Prince William and Kate because of their dedication to the cause of mental health advocacy in the UK.
The moment I knew I wanted to become an author: For me it was all about finding the right co-author, I had always wanted to tell my mother’s story. My co-author, Eve Claxton gave me the courage and was the best collaborator, writer and friend anyone could hope to work with.
Hardback, paperback, ebook or audiobook: I listen to a lot of audio books, especially when traveling. I will often buy the hardcover as well and have it signed. I have a large collection of signed mental health related memoirs and they are true treasures to me.
The last book I read: "In Pieces," by Sally Field.
Pen & paper or computer: I always write on my Macbook Air.
Book character I think I’d be best friends with: Patrick Kennedy. I found his book, “A Common Struggle” very inspiring. I so admire what he has accomplished for mental health parity. His organization, The Kennedy Forum hopes to change public perceptions so that Americans see the availability and provision of quality mental health services as a community responsibility and an enhancement of community life that is both desirable and attainable.
If I weren't an author, I’d be a: A mental health advocate, (I am!)
Favorite decade in fashion history: The 1950s, my mother’s era as a Ford model. Classic, tailored, pearls and elegant.
Place I’d most like to travel: Castles in Ireland and Scotland.
My signature drink: A nice chilled glass of Pinot Grigio.
Favorite artist: Edgar Degas. His paintings remind me of my mother’s love for the ballet. Over half of his works include ballerinas!
Number one on my bucket list: I have just completed number one by visiting Shambala Preserve with my actor son, Johnny Ferro. Shambala is an authentic 60-acre re-creation of an African wildlife habitat created by actress Tippi Hedren on the same site she filmed the movie Roar. The preserve spans beautiful hillsides and habitats above a river in the San Gabriel Mountains and is currently home to 24 big cats who live out their lives after being abandoned by humans.
Tippi and my mother were friends and worked together all of the time as models in the early fifties. It has meant a lot to me to reconnect with her and many other models with whom my mother worked.
Next up would be a Mediterranean cruise with my husband!
Anything else you'd like to add: I hope that by sharing my mother’s story, I can help raise awareness for mental health, the need for universal screenings and treatment for those who can’t advocate for themselves. I hope to encourage more people to tell their stories and to be comfortable talking about mental health.