"Q&A With Janine Shepherd"

"Q&A With Janine Shepherd"

Book: Defiant 

Photos from janineshepherd.com

Author: Janine Shepherd

Author Bio:

Janine Shepherd’s story will take you on a journey from the pinnacle of elite athletics competition (the Australian Olympic team) to the pain and fear of being wheelchair-bound and facing the shattering reality of life-threatening and permanent injury.
You’ll experience how she rehabilitated her broken body as a paraplegic into becoming a licensed commercial pilot from the struggle of taking one difficult step at a time on a long road to recovery which continues to this day.
A gifted storyteller, Janine uses her wit, humor, and impeccable timing to engage the audience. She shares her journey in an expansive, inspiring and universal way that will touch your heart and invite you to reach beyond your preconceived ideas of what is possible.
Her keynote presentation sows the seeds of growth and positive transformation in the hearts of her audiences.


1.  Famous author Napoleon Hill once said, “ Every adversity, every failure, every heartache carries with it the seed of an equal or greater benefit.” How true has this statement been in your life?

This has been absolutely true in my life. I returned to my body, knowing that my life would be a very different one from the one I had lived before.
From elite athlete to walking paraplegic, my journey has been filled with adversity and struggle. However, these challenges have cracked my heart open, revealing a more compassionate and loving existence, and that truly is the gift of my experience. 

2.  What mental edge did your athleticism give you during your long process of recovery?
I have a philosophy of ‘loving the hills’ which was a mindset I developed in my early years as an athlete. This was my competitive edge.
It is all about choosing to see every challenge as an opportunity for growth, and this is the same mindset I used to overcome the challenges of my recovery after the accident. 

3.  Why did you choose the work “Defiant” as the title of your book? What does that word mean to you?
I love the word Defiant. I see it as an empowering word, which could also be replaced by Grit, courage, and bravery. Victor Frankl said that the 'Defiant Human Spirit' is the ability to tap into our spiritual selves so that we can overcome suffering.
For me, this is the truest sense of the word, Defiant. When we tap into our true essence of Defiance, we overcome those things that hold us back being all that we can be.
4.  How did you get into Flying? What is your best advice for new pilots?
I discovered flying in the most remarkable way. Sitting in my wheelchair, an airplane flew overhead and I thought, Ok, if I can’t walk, then maybe I can fly! Needless to say, everyone thought I was completely crazy!
Flying is a great metaphor for life. It is the ultimate freedom. My advice for anyone who has a passion to fly is to make sure they learn to fly upside-down!

5.  Who has been an important mentor in your life and what have they taught you about success and happiness?
My greatest teacher of happiness was Maria, the young girl who was in the hospital bed next to me. She was a complete quadriplegic and had a very high level of disability.
Despite this, she was always happy and smiling and taught me one of the most important lessons in life, which is the gift of Acceptance.

6.  How much did your divorce change the way you write? Do you aim to target more of your words to people that have been through a similar experience?
My marriage breakdown was one of the most painful experiences in my life, perhaps even more so than my accident and disability.
Writing about this time in my life was definitely a dark chapter for me, and I would counsel anyone going through this, to always remember that you are not alone. 

7.  What was your writing process like for this book? How has your writing process changed over time?
My most recent book was challenging as I had to revisit so many early experiences in my life. However, Defiant is a more thoughtful memoir than any previous writings, and deeply satisfying to write.

8.  What is your best advice for getting through writer’s block?
We all have days when nothing seems to come together. During those times, I close my computer and take a few days off. For me anyway, this always allows space for creativity to flow.

9.  What is the best book you have read in 2018?
I just finished, Educated: A Memoir,  by Tara Westover. I found it interesting, if not a little disturbing.

10.  What is the best advice you have ever received on happiness? 
Happiness is like a wild animal at the edge of the forest. If you try to chase it, it will run away. However, if you start a fire, it will naturally come closer. So, if you make happiness your goal, and chase it, it will never arise. 

11.  Do you plan on writing more books in the future? 
I always say that the book I write is the last, but I have now finished my sixth book, so who knows!

Places To Find More From This Author:

 Twitter: @janineshephard
(Click Here to Order Your Copy of Defiant)

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1 comment

Janine, You are just a remarkable woman who overcome so many changes and gave us your gifts into what we need to do to make a better life for ourselves and for that I thank you so much. Which also is making me remember my friends that I trained with in my field events and swimming days way back now. But I had looked up you to from the age 14 years old and onwards and your books have always come into my life when I needed guidance the most and I have always remembered what you say because they make so much since and I can always use whatever it is in my life. God bless to you Janine 🙏🏻 and I am wishing you blue and sunny sky’s to fly in 🛩 Love Cassandra 💝

Cassandra (aka Kay Jo)

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