An Interview with Gisela Hausmann – Author of Naked Determination

Gisela Hausmann is from Austria and is currently living in USA. She has previously written eight books, which were non-fiction and self, help books. This is her first book that is based on her life and she chooses 41 motivating and inspiring stories to tell. Read more to know about Gisela Hausmann and her book, Naked Determination.

 You have previously penned eight books, was the experience of writing Naked Determination different from the previous books?

Thank you for asking this important question. In the past I have published “impersonal” books, books with pictures and educational information. I wrote “Naked Determination” because I realized that more than anything else readers want to hear personal stories, which they can apply to their own lives. Life is more complicated today than twenty years ago. People want to read, “What exactly did a person do, to reach his or her goal.” They want a real-life story, rather than some theoretical blah blah.

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Although we know that the book is a memoir but how would you describe Naked Determination and what reason made you to write a memoir?

I would call “Naked Determination” an inspirational adventure-book styled biography. It is only a partial memoir because I am telling only stories, which can make an impact on other people’s lives. Readers of today value authenticity and honesty. Since I know only my own stories, I need to tell these, to bring that authenticity across.

You have candidly chosen to reveal all sorts of secrets which only a few were privy to before this book happened, has there been calls telling you that this happened or this didn’t. Or everyone has been cool about it?

Firstly, I changed the names of all people other than the ones, who gave me permission to use their real name. As for readers: They are fascinated. E.g. in my book I wrote about that, already widowed, I met this fabulous man, who I was really smitten with. Unfortunately it turned out that he was an alcoholic, so I walked away and did not start any relations with him. One female reader actually tweeted about this story right when she read it: “I am at William… Enthralled…” So, while it can only be our best guess, why this lady was “enthralled”, that is what is so powerful about “Naked Determination”: Readers find themselves in the book. It does not matter, whether they might have met a William or a John, and maybe John was not an alcoholic but a drug addict…. What is important is, that readers can read a story, which they recognize in their own lives and say, “Obviously this happens to everybody… and this is, what Gisela did…” Then, readers can things from there.

In your bio, you describe yourself as a risk taker and calculating organization planner, both these traits are poles apart. How does it affect your life or shapes your life.

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It works very cool, thank you. I try to prepare for all eventualities all the time. I think about what I would do if this or that happened, or how I possibly could achieve this or that goal, if conditions were perfect. The funny is, conditions do get perfect every now and then. That’s when I take the risk and do what I planned in my mind. It works out more than 90% of times.

You have travelled so much, almost 100,000 miles, is there one country or place which you wanted to visit but still haven’t.

Ha ha, more than one. Machu Picchu has been on my list forever, and so far I have not had the opportunity yet. Also, I’d love to come back to India. Most Americans don’t realize what a huge country it is. I have spent 5 weeks in India and when I look at the map, I appears I have barely begun to explore this beautiful country.

Reading the book, I was going; she has had such an adventures life and wow, how much she has travelled. If you get a chance would you like to change anything that has happened in your life?

No, absolutely nothing. While at any time we feel we could have done more or better, I am very satisfied. We cannot get everything. Like the saying goes: “Shoot for the moon. If you miss it, you will still land among the stars.

Most of the authors write autobiographical accounts with their first book, why you chose your ninth book for that?

“Naked Determination’s” purpose it to help readers find answers. After the Great Recession struck, I realized how much I learned in the past, which helped me then. Additionally, I had really funny and adventurous stories. Thus, I felt, with the world in turmoil, publishing my stories could help so many people.

 Why you chose to title your book, Naked Determination?

Because that’s what it takes! Many people think they have to have an MBA from Harvard or Yale to become rich and successful, but that’s not true. Neither Steve Jobs nor Bill Gates even graduated from college. What it takes is determination. Then again, determination is so hard to describe. That’s why I chose funny stories.

I remember a chapter where you have described your inability to move even though you could see the juice spilling out. Has writing about certain incidents, made you see them in a new light?

When I wrote this story I had realized that so many other people arrive at this same point sometimes during their lives. Maybe it isn’t that they watch juice spill out and they cannot do anything about it, maybe it is that they sit next to their phone and they feel unable to pick it up and make the call. I wanted to encourage all readers, that indeed, this is only a stage and they can read is how I got out of it. I specifically hope that readers will gain strength from that story, because it will make a difference in their lives.

What would be the one lesson from your life or from your experience, you would like all to learn?

You really can succeed! If one really thinks about it, it sounds almost ridiculous: I grew up in that small city in the mountains and dreamed about seeing the world and experience as many cool adventures as possible. The next airport was a 2-hour car ride from where I grew up. It was not realistic to think that I could travel 100,000 miles. Yet 40 something years later I can say “I saw and experienced more than I thought would be possible and I am not even done yet.”

Any message for the budding authors and for some reluctant travelers.

To the budding author I want to say, “Write what you know!” I won an award with my first novel style book, even though English isn’t my first language. The judges were willing to overlook that a few times I phrased things in a way in which Americans would not say it. That does not mean that the saying is grammatically incorrect, it may just be an unusual phrase. But, it is my authentic voice. More than one reviewer has written “It felt as if I was sitting with Gisela in my living room and she told me stories, while we were having a cup of coffee.”Readers and judges value the authentic voice.

To the reluctant traveler I want to say, “Start small! I traveled only within Europe for 5 years before I first ventured onto another continent.” And, “You will never regret any travels. Even when you are old, you will still love your stories. You will tell them to your grandchildren and relive the adventure looking at the exciting spark in your grandchildren’s eyes.”

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