Hello and welcome to my blog, Author Interviews. My name is Fiona Mcvie.
Let’s get you introduced to everyone, shall we? Tell us your name. What is your age?
Hi, I’m Julie Schladitz. In my head I am in my thirties but unfortunately my birth certificates states 58.
Fiona: Where are you from?
I am originally from Solihull in the West Midlands but have been living in Switzerland now for over 30 years.
Fiona: A little about your self (ie, your education, family life, etc.).
I am married to Beat, who is Swiss, and I have two children, Alex and Victoria. I like in a village between Bern and Neuchâtel in Switzerland. I studied organisational psychology at the University of London and have an extensive background in HR, working for international organisations. I am also a trained career and executive coach.
Fiona: Tell us your latest news.
I am delighted to announce that my book ‘Career After Sport: Career Planning Guidelines to Help You Move On’ has just been published on Amazon.
Fiona: When and why did you begin writing?
Initially I began writing blogs in order to draw attention to certain issues. For example, I have written a couple of blogs about the difficulties of finding employment in Switzerland for the over 50s. These have been very well received and highlighted this real social issue which is now being discussed openly. Being actively involved in recruitment and coaching myself, I see many issues related to the employment market and try to help.
.Fiona: When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Actually, I still consider myself a career transition coach. Writing is just one of the ways I use to get my message across.
Fiona: What inspired you to write your first book?
I started writing the book about four years ago. Through my career coaching, I became aware of the many difficulties ex-athletes faced at retirement. I decided that I wanted to help. Given my background in the corporate world, my studies and my coaching experience, I thought that it would be useful to put it all down on paper in order to help others.
Fiona: How did you come up with the title?
“Career After Sport: Career Planning Guidelines to Help You Move On”: the moving on refers to the penguins on the iceberg. I quite often show my clients a picture of penguins all waiting to jump nervously into the freezing water (if you google “Courage Penguins”, you will see the picture I am referring to). I explain to them that they are going to have to jump one day (retirement from sport is inevitable). They need to prepare in order to be ready for the leap, just in case the penguins behind them decide to push them in the water without notice (meaning that they are not always responsible for their own decision. Injury or de-selection from the team means that that they may not get to retire on their own terms).
Fiona: Do you have a specific writing style? Is there anything about your style or genre that you find particularly challenging?
I try to maintain a very informal style, hoping that the book is very easy to read. My aim is that the text comes across as very conversational, as if I am personally helping the reader on his or her own journey of discovery.
Fiona: How much of the book is realistic and are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
The book itself is a self-help guide so it is based on scientific research and tools to help people to transition. However, I have included case studies of actual athletes who have had to transition out of sport. Obviously, the names (and in some cases, the sport) have been changed so that they won’t be recognised but their stories are real.
Fiona: To craft your works, do you have to travel? Before or during the process?
I have attended international congresses to make sure that the contents of the book are based on the latest research. However, there was no travel necessary to craft my work. On the other hand, the basic format of the book was conceived on a plane from Geneva to Bristol, when I was travelling to visit my daughter at Exeter University. I was totally focussed, didn’t even hear that the snacks were being served! When the plane landed, I had devised the whole concept for the book.
Fiona: Who designed the covers?
The cover means a lot to me. It is the image of the penguin jumping into the cold water, representing the beginning of my clients’ journey of discovery. A graphic designer took my brief and did a good job converting it into a cover.
Fiona: Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Athletes’ careers don’t last forever. Advance preparation significantly helps the challenging transition. So, start the voyage of self-discovery now.
Fiona: Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest? Who is your favorite writer, and what is it about their work that really strikes you?
Given my interest in positive psychology and the science of well-being, I really like the book “If you’re so smart, why aren’t you happy?” by Raj Raghunathan. He explains in a very simple way how to get the best out of life.
Fiona: Outside of family members, name one entity that supported your commitment to become a published author.
There were quite a few people who encouraged me to get the book published. Do I have to narrow it down to one person? This would be difficult.
Fiona: Do you see writing as a career?
I would love to continue writing but imagine that I will combine it with coaching and training as well.
Fiona: If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
I wouldn’t change anything in the book. However, I would like to add to it. Any transition in life tends to be challenging, not just out of sport, and we need to pay attention to the potential negative effect on our well-being. The more I delve into this subject, the more I discover. I would love to continue adding to the book to reflect the ongoing research in this area.
Fiona: Did you learn anything during the writing of your recent book?
Apart from the really interesting subjects I needed to research to write the book, I learned that I have a creative side. Having worked in HR within the corporate world for many years, my creativity had been dormant. It was great to re-activate it.
Fiona: If your book was made into a film, who would you like to play the lead?
As it is a self-help book, it would be very difficult to make it into a film. Perhaps the case studies could be worked on and made into a film. If this were the case, I would like someone capable of showing their vulnerable side, opening up about the real issues that athletes face, rather than a superhero who always wins.
Fiona: Any advice for other writers?
Stay committed. Take time out to imagine holding the book in your hands after publication. Make sure you stay true to this image and keep writing, no matter what.
Fiona: Anything specific you want to tell your readers?
Transition out of sport is challenging. If you are overwhelmed, seek help from a medical professional. Knowing when to ask for help is a sign of strength.
Fiona: What book are you reading now?
“The Penguin Lessons” by Tom Mitchell. We can learn a lot from penguins!
Fiona: Do you remember the first book you read?
I don’t remember the first book I read but I have a memory of the village library that will stay with me forever. I must have been about 8 years old. I had taken out a novel to read in the morning. I had spent all day reading it and, having finished it, took it back to the library late afternoon to swop it for a different book. The librarian shouted at me and told me that I shouldn’t take out books if I wasn’t intending to read them. For some reason, I didn’t have the courage to tell her that I had actually read the whole book in one day.
Fiona: What makes you laugh/cry?
I laugh at a lot of things – even my husband’s jokes. I cry at sad movies. I can also get quite emotional when I see an athlete win a gold medal or someone succeed after a personal struggle. The tears will flow!
Fiona: Is there one person, past or present, you would love to meet? Why?
Living in Switzerland, I would love to meet Roger Federer. He has managed to stay at the top of his career for so long whilst juggling all his other commitments. He comes across as caring, funny and kind. The charitable work he does with his foundation, his role as an ambassador for tennis and Switzerland as well as the importance he places on family would be great topics for discussion. I am sure that I could learn a lot from him.
Fiona: Do you have any hobbies?
Combining motherhood and career meant that I never had much time for hobbies. As my children are now grown up, I love walking in the mountains or by the lake near my house.
Fiona: What TV shows/films do you enjoy watching?
I don’t really watch much TV except for the football on a Saturday afternoon. My son and I sit down to watch Aston Villa every Saturday, even if it can get quite depressing.
Fiona: Favorite foods, colors, music?
Having a sweet tooth, I prefer desserts to the main meal. Eating a chocolate ice cream whilst sitting in the sun in the garden is high on my list of happy moments. As for colours, anything bright. I particularly like blue, pink and orange.
Fiona: Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
I don’t think that this will happen. I love coaching people but will always find time to write.
Fiona: You only have 24 hours to live how would you spend that time?
Spending a day in the Swiss mountains with my whole family.
Fiona: What do you want written on your head stone?
Fiona: Do you have a blog or website readers can visit for updates, events and special offers?
I also blog quite frequently on LinkedIn ( https://www.linkedin.com/in/jaschladitz )
Amazon authors page USA