Interview with Jody Smith
Today we’d like to introduce you to Jody Smith.
Hi Jody, thanks for sharing your story with us. To start, maybe you can tell our readers some of your backstories.
Over a decade ago, I was the owner of an interior design studio and furniture store in Scottsdale, AZ called Vintage Villas. I loved my store and my clients, but during the lifetime of that store, I had 2 babies. With the addition of each child, the store’s demands became bigger, my husbands’ job was demanding he travels for work and because of all my responsibilities, my health started failing. I was eventually diagnosed with MS, which turned out to be a misdiagnosis, but let’s just say the stress of my life was not working for me or my body.
So my husband got his wish and we moved to Minnesota, the place he grew up and had been longing to return to. I was a stay-at-home mom for the first time and I reveled in my girl’s presence. We spent the summer having tea parties, building forts and ninja courses, doing science experiments, and blowing bubbles. At night, I would read them all the popular fairy tales about the damsel in distress, the kiss, the prince, etc. But that was not who they were during the day. So the day they went to school after that first summer in Minnesota, I wrote the first draft of a children’s book reflecting on my experience with them. It was about a girl who was interested in a multitude of activities and was proud of being her authentic self. I continued raising my girls and following the breadcrumbs around my vision of that book. I had no idea how to write or produce a children’s book, but one lead at a time, I found my way to completion.
Eight years later, Princess Monroe and Her Happily Ever After was published by Purple Butterfly Press. I have also been a contributor to an anthology and have continued to write for the last 6 years. I am on the precipice of launching what will be a collection of my writing, as well as, some offerings to lead us into more enchanted lives.
Who doesn’t want a life filled with more joy, connection, and magic?
Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
No. But I’m not sure any roads worth traveling are.
It started with my health deteriorating in Arizona. In retrospect, it was a blessing because my body was showing me I was on the wrong path. Once I arrived in Minnesota and was staying at home with my kids, I slowed down tremendously. It took me a while to learn how to, but I eventually did figure out a pace that worked for me. From that slower pace, my creativity thrived.
Then as the book progressed, it was a giant learning curve. I wasn’t familiar with the industry or what was considered “normal.” Every page of my book was painted. I had to learn the process from painting to electronic files, directions with color, and the importance of editing. Luckily, I met a few women who believed in the story and wanted to bring it to life, including my book designer and my publisher.
Now, I am in another phase of my career, creating and launching Courageous Girl and I can tell the struggles are just beginning. But I now see the struggle as a necessary path to creation. It’s just learning and expansion. Growth is not possible without it.
Thanks for sharing that. So, maybe next you can tell us a bit more about your work?
I am a storyteller and a creative. Since my entrance onto this planet, I have been telling stories. My family even has a nickname for me, JEF (jody’s embellishment factor). I see it as necessary theatrics to get my point across.
I am most proud of being a mom to the most brilliant girls on the planet. They are my sacred journey.
I am not “known” for much yet. I have been busy raising my family and documenting my stories. But I would say in my community, I am known for being a joyful, colorful addition to a dinner party. I am known to demand attention be paid to the subtleties of life.
To spend more time in nature and dance while you are doing the dishes. to be intentional with your precious days and not squander them under a list of to-dos, but instead celebrate small wins and ordinary moments of daily magic.
What sort of changes are you expecting over the next 5-10 years?
I think as a collective, we are going to learn how to slow down.
How to place our attention on what matters to us personally, as opposed to burning time using social media and other numbing techniques. I think in storytelling, specifically, there is going to be a shift in the narrative. We need more stories from women, from the lens of intersectionality, and from historically marginalized communities.
Princess Monroe and Her Happily Ever After hardcover $16.73
Princess Monroe and Her Happily Ever After paperback $10.99
Her Path Forward $16.99
Instagram: @jodyvalleesmith and @enchantmentschool (coming fall 2023)
Facebook: Princess Monroe and Her Happily Ever After