An Interview with Author Chandra A. Clements

After completing her tertiary studies and an early career in mining, Chandra became Group General Manager of an AUD$140m, 400-person distribution business at the age of 28. Continuing to climb the ranks of the corporate world, she went on to lead a global psychology and neuroscience-based consultancy firm. Turning entrepreneur in 2013, she established One Legacy Pty Ltd, which consults to companies on leadership excellence, turnaround strategy, improving human performance, innovation, and organizational change.

Chandra has worked across 28 countries, nine languages, ten industries, and has spoken on more than 90 stages around the globe. Chandra is the 2014 Gold Stevie Woman of the Year for Australia, the 2014 Silver Stevie International Executive of the Year, holds a 2013 Gold Stevie for Female Entrepreneur of the Year (Asia, Australia, and New Zealand), a Silver Stevie for International Woman of the Year, a 2013 Silver Stevie for Most Innovative Company for One Legacy and a 2013 Bronze Stevie for Women Helping Women. She was inducted into the Australian Businesswomen’s Hall of Fame in 2014. In 2013 she was named the Newcastle University Young Alumni Medalist for her work across the globe.

Chandra won the Gold Stevie Award for Best Female Executive (Asia, Australia & New Zealand) in 2012, a Bronze Stevie Award for Best Management Team in 2012, a Gold Stevie for Most Innovative Company for Sentis in 2012, and the marie claire Australian Young Business Woman of the Year Award in 2012. Chandra also holds an Australia Day Young Citizen Award for her community and charitable contributions.

Chandra holds a Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Business (Human Resources and Industrial Relations), and a Bachelor of Commerce. She has been a Non-Executive Director on two Boards, supported numerous charities across the globe, and was recognized with a Miss Australia Award of Excellence in 1998. She is regarded as an engaging Master of Ceremonies and Key-Note Speaker having fulfilled such roles for more than 40 largescale not-for-profit and corporate functions. However, perhaps her greatest passion and love is found in her role as a mum. Turning author in 2020, Chandra has loved the publishing journey alongside her daughter, Tara, who is the illustrator of her first book, Rona Stole My Fun – The Four Year Old vs The Virus.

  • Where are you from?
    The beautiful Gold Coast of Australia.
  • Why do you write?
    I have always, always, wanted to. I just never had the time. Social distancing gave me the time suddenly and now my dream of writing a series of “Books for Purpose” is coming true. And with each book, I am just so happy that I have finally done this. I believe my books can change lives and that gives me a feeling I cannot put into words. It makes all the mistakes, all the study, all the global travel, all the late nights, all the issues, all the roadblocks in my career, all lead to this point. And I’m very grateful.
  • What do you write about? 
    The overarching banner is to write “Books for Purpose”. At present I am writing a series of six books targeting the impact of coronavirus on different groups of people and trying to alleviate the associated issues. However, I have another couple in the pipeline that have been lifelong goals which relate to women’s empowerment and self-esteem, domestic violence, and leadership. I have released two of the coronavirus books so far, with a third due out next week.
  • Do you have a specific writing style?
    I prefer expressive and humor filled, colloquial style work but with some of my upcoming pieces, I will showcase my serious and touching format of writing. I want to move people and make them feel like it is just them and the character in the room, and not another care in the world. I want people to feel they are being heard and seen through the books. I have always been a very emotional person who feels others pain and I wanted to tap into that and use that for the benefit of others. I have been a trainer and an executive coach for a long period of my life and so I am relying on my many years on the stage and traveling the globe writing training and coaching material, and putting this in to my books so everyone can access the information in a much more economical fashion.
  • What are obstacles that come in the way of writing? 
    I have a two-year-old and a four-year-old ha ha. Trying to write with the chaos of little people around calls on a whole new level of talent ha ha. It is hard not having time to think but I do leverage the late hours of the night to find that space I need to write. I want to show mums it can be done, even with young ones around demanding your constant attention. My kids are my world so writing will always come second.
  • Whats the most memorable thing asked/said by a reader about your work?
    I received an email recently from a grandmother who wrote of the impact my first book (which is totally illustrated by my four-year-old daughter Tara) has had on her family. It is called Rona Stole My Fun : The Four Year Old Vs The Virus and is a book about social distancing and working from home through the eyes of a four-year-old. It was designed to help little people feel safe that their fun would not be lost and that everything would be ok. The grandmother wrote that the book brought her family together across Australia and America despite Covid 19 and made them feel like they weren’t missing out on family time. It thanked my daughter extensively for her beautiful pictures and went on to say that our book has “shared our family with her family”. If we can help make big and little people feel better in this uncertain period of Covid 19 then both Tara and I are absolutely thrilled.
  • How long have you been writing?
    Since March 2020
  •  When did you first realize you wanted to become a writer?
    I have always wanted to write ever since high school.
  • What is your work schedule like when you are writing?
    It is simply crazy. Picture a two year old on your knee, macaroni cheese everywhere, mummy typing with one hand, a four-year-old wanting you to play lego, an email or two from Ingram Spark or Amazon, a call from a local distributor which you are trying to answer without the two year old saying she needs to do a wee down the phone line and that about sums it up. It is just crazy.
  • What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?
    My choice of words and my ability to convey emotion. As previously indicated, I am a very emotional person so I like to be very expressive and hit the raw nerves that others may avoid. I like to take readers in to space in their minds and to keep them focused on the depth of emotion that they may otherwise ignore within themselves. I like to speak to something really deep in the reader. I like to be real. And I really do care. This isn’t about money. This is about impact.
  • How long does it take to write a book? (if you’ve written one -published or non)
    At the moment about two weeks. It is full on.
  • Do you have suggestions on how to become a better writer?
    It would be remiss of me to advise when I am only so new. But what I could say is be raw with your writing and write about whatever makes you come alive.
  • What challenges do you come across when writing/creating your story?
    Time is a big issue. It has also been literally impossible to get books published with the words Coronavirus or Covid 19 in them up until very recently. Many rejection letters have resulted due to this. Yet I have seen this as a challenge and not an insurmountable obstacle. And we have made it over!!
  • What do you think makes a good story?
    That is easy. Connection, purpose and care. If an author really cares about their readers, it has to be a good book doesn’t it? Well I think so anyway.
  • What does your family think of your writing? 
    My family and my community have been incredibly supportive. I have been blown away by people promoting and buying the book and sending amazing emails and messages of support. My local channel 9 news covered the first book. My local channel 7 news covered the first book. Tara was on the front page of the regional newspaper as an Amazon best seller at age four (best selling illustrator!!- which she actually calls an Imastrator!! So so cute). The local Gold Coast paper is doing a write up on Wednesday of this coming week and That’s Life magazine are covering the first book in an article due out on the 4th June. Tara has been blown away by the attention and support.
  • Do you see writing as a career?
    Yes, I guess I do now. It is just making me come alive and feel a sense of real purpose that had perhaps died down in me some time ago. I feel like this is where I was meant to be doing what I was meant to do.
  • Do you have anything specific you’d like to tell the readers?
    Rona Stole My Grades: A Senior Student’s Story is my second book and it has a real function in the broader community. It is for final year / senior year / year 12 students with concern, anxiety or frustration over what coronavirus has done to their perceived “Most Important Year of School”. It is a self help book disguised as a fiction story and is designed to be read in no more than two hours. It calls on my own experience as a straight A student, Dux/Valedictorian of every school year and the University of Newcastle (Australia) Young Alumni Medalist. I didn’t find my final years of high school very easy and feel for all the students around the globe coping now with not only a very challenging and changing time, but also a time affected by Covid 19. I have written this book after 20 years as a student and executive coach based on the basic neuroscience principles of performance enhancement. It is a performance enhancing tool for any senior year or even any high school student worried about how to achieve the best grades and find the best version of themselves. I am very passionate about this book after reading of a UK student who committed suicide after feeling overwhelmed from the impact of Covid 19 on his already stressful teenage life.
  • When did you first consider yourself a writer?
    Im not sure I do yet but Im getting there. Maybe after another four or so books.

Do you have links that you’d like to share for others to read?

Rona Stole My Grades on Amazon
Rona Stole My Fun on Kindle
Rona Stole My Fun on YouTube
Rona stole My Grades on YouTube

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