What inspired you to be part of this book? 

I saw Char Murphy’s LinkedIn message calling authors to write about Hope and Inspiration. She had tagged me on the post, so I looked it up, and those two words she used captivated me at once. I had a story in mind that I felt needed to be written. I had an inner calling to express the loss I had a few years ago when my mother died and how, against all odds, I recovered from that. I process a lot of my emotions through writing, so this was an excellent opportunity to take another step in healing and empowering others to have hope in their journeys. Char Murphy and I are both writers for the BIZCATALYST360° and friends with Dennis Pitocco, so we have been in the same network for a while. There is a great kinship in this circle of authors.

Who is your biggest influence and why?

My mother has been my greatest role model because of her endless curiosity to explore the world of healing and learning. She studied psychology, herbs, healing, dream analogy, genealogy, fine arts, etc. She read everything from children’s books to university studies, preferably in multiple languages. I loved sitting down with her to discuss life and all our curious dreams, what they meant, and what was out there in the Universe that we could not see.

Tell us something we don’t know about you?

I love gaming. Ever since I was a child, I had video games and electronic games. I was the only girl in my class who had all these gadgets. Hardly anyone knew that I was still playing Halo and The Elder Scrolls when I was working long hours as a manager in IT. I just played at night or on weekends whenever I had the time. I even applied for a job at Microsoft in this field, but I found out it would have been several steps backward in pay grades, so I could not afford it. In my generation, games were for boys. I am happy this trend has changed, and I hope that one day women who specialize in gaming do not have to hide their identity in online communities. When I started writing in earnest I had to stop any gaming activities because writing takes up so much energy.  

Since we try to share inspiration at Motivation Champs can you share your favorite inspirational quote? 

“I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.” – Douglas Adams. May he hitchhike safely in the stars. His books have brought me so much joy. I love his satire and irony – it resonates well with my Finnish heritage (we tend to be quite sarcastic.)

What was your favorite book as a child? What is your favorite activity to do with the family?

When I was eight years old, my uncle lent me his Lord of the Rings book. The book even had very neat, folded maps of Middle Earth. The moment I opened the book, my life changed. I fell in love with high fantasy right there and then, and all I dreamed about was to be on adventures and be able to conjure magic. I have read countless Fantasy and Sci-Fi books since then. Tolkien remains my favorite author to this date.

I loved spending time with my mother and sisters on little summer road trips. I remember the happy feeling we shared sitting on the pier, looking at a pristine lake, and finally taking a long, refreshing swim. We have thousands of lakes in Finland, so you are bound to pass one driving around.

What do you hope the reader gets from this book?

I know they will find unique stories that are both emotional and inspiring. So many people are looking for comfort in today’s chaotic world. The stories in Mission Hope provide inspiration and coping tools as well as companionship so that the readers know they are not alone in facing adversities. All the authors have faced challenges, yet we have all found strength, love, and hope to continue our lives. Through these stories of self-transformation, I hope people will find the courage to share their experiences as well.

Are you working on any other projects? 

I am always working on some creative projects – writing blogs and poems and taking photographs for social media. In my day job, I continuously work on social media advocacy-related programs, so my passion and work tie in together. In addition, I have some plans with Char Murphy for a sequel to Mission Hope, which will be an exciting project. I am very much looking forward to that.

Where can we get in touch with you?

Follow me on:

LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/marialehtman/

Twitter: @LehtmanMaria

Instagram: @thedigitalteacup

Anyone can send me a direct message through these accounts.

I also have a website: https://thedigitalteacup.com/ you can follow. My favorite site is https://www.bizcatalyst360.com/author/marialehtman/, where I am a Featured Writer and Columnist. I warmly recommend signing up for the BC360 TODAY https://follow.it/atbc360-today, and new authors to join the community.