Positively unstoppable Queensland author releases blockbuster worthy blueprint novel that opens reality into a healing wonderland for readers worldwide
“I want people to know that they can come out of anything.”
One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. One man’s ceiling is another man’s floor. One man’s pain is another man’s pleasure. And one campsites’ rainy bombardment turned out to be sunshine in disguise for rising Queensland author Lauren Hackney. Her new books Land Angels and The Lolly Shop bring healing to herself and the nation in an unexpected plot twist to her very own life.
Albus Dumbledore said, “Happiness can be found even in the darkest of times when one only remembers to turn on the light.”
2020 was a sticky year. Lauren wasn’t excluded from job loss and her husband Geoff suffered a life-altering heart attack only months later, sending Lauren and their two children into a reasonable era of deep tumult. But Lauren carries the warmth of a cloudless sunrise in her smile. Fill a pot full of Snozberries, Spudgemallows, and Whizadoodles and you’re about a quarter way into what makes up the marvellous mind of Australia’s new ‘one to watch’ author.
After 16 years of working in the aviation industry, Lauren is no stranger to setting people up for adventure. When the pandemic grounded us all to backyard paradise there was a question lingering irritably for an answer. What to do now?
Exactly what she knew best……..travel. Except this time from the comfort of your brain. Lauren turned a bedtime story that she made up for her sons, into an accidental campground phenomenon, into an international seller. She blissfully recalls the out-of-the-blue moment that triggered a fantastic chain of events,
“The first two nights (camping) was torrential rain and I hustled all the kids together under a small tarp and I said hey, let’s tell this bedtime story I’ve said to my kids for years. It was a hit, all the kids not only from our campsite but from neighbouring campsites night by night joined in bedtime stories. Then the girlfriends I was camping with said oh, what are you doing? Not only are you good with kids, but you’ve got this great story.”
The Lolly Shop series brought a fresh wave of fun back to new release literature and a new call out for waterproof books after reports of readers having ‘uncontrollable dribble’ before making it to the end of the book.
“It was wild! My kids and I thought nothing of it because I’m not the only parent to read bedtime stories.”
The series is a hit. Kids got to leave their stressed minds for a while to dream about sticky underwater toffee and all the adventures to be had. The new direction provided a sanctuary for Lauren that gently teased her mind into organised peace as she let her imagination flow wild onto blank pages. Utilising the law of attraction and playing witness to the power of it first hand Lauren explains the feeling of the process of accepting to walk down a new road with her eyes closed, not knowing where the finish line was.
“I say to so many people that I liken it to climbing a mountain. You know you go on a bush walk and you climb a mountain and you don’t know where the trail is going and some bits of the trail, you’re stuck. You’ll come close to the edge and other bits of the trail. There’s too many trees or there’s not enough you know, it’s not until you get to the top of that mountain and you see the view that you know what that was all about. At the time, losing my job was a big deal because I love travelling and being in the same company for 16 years, I’m clearly not wanting to go anywhere. And I kind of had tunnel vision as to where I wanted to go. Then no one could leave the house. The last time I got a job. You went to your local job agency, the main desk helped you find a job whereas now it’s super different. I thought that was crap. I thought that was stressful.”
Lauren continues shaking her head at life then vs life now with an essence of disbelief.
“But when it comes to your brain, it changes. I’ve realised you get up and you practise the familia.
The familiar traits of what you’ve always done like I could see a pattern in my behaviour for years. I’ll get up and do the same things. I would take the same route to work on the same uniform or I’d have the same things for breakfast. And it’s funny because I think I created new brain waves which have brought my brain to think differently to then result in a different outcome. Results in a different future result in a different way in life it makes sense”
Fact: Writing can be extremely therapeutic. Especially if it’s creative. A certain kind of guided, detailed writing can not only help us process what we’ve been through and assist us as we envision a path forward; it can lower our blood pressure, strengthen our immune systems, and increase our general well-being. Expressive writing can result in a reduction in stress, anxiety, and depression; improve our sleep and performance; and bring us greater focus and clarity. – Harvard business review.
She continues to grin widely,
“And then be your own word of mouth. I never started writing. I’m just batshit crazy with my imagination with my kids. The Lolly shop is just what we like. I don’t have a degree in writing or a degree in bedtime stories. But then it’s the belief that you know you can do this. It’s okay. Set the intention as to what you’re putting out there and why you’re doing it. I think it’s gonna attract something really strong.”
Geoff Hackney, Laurens’ husband was rushed into surgery following a heavy heart attack just months after the The Lolly Shop series was launched into succession. The 50/50 survival rate statistics circulating heart failure proved foundational to the families’ motivation levels that many of us struggle to conjure let alone bring into fruition and hold there.
When you take on a project with love as the underlying force. You will succeed.
Nature needs it to.
The process of creating Land Angels lay out an almost blueprint on how to deal with and organise stress moving forwards. The relief of imaginational escape into wondrous lands full of sticky, sour, mouth-clapping, eye-squinting, gloopy fun felt somewhat hard to reach under the new circumstances. Geoffs’ heart condition was a heavy concern, taunting her emotions with irrationalities and unknowns which isn’t practicable, sustainable, or healthy for anyone involved but unavoidable nonetheless.
Not in the business of self-wallowing, Lauren put pen to paper once again. Instead of letting her imagination lead the way this time, she let her heart ooze with feeling into every word of experience. Land Angels is more than ‘just a story’. It’s a guide, explaining what you can do facing a similar reality. The changes they have all had to make in their lives to adjust to a new level of health that ensures the longevity of Geoffs’ heart are carefully tread territory, so any eyes that she can open and hearts she can soften, paths that she can lead, Lauren is embracing with open arms to let you know that you get through absolutely anything.
“His (Geoff’s) treat meal is a ham sandwich once a month. That’s how extreme we’ve had to go. And so it’s now working out what you’re like around a bunch of people and trying not to be a pain in the butt. All the barbecues, we would go to, the family picnics we’d go to because it was so easy before. Chuck sausages on the barbecue, you know that kind of rubbish. So the people who have read the book where I talk about lifestyle changes, even trying to be intimate after a heart attack is scary. It’s all those little things I talk about.”
She’s brought tears of deafening resilience to the eyes of readers all over the world. Australia, New Zealand, Canada even as far as the UK.
“I really want to promote not just how difficult it can be when someone young has a heart attack. Because Geoff (41) was the youngest in that surgical ward by far. So it was one of those things where it feels a bit isolated. I’m not saying he’s a victim or anything, but there was a bit of loneliness there.”
Land Angels has been so impactful on its readers that it’s been called out for not being long enough! The people want MORE. Bounds of encouragement have been flurrying through the author world who wouldn’t bat an eyelid if they knew they had to camp outside the store for a few days to get first grab hands on her next novel. The book has been praised for its vulnerability and its blind-sighted plot twist – I’m not a spoiler you have to buy it. With promise on the horizon for Land Angels to be scripted into a film the Hackney family dream now, as opposed to three years ago, is so wildly and incomprehensibly different to what they had ever imagined before. But by taking it on with strife, as a family they continue to raise the ceiling.
The untraditional route is more and more the way to go in a world bursting with passion and kept at bay by qualifications and ‘rules’. It can be daunting to make new changes. Daunting doesn’t mean bad. Just unknown. And breaking your normal comfortable routine for something a little more pizazz has countless positive repercussions.
Lauren explains how her thinking and analysis have changed over the last few years of transition.
“I was happy in my life before COVID Because, in all fairness, I loved my job. I love travelling. I had no reason to change. Then COVID came and then Jeff almost died.
I changed so much because I believe I was creating a lot of new pathways in my brain which made me think differently. And one of them was, you are the closest seven people you have around you. If you sum up all the people you hang out with, and some of them you don’t realise, I wouldn’t say holding you back. That’s not the right way to say but they love you being familiar because they’re familiar, and you fit just fine.
If you find those people who push you and surround yourself with those people who you want to do new things with. Look at that camping group of girlfriends. They said ‘Oh, what are you doing? This is awesome.’ Whereas I’ve had friends for 20 years that I still hang out with, they’re still great, but never encouraged me to tell this story that they knew was happening. They knew how I put my kids to bed. They knew the times when they would come over after work. I’d be like, ‘Girls, I’m just putting the kids to bed. Not a problem. I’d be there for 15 minutes telling them a story. I’ve come back to the chat. Awesome, they never encouraged me to write it.
But if you surround yourself with people who want you to succeed and with good intentions, I believe intention is key. It just so happened that I started spending more time with certain people and less with others and not in a bad way. It was just foreign to the energy I was getting from this group. So that was that. Then the other thing was recognising the floor in my regular life before because like I said, the familiar familiarity of getting stuck in the same routine.”
There is so much gold to take away from Lauren’s affable personality and approach to such an amount of stress whilst raising a family. A true pillar of inspiration for getting out of your comfort zone in the face of tough times and MAKING change happens rather than waiting for it. She didn’t let the world come and break her, she stood up tall and embraced what the world threw at her instead.