With my recent interview on Louise Wise's "Wise Words" blog and recent exposure of having one of the "50 Best Blogs in the Unschooling Movement", I realized that I haven't posted much personal information on this site about who I am and why I, Lisa Cottrell-Bentley, started Do Life Right, Incorporated. Here are a few common questions I have received. If you have another, please let me know and I'll answer as many as I can.
Who am I? I'm Lisa Cottrell-Bentley, a unschooling/homeschooling mother of two brilliant and beautiful daughters. I live in southern Arizona with my wonderful daughters, amazing husband, and five spunky cats. We love solitude and live out in the Sonoran desert on ten quiet acres. I'm originally from Iowa/Illinois, and have lived in Arizona since 1999.
What do I do with my days? Well...it depends on the day. My family spends a lot of time at home, yet a lot of time traveling. We love the balance. I write articles for my own sites (and I have quite a few), as well as Vegan Mainstream. I've been a Girl Scout Leader (of the best troop on Earth) for ten years now. I've been teaching Creative Writing classes to kids and teens for about a year (I *love* this passionately). I also, obviously, spend time writing fiction stories of my own, editing other authors' work, marketing, doing interviews, taking care of finances, publishing books, and much more related to making my business run smoothly while growing.
Why did I start a publishing company? Great question! This is probably the #1 question I'm asked by interviewers. A little history: I started Do Life Right, Inc. in 2005 as a consulting company, helping people out with their personal conversions to homeschooling and/or vegan lifestyles. We incorporated in October 2007. We turned the company into a publishing company in April 2009, with an influx of capital from a private investor.
After years and years of my older daughter becoming frustrated with all the children's books she was reading, we discussed why she didn't like the books she was reading and what the ideal book series would be. She was frustrated with all the books that were school centric, had deceased (or at least absent) parents, had siblings and friends who hated each other, etc. Her ideal book would be a series of books where the characters had true growth, siblings loved each other, parents participated in the lives of their children, and school (and/or the hatred of school) was not the focus of the book. She wanted action and adventure, mysteries, and science fiction details.
Since nothing like that existed yet, I set out to write this "perfect" series. Once I'd written several books of the series, I took these manuscripts to publishers and agents. The only feedback I received was that while the writing was great, I needed to "get rid of the parents, make the siblings not like each other, get rid of the homeschooling aspect," and basically make it just like every other book out there--the exact opposite of what I wanted to write.
I took this information, along with the fact that there are over 2.2 million homeschoolers in the United States of America alone, and found an investor who believed in my vision. I was able to take that funding and publish the first two books in my series (as well as do a lot of marketing, trademarking, and much more). I've then used the proceeds to grow the company. We're now about to publish the fourth book in the Wright on Time series, as well as several books from other authors. We are actively seeking great manuscripts with realistic homeschoolers of today as the main characters.
Where do you work? I work from home when I'm home, and in motel rooms, friends'/family's homes and roadside Wi-Fi locations when I'm on the road. Since nearly all of my work is done on a laptop, I can take my office with me wherever I go. I actually get quite a lot done while I wait for my younger daughter at her dance class.
When did you start writing? I've had stories in my head since my earliest memories. While I can't pinpoint how old I was when I wrote my first story, I was nine when I won my first writing contest. That said, I believe anyone can begin their writing career at any age.
How do you find time for everything? Well... I do one thing at a time. My children come first, always, yet I have plenty of time to pursue my own interests, especially the older my daughters get. Yes, I have a lot going on in my life, but I thrive that way. I enjoy having a variety of activities.
More information about me, Lisa, can be found here:
- Do Life Right -- my personal blog where I talk about homeschooling, unschooling, veganism, my family, my family's adventures, and just random topics
- Wright on Time Books -- my children's chapter book series about an RV-living, homeschooling family who travels the USA; Click HERE to go straight to the media page with interviews, appearance dates and more
- Rich Author, Poor Writer -- fledgling site where I discuss the pros and cons of various types of publishing, and how to pick which option is the best for each writer's individual circumstances