Interview with Trish Ahjel Roberts, Author of 'Thinking Outside the Chrysalis: A Black Woman's Guide to Spreading Her Wings'

 Nov 8, 2020

I was privileged to invite Author Trish Ahjel Roberts for an interview to discuss her latest book Thinking Outside the Chrysalis: A Black Woman's Guide to Spreading Her Wings and the inspiration behind it. Enjoy!


What's your book about, and what inspired you to write it?

"Thinking Outside the Chrysalis: A Black Woman's Guide to Spreading Her Wings" is a roadmap to a self-actualized life. I started writing the book as part of a wellness retreat I was planning. I named the retreat "Thinking Outside the Chrysalis" because I love the butterfly's story of transformation. Before you can get outside the butterfly's chrysalis, or cocoon, you have to imagine life on the other side. I wanted to teach my retreat participants how to get out of their own way to become more joyful and fulfilled in their lives, like butterflies. I actually woke up in the middle of the night with ten of the chapter concepts. The retreat ended up getting cancelled because of COVID, but my signature work was born.

Who is your target audience, and why do you think this book will appeal to them?

Anyone can benefit from the wisdom in the book, but it is my unapologetic love letter to Black women. It will appeal to women who are looking for healing, inspiration, personal growth and happiness. I really hope that means all women.

What message do you wish to pass across to your readers with this book?

I want my readers to know that we are the architects of our own lives. Many times we feel controlled by circumstances, but when we look closer, we find options. I want my readers to find joy, fulfillment and ultimately, freedom.

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?

I had to relive difficult times in my life in order to share my story. Some of those writing sessions were really draining, but it was important to let my readers know that, like them, I've been through stuff. Ultimately it's my most challenging experiences that have helped me expand my knowledge and compassion.

As a writer, is there anything you've learned about yourself while writing this book?

Because this is my first memoir, it's really allowed me to stand in my truth and authenticity. I've learned how courageous I can be. I found my voice.

For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books, and why?  

I love paperback books and audiobooks. I'm not a fan of electronic books at all, although I appreciate that they don't leave a carbon footprint. I also don't really like hard covers. I like my books soft and squishy! I'm working on the audiobook for "Thinking Outside the Chrysalis" now. I can't wait to release it.

What is your niche genre, and if you were to write in a different genre, what would it be?

I'm an independent author, so I've had the luxury of writing in different genres. My current title is a self-help memoir, but my first book was a romantic drama. If I could choose a name for my genre, I would say "inspirational." Whether I write self-help, memoir, young adult or adult fiction, or even a cookbook. My goal is to inspire my readers.

What books and authors have most influenced you?

"I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" by Maya Angelou, "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" by Alex Haley, "Beloved" by Toni Morrison, and "Their Eyes Were Watching God," by Zora Neale Hurston were a few that had a big impact on me. There are so many more. I love to read. I could go on forever.

Is there anything you'd like readers to know about you?

It's never to late to change your life. I quit my job after twelve years as a financial advisor and launched my business to write, coach and teach yoga and meditation full-time. Even if it's baby steps, never stop working toward your dreams.

Do you have any more books in the works?

I'm releasing "12 Steps to Mind-Blowing Happiness: A Journal of Insights, Quotes & Questions to Juice Up Your Journey" on 11/11/2020. I'm working on two offerings for 2021: the self-help memoir, "Raising Caterpillars: A Black Woman's Guide to Inspired Parenting" and the young adult novel, "Butterfly Squad."

Do you read your book reviews? How do you deal with bad or good ones?

I definitely read my book reviews. When I published my first book back in 2015 most of my reviews were 4- and 5-star, but I got one 3-star review. I didn't like it, but it wasn't really bad. I've never gotten anything lower than that, so I'm grateful. "Thinking Outside the Chrysalis" currently has a 4.9 star rating on Amazon. I'm really proud of that. I also got a 5-star review from Indies Today. When I get great reviews and compliments, I accept them with grace, gratitude and honor for my many teachers.

Your first book was under the name "Trish Ahjel" and your new book is "Trish Ahjel Roberts." Why the change?

Using my full name is part of my own personal growth. When I wrote my first novel, I used my middle name to create some space between me and my role as a corporate employee. By the time I wrote "Thinking Outside the Chrysalis," I had made the decision to work for myself, find my freedom and stand in my truth with my whole name. I'm so grateful

I see you're a blogger. What do you like best about blogging?

I love blogging because it gives me the opportunity to inspire folks on a weekly basis, and it's always current. Either I'm discussing relevant topics in the news, or I'm writing about events in my life. At the end, there's always inspiration. Words are so important.  We all need to be encouraged and inspired, especially during difficult times.


Trish Ahjel Roberts is a blogger, self-actualization coach, yoga and meditation instructor, reiki practitioner, retreat organizer and founder of HoneyButterflyz Wellness & Transformation. She was born and raised in Brooklyn, NY and attended Stuyvesant High School in Manhattan. She holds a Bachelor's degree from the Metropolitan College of New York and an MBA from Long Island University. She has ten years of Buddhist study at Kadampa Meditation Center in Atlanta, GA and twenty years of yoga experience. She lives with her daughter and their dog in Atlanta, GA. She believes movement and nature are therapy and loves hiking, running and hot yoga. 


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