Our Emma’s ready to rock at any time of the day, but she was up and at ’em early doors for 24 questions with Rachel Taranaki, author of superb children’s self-help book The Worries, and one half of the brains behind the Crystal Companions Collection. More about those later…
24 fingers: Hi Rachel, how are you?
Rachel: I’m all right, how are you?
24 fingers: Well, thank you very much. I’m okay. So should we begin?
Rachel: Yeah, let’s begin.
24 fingers: What’s your favourite word?
Rachel: My favourite word is peaceful.
24 fingers: Very good. What’s gets you up in the morning?
Rachel: My alarm or the kids, both normally.
24 fingers: Your alarm is your kids. What do you honestly truly think of social media?
Rachel: I think it’s good and I think it’s bad. I think it’s really good to connect people that are so far away from each other like across the world. I think it’s really good to get messages out to lots of people at the same time, it’s good for promotion but I also think that people can get consumed by it in a not very good way.
You know, they start getting a bit obsessed about how many likes they’ve got on something or what people say. They get into arguments with people because opinions change and so, I don’t think that side of it is very good. But, you know, then you’ve got to take a break from it, haven’t you?
24 fingers: It’s all about balance, isn’t it? Kindles or books?
Rachel: Do you know what? I think both.
24 fingers: Really?
Rachel: I love books more than Kindles because I love turning the pages and I think it’s really important for children to have books. But you know why I like a Kindle as well? It’s because at night time it’s got the backlight. That’s the only reason. I should get a book torch, shouldn’t I? That I can clip onto pages.
24 fingers: Do that instead. You’re an author, what do you think is the biggest challenge to your industry right now?
Rachel: I don’t know what to say about this because I’m a complete newbie to the whole industry. I think for us, the challenge with this book is to get it known and to get it to the right people that can take it to where we want it to go. So I think that’s our personal challenge at the minute.
24 fingers: We’re going be hearing about your book very shortly, but what did you want to be when you were growing up?
Rachel: I wanted to go to Africa and study and work with elephants because love them but then, I realised that I’d have to go to university and do a lot more schooling and zoology degrees. I didn’t want to do that, so…
24 fingers: What led you to your current career?
Rachel: I think just realising that if we can support children’s wellbeing and mental health from such an early age, and give them tools to help them cope with things that life throw at them. That’s a really good thing and I’ve really suffered with my mental health.
I have had, have post traumatic stress, so I sometimes think, “God, if I knew back then what I have learned now about how to handle emotions, and feelings, and bringing your crazy thoughts when it’s all getting out of control.” I think that probably would have helped me. So if you teach children that from a really young age, it can be tools to take them the whole way through.
24 fingers: I 100% agree, well done. The minute I saw your story on Twitter, I just knew that I needed to talk to you. So I’m so thrilled that we’re doing this today.
Rachel: Oh, that’s so lovely.
24 fingers: Your favourite word was peaceful, can you use it in a sentence?
Rachel: Feeling peaceful can be blissful.
24 fingers: Very good. That’s why you’re an author. Now can you make it rhyme?
Rachel: Oh, I don’t know.
24 fingers: You just did actually, didn’t you?
Rachel: Oh no, that was my rhyming one, yeah.
24 fingers: What was your sentence?
Rachel: Everybody should find something that makes them feel peaceful.
24 fingers: Very good. What advice would you give to your younger self?
Rachel: Oh, this was a difficult one. Do you know what? I think I’d say to my younger self, “Just keep going.” Because I think that every situation and everyone you meet, and everything you have to go through growing up, it can mould you into the grownup you want to be.
I had quite a difficult time at school and all of that, and when you’re in it it’s awful, but then when you look back you kind of go, “actually, that really helped me become who I am.”
24 fingers: I think certain situations in adulthood that actually are, you know, horrendous at the time. When you come out of it, actually some of the things I’ve been through, I think actually I wouldn’t have changed that because that has helped me become a lot stronger.
Rachel: Yeah and you shouldn’t have regrets either. You know like a lot of people go, “Oh, I wish I didn’t” I just think, well even if it’s like a bad thing you did or happened to you, it’s like a lesson to learn. It’s something you should take from it, so.
24 fingers: Yeah, there’s a lesson in everything. What’s the best thing anyone has ever done for you?
Rachel: I think that was so hard too because there’s loads of amazing people that have done amazing things. Can I have a few people?
24 fingers: Go on. I’ll let you.
Rachel: It’s a bit of a story, is that all right as well?
24 fingers: Yeah, yeah.
Rachel: So in 2009, I was living in Samoa with my husband, who’s Samoan and we had just moved there, have been there a month and we were living on the beach with our friend’s beach resort. So we had a massive earthquake there, I think it was an 8.9 and because of that, what followed was a huge tsunami and me and my husband got all caught up in it and it was horrific and you know, we’re just very lucky to be here right now.
After that I had a friend in New Zealand called Nicole and she, with her own money, she bought me and my husband clothes and underwear, and toothbrush, and toothpaste and soap. She flew from New Zealand in the middle of this awfulness to bring us essentials that we needed. Not only did she do it for us, she bought extra toothpaste, and soap, and toothbrushes for the villagers because everybody lost everything. You know, we lost everything, everybody lost everything and it was just that. So, but as well as that, my sister-in-law, she was in New Zealand and she got on a plane to come and find us, and on the way to the airport, I don’t know how but somehow she was told that me and my husband were dead, that her brother and me were dead. So she flew the whole way thinking that she was coming to find bodies.
24 fingers: Oh that’s horrendous.
Rachel: When she pulled up at the house that we were at, oh it was just the best to see her and then I have another one, which is my mum. I told you it’s a long story. After the tsunami and everything, I just kind of lost my mind. I remember there was a point when I thought I’m actually not okay mentally and she flew all the way from England. And she came and she kind of went, looked at me and was like “err” and she brought me home to England. Then also my dad because my dad has just been amazing my whole life, but especially Nicole. She didn’t even question it, she just packed up a suitcase and brought it for us and forever grateful.
24 fingers: I just want to give you a hug now.
Rachel: It’s all right. It’s a long time ago but when people are that kind, oh God, it just makes you forever grateful for everything. So yeah, that’s why I had a few people.
24 fingers: Okay, so you might not had it yet, but what’s been your career defining moment?
Rachel: Well I think getting my first book published, that’s pretty cool but I also hope there’s going to be lots of career defining moments, but I think once we get the book and the whole collection, Crystal Companions Collection into the schools and everywhere we want it to go. I think that will be amazing.
When it’s finally in there and helping these little children with all their worries and anxieties. That’s the whole point of it. That would just be the best.
24 fingers: Great, I’m sure that’s to come. Now if you won a big award of some kind, who would you thank?
Rachel: Do you know what? I’d thank my husband because he has just been brilliant. We have been through so much and he’s put up with all my mental health stuff and all the craziness and all of that. I’d also thank everybody because like I said before, you know, I think you meet people for a reason and even if they’re kind or not so kind, they’ve helped you become who you are. So yes, definitely.
24 fingers: So can you give us a time saver of the day?
Rachel: Have a stash of pens, a secret stash of pens that your kids don’t know where they are, because whenever… “have you got a pad?” “Oh yeah, hang on. Oh no, I don’t have a pen.” Then I have to spend an hour searching for a pen. So that’s my time saver and don’t tell anybody.
24 fingers: No, I want to tell every mum out there because you’re 100% right. Where do you see the publishing industry in 24 months?
Rachel: Well, I don’t know. Come back in 24 months and I’ll be like, “Oh wow.”
24 fingers: Where were you 24 months ago?
Rachel: Do you know it’s crazy, I found this a really difficult answer to find because it’s like I can’t remember. So to me that means I was probably coming out of my post traumatic stress, I would think, because I find that kind of time… There’s certain things I just cannot remember and I’m like: “how old were my kids two years ago?” So I would have been living in Cornwall and I think I was probably just trying to find my feet and start getting my brain back okay, I think, probably.
24 fingers: What’s an interesting fact about you?
Rachel: I don’t know. I can tell you an interesting fact about the book though.
24 fingers: Okay.
Rachel: I didn’t actually ever sit down to write a book. I didn’t go, “right, I’m going to write this book.” I was doing something completely different and these words just totally came in. It was like someone was telling me and I thought, “Oh, that’s important.” So I wrote them down and then the word worries came up, and I thought like, “That’s going to be the title” and that’s how the book came about. I didn’t try, it was just like, “You should be doing this.”
24 fingers: You’re were guided?
Rachel: Totally and it was brilliant.
24 fingers: Love it. If you can have a 24-minute Zoom call with anyone living or dead, who would it be?
Rachel: Do you know what, there’s so many.
24 fingers: Zoom’s up to 100 on the paid-for version.
Rachel: I’m going to have to say I think my person would be Michael Jackson. It’s just my opinion and I know it’s a weird one. I feel like he was was a very, very misunderstood person. Tricky, but my other one would be my friend Alan, who died last year and he owned a crystal shop in the town where we are.
I could just go in there and for like 10 minutes and three hours later. And he was so wise and he had so much knowledge of like self-healing and energy healing and all that amazing stuff. I just miss him, I just miss talking to him.
24 fingers: I want to give you another hug.
Rachel: Oh no, no, this doesn’t have to be like a sob story, you know.
24 fingers: What’s one word you’d like people to describe you with?
Rachel: Kind. I’d like people to think I was kind.
24 fingers: Would you mind taking a selfie for us? I’m gonna do screen grab if you smile. Done. I know you’re not a massive social media fan, but is there anything that you’ve seen on social media that you’d recommend other people to follow?
Rachel: Well, the other half of Crystal Companions is a lady called Angela J Spencer and she has her own business, a company called Babyopathy and that is brilliant. It’s a whole natural support for mums who are pregnant, all the way through to when they’ve had a baby and beyond. She does this brilliant thing called Routine in the Womb and it’s getting to know your baby’s movements, so you know if things are all right or not all right, and when to take action and when not to take action.
She really concentrates on stress through pregnancy, and I am first-hand knowledge of what can happen to babies if your mum is stressed through pregnancy. So I think that’s a brilliant thing.
24 fingers: Wow. Actually she could be our next guest.
Rachel: Yeah, she should. She’s like so knowledgeable of all of that, but can I have another one?
24 fingers: Yes.
Rachel: I’m a bit greedy, aren’t I? My other one is a thing called London Real, have you heard of that? It’s by a guy called Brian Rose and he’s developed a thing called the Digital Freedom Platform. He gets on these really interesting people, well, I find them interesting, to give you like the other side of what’s going on in the world, the other side of what the media are telling you and gives you a really different perspective on things.
I love stuff like that. I love outside the box, I love getting both sides. I question everything, so for me it’s brilliant and it’s a completely uncensored interview. So, you know, his interview is like three hours long and because he’s made up this platform, nobody can go in and like censor him or take it down. The stuff is very good, yes.
24 fingers: I’m going to go and check that, it sounds good. Give me one quote that defines your work ethic?
Rachel: I thought about this and I reckon it will be something like credit where credit’s due, you know. Because I think even if you make it to the top of wherever you’re trying to go, you can’t forget everybody who helped you there, because you never get there on your own. Anything in life, so I think you have to always remember to give credit to people that deserve it.
24 fingers: I’ll give a high five to Team 24 Fingers. What’s been the best part of your day? I know it’s early.
Rachel: Waking up. Just waking up and knowing that all my family woke up because so many people probably didn’t wake up today.
24 fingers: Love that.
Rachel: So that’s my best day, the best part.
24 fingers: Finally, anything to plug. Now is your chance to talk about the book in in more detail.
Rachel: Okay, so I want a plug my book, obviously, but I also want to plug the whole Crystal Companions Collection, which is just starting up with me and Angie. It is a whole collection of tools to help children with their wellbeing and their mental health. So the book is all about, it’s literally telling children that you have worries and they can feel like this or they can feel like that. But if you talk about them, it can make things so much better. I think that’s a really, really, really important thing, is to get children to talk.
There’s no harm in talking about how you feel. And I think so often we’re told you just shush, a brave face and all of that and I don’t think that’s right. So I want to plug the whole Crystal Companions Collection please and my book.
24 fingers: How can people get a copy?
Rachel: They go onto Angie’s Babyopathy website and go into shop and it’s there or they can contact me, they can. I don’t know how that works on Facebook and get a copy, or it’s available at Waterstones. They don’t stock it but you can order it.
24 fingers: We’ll put the links in the video but, Rachel, I just want to say congratulations and how lovely it was to speak to you, you’re really inspiring. I’m sure this is gonna be a huge success because kids need this and be a really kind of a practical way of parents helping their children through this collection. So well done again and I can’t wait to see the next bit of your journey.
Rachel: Oh, thanks so much. I was so nervous about doing this and now I’ve just really enjoyed it, so thanks, yeah.
24 fingers: Then my work here is done.
24 fingers: Take care, see you later.
Rachel: Bye, thank you, Emma.