Monika: Today it is my pleasure and honor to interview Alexus Sheppard from the USA. Alexus recently published her memoir, From Both Sides Now, which is available from Amazon, iTunes, Barnes & Noble, and Nook. She is a published author, educator, transgender activist, blogger, and happily married woman with two beautiful grown daughters. Hello Alexus!
Monika: I must say I remember your website very well. It was one of the first websites helping transgender ladies on their way to womanhood …
Alexus: As you know, I started out with an online website/blog over 20 years ago. (oh my goodness, where does time go?) As I started my transgender journey, I began to write articles describing my adventures in my newly-discovered world. And because I posted lots of pictures along with the stories, the website became quite popular. I also attended several transgender conferences to learn more about myself and the community at large. Somehow, apparently due to the random combination of my conference attendance, my budding website and the dramatic explosion of the Internet at the time, I became somewhat of a “celebrity” within the transgender community. I began to hear, over and over, from my friends and online acquaintances, “You need to write a book!”
|The book available via Amazon.|
Then a few years ago, my oldest daughter, Nikki, took me to a multi-day motivational seminar given by a man named James Malinchak. His audience was filled with hundreds of people who had been successful in various careers but were still searching for that nebulous “something.” Many of them gave testimony to the fact that because the publishing industry has changed so dramatically over the past decade or so, almost anyone could now publish a book. A completely new self-publishing industry, along with print-on-demand printing, has made publishing a book achievable at an affordable to almost anyone.
So with this newly-found motivation and energy, I began to assemble and organize all my blogs, stories, and pictures. Pretty soon, I had an accumulation of things that would create about half of a reasonably-sized book. But I was still very much in the early stages of creating a timeline for my story and making an overall organizational outline.
Then the Universe created a serendipitously amazing event.
One weekend my wife, Deb, suggested we take the train into the city to get some fresh oysters. Since we both love oysters, it didn’t take much convincing for me to agree, and off we went. When we arrived at the Ferry Building in San Francisco, our favorite seafood restaurant was closed for remodeling. We were disappointed, but as you can imagine, in a large city like SF, there are many water-side restaurants with oysters. So we walked to another nearby restaurant, but because it was a nice Saturday afternoon, the place was absolutely packed. We asked about reservations, but the maître d’ said they were booked for the rest of the day but we could stand in the bar area and wait for a table to open up there. So we stood in there for about thirty minutes, trying to figure out who might finish first. Then we saw a couple sitting at the bar and he was reaching for his wallet to pay the check. We immediately moved into “nearby hover” position so we could grab their seats as soon as they stood up. Mission accomplished, we had a seat at the bar!
We ordered our oysters, along with some other appetizers, and then the people sitting next to us got up and left as well. The thirty-something couple that then sat down were quite friendly and we struck up a conversation about how busy the place was and how wonderful the food would be when it finally arrived.
After exchanging names and very much in the early stages of our casual get-acquainted conversation, the lady looked over at me and asked, “So Alexus, are you a writer?” I was completely flabbergasted! I answered, “Well, apparently I’m supposed to be.”
I asked her why she would answer such a random question out of the blue, and she simply responded that I had the energy of a writer. (whatever that is) So I told her I was starting on a book, but was floundering a bit and lacked direction. She then said, “If you’re serious about this, and you’re actually ready to go, I can hook you up with people who can make it happen.” I almost fell off my barstool! Really???
She went on to say she had worked in the publishing industry for many years and that she still had friends who were editors, writing coaches, publishers, etc. So I told her I was definitely serious, gave her my contact information, and then we all had our oysters, champagne, and delicious appetizers. I was stunned!
A couple days later, she sent me an email with the name of a writing coach/editor who said she’d be happy to help me through the process. That was just a little over two years ago, and the rest is history…
Absolutely amazing, isn’t it?
|Beautiful bride. More photos.|
Monika: Are there are any transgender ladies that you admire and respect now?
|First glamour shoot. More photos.|
And with the recent right swing of the political pendulum in America and some other parts of the rest of the world, this last frontier of human rights might take a very long time to conquer.
For those in the community who don’t pass quite so easily, my advise is to be strong, considerate, and above all, try to be loving to those who don’t understand. Only by living our lives authentically, and in the open, do we get the opportunity to expand the minds of those around us. And if they don’t accept our true paths, then just know that their rejection is about them, not us.
|Happy couple. More photos.|