I just finished reading Queen of Your Own Life and I’m excited to be interviewing the authors today. Kathy Kinney and Cindy Ratzlaff are highly accomplished women and best friends. Kathy is best known for playing Mimi Bobeck on The Drew Carey Show. She has appeared in several films and television shows and toured the world with Drew Carey and the Improv All-Stars. Cindy is a publishing executive and President of Brand New Brand You. She has created marketing campaigns for more than 100 New York Times bestselling books.
Natalie: Ladies, why did you want to write Queen of Your Own Life together?
Cindy: We’ve been friends for more than 30 years. We’ve shared some of our most important life moments together. When I got laid off from my job as a publishing executive, I was hurt, frightened and really had the wind knocked out of my self-esteem. Kathy was able to hold a mirror up for me and reflect back to me what she always sees; the best in me. And, she kept doing that until I saw it too. It was through that moment of real friendship that the idea for Queen was born. Kathy and I had our own crowning ceremony to celebrate the women we had become and it made us laugh, cry and feel great. When we shared that with out other friends, they all said “I want that too.”
Kathy: It was only after four or five other crowning parties with friends that we realized we’d tapped into something pretty universal. Women everywhere were identifying with the Queen attitude. Cindy had been in publishing and she said, “I think this might be a book.” We decided that we’d write it all down only if it remained fun and only if we could work with nice people and only if it was easy. Well, the first agent we approached loved it. She was nice and the publisher who eventually won the bid for our book was nice too. The easy part was conceiving of the book. Writing was not easy but it was so much fun. I live in Los Angeles and Cindy lives in Pennsylvania. But we were still able to write together. We both have big iMac’s and we write everyday via ichat or Skype. We’ve created a virtual office for ourselves and we really can’t get through a day anymore without connecting that way.
Natalie: Throughout the book you talk about the gifts we can give ourselves. If you could each pick just one of those gifts for a woman to give herself, which would it be?
Cindy: For me that gift would be setting boundaries. So many women tell us that they are stressed and overwhelmed and that their families and friends expect too much of them and take advantage of them. We say, not so fast. Your family or friend doesn’t want to take advantage of you but we suspect you’ve been saying yes when you really mean no. When we say yes but mean no we show up for the relationship with resentment. We owe it to our friends and families to say what we mean and mean what we say.
Kathy: I’d want women to give themselves the gift of a Windy Mountain Moment. We think life is like a tapestry but most of the time we’re living in the back with all the knotted threads and trying to dodge the sharp needle poking through. It’s very important to step around to the front every once in awhile and see the beautiful work, the beauty of a life well lived. That’s the moment to take a deep breath and say “I admire this woman. I admire me.”
Natalie: What advice do you have for the woman reading this who isn’t very happy with the place she’s at in her life and wanting a change?
Cindy: Every day is a new opportunity to make that change. There is always something more. Surround yourself with positive, agenda-free friends who will support your desire to change. Then walk through the fear by taking baby steps toward your goal. Know that everyone has fear. Real bravery is taking action despite that fear.
Kathy: It’s time to, as we say in the Midwest, poop or get off the pot about how you feel about yourself. When are you going to do the things you long to do? When are you going to see the positive moments or people in a day? Isn’t it time to be happy? If not now, when?
Natalie: I see you post affirmations regularly on Twitter and Facebook and your book has a bunch of awesome “Royal Proclamations.” What is each of your favorite affirmations?
Cindy: My favorite affirmation is “I am Queen of My Own Life and I shall confront that damn talking mirror every day. It will have no power over me. Every time I look into it, I will see myself as the beautiful, intelligent, valuable woman that I am. So says the Queen!”
Kathy: One of my favorites is “I, the Queen, will fire up my imagination so that each day I can find something to be glad about. I will embrace my inner Pollyanna, without fear or embarrassment, and make the choice to be happy. I will create my own add-a-pearl necklace of gratitude and wear it with royal pride.”
Natalie: What is a day like for Queen Kathy and Queen Cindy?
Cindy: I live on the East Coast so I’m up earlier and go through all of my emails and monitor our social media sites and wait for Kathy to wake up. She lives on the West Coast. We meet every day and talk via ichat or Skype. In fact, we wrote the whole book that way. It was really fun. We didn’t even have to change out of our pajamas.
Kathy: If you can’t live near your best friend the next best thing is have a camera in your computer. We sometimes sit with Skype open not saying anything and each doing our work. It’s like the old days when we ran the New York County District Branch of the American Psychiatric Association. There’s a mouthful. So we’re still doing things we did when we were in our twenties. Ahhhh, it’s good to be the Queen!
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