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Meet the Author: Megan Menkis

We sat down with Meraki Press's newest debut author, Megan Menkis, to ask her about work, writing, and her books!

Tell us about yourself.

Hi, I’m Megan! I am an Art Therapist in the Harrisburg area who is passionate about creating a safe, nurturing environment in which children and parents can creatively express themselves. Through an empathetic therapeutic relationship, I strive to empower my clients to make positive changes.

I'm also a wife and mom to one little girl and another on the way!

And now I'm a debut author with Meraki Press.

How did you get started in psychology? Did you always know you wanted to work with children?

So I actually started out as an art education major in college (I received my Bachelor of Arts in Studio Art and Psychology from Messiah University and my Master of Arts degree in Art Therapy from Marywood University.). I always knew I wanted to work with children in some capacity but I decided after a few semesters that the classroom was not my favorite- I preferred working one on one with kids. I was drawn to art therapy because I would still be able to use art as a major tool while getting to work with children. Art was a huge coping skill for me as a child, and I loved that I could make sharing that with others my career.

What inspired you to write children's books?

I was inspired to write these books by my clients, actually. Sometimes I walk through a particular hardship or challenge with my clients that there are not many kid-related resources, and I decided, maybe I should just make my own!

What made you decide that these were the topics you wanted to write about, and how did you land on them being children's books?

These specific topics came out of work I was doing with clients at the time and resources I had made for them. It just seemed natural to make them into books for other children to benefit from!

Megan’s first book, "Super Ears: My Misophonia Workbook" is a workbook designed to support a foundation of social-emotional language that can regulate tough emotions during sensory overload.

This workbook is perfect for kids ages 4-12 who want to take charge of their sensory challenges. Parents will appreciate the practical tips and advice, and the interactive nature of the workbook makes it a great tool for therapy sessions or home use.

Tell us a little bit about misophonia and some of the misconceptions surrounding it.

So an immediate disclaimer: I am not a misophonia expert. Everything that was written in the book came out of my own research in working with a client who had auditory sensitivities. This client eventually got a formal diagnosis of Misophonia from an Audiologist, but unfortunately for a lot of children, I think their experience is that they are essentially told messages like "this is a behavior issue, you need to behave" rather than "this is a sensory processing issue, and is clearly distressing you, so let's try to build some coping skills to make it more bearable."

Unfortunately, I see this pattern often in my work, where other (oftentimes well-meaning) adults are quick to label a child as the "problem child" in the class without looking at the reasons behind their behaviors.

Let's chat about your writing... What does your writing routine look like?

Ha, ha. I don't really have a routine. Like I said, staying organized is not my strong suit and my routine as a working mom often looks more like sitting down to write for a few hours during nap time or staying up late to write. If I am lucky and the stars align, I'll get an afternoon where I have childcare and I can go sit at a cafe and write.

What has been your biggest obstacle in writing?

My biggest obstacle is finding time and maintaining discipline. Finding time can be tricky when you have a full-time job and a family, but I often try to squeeze in little times of writing throughout the week (or at midnight!). Maintaining discipline is hard in that I have so many ideas, I often have several projects going on at once, rather than working on one at a time! Keeping organized and staying motivated to finish one project when I have an idea for another can be tricky! My mind moves faster than my time allows right now.

Do you have any other projects on the horizon? Yes! Two more workbooks will be coming out this year. “Spectacular Senses: My Sensory Processing Workbook” will be out in October and “Creating Calm” a bedtime workbook will be coming out in December!

Do you have any advice for someone who wants to write a book?

I don't feel like I have too much wisdom on this subject, because this is all so new for me, but what I will say is that it took me a long time to work up the courage just to put my work out there. I would say try not to be hard on yourself or let fear hold you back, and try to take any negative feedback with a grain of salt. You can't always please everyone.

Can you give us a book recommendation?

One of the more recent books I have read that really made an impact on me was "Create Anyway" by Ashlee Gadd, which is all about making space for creativity in motherhood.

Thank you Megan for sharing your time and insights with us!

If you would like to follow along with Megan's work and writing, we encourage you to check out her website: here.

Or follow along with her on Instagram @inspire_creative_therapies

You can find her book Super Ears: My Misophonia Workbook available everywhere August 18th, 2023.

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