Randi-Lee was born and raised in Ontario, Canada and from a young age she had a passion for helping others. She attended Niagara College and graduated at the top of her class from Community and Justice Services, after completing her placement at a recovery house for alcohol and drug addictions. Post-graduation she worked at a Native Friendship Centre for two and a half years while pursuing a university education in psychology. Randi-Lee continued working in social services for another four years as an employment counselor until she left to pursue her other passions.
Randi-Lee is an author and outspoken advocate for mental health sharing her true story with honesty. From the age of 14 she struggled with depressive thoughts. There were times in her life that she wasn’t sure how she would continue. Depression continues to be a battle in her life but she is glad that she continues to live. She has spoken at events that promote wellness and compassionately shares her experiences with her own mental health. In 2021 she started a YouTube channel, Write or Die Show, to spread awareness about various mental health issues and to end the stigma associated with mental health.
Growing up she never felt that she fit in, being the last to understand jokes and confused about many emotions that she saw on others. In 2021 she finally had answers to the questions about herself that had been nagging at her. She was diagnosed with moderate Autism.
Another of Randi-Lee’s passions is kickboxing, which she has been doing for about 10 years. She was a Canadian National Champion in kickboxing in 2015, competed at the World’s kickboxing tournament later that year and in 2016 competed at the Pan-Am games where she received silver in her division. In
2020 she was chosen as one of the coaches for the Ontario Winter Games where she inspired and coached young athletes.
Randi is a mom to two, her youngest child has autism and grandma to one. Randi encourages and supports her youngest child’s entrepreneurial spirit as he follows his dream of being an artist. When she can she incorporates his art into her stories.
So today, discover wordsmiths. I’ve got Randy Lee, Randy, how are, do you like Randy or Randy Lee?
Randi-Lee: I don’t have a preference. I just don’t wanna miss dinner.
Stephen: Got it. I understand that. So before we talk about your book tell us a little bit about you, where you live and some of the things you like to do outside of writing.
Randi-Lee: There’s things outside of writing. My name is Randy, like you said, I live in Canada, close to the Buffalo border.
Winter is not forever here. Don’t worry. I’m I like to say I’m the most Southern part of Canada ,
Stephen: which is fun. Yeah. I was actually in a meeting with some people and the weirdest part was I’m in Ohio, which is up by the great lakes in the states. And I was still the Southern most person on the whole meeting.
And I thought that was pretty interesting.
Randi-Lee: that’s good. Yep. And outside of writing I like swimming. I like hanging out with my pets. I got three dogs, four cats. I got a kid, I got a step kid. I got a BA a grand baby. I got a husband too. Nice. And yeah, just doing random stuff is fun.
Stephen: Busy. It sounds. That’s
Randi-Lee: what people tell me, Anna, but I’m like, I don’t know. It’s my life.
Stephen: yeah, there you go. All right. So with all of that going on, why did you wanna start writing?
Randi-Lee: I’ve always been a writer. Even when I was little, I would write, I’d write a newspaper for my household and I’m talking little, I’m talking like seven, eight years old where the only person that would read it would be my mom, cuz they forced her
It was like, what’s going on in the house today. What’s being made for dinner. What movie did I just watch? Here’s my review. So I’ve always written and so it was just a matter of turning that passion into an actual job.
Stephen: Okay, nice. Are you a full-time writer now? Or are you a part-time writer? You do something I wish I,
No kidding. So I write part-time and I podcast, I have my own YouTube channel writer or die show, and I’m gonna be making more so between writing and YouTube podcast, that’s what I want my full-time job to be. But it’s not yet. So we still have a office job outside of the house.
Got it. Okay. All right. So the book we’re gonna be talking about is called embracing me. And I see you’ve got several books on the shelf in the back there. So tell us about this one, what it’s about without giving everything away.
Randi-Lee: Okay. So yeah, it’s called embracing me. And it’s called that because the book is about mental health.
So I’ve had depression since I was like 14 years old was the first time that I can recall actually experiencing it. And it took me a long time to accept the fact that I wasn’t perfect, that I had depression, that it was just a part of my life. It didn’t have to rule me. But I had to. Give it a type of respect in a way I had to be like, yeah, it’s there.
I have to watch out cuz it can creep up at any time, but it doesn’t actually stop me from doing my life. And so in that way, that’s how embracing me. I embraced all parts of who I am. That’s how it came to be. So it’s. My memoir, but more than that, so it’s not just my story. I give practical tips for people who are reading it.
There are Pieces of research that I’ve done in there to back up. If I say, Hey, therapy’s good for you. I back it up with some research . And then at the end of the book, there’s worksheets where you can actually implement what I’m seeing in the chapter right away. So I’ll give an example so that people can understand the first chapter is write a letter to yourself.
So in that chapter, I explained how that can be helpful. I give my own example. I write a letter to my own younger. And then in the back of the book, there’s a worksheet where you can have that blank page and get to it. There’s no excuses unless you don’t have a pen on you. I guess that’s an excuse, but there’s no excuses it’s right there
Stephen: for you.
Nice. It’s got the activities to help push people a little bit that more than just read, unlike a lot of self-help type books, which are rah, rah, and read this, you give them actual action plan. Yes. Okay. And are these things you’ve done yourself to help out with that?
Randi-Lee: Yeah. So there are things that I have found super helpful.
Like I said, the write a letter to yourself, there’s things about journaling there’s medication therapy self care.
Stephen: Do you include in there about finding music that you enjoy and uplifts you in, including that as part of.
Randi-Lee: Trying to remember if I have it in this book or not. It is in a book that I’m currently writing.
okay. So that’s one it’s important, right? Yeah. When I’ve had, when I was going through a divorce, I was hitting some depression and stress and all that. I found that I made a playlist of all my favorite music and it helped when I was really feeling down, bring me out of it. So I’m a big proponent yeah.
Stephen: Of using music myself.
Randi-Lee: Yes. Oh, music is so helpful. And I can’t remember every little thing that I wrote in the book. But if I didn’t write that in the book, it is super helpful. And I know it’s in an upcoming book that I’m writing cuz I’m currently in the process of it. So I remember perfect writing certain
Stephen: songs that, that was gonna be one of my questions is, are you, we’re going to do some sort of sequel to this or something to go with it.
Randi-Lee: Not necessarily a sequel, I wouldn’t call it a sequel, but I am always writing more things. So right now I actually have two books that I’m writing. So the one I’m coauthoring with someone, and that’s the one where I do mention music is really helpful for mental health. So that is that one’s about mental health and the Bible.
And not that I’m. Super like I’m not a priest or anything, but like I’m a Christian. So I, there was this person in my business group, a videographer. He was like, oh, I always wanted to write a book about this. And I said, I would love to write a book about this. And so we’re collaborating on that. So that we talk about music in that book and he just got me back his edit edits.
So now I have to actually do my edits and send it back to him. But while he was doing his edits, I started my own book, my own next book. And so he has to wait until I finish this one, cuz one, one thing at a time right now. And so I’m writing about my brother’s death last year. He died by a drug overdose.
And so I’m trying to put that into words of. How a family member feels when they go. So it’s a little bit different take on addiction, cuz most addiction books are and not to say they’re bad. They’re amazing. I’ve read some really great ones, but they’re the person with addiction is writing them.
So they have a bit of a different message to send. I’m sending the message to the family members of the person.
Stephen: Okay. Interesting. So your writing style. Is there any books out there you would say are similar to the way you write or how you handle the situations. This is for anybody that’s listening that says, oh, I’ve read that other book.
And I liked it. So I’m gonna Randy Lees, or I might wanna try Randy Lees also
Randi-Lee: What’s funny is you’re with a first person in all of the many podcasts I’ve guessed on, which is a lot you’re the first person to ever ask me that. And OK, so now I have to actually stop and think I’m gonna say Mel Robbins, her books.
Cause it’s very conversational style. I write the way I talk in nonfiction books. Now I’ve written some other books and they’re written it a little bit different style, but the nonfiction, like we’re talking about today, they’re written like we’re sitting down having a cup of tea together and I’m just telling you how it is.
Stephen: Nice. And I hear a lot more of that with nonfiction nowadays. That seems to be the trend going that direct. A bit more rather than stale. And it’s I’ll be fair that it’s a little bit of an unfair question for a nonfiction book. It’s much easier for fiction writers, too. But it’s interesting sometimes because people don’t usually pick up just like one nonfiction, self help type book in whatever niche it happens to be it’s usually multiple or across the years, different niches and stuff.
That’s interesting. And so you said you wrote this based on your own battle with depression and things. Do you think you would’ve written this, if you hadn’t been dealing with that yourself? I would like to think I still would’ve written it, but I definitely would’ve had to have been written in a different way because this is all from a personal perspective.
Randi-Lee: And like I said, I do some research in there just to throw some stats and stuff at people, but really it’s very personal. So without having lived through it, it wouldn’t be the same book
Stephen: and that probably makes it way better. It’s not just the research or clinical. I think that’s exactly an important aspect of something like this.
Randi-Lee: Exactly. It’s a, you’re not by yourself. I’ve been there too. Been there, done that, don’t
Stephen: wanna go back right. Someone reading, it can feel you understand, and you get it, which probably makes it help very helpful, especially for something like depression. Okay. So is this traditionally published or indie published?
Randi-Lee: published. So I have my own publishing company. I call it RB writing. And yeah, I published it through that. I figured. Two things. One, because I have depression traditional publishing, you often get a lot of nos first and I wasn’t sure if I could handle that. And number two is that when you’re traditionally published, a lot of times, they give you certain ideas.
They want you to incorporate or exclude from your book. And this is my story and my message, and nobody can tell. What is my story? What is my message? So I didn’t want anybody’s anybody else’s fingers in there.
Stephen: Got it. It’s been out, what are people saying? What type of feedback are you getting from people?
Randi-Lee: Really good feedback. A lot of people are saying that they always felt so alone and now they don’t that it’s, they. The way I describe it being a conversation. That’s the feedback that I got. That’s how I stole that from the people who were reading it. They’re like, I felt like I was sitting down with a cup of teeth with you and I’m like, I like that.
I’m taking it. Yeah, that’s
Stephen: all from them. Nice. Nice. Okay. When I talked to fiction authors, I normally ask them if they would like to see their book as a movie or TV show, which doesn’t quite work in this case, but let ask you this. Sure. Are you about doing any
Randi-Lee: soap opera? Seriously?
Stephen: So let me ask this. So have you thought about doing any courses or do you do any speaking? Based around the book on this topic?
Randi-Lee: I have done some speaking COVID shut that down. So I’m trying to find other speaking opportunities right now. They’re mostly podcasts. But I have done there was an event a few years ago for it was a charity event.
We were raising money for housing, for adults that have autism, that needed support. And so I was able to speak there. I spoke at another mental. Fair. That was happening. So there’s been a few and I’d love to
Stephen: get more. Got it. Okay. So where can people get the book? And do you have a website?
Randi-Lee: Yes. So you can get the book on Amazon. And audible, this is my first and only so far audible book, which I’m so excited about. I do wanna turn all of my books into audio but it’s very time consuming, so it’ll get there. But yeah, and I narrate it myself because who better to narrate their own story than themselves.
Right. Yeah. And then my website is RB writing.ca. And then you can also find out all the other books and stuff that I’ve got on there.
Stephen: Nice. Okay. So let me ask you this. As a writer and someone who probably reads a lot, do you have any favorite books or authors that you enjoy yourself?
Randi-Lee: So the first author that I actually started reading and liking with Steven King, cuz I love all things horror. So he got me into reading and then I got into Ted Decker. I really like she Kenyon. I like. Actually I do book reviews as well, so there’s a ton of awesome indie authors out there that I’ve been learning about now.
So Peter top side, I really liked his trilogy. I was bugging him. When are you gonna write your next book? it’s cool when you know the author too, right? I just, it just finished another really good. It was a fantasy book queen of magic. I don’t remember who wrote it off the top of my head, but if you look up queen of magic on my blog, then you’ll be able to find it.
That was a really cool fantasy book. Again. The one thing I hate about fantasy books is that it’s never one book there’s always more
Stephen: next one. Yeah. So when did you start reading Steven King?
Randi-Lee: I would’ve been. 1213, something like that.
Stephen: Yeah. I find that a lot.
Randi-Lee: yes. Yeah. He is really good with that teen audience, I think cuz his stories are captivating, imaginative, but really easy to read overall.
Stephen: Yeah. When I was 10 I got some Stephen King, but we didn’t have a total young adult type section. There wasn’t quite as much middle grade and it wasn’t even really divided out as middle grade so much. Ah, yep. Let’s come over the years. So I, I went from picture books to Stephen King, so yeah, pretty much.
Yeah. Randy, where you live, do you have a favorite bookstore you like to go to
Randi-Lee: I wish I could say yes, because I think those smaller bookshops are awesome, but really where I live, we have a Kohl’s which is basically just a small chapters. And amazon okay. But you, again, what I love about Amazon is that’s where most indie books are.
You’re you often don’t find those smaller new authors at the bookstores yet. They don’t get to the bookstores often until they’re bigger names. I like Amazon because then I can small find the smaller authors and the smaller publishers.
Stephen: Nice. Okay. So before we move on talks about some author stuff and how to deal with burnout if someone came up to you and said they’ve had some depression and there’s a lot of books out there.
Why should I get your book and read your book? What would you tell them?
Randi-Lee: There’s worksheets . You said ITing you mean’s homework. That’s right. Beginning of the episodes. A lot of times you pick up the self-help book and you read it, you go, okay. That’s great. You put on yourself. You never look at it.
You never do anything with it. Technically I guess, yes it’s self-help but I don’t. I hope that I don’t feel like I’m, I don’t like those self-help books. I like, this is what you need to do. So that’s not the vibe that I’m trying to give off. I’m trying to give off the vibe of you are not alone. I’m here.
I get it. I am in the same pit as you are. Or at least I was at some points. So here feel not alone and here try some things that worked for me. And I hope that they work for you too. So I think the
Stephen: vibe is different. It’s something to work on to move forward. You don’t feel like you’re just floundering.
I like exactly. Okay, great. I appreciate that. And the book sounds great. I wish you luck on it. Hope more people listen to this and it could help some people. I hope so.