Deb Gaut

Deb Gaut is a leadership + success coach, facilitator, and podcaster. Her passion is helping creatives, innovators, and difference makers craft bold visions and strategies, overcome obstacles and challenges, and move confidently toward the future.

Dancing in the Kitchen w/ Elvis with Christine Webb

My guest on today’s episode is the wildly talented writer, Christine Webb, author of the forthcoming young adult (YA) book, The Art of Insanity. We dive into her fascinating story as an aspiring writer beginning in middle school; the roles that courage, tenacity, and the refusal to take ‘no’ for an answer have played in her writing career; and powerful advice she has received from teachers, writers, and agents along the way. Throughout the interview, Christine tells entertaining stories about her life and writing, and she offers a beautiful sneak preview of her delightful, new book.

If you’re looking for a dose of inspiration with a dash of humor, look no further. Simply hit the Play button above.

The Backstory

I first heard Christine Webb’s name more than a decade ago during a trip to Pensacola, Florida. My husband and I were visiting our oldest, dearest friends, and Christine happens to be one of their nieces. The heart-warming stories my girlfriend shared about Christine as a college student—then later as a young teacher, writer, and travel lover—were captivating. I looked forward to hearing these stories every time we got together.

Flash forward to 2022 and the making of this podcast. Our friends were visiting from Pensacola and sharing the latest news about their family, including Christine. Christine had recently achieved what only 1 in 6000 writers accomplish: She had secured a literary agent.* Additionally, she was slated to publish not one, but two of her books with one of the top 20 traditional YA publishers: Peachtree Press/Peachtree Teen.** All by her early thirties! I was thrilled for Christine and her family, and immediately knew I wanted to interview her. Unsure if she would consider the invitation, I grabbed my cell phone and emailed her anyway. After a follow-up Zoom call, she said, “Yes!” How many happy dances can a person handle in one lifetime? The answer is simple: infinite!

The Interview

In this charming, upbeat interview, Christine shares fascinating fun facts about her journey as a YA author and the deeply personal story behind her book, The Art of Insanity. Leveraging her own experience with bipolar disorder, she previews the tale of a young artist named Natalie Cordova who is struggling with the same disorder. However, unlike many books that deal with mental health struggles, even for teens, Natalie’s story is one of hope and resilience.

Three of my favorite parts of the interview are when she talks about the wildest, craziest risks she has taken as a writer; how she celebrates successes and responds to “rejections” (spoiler alert: more than 70 to date!); and how she’s paying it forward with the next generation of young writers.

You’ll enjoy hearing about her superpower and kryptonite, how she creates balance in her life, and what she does for fun and play. You’ll also find her advice for those who are pursuing a creative passion to be practical and priceless.

Fun Facts

  • Has served as a teacher for 12 years, almost all of them in middle school
  • Has written six full book manuscripts, two of them under contract now – she says the other ones were “practice books” – haha!
  • Is studying to become a certified book coach
  • Adores pugs and used to volunteer with Southern Nevada Pug Rescue when she lived in Nevada
  • Loves to travel and write about her adventures on her travel blog

Cool Links

Christine’s Delightful Author Website

Christine’s Interesting Travel Blog

Christine’s Fun Twitter Page

Quotes by Christine Webb

“Persistence in taking these risks sometimes pays off. Sometimes you end up looking dumb, but sometimes it works, so you might as well go for it.”

“I’m not a hundred-dollar bill. Not everyone is going to like me.”

“My best advice is to seek out people who are better than you, learn from them, then reach back down the ladder to help bring other people up, too.”

__________

*Source: https://literary-agents.com/odds-of-getting-a-literary-agent/

** Source: https://writingtipsoasis.com/young-adult-book-publishing-companies/

 

Clean Living and Exactly Zero with Michael and Charlotte Fritzius


In this warm, light-hearted, inspiring interview, I’m joined by Michael and Charlotte Fritzius, the dynamic duo and co-founders of Exactly Zero, a clean-living company based in Saint Louis. We talk about how a cancer diagnosis for Michael became the spark behind creating clean products for their family – and how their personal mission morphed into a company that gives back by sharing those products with the world. In addition to their remarkable journey, we talk about the special role of family in their life and business, and their success secrets for navigating a partnership as a married couple. You’re going to love Charlotte’s passion for their work and Michael’s comparison of running a business to “running with scissors.”

Simply click on the play button to join us for this refreshing interview. Go on – you know you want to! You’re only a click away.

The Backstory

I first met Michael Fritzius through a friend in Saint Louis who knew that Michael and I shared a mutual interest in podcasting. (In addition to serving as co-founder of Exactly Zero — which I didn’t know at the time, Michael works with coaches to create their own podcasts through his company called Podcastify.me) Yes, dear readers, he’s THAT guy: an entrepreneur who can successfully juggle multiple companies at once. Mind boggling.

During an especially helpful podcasting consultation with Michael one day, I learned about his and Charlotte’s work building a company called Exactly Zero. Now, I was doubly intrigued. As a team, Michael and Charlotte were using a cancer diagnosis as a springboard to get amazingly smart about creating clean-living products (deodorants, lip balms, soaps, antibiotic ointments, and more) and selling them through farmer’s markets, subscriptions, creative partnerships, and online. Immediately, I knew they would be perfect guests for Tiny Sparks, Big Flames. No risk, no reward – I asked, they accepted. To this day, I’m over the moon. They said, “Yes!”

The Interview

Amazing how much ground you can cover in less than 30 minutes, and we pack this interview jam full. In addition to their creation story, you’ll learn about the process Charlotte uses to reverse engineer the products they make, from the extensive research she does to the number of iterations she completes to get each product just right. You’ll also hear about the personal and professional strengths she and Michael bring to the business, what inspires and motivates them, and what it means to follow their purpose. Additionally, you’ll enjoy hearing what they do for fun and play as a couple and family.

My favorite parts of the interview center around their quick, witty repartee and the gentle, easy vibe of this special couple. You can tell they love and respect one another deeply, prioritize family over work unequivocally, and are committed to doing good in the world. You’ll love their responses to what they would like to accomplish in the next five years – and what’s next for Exactly Zero.

Fun Facts

  • Parents to four girls
  • Set up by a couple of good friends and got married 5 months and 2 days after meeting
  • “Neither of us has an MBA, but we’re business owners. How in the world did that happen??”
  • They’re a home-school family and enjoy gardening. Their goal is a self-sufficient homestead.

Cool Links

Exactly Zero’s cool website

Exactly Zero’s fun Insta page

Exactlyzero on Facebook

Exactly Zero on LinkedIn

Quotes by Michael + Charlotte Fritzius

“What we put in and on our bodies is important. Cancer does happen regardless of how careful you are but making your body an unwelcome host for cancer can be helpful.” – Charlotte

“Knowing that we have a hand in impacting thousands if not millions of lives over time is … like ‘boom’ — it’s a big thing. We didn’t plan on that originally, but now that we’re doing it, it’s like oh my goodness.” – Michael

“Sometimes I feel like we’re running with scissors. You know that feeling? It’s not like you’re going to slip and fall and hurt yourself. But it’s like oh my goodness – sounds like we need to make some merch – put some merch in our shop: “Runs with scissors.” –  Michael

“We started very small obviously, but we were always very careful with our prices. And we’ve been told many times by customers: “I would pay a whole lot more for this.” But there are so many people who can’t pay more, so they’re buying products that could do harm [to their bodies]. Our goal is to make these products at an affordable price so that the general public can afford to live healthy.” – Charlotte

 

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