Interview with Dr. Gilly Mara.... Author of Climbing Back, Engineer, Sports Coach, Athlete, Survivor
Today we have a very special guest, Dr Gillian Mara is a world class sports coach, self-improvement coach and safety engineer with Jaguar Landrover. In 2002, Gilly survived a near fatal fall off the side of a cliff. Despite the injuries, Gilly has overcome incredible hurdles and fought her way back to a level of fitness which puts the majority of us to shame.
Gilly has just launched her book, Climbing Back, which charters her incredible ordeal and her battle back to fitness.
Gilly, may I give you a very warm welcome to Twisted Space.
Thank you Andy, it is great to be asked to give some more info about my recent book release Climbing Back.
Your book, Climbing Back, is an incredible achievement which documents an incredible event. For the benefit of our readers, can you talk us through the events of that day?
Climbing Back gives readers an emotional account of the day I fell off the mountain and the night I spent alone on the mountain trying to stay alive. I re-tell my emotions as we began finding ourselves off the trail and what was going through my head at the time. As I fell, I did not go unconscious and I graphically remember each impact on the ground and the tumbling before I finally came to a halt. For me, the book is about I how I dealt with the situation and the attitude I took towards my recovery from the moment I came to a halt on the mountain. Falling off a mountain changed my life forever in terms of my outlook, it could have been a negative event in my life, but as you read I hope you shall see that it is possibly the best thing that could have happened to me.
Definitely a life changing experience. When I read your book I completely got the mixed feelings and the emotional rollercoaster both during and after your fall and recovery. Did you find it difficult to convey those feelings when you were writing Climbing Back?
Trying to put in words the feelings I had was incredibly difficult, I am used to giving factual accounts about things but the bit I struggled most with was describing pain that to me was wordless where it is beyond screaming and crying. When talking through some of the scenes in the night it was the first time I was able to connect with my emotions and not feel like it had happened to a different person, which was how I dealt with the it up until that point.
Since recovering, you’ve taken on a whole bunch of challenges and roles – even become a bit of a celebrity without the book. Would you say that your recovery has driven you into taking on more challenges?
The experience has made me realise what it is like to really want something. Before the fall, I look back and see how I floated from one thing to another. After it, I had to work so much harder to achieve what the majority of the population could do normally e.g. tie my shoes. I began to goal set and as soon as I reached one target I made my goal bigger and harder. I just saw it as stepping stones, just before the fall I was meant to go to my first international sports event. So many thought that was now impossible and I wanted to show them and prove them wrong and it drove me to want to be the best I can be. It has driven me to become the sportsperson, academic, coach, but these are just titles it has just made me the person I am today.
Just going back to the book, at what point did you decide to write it and why?
I began writing the book a few months after I fell as a form of self therapy to try and make some sense of what had happened. However, as I continued writing and telling my story I found that my motivation for writing changed. With time I realised that my experience could help inspire others to realise that they too can achieve their dreams.
I am looking at promoting the book and trying to get it out into the public domain as much as I can. I have an international competition in September and then some half marathons to run and that is just September. As the school year begins again I shall be continuing with my role as an athlete mentor on the Sky Sports Living for Sport and using my story of falling off a mountain to becoming an elite athlete to inspire and motivate young people to set goals for themselves. So it will be busy busy busy! I also have a number of motivational talks to do, some of which are with the WI.
Do you have a blog/twitter where people can learn more about you?
My blog can be found at www.gillymara.co.uk/blog you can follow me on twitter @GillyMara and my facebook author page at www.facebook.com/gillymara
Finally, where can we get our hands on your book?
My book can be purchased on Amazon
ebook and paperback http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00M48V956?*Version*=1&*entries*=0
Barns and Noble http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/climbing-back-gilly-mara/1119673870?ean=2940045981552
Thanks again for visiting Twisted Space and the best of luck with Climbing Back.
It was great to get the opportunity to talk about the book and what it means to me, so thank you!
Andy's Review of Climbing Back
From start to finish, Climbing Back is a captivating tale of one woman’s brush with death to rehabilitation and success. Gilly’s tale takes us to the very brink of emotion, from the harrowing and vividly described, fall during her hike up the Sandia Mountain to her rescue and recovery. Gilly’s descriptions are very much from the heart and her writing style exactly captures not just the drama of her adventure but raw emotion that she found herself subjected to.
I won’t say “If you liked 127 Hours, you’ll like this”, Climbing Back goes further than that and doesn't dwell on the accident but rather the roller-coaster of recovery that followed. This is a memoir of commitment and drive which proves that strength of character and determination can overcome any obstacle.
This is a fantastic read and recommended to all.