Author Interview and book Spotlight - Lighten Your Mental Load by Amy Thornton

Mental labor, or the mental load, involves the many — and extremely varied — tasks that are involved in managing a household and/or workplace. This topic has exploded over the past couple of years, especially for women.

Synopsis - 

As stated in an October 2017 Washington Post article, “The constant stress of trying to stay organized — and to remember to execute so many tasks every single day — is affecting women's relationships with their spouses, children, friends, and colleagues. They are experiencing mental, emotional, and physical fatigue trying to stay on top of it all.”

Lighten Your Mental Load shares real stories of what this load is like for both men and women across the globe and how it originated. It offers practical advice on how to lighten this burden through technology and other methods in the following areas:
• Home
• Shopping and Meals
• Marriage/Partners
• Children
• Pets
• Transportation
• Career
• Birthdays, Celebrations, Holidays, and Vacations
• Volunteering, Church Activities, and Hobbies
• Caregiving
• Retirement

Finally, the book discusses ways to not add to the mental load of others and how we can more evenly distribute the mental labor between both sexes for future generations.

Buy The Book - Amazon Tell-Tale Publishing ~ Add to Goodreads

Author Interview -

Can you share a bit about your journey to becoming a writer/published author? Is it something you dreamed about as a child?

Sure! I’ve been writing stories since I was a child – specifically, when my parents bought me a K-Mart “Snappy Blue” typewriter when I was eight. That sucker typed in all caps but I loved it.

I wrote novels in my teen years and entered various writing contests but never won. But in my heart I’ve always wanted to be a full-time, published author. That goal pushed me to self-publish a couple of books in my early 30s. I went the “free” route on both, however, and unfortunately it shows.

I finally got serious and paid a company to self-publish a novel in 2013 entitled Hoop Mama. I consider this to be my first “real” book! Then in 2017 I got connected to Tell-Tale Publishing and released Joy to You and Me (At Work!) I attended the 2019 Tucson Festival of Books to meet my publisher in person and enjoy some wonderful workshops. Tell-Tale then released my next self-help book, Lighten Your Mental Load, in January 2020.

Another title by Amy Thornton
Your early writing focused on freelance articles and blogs. What was it that lead you to begin working on your first book?

Since I consider Hoop Mama to be my first “real” book, I’ll focus on it. I’ve been hoop dancing (dancing with a hula hoop) for almost nine years now. While walking my dogs one day, I started wondering what a national hoop-dancing contest might look like. Then I thought about a character who’s an excellent hoop dancer but a shy introvert who gets coached by a world-famous hoop dancer to prepare for the contest. My mind simply wouldn’t stop from that day forward until I wrote that novel! I created an outline a couple of days later and it flowed beautifully.

In your bio you share, "...Amy Thornton Shankland, GPC, has been battling the mental load for over 29 years..." Did this personal battle provide the inspiration for your latest offering - Lighten Your Mental Load? What is it you hope readers will take away from this book?

YES! I did fine with my mental load until December of 2016. Up until that point I was working, managing my household, and taking care of my husband and two sons. In December of that year my mother moved to an assisted living facility just five minutes from my house and I became her primary caregiver. Suddenly, just being organized didn’t cut it anymore and I felt incredibly stressed.

When I saw the term “mental load” online in early 2017, I felt relief knowing there was a term out there for what I was going through! I searched for a book about the topic but found none. I quickly realized that I could write one!

I hope readers will understand the mental load and why most of us carry too much of one, learn how to lighten that load to be happier and healthier in numerous areas of life, and not add to the mental load of others.

How does the writing process work for you? Do you schedule a time every day, work madly when inspiration hits or ? What kind of research did you need to do?

I’m a big-time planner. After creating an outline, I normally start a new book over a vacation, which helps me get a good chunk of it completed. Then I work most every evening for at least an hour on it, with more time on the weekends.

My research was a combination of listening to the universe when it presented me with info on the mental load, interviewing friends and family, and simply “Googling” when I got stuck on occasion!

First book by Amy Thornton
As an author - what do you enjoy most about writing process? What feels like a chore?

I just love getting into the flow of writing a book, being so engrossed in what I’m doing that hours go by and I don’t even realize it! I love creating amazing characters, or, in the case of my self-help books, helping others improve their lives.

Marketing, which authors do 70% of typically, can be a bit of a chore. I enjoy going out and speaking to groups, being on blog tours, and holding books sales/signings. However, I’m not a strong social-media/online person! Stopping to remember to post things all of the time drives me crazy.

What words of advice or tips can you offer to first time writer working to complete their first book?

Just START! Then mark your calendar to carve out that writing time each and every week. I hear so many people say they want to write a book. The toughest part is just writing that first page, the rest usually flows from there.

What's next for you? Do you have any new books in the planning or writing stage?

Yes! My next book will be a compilation of columns that I write for our local newspaper. The columns are called “sandwiched”, which alludes to those of us in the sandwich generation taking care of both our families and our parents. This book will give people in this generation guidance, information, and hopefully some laughter.'

Author Bio - 

Amy Thornton Shankland, GPC, has been battling the mental load for over 29 years. She is a former Dale Carnegie instructor, has been a grant professional for 18 years, is a columnist for the Hamilton County Reporter in Central Indiana, and a wife and mother. She also published Joy to You and Me (At Work!) in 2018 through Tell-Tale Publishing.

Connect with the Author: website ~ facebook ~ twitter


  1. Great interview! Thank you for sharing this timely book that we can all use.


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