Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Showcase: Turning This Thing Around by Keith Maginn


Turning This Thing Around is an inspiring memoir of overcoming personal struggles. This brutally honest, deeply personal account of redemption takes readers on a moving spiritual journey. Confronted with a myriad of obstacles–a debilitating arthritic disease, narcolepsy, anxiety and depression–the author was outwardly happy, but inwardly miserable. Pushed to the lowest point of his life, he discusses how he gradually turned things around and used his experiences to grow as a person. Supplemented by quotes from Gandhi to Dr. Wayne Dyer to Eckhart Tolle, Turning This Thing Around has universal themes that speak to nearly everyone, as we all must face challenges as part of being human. It is a self-help memoir of sorts: The author discusses not only what he had to overcome, but how he did so–and how others can, too. Unlike many popular memoirs on the market, this is a story that more people can relate to. The author didn’t grow up in an eccentric family (Jeannette Walls in The Glass Castle, memoirs by Augusten Burroughs), nor did he travel to Italy, India and Indonesia, as Elizabeth Gilbert did in Eat, Pray, Love. Rather, Turning This Thing Around is a story of a normal young man’s resiliency when battling extraordinary circumstances.

Keith MaginnKeith Maginn was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, the youngest of four kids. He attended Miami University in Oxford, Ohio, as an Evans Scholar. After earning a Bachelor's degree in Sociology, Keith relocated to Knoxville, Tennessee, to work for AmeriCorps (a service organization like the Peace Corps, but within the United States) and for Knoxville Habitat for Humanity. 

Keith recently moved back to Cincinnati after living nearly ten years in Tennessee. He likes to be around family and friends and has eight nieces and nephews that he adores. He loves playing and watching many sports and also enjoys live music, writing, meditation, yoga and reading. 

In February 2011, Keith self-published an inspiring self-help memoir about overcoming struggles, TURNING THIS THING AROUND. He then self-published GOODWILL TOUR: PAYING IT FORWARD in January 2013. GWT details a road-trip that he went on with a friend around the southeastern United States, where the pair gave money to deserving strangers, who then had to choose someone else to receive the money. (Both non-fiction books are available in paperback and e-book on or at Keith hopes GOODWILL TOUR will be his second book of many more to come. He feels writing is his life's purpose and that he has a message to share that will help others.

Q.  What inspires your writing?
A.   I like writing true stories from my own life or the lives of others that inspire people.
Q.  What is your favorite thing about being a writer?
A.   The freedom. At least for now, I can work when and where I want and can write about whatever I am passionate about.
Q.  What is the toughest part of being a writer?
A.  Two things: I am shy by nature, so the book readings aren’t my favorite. (I’m working on it!) Also, being an indie author, all of the promotion and social media work falls on me. I am not a salesman—I’d rather be writing—but I pretty much have to be if I want anyone to know about my books.
Q.  If you could not be writer, what would you do/be?
A.   I would love to be a singer/songwriter/guitarist. Unfortunately I have no musical talent at all and I am terribly tone deaf. Maybe Jack Johnson would switch places with me for awhile?!
Q.  What would the story of your life be entitled?
A.  A Work in Progress or A Normal Guy Trying to Make a Difference.
Q.  What is your favorite book of all time?
A.  On the Road by Jack Kerouac blew me away when I first read it during my freshman year of college.
Q.  Which character from ANY book are you most like?
A.   I related to the young Che Guevara in The Motorcycle Diaries: He wanted to see the world and have meaningful adventures, but also wanted to help others and stop injustice.
Q.  What character from all of your books are you most like?
A.   Turning This Thing Around and Goodwill Tour: Paying It Forward are both nonfiction accounts of my life, so they aren’t like me, they ARE me!
Q.  Which book would you love to take a weekend vacation inside of?
A.   The Majic Bus: An American Odyssey by Douglas Brinkley. Brinkley and his students travelled all over the United States, going to concerts, birthplaces of famous authors and so on. It was a college course on the road—they read select books and had discussions—which would be an amazing once-in-a-lifetime experience. Can I have longer than a weekend, maybe 2-3 months?!
Q.  What is your favorite season?
A.  I used to always say summer, hands down. But in the past few years, I have been leaning towards spring and fall. I love all three, I just don’t like cold weather, so any season except winter!
Q.  What inspired your book cover(s)?  
A.  I chose the tragedy/comedy masks for Turning This Thing Around because I was outwardly happy, but inwardly miserable. To me, the masks symbolized my inner turmoil, or a struggle for balance. The picture on the cover of Goodwill Tour is a picture we took on the road.
Q.  Tell me something funny that happened while on a book tour or while promoting your book.
A.  For one of my first book readings, several family members asked if I wanted them to come for support. I asked them not to attend, as I was nervous enough already. It was at my local library. My oldest sister forgot what evening I would be giving my talk and she showed up there just to return some items. Luckily, she heard me talking and ducked behind some shelves, so I didn’t see her.
Q.  Are you working on something new?
A.   Yes, I am writing a book about several people that I know who have gone through very difficult circumstances and handled it well. Hopefully readers will relate to their stories and be inspired by their examples.
Q.  Anything you want to say to followers of this blog or those that are just stopping by?
A.  Thank you for taking the time to read my responses to these questions. I hope that you will check out my books: Turning This Thing Around (an inspirational, self-help memoir) and Goodwill Tour: Paying It Forward (about a road-trip that I went on with a friend where we met deserving people and gave them money, with the stipulation that they had to choose someone else to give the money to). You can connect with me on or on Twitter @ Thank you!!


  1. I like inspirational books and this sounds like a read that will get me thinking and changing too. ;) I hadn't heard of it before. Thanks for the introduction.

    1. I hope that you check out my memoir, Jess, and that you get something out of it!

      All the best,



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