Monday, March 5, 2018


Nadia Natali, author of the memoir, Stairway to Paradise: Growing Up Gershwin, published by Rare Bird, Los Angeles, 2015, and The Blue Heron Ranch Cookbook: Recipes and Stories from a Zen Retreat Center published by North Atlantic Books, Berkeley CA, 2008, is currently working on a second cookbook titled Zafu Kitchen Cookbook.

Natali, a clinical psychotherapist and dance therapist, specializes in trauma release through somatic work. She earned a master’s degree from Hunter College in New York City in Dance/Movement Therapy and completed another masters degree in clinical psychology with an emphasis in somatic psychology at the Santa Barbara Graduate Institute. Nadia is a registered practitioner of Biodynamic Craniosacral Therapy (RCST) and is also a certified Somatic Experiencing Practitioner (SEP) who trained with Peter Levine.

DanceMedicine Workshops is Natali’s creation where participants move through their trauma with dialogue and dance. She also offers the Ojai community, DanceMedicine Journeys. In addition to her private practice, Nadia and her husband offer Zen Retreats at their center.
Born into a famous family that was riddled with dysfunction, Nadia Natali made the choice to turn her life inside out and step away from fame and fortune. Against her parents’ consent she married an artist and moved to the remote wilderness in California. It was there that she found grounding as she and her husband raised and homeschooled their three children and opened a retreat center. As she gathered her own momentum, she enrolled in a doctorate program finally becoming a clinical psychotherapist specializing in psychosomatic work. She and her husband live in Ojai California.



About the Book:
Growing up as Frankie Gershwin’s daughter, the sister of George and Ira Gershwin, was quite a challenge. I didn’t have the perspective to realize that so much unhappiness in a family was out of the ordinary. But I knew something was off. My mother was often depressed and my father was
tyrannical and scary, one never knew when he would blow up. I learned early on that I had to be the cheery one, the one to fix the problems. Both sides of my family were famous; the Gershwin side and my father who invented color film. But even though there was more than enough recognition, money and parties I understood that wasn’t what made people happy.

As a young adult adrift and depressed I broke from that unsatisfactory life by marrying Enrico Natali, a photographer, deeply immersed in his own questions about life. We moved into the wilderness away from what we considered as the dysfunction of society. That’s when we discovered that life had other kinds of challenges: flood, fire, rattlesnakes, mountain lions and bears. We lived in a teepee for more than four years while building a house. Curiously my mother never commented on my life choice. She must have realized on some level that her own life was less than satisfactory.

Enrico had developed a serious meditation practice that had become a kind of ground for him. As for me I danced. Understanding the somatic, the inner body experience, became my way to shift the inner story.

We raised and homeschooled our three children. I taught them to read, Enrico taught them math. The kids ran free, happy, always engaged, making things, and discovering. We were so sure we were doing the right thing. However, we didn’t have a clue how they would make the transition to the so-called ‘real world’. The children thrived until they became teenagers. They then wanted out. Everything fell apart for them and for Enrico and me. Our lives were turned upside down, our paradise lost. There was tragedy: our son lost his life while attempting to cross our river during a fierce storm. Later I was further challenged by advanced breast cancer.

It was during these times that I delved deeply into the somatic recesses of myself. I began to find my own voice, a long learning process. I emerged with a profound trust in my own authority. It became clear that everyone has to find his or her way through layers of inauthenticity, where a deep knowing can develop. And I came to see that is the best anyone can offer to the world.
Enrico and I still live in the wilds of the Lost Padres National Forest, a paradise with many steps going up and down, a life I would not change.
After your book was released, what was the first thing you did when getting ready for your book launch?

I found a PR agency that subsequently became my publisher. I left it up to them to launch my book. They did not do a great job.

After that, what was your next step? 

I trusted the agency would be effective in getting my book out. They did some work on my behalf but not much.

Did you do anything different to spice up your website in lieu of your upcoming book release? 

Yes, luckily the PR agency offered to enhance my website.

What are your views on social media for marketing your book?

Social media is probably the most valuable marketing tool.

What social media has worked best for you? 

Not sure, I was told Twitter is best but I couldn’t get involved in it, which is my own shortcoming.

Did you revamp your author’s page at Amazon in any way to prepare for the launch ( 

I didn’t even know about it.

Did you set up booksignings and, if so, how did that work for you?

The agency set up a few book signings aside from a book signing party I had after the book was first released. I mentioned the cities I would like go to such as New York and Westport Connecticut and the agency got me a book signings and reading at book stores
in both places. Aside from a couple of bookstores in my area, Santa Barbara and a place in Los Angeles that was about it. I told them I was willing to do whatever I had to do for a year and it didn’t amount to much.

Did you time your book launch around a certain holiday?

My book launch occurred just before the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays. Nice.

What was the best money you ever spent on your book launch?

The money I paid a PR agency was the most effective way to launch my book, but they had to approve the book first. The PR agency was also a publishing company and once I was accepted, I offered to pay for the printing if the company would take on my book as publisher. They did and later told me that the distributers and bookstores really like my book but no one walked in asking for it. They told me I needed to work on getting the word out. Discouraged by the first PR agency encouraged me to find another agency.

Any tips for those authors wanting to set up a successful book launch?

I believe social media is the best way to go.

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