Mahina Hoey

“Creative pursuits satiate the soul,” says Mahina Hoey, author of The Illumine, who as a child found magic, peace, continuity and her own strength in nature. From her hometown of Taos, New Mexico to the ocean and redwood forests of Santa Cruz, she’s always known where to go to connect with the place inside of herself where creativity lives, “the place where my soul and body meet.” She is most open to her creative process in the redwoods.

After legally emancipating from her biological mother, Mahina moved to Denver in October of her freshman year of high school. She began writing in journals immediately, which became an effective way for her to process the childhood neglect she experienced. “As a little girl, my own safety was always in question and as a result, fear was an actual character in my formative life. I learned a lot about myself; my capacity, my ability to push through my fear, my ability to find strength in pain.”

When she was sixteen, she went into therapy for the first time, with the intention to overcome her deficits and become successful. Her therapist told her that she didn’t have to push so hard all the time.

She said, “Mahina, you did it. You survived.”

Mahina asserted, “And now, I want to live.”

During the process of writing The Illumine, she went back to those journals from her teenage years for inspiration. She also kept several journals throughout her writing process because things would come to her in the middle of the night, while she was driving, and while she was exercising. Then, while deeply immersed in the process of writing her second book, she experienced writer’s block for the first time. She was unable to find her voice to write about the romantic love her heroine was experiencing.

She says, “Nothing I wrote during that time was authentic. I couldn’t find my voice.”

Mahina decided to stop writing the book to shine light down her “own black well.” She committed herself to the painful process of understanding why she felt so unable to fathom the experience of romantic love. This painstaking analysis was not unfruitful however, as it introduced her to the next chapters of her life and rekindled her ability to continue her book.

“I am inspired by the vulnerability that rests behind courage. When we love, we risk so much.  We as humans have the ability to close ourselves off to feelings, to deny. To love is to be courageous.” She also draws inspiration from the women around her, “Throughout my life, it is the women in it who inspire me. This community of exceptional women invigorates me, supports my life’s process and my creative process.”

She commits to experiencing fear, regardless of how it manifests. An avid road cyclist during college in Colorado, she equates writing to climbing on her road bike. “There is a saying, ‘Time on your bike is time on your bike.’ Meaning, the only way to build endurance while you climb is to commit yourself to being on your bike for extended, often painful periods of time. I approach writing in the same way. When I create the space to write, I commit to facing that blank space without fear and simply writing something. I also commit to the understanding that my writing process is not a linear process.”

Please join us in celebrating Mahina: HER story is OUR story. She’s excited to live the next chapter of her life with intention and complete her second novel. Can we get a big W.O.W.?!

Visit her website:


You can find her book The Illumine on Amazon

Written by our discoverHER blogger: Liz Hodges