The Heroine’s Journey of Paola Totis


What is the best thing that I love about my work?

I believe the writing makes me feel less alone, because it allows me to communicate to the other people. I enjoy sharing what I knew, what I heard and what I tested.

What is my idea of perfect happiness?

I’m happy when I feel good with myself and the others. I’m quiet with the other people if I am quiet with myself and this needs a daily introspection to overcome the fears and the disappointments and to clear what I really want.

What’s my greatest fear?

In my opinion, it’s the loss of personal freedom and autonomy, perhaps because I had to work hard to gain them during my lifetime.

What’s the trait that I most deplore in myself?

The thing that I most hate in myself is the insecurity in making decisions. I suffer every time that I must decide something important. Only when I took it, I return to be quiet and I carry on it with steadiness.

Which living persons in my profession do I most admire?

The writer I most love is Ken Follet, because between his books he made comprehensible to a lot of people some dynamics of History in the ordinary life, not only of History about great events. A writer I’ve recently known and I’ve treasured, for many of her choices, is Francie Fridegotto Lo Russo: a strong, purposeful woman, able to go against the current, while retaining a poetic soul.

What’s my greatest extravagance?

I believe that the order and the cleaness are mine little obsession. I never could live in a messy place! If I see something messy and dirty, I’ve the irrepresible impulse to clean it and to put it in the right place.

On what occasion would I lie?

The only one reason why I would lie it would be to not make sad the people I care. I believe that the truth must be told gently, considering the reasons of all the parties involved.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work?

Sitting at the pc for several hours it’s a thing I hate a lot, but the writing needs a sedentary life. Another very boring thing of my work is to read again book’s drafts until it’s perfect for printing. My fussiness and incertitude lead me to read again until I’m worn.

When and where was I the happiest in my work?

The occasion I most remember is the day I arrived to me a mail with a printing proposal for my novelWho’s without sin?” . I cried for the joy. Another very happy moment was the public presentation of my novel in the kermesse “Villeggendo”, during which famous

If I could, what would I change about myself?

The thing I would change about myself is the touchiness. I’d like to be most self-deprecating to defuse the criticals and to live with more lightness.

What is my greatest achievement in work?

My greatest achievement is the approval of my book from the people. When a reader tell me the novel I wrote thrilled him, or it helped him to most know himself or a certain subject, I’m happy because I reached what I wanted.

Where would I most like to live?

I would prefer to live in a sunnier place, by the sea. I would like very much! The Veneto is a place rich of nature and culture, but it has a very wet climate and often grey days.

What is my most treasured possession?

First of all, the time I own in my lifetime: I hate having to waste my time without being able to achieve what I wish. Another treasure I own is my perserverance in facing the problems. I always find the strength to fight for the things I believe in.

What’s my most marked characteristic?

I believe I am a kind and patient person. I’m a person who can hear the other people and who seeks to help the distressed people. I respect every opinion and I can adapt me to the needs of other people.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city?

Certainly the location that most inspired me, near my house, are the Berici Hills and the beautiful palladian villas, because they are an example of beauty.

What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city?

In Italy there are a lot of places where it’s possible to eat and drink very well, it’s a difficult choice. I like to meet with my friends in Noventa Vicentina’s pub “Foxy”, beacause is a cozy and casual environment. I enjoy Tre Botti’s bruschettas and pizzas in Pojana Maggiore. In Vicenza I love attending Matteotti’s Bar, because the lord offers good wines and several cultural meetings.

What books influenced my life and how?

I’m thinkingWhen I was a young girl, I hited so much the reading of S.E.Hinton’s The Outsiders, for the strong friendship bond between the two principal character, but also Fred Uhlman’s Reunion, because also here the friendship brings to a changing in the world view of one of the characters, Konradin, later involved in the outrage against Hitler. Another book which marked my boyhood is Morris West’s The Devil’s advocate, a novel that induce me the critical power towards the Church system. A book that gives me a strong example of human solidarity is Dominique Lapierre’s The City of Joy. A book that marked my adulthood was Ken Follet’s The Pillars of the Earth: a novel that moved me, making me dream, and which is, in my opinion, a writing model. The book Paulo Coelho’s The Alchimist, instead, helped me to deal with difficult relationships with my parents after my moving away from my home and my divorce. Other novels which teached me the strongness of the emotions have been Isabel Allende’s The House of the Spirits and Gabriel Garcìa Marquez’s One hundred years of solitude.

Who are my favourite writers?

Andrea Camilleri, Ken Follet, Dan Brown, Isabel Allende, George Orwell, Gabriel García Márquez, John Grisham.

You only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day?

La vida es un carnaval by Celia Cruz, a bitter-sweet song, as the life.

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction?

When I was a child, I liked Donald Duck because he was a sly, firm and funny character, even if he was very unlucky and tapped by friends and relatives. As an adult, I like most the character of Ellen, Jack’s mother in the novel The Pillars of the Earth, because she’s a woman who rebels against the Church and the Society of that age, because she thought they were unfair.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?

Anyone who struggles to change people’s mind in the name of justice and humanity, like the professor Junaid Hafeez, who risks being killed for taking about Women Right in Pakistan or Malala Yousafzai, who was a victim of an aggression for her commitment to Education Right. My heroes are every man and woman who strives for their own dreams and rights.

Which movie would I recommend to see once in a lifetime?

A Pedro Almodòvar’s movie, Bad Education, or also Talk to her, because they give voice to the deeper and cozier human upsets. Also the movie City of Joy, directed by Roland Joffè or Nadine Labaki’s Cafarnao are important movies because they show the life of the poorest and most trivia side of mankind.

What role plays art in my life and work?

Art is very important in my work and in my life. Art stimulates the reflection, art is to look at the world from a different point of view, art is rebellion, art is harmony and beauty, art contact the emotions. Without the art, the world would be flat and grey. Above all, I find inspiration in the figurative art and in the theater and the cinema, beyond the literature.

Whom would I like to work with in 2020?

With a solid and serious publishing house, who considers what I write as something more than a simple commercial product.

Which people in my profession would I love to meet in 2020?

I would like to meet a producer or a director who transform my novels in a movie or in a play. In my opinion, it would be the way to give life to the characters and the stories I made, give me the chance to tell the addressed issues in my books with another language.

What project , in 2020, am I looking forward to work on?

To publish my second novel “La Compagnia del silenzio” (Silence Company).

Where you can see me or my work in 2020?

It can be seen my work as a journalist on or buying the magazine “Area3”, in paper format. My novel “Chi è senza peccato?” (Who’s without sin?) it can be found on Amazon ( ), IBS, . It can be found a booktrailer of my novel also on You Tube ) Moreover, we can find my work also on

What does the wordsPassion Never Retiresmean to me?

I think it means that it can’t stop to follow your passion also in front of a thousand of obstacles, criticals and disappointments, because this is an activity that makes me feel good, beyond the judgement of other people or the chances it can have to make their own work known.

Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story?

The director Roberta De Paoli ( )and the writer Francie Fridegotto LoRusso ( ).

How can you contact me?

Email address: , on Facebook and Linkedln or on the blog

Here follows a message of Peter de Kuster, founder of The Heroine’s Journey 


Are you a creative leader or creative professional looking to develop your business skills and storytelling?

Amidst today’s uncertainty, it is more important than ever to reconnect with yourself and others, develop your creative business, and build your story. Dive deep into your unique business style and areas for growth with the coaching of Peter de Kuster.


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    You are a creative leader or creative professional  who is interested in developing yourself, your business, and your story.

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    You are aware that there are no quick fixes. Learning is a journey that works when you are fully committed to it. Coaching can bring awareness and help you navigate, but in the end it’s you who is in charge of your growth.

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    You want to learn more about how to resource yourself, learn about blind spots, and get feedback.

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    You are curious and want to engage in online learning.

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    You are motivated to work in-between sessions on yourself (e.g. working on homework assignments that will help you develop new storytelling, skills, and behaviors).


The Heroine’s Journey Coaching is all about your development. To make the most out of your sessions, we ask you to prepare topics to work on with Peter. These topics can serve as a starting point for further in-depth exploration with Peter.

These coaching topics typically resonate with the creative leaders Peter works with:

How can i tell the most powerful story possible about myself and my creative business?

How can I handle self promotion and marketing of my creative business better?

How do can I stay authentic and with focus when having difficult conversations with potential clients?

What are my creative values and how do I align these with my business values?

How can I manage my time and energy better?

How can I radiate confidence to my clients while feeling anxious inside?

How can I steer myself towards creative excellence without becoming rigid?

About Peter de Kuster

Peter de Kuster is the founder of The Heroine’s Journey & Hero’s Journey project,  a storytelling firm which helps creative professionals to create careers and lives based on whatever story is most integral to their lives and careers (values, traits, skills and experiences). Peter’s approach combines in-depth storytelling and marketing expertise, and for over 20 years clients have found it effective with a wide range of creative business issues.


Peter is writer of the series The Heroine’s Journey and Hero’s Journey books, he has an MBA in Marketing,  MBA in Financial Economics and graduated at university in Sociology and Communication Sciences.

individual coaching for leaders


The Heroine’s Journey Coaching online sessions last 50 minutes and the fee is Euro 189 excluding VAT per session. The Heroine’s Journey Coaching is suitable for people at any stage in their career.


Who can sign up for The Heroine’s Journey online coaching?

Creative leaders and creative professionals who wish to improve their business story and develop their business skills and mindset.

Should I choose 1:1 coaching?

Our The Heroine’s Journey experiences in world cities allow you to learn not only from the coach but also from your peers. For the small group coaching (1 – 4 people), we have selected important, relevant topics that we find regularly come up for creative professional: purpose, storytelling, creative confidence, self promotion, time & money and resilience.

If you would prefer to work alone or on a different topic, individual coaching is a better fit for you.

What language do we speak in the coaching sessions?


Can I buy coaching for my organization?

Yes, you can! We support many organizations around the world with their coaching needs. Please contact us for more information.

Can I bring my own topics?

Yes, for individual coaching you get to choose your own topic.

Are coaching sessions confidential?

Yes. Peter will not share anything that is discussed in the coaching sessions.

Where will the coaching sessions take place?

Sessions will take place online (as per the times we live in) via an online tool like Zoom or Skype. Peter will let you know.

How do I sign up?

Send Peter a mail to to start booking your coaching sessions.

How do I pay?

After you send the mail, you will receive an email with a link to pay.

How do I book and reschedule sessions?

Once we’ve received your payment, Peter will contact you and book your coaching sessions. He will also support you with rescheduling sessions if needed.

What is your cancellation policy?

Individual coaching sessions can be postponed up to one week before the session.


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