Behind the Books
Deserts to Mountaintops Collection
The DTM Collection was a dream born out of Jessica Buchanan's own self-abandonment experience and how she found her way back to the mountaintop of self-love. She is now committed to helping other women tell that story as well.
On October 25, 2011, while on a routine field mission in Somalia, working as the Education Advisor for her non-governmental organization, Jessica was abducted at gunpoint and held for ransom by a group of Somali pirates for 93 days. Forced to live outdoors in deplorable conditions, starved, and terrorized by more than two dozen gangsters, Jessica’s health steadily deteriorated until, by order of President Obama, she was rescued by the elite SEAL Team VI on January 25, 2012.
Jessica’s ordeal is detailed in her New York Times bestselling book, "Impossible Odds: The
Kidnapping of Jessica Buchanan and Her Dramatic Rescue by SEAL Team Six."
Jessica has been named one of the ‘150 Women Who will Shake the World’ by Newsweek, and her story was the most highly viewed 60 Minutes episode to air, to date. Jessica is a highly sought-after inspirational speaker and her TEDx Pearl Street talk, ‘Change is Your Proof of Life’ has been the foundation for which she travels the world, inspiring audiences to access their resilience by identifying their own autonomy and choice in the middle of their own life-changing event.
Jessica is the founder of Soul Speak Press, an imprint of Merack Publishing, where she supports women who are ready to share their stories through Memoir Manifestos- books that are one part memoir, one part self-help, and one part inspiration. Deserts to Mountaintops was created by Jessica and started out as a collection of essays from contributing authors who courageously shared their own accounts of survival and reclaiming their voices.
DTM has quickly gained traction and created a movement of women who are seeking community, empowerment and a way to do things differently as they journey through their lives.
In her free time, Jessica can be found hiking mountains all over the world with her husband and
Meet the Team
Read more about the ladies behind Soul Speak Press!
After working for several years in the marketing industry, Loren turned her freelance work into her own business, Buchanan Creative Group. She currently works with entrepreneurs, professional speakers, and small businesses to translate their passion and expertise into profitable, strategic plans. She graduated with her BA in English and emphasis in Technical and Professional Writing from Lee University.
Loren now lives near Nashville, Tennessee with her two little girls and active-duty Green Beret husband. They enjoy spending free time with friends or hiking a mountain.
Ilsa Manning is a mother, founder, fragrance designer, author, and your biggest cheerleader. Born and raised in Phoenix, Arizona, she adventured to Europe after graduating with BA in History from the University of Arizona. She's lived in France, Poland, and England; she's au paired, taught ESL, graduated with an MA in Modern History from Royal Holloway University of London, and finally found her calling in fragrance while working at the largest fragrance and flavor supplier in the world. Ilsa returned home to Phoenix with a husband in hand and a drive to pursue all things fragrance. After an epiphanic awakening sparked by her new daughter's love for her, Ilsa found her self-belief for the first time in her life. Now her mission to bring this same awakening to all women through her luxury fine fragrance brand Ilsa Fragrances.
Ilsa lives in Phoenix, Arizona with her English husband and two daughters, and a dog that looks suspiciously like a coyote.
Caroline Eaton Pickard
Caroline is a writer and editor with a background in journalism and marketing. She runs an independent agency where she helps clients with copywriting, editing, SEO, and digital media management. She also has a second career as an actor and comedy writer; she co-created an award-winning web series called Woo Mates. She's obsessed with storytelling and the way it can connect people who may think differently from each other. She loves helping authors craft their life stories to share with the world and help their readers. Caroline lives in Austin, Texas with her husband and their two cats, and in her free time, she loves reading and watching sitcoms.