AUTHORS INTERVIEW

Everything you want to know about your favorite author

Books for Life

AUTHOR INTERVIEW 1

PAULA KENDRICK

UNITED STATES

JaBez means pain. This Memoir is a path of pain, suffering, success, hope, and heartache. The Modern Day Jabez” is me and it is you.  I’ve been the adopted child, teenager coping with the death of a parent, dating, getting pregnant then marrying someone who never loved me, becoming a parent, coping with the loss of another parent, failing in life, and learning. Through the trials that presented itself at birth transcended into adulthood. My life is a journey of learning God through every turbulent times and knowing he was there with me through the storm. No matter what the devil tried to do with my interpersonal relationships, he was no match for God. There is redemption after the plots and attacks against my life. I thank God for those plots because I would not be the strong, determined woman I am today.
About Author
Paula Kendrick is a woman who perseveres each and everyday. She is a mother of four daughters with various roles; She host and produces her own live stream and podcast giving encouraging words of inspiration along with much laughter to bless others by saying “Continually Let Your Light Shine” and “Be Blessed and be a Blessing”. Kendrick is a true servant at heart for God .

Romelia: WHAT IS A SIGNIFICANT WAY YOUR BOOK HAS CHANGED SINCE THE FIRST DRAFT?

Paula Kendrick: It started out with mere words and some were misspelled with missing punctuations in the beginning. It was turned into a book once it went through the transfiguration process.

Romelia: WHAT PERSPECTIVES OR BELIEFS HAVE YOU CHALLENGED WITH THIS WORK?

Paula Kendrick: Looking at my past and realizing it was my stepping stone. I saw my own trauma and pain transferred onto others.

Romelia: WHAT INSPIRED THE IDEA FOR YOUR BOOK?

Paula Kendrick: Certain circumstances that literally brought me to my knees but I survived.

Romelia: HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR BOOK’S IDEAL READER?

Paula Kendrick: A person who has been through trials and tribulations but they didn’t beat them down. A person who can still smile through the tough times.

Romelia: HOW MUCH RESEARCH DID YOU NEED TO DO FOR YOUR BOOK?

Paula Kendrick: Life and circumstances were my research.

Romelia: HOW IMPORTANT WAS PROFESSIONAL EDITING TO YOUR BOOK’S DEVELOPMENT?

Paula Kendrick: Professional Editing was very important to ensure that every single letter I was dotted and every single letter T was crossed.

Romelia: WHAT WAS YOUR HARDEST SCENE TO WRITE, AND WHY?

Paula Kendrick: The hardest scene was every chapter of this book for all different reasons. Each chapter centered on the same theme but created different emotions.

Romelia: WHAT CHARACTERS IN YOUR BOOK ARE MOST SIMILAR TO YOU OR TO PEOPLE YOU KNOW?

Paula Kendrick: Each character in their own way are a representation of me. Some represents me in love, humility, and forgiveness.

Romelia: HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO WRITE THIS BOOK?

Paula Kendrick: 2 to 2/1 years.

Romelia: HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE TITLE FOR YOUR BOOK?

Paula Kendrick:  I was listening to a Pastor who was talking about Jabez in the bible. Jabez means pain or sorrow and his mother said he gave birth to him in pain and it was like an epiphany went off and I said: “I have the name for my book”.

Romelia: WOULD YOU AND YOUR MAIN CHARACTER GET ALONG?

Paula Kendrick: Pain is my main character and the answer is NO, we would not get along but I have come to realization the relationship is needed to achieve the ultimate goal.

Romelia: IF YOU COULD MEET YOUR CHARACTERS, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO THEM?

Paula Kendrick: Thank you for everything that you have taught me along this journey. If it had not been for our encounter, I would not have learned the tenacity that I am.

Romelia: WHAT IS YOUR WRITING PROCESS LIKE? ARE YOU MORE OF A PLOTTER OR A PANTSER?

Paula Kendrick: It first starts off writing everything down with a pen and paper. Jotting down every thought that comes to me, proofread it, and then once I have everything down I go back and type up everything. Looking at the descriptions of the two, I would have to say I am a pantser.

Romelia: WHAT DO YOU NEED IN YOUR WRITING SPACE TO HELP YOU STAY FOCUSED?

Paula Kendrick: Ear buds in my ear, to listen to a little music to help keep me calm. Some people have to have quiet to work or study but I can do so with the television and music and still be productive.

Romelia: IF YOU WERE TO WRITE A SPIN-OFF ABOUT A SIDE CHARACTER, WHICH WOULD YOU PICK?

Paula Kendrick: I don’t think I would do a spin off only because some spin offs are not as good as the original.

Romelia: IF YOU COULD SPEND A DAY WITH ANOTHER POPULAR AUTHOR, WHOM WOULD YOU CHOOSE?

Paula Kendrick: I had several because they paved way for making me aware of my culture but I must say Maya Angelou. I chose her because she is truly a magnificent woman and as her bio said she refused to shy away from difficult topics about her path. I can honestly relate to that.

Romelia: WHAT IS YOUR SCHEDULE LIKE WHEN YOU’RE WRITING A BOOK?

Paula Kendrick: When the mood hit me to write, I sat down, stayed focused, and I get to work.

Romelia: HAVE YOU EVER TRAVELED AS RESEARCH FOR YOUR BOOK?

Paula Kendrick: NO Traveling.

Romelia: WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE WRITING SNACK OR DRINK?

Paula Kendrick: Mountain Dew or Dr. Pepper for sure as the drink and Nacho Cheese Doritos or BBQ Chips.

Romelia: HOW DO YOU CELEBRATE WHEN YOU FINISH YOUR BOOK?

Paula Kendrick: I looked at my finish product when my publisher contacted me and all I could say was “WOW”.  I just said Yes, I am finished. I was all smiles.

Romelia: WHAT RISKS HAVE YOU TAKEN WITH YOUR WRITING THAT HAVE PAID OFF?

Paula Kendrick: The risk of submitting over to the publisher and she reviewed it and she said yes.

Romelia: WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU GOOGLED YOURSELF AND WHAT DID YOU FIND?

Paula Kendrick: Today. Googled my book and my videos came up talking about my book and the Jabez prayer. My name pulled up several with the same name. A few instances did reference my book.

Romelia: WHAT IS YOUR KRYPTONITE AS A WRITER?

Paula Kendrick: Misunderstandings.

Romelia: TELL US SOMETHING FUNNY FROM YOUR ADULT LIFE.

Paula Kendrick: I fell in my bathroom on all fours with arms and legs sprawled out. I had sprayed too much oil sheen on the bathroom floor and I came running out of the closet in the bathroom headed into the bedroom and down I went like Frasier in a boxing match. I laid there for about 10-15 minutes to catch my breath because I literally had the wind knocked out of me LOL.

Romelia: Describe yourself in a few sentences. Tell us something we do not know about you and something you hate about the world.

Paula Kendrick: I am an Introvert but I am always laughing and talking to anyone. Go figure!! Challenges are hard but I never back down from them. I learn from them and persevere. I hate that we cannot learn to agree to disagree. God made us all different and if we took the time we could all learn something from each other.

If you want to know more about Paula Kendrick don’t hesitate to contact her.

Contact info:

Authorpaulakendrick@gmail.com

https://themoderndayjabez.com/


AUTHOR INTERVIEW 2

Freddie Mae WILSON
UNITED STATES
AGE 69
Mrs. Freddie Woods Wilson grew up in Minden, Louisiana married to US Army SSG. Cleveland C. Wilson now retired from the Army after serving twenty years. We now live in Fayetteville, North Carolina. Freddie is a positive speaker and Inspirational women mentor; she attends Wood Chapel Gospel Service with her husband and a faithful and active member of the congregation. She loves people, She loves music, swimming, writing and reading.

I began a career working with children
as a substitute teacher in Germany in
1992 and continued to work for the schools in various school districts when we
returned to the United States.
I loved it so much. Being an encourager/mentor, working with children and seeing
them learn became my passion. I want to thank Barbara Davis, a teacher, for her
continuous persuasiveness to get me to come aboard to work in the schools. I love
children, and I loved my job working with them. It was just amazing. After about
six months in North Carolina, I decided to get back into the school system in 1995
because I love children, and I enjoyed working with children.

Romelia: WHAT IS A SIGNIFICANT WAY YOUR BOOK HAS CHANGED SINCE THE FIRST DRAFT?  

Freddie Wilson: More editing, revision, conversations dialogue before coming together.

Romelia: WHAT PERSPECTIVES OR BELIEFS HAVE YOU CHALLENGED WITH THIS WORK?

Freddie Wilson: As an aspiring author I would say no one gets it right the first time. We/I struggle most times when I begin to write my stories. All I can say is just write to the best of my ability. Writing the first story then, another story that is in your head pops in before finishing writing a paragraph and you tie it in also.

Romelia: WHAT INSPIRED THE IDEA FOR YOUR BOOK?

Freddie Wilson: Reading devotion and through asking God why was Bren given this job only for it to be  taken back. Wilson truly believe that  God put it in HER heart to write this story. God Spoke during my pain and confusion. A job loss, Bren Cramer was fifty-seven yrs. old and  was not aware of her position ending so suddenly. She had a breakdown, that took her through many turmoil’s.

Romelia: HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR BOOK’S IDEAL READER?

Freddie Wilson: Well I begin writing ten years ago and I was writing for myself. I am a non- fiction writer. My ideal reader is their interest and Age 18 yrs, and up, school employees/employers and if you work and not for yourself this book is for you.

Romelia: HOW MUCH RESEARCH DID YOU NEED TO DO FOR YOUR BOOK?

Freddie Wilson: Little to none.

Romelia: HOW IMPORTANT WAS PROFESSIONAL EDITING TO YOUR BOOK’S DEVELOPMENT?

Freddie Wilson: Each time I publish through a publishing company. A publishing company with a team of professional editors so yes it is very important to me with them to have phenomenal editing for my books. My books were very costly. I paid a good fee and because I trust them to do their best quality work and to not let me, the readers, down or their own company.

Romelia: WHAT WAS YOUR HARDEST SCENE TO WRITE, AND WHY?

Freddie Wilson: When the character continued to go to each person in authority requesting to go back to work. Why? Because it was a set up to take the job back in the first place.

Romelia: WHAT CHARACTERS IN YOUR BOOK ARE MOST SIMILAR TO YOU OR TO PEOPLE YOU KNOW?

Freddie Wilson: Bren Cramer

Romelia: HOW LONG DID IT TAKE YOU TO WRITE THIS BOOK?

Freddie Wilson: Six months.

Romelia: HOW DID YOU COME UP WITH THE TITLE FOR YOUR BOOK?

Freddie Wilson: I was searching the BIBLE for answers, peace, comfort , guidance, directions, and one afternoon Divine jump into my spirit while watching Joel Osteen on television. I could not get divine out of my head I play with it for a while. I wrote it down and after reality hit I said I got to move forward put this behind me and that was where the title came from. I was experiencing a time and it was over. Every decision came through a divine word.

Romelia: WOULD YOU AND YOUR MAIN CHARACTER GET ALONG?

Freddie Wilson: YES, because she was treated unfairly, and truth be told no matter what race on your job and between employer and employees justice should have prevail.  The system fails Mrs. Bren Cramer and I would love to comfort her and try to help 

Romelia: IF YOU COULD MEET YOUR CHARACTERS, WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO THEM?

Freddie Wilson: We came to the end of this chapter but there are some things unsettle with Bren, what can we do to make it right. A sequel is coming.

Romelia: WHAT IS YOUR WRITING PROCESS LIKE? ARE YOU MORE OF A PLOTTER OR A PANTSER?

Freddie Wilson: I am both, I write in my journal, but I also write on different sheets of papers in another notebook then when I begin to type I type from my journal, and things that has been in my head that I have not put in my journal I really need to get it out of my head, while I am typing never outline I just write.

Romelia: WHAT DO YOU NEED IN YOUR WRITING SPACE TO HELP YOU STAY FOCUSED?

Freddie Wilson: Quietness, free from distraction comfortable chair, and desk, and 100 % lighting.

Romelia: IF YOU WERE TO WRITE A SPIN-OFF ABOUT A SIDE CHARACTER, WHICH WOULD YOU PICK?

Freddie Wilson: Dr. Tony Jones poor guy he just became principal after many years, and assistant principal.

Romelia: IF YOU COULD SPEND A DAY WITH ANOTHER POPULAR AUTHOR, WHOM WOULD YOU CHOOSE?

Freddie Wilson: ReShonda Tate Billingsley

Romelia: WHAT IS YOUR SCHEDULE LIKE WHEN YOU’RE WRITING A BOOK?

Freddie Wilson: I have no schedule.

Romelia: HAVE YOU EVER TRAVELED AS RESEARCH FOR YOUR BOOK?

Freddie Wilson: NO, not at this time.

Romelia: WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE WRITING SNACK OR DRINK?

Freddie Wilson: Roasted jumbo peanuts.

Romelia: HOW DO YOU CELEBRATE WHEN YOU FINISH YOUR BOOK?

Freddie Wilson: I rest for two weeks no commitments during the two weeks after those weeks I visit, shop, and have my girlfriend time.

Romelia: WHAT RISKS HAVE YOU TAKEN WITH YOUR WRITING THAT HAVE PAID OFF?

Freddie Wilson: There is always a risk, this book is about a trauma  the teacher who loss her job in the academic area a journey that brought her innumerable trails and invaluable lesson. Cramer wanted her white coworkers who had the higher authority to be honest and do the right thing. Payback is coming the year 2020 is the year for minority and black author people are reading this book.

Romelia: WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU GOOGLED YOURSELF AND WHAT DID YOU FIND?

Freddie Wilson: 2 days ago, I am not on Google by Freddie Mae Wilson but by my author name Freddie Woods Wilson.

Romelia: WHAT IS YOUR KRYPTONITE AS A WRITER?

Freddie Wilson: Wilson is easily offended she tells people she is working on change but…

Romelia: TELL US SOMETHING FUNNY FROM YOUR ADULT LIFE.

Freddie Wilson: I was driving in Houston, Texas and while driving I was in deep thought and coming up on an exceptionally long bridge going up. All I could see was highway and the sky. I was the only one in my car and I was so afraid that at the end of the road I was going to end up in the sky that was dark blue and could not be found.

Romelia: Describe yourself in a few sentences. Tell us something we do not know about you and something you hate about the world.  

Freddie Wilson: I am a woman of excellent with love and hope. I’m a leader of a Thursday evening facetime(10) women bible study group. I encourage people face to face and through my writing I encourage, inspired, and give hope. I am grateful! I am married with three adult daughters who are out of the home on their own. I Enjoy family time, I love to meet new people.  I have a piano at home for years and have not played the keys or a song. The policeman killing our black men/people and policeman who do not do the right thing for our cities.

Facebook page Inspirational “Treasures within me”

Instagram-frddwils

Twitter-FCMercidesB

Goodread – Freddie M Wilson

A Divine Connection: Experiencing a Moment

https://www.amazon.com/Divine-Connection-Experiencing-Pushing-Forward-ebook/dp/B07N3RVG26/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=9781477129975&qid=1594931284&sr=8-1

https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/a-divine-connection-freddie-woods-wilson/1112550553?ean=9781477129975

www.freddiewoodswilson.com

AUTHOR INTERVIEW 3

Anthony Mitchell

United States

52 years old

My name is Anthony Mitchell and author speaker, songwriter, poet, custom t-shirt and greeting card designer, and most importantly a man of God. I was born with a rare genetic condition known as hypohydrotic ectodermal dysplasia which left me without sweat glands which are totalled at 1 to 4 million located a majority on the bottom of our feet. My parents were told when I was a child by the doctors that I possibly wouldn’t live pass a teenager but kept me to the current age of 52 as he continues to bless me in praising his name with the gifts he’s blessed me with. My book „No Sweat” , Living Without Sweat Glands available on Amazon and a poetry book titled ” Faithfilled Thoughts Of Inspiration” coming down the pipe. I have unique testimonies that will show the world how God has a position in life for each of us. I pray you will take the time out of your schedule to allow God to use you and your platform to inspire the masses.
This Autobiography is of a young man born with a rare genetic condition known as HED or hypohidrotic ectodermal dysplasia where he tells his story of living without sweat glands taking you through the journey of his life challenges as well as achievements.

Romelia: WHICH OF YOUR CHARACTERS ARE MOST LIKELY TO BE AN ACTIVIST, AND WHAT KIND?

Anthony Mitchell: I would have to say my junior high coach simply for what he sacrificed for me to play and others that followed after me.

Romelia: DO YOU PLAY MUSIC WHILE YOU WRITE – AND, IF SO, WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE?

Anthony Mitchell: Well, I don’t play music but I do write lyrics and I have to pick „SOURCE OF MY STRENGTH”.

Romelia: HAVE PETS EVER GOTTEN IN THE WAY OF YOUR WRITING?

Anthony Mitchell: No, pets have never gotten in the way of my writing.

Romelia: IF YOUR BOOK WERE MADE INTO A MOVIE, WHICH ACTORS WOULD PLAY YOUR CHARACTERS?

Anthony Mitchell: Chadwick Bosman would be a good character of me in my book „NO SWEAT”.

Romelia: HAVE YOU EVER KILLED OFF A CHARACTER YOUR READERS LOVED?

Anthony Mitchell: No.

Romelia: WHAT IS THE MOST VALUABLE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’VE BEEN GIVEN ABOUT WRITING?

Anthony Mitchell: To be as authentic as I possibly can. 

Romelia: WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE BEST WAY TO IMPROVE WRITING SKILLS?

Anthony Mitchell: I would use the same practice I use when I write poetry which is writing about everything and put your life into chapters or any period of your life about you or anyone in your life.

Romelia: WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO HELP OTHERS CREATE PLOTLINES?

Anthony Mitchell: I would advise them to be as detailed as possible in every area of their story period.

Romelia: WHAT HAS HELPED OR HINDERED YOU MOST WHEN WRITING A BOOK?

Anthony Mitchell: What hindered me in writing my book was simply stepping out of my comfort zone and telling my unique story to others and what helped me was accomplishing something I imagined doing since I graduated from college in 1994.

Romelia: DOES WRITING ENERGIZE OR EXHAUST YOU? OR BOTH?

Anthony Mitchell: Writing energizes me most definitely.

Romelia: WHAT IS THE BEST MONEY YOU’VE EVER SPENT WITH REGARD TO YOUR WRITING?

Anthony Mitchell: A laptop.

Romelia: WHAT ARE COMMON TRAPS FOR NEW AUTHORS?

Anthony Mitchell:  Hiring or purchasing tools that are free online. 

Romelia: HOW MANY HOURS A DAY DO YOU WRITE?

Anthony Mitchell: With so many projects going from all the writing I’ve already done I only write about maybe an hour or so a day.

Romelia: WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE BLOGS OR WEBSITES FOR WRITERS?

Anthony Mitchell: Facebook to me has so many authors, from every area of writing  to groups of simply  networking.

Romelia: AT WHAT TIME OF THE DAY DO YOU DO MOST OF YOUR WRITING?

Anthony Mitchell: I would have to say at night is the best time for me to write.

Romelia: HOW DO YOU COME UP WITH CHARACTER NAMES FOR YOUR STORIES?

Anthony Mitchell: I simply make them up. 

Romelia: DO YOU PARTICIPATE IN WRITING CHALLENGES ON SOCIAL MEDIA? DO YOU RECOMMEND ANY?

Anthony Mitchell: Yes, its fun to participate in different challenges however I don’t have any to recommend at the moment.

Romelia: IF YOU HAD THE POWER TO CURE A DISEASE OF YOUR CHOOSING, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Anthony Mitchell: I would have to say dementia which I have experienced with my grandmother may she rest in peace.

Romelia: WHEN YOU’RE WRITING AN EMOTIONAL OR DIFFICULT SCENE, HOW DO YOU SET THE MOOD?

Anthony Mitchell: Meditating or reflecting over the course of my life to now really sets the mood for me.

Romelia: WHOM DO YOU TRUST FOR OBJECTIVE AND CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM OF YOUR WORK?

Anthony Mitchell: I would have to say my fiancee she really drives me a lot.

Romelia: WHAT BOOKS DO YOU ENJOY READING?

Anthony Mitchell: Anything about rare diseases or about music business.

Romelia: ARE THERE ANY BOOKS OR AUTHORS THAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A WRITER?

Anthony Mitchell: I would have to say with my Christian beliefs and knowing it is our responsibility to tell our story and where God has brought us from so to answer your question I would have to say my story is my inspiration in hopes that it inspires even more of how good God is to us.

Romelia: NAME AN UNDERAPPRECIATED NOVEL THAT YOU LOVE.

Anthony Mitchell: Hmmm can’t say I have a favorite one right now.

Romelia: TELK US SOMETHING FUNNY FROM YOUR ADULT LIFE.

Anthony Mitchell: Well, let me see, born with no sweat glands my go to defense for anyone who challenged me sports wise I would say keep in mind „YOU WILL NEVER MAKE ME SWEAT”, LOL.

Romelia: describe yourself in a few sentences. Tell us something we do not know about you and something you hate about the world.

Anthony Mitchell: Well, hate is a strong word and don’t want to use that I will say what I dislike about the world is that many of judge before we know anything about the person.

CONTACT DETAILS:

Email: anthonymitchellauthor@gmail.com

Facebook : anthonymitchellauthor

Instagram : timetoshine68

Twitter : notover4meyet

Linkedin : Anthony Mitchell

Website : https://no-sweat-shop.business.site/

AUTHOR INTERVIEW 4

NADIA DAVIS

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA

21 YEARS OLD

Nadia Davis is an Author, Mental Health Professional, Advocate, and Professional Life Coach with extensive experience in Mental Health as well as the Criminal Justice System. Nadia attended the University of Southwestern, Louisiana. Over the years, she became well versed in substance abuse, rehabilitation, corrections, and the causes of them all. Interest and knowledge of these subjects led to a degree in psychology. Once Nadia completed the Associate’s Degree program, she obtained a juvenile justice system position while going to school to complete the Bachelor’s Program. While working with juveniles, she excelled quickly and received several promotions. Here she learned that one of her greatest passions is creating ways to “Meet children and families where they are to teach them where they are!” As Nadia grew in her career, she discovered an intense interest in social sciences. Nadia’s mission is to cultivate the youth and the community’s families through empathy, etiquette, education, experiences, encouragement, enrichment, and excellence. As a mental health professional with extensive experience in the criminal justice and court systems. Nadia specializes in skills training, case management, situational assessments, substance abuse, conflict resolution, and teaching social skills, proving beneficial as she mentors and advocates for families. Nadia’s professional objective is always to obtain a challenging position where her education, work experience, and skills will prove useful towards providing social services, rehabilitation, educational resources, growth, and development for the community. When not writing, Nadia enjoys speaking publicly to educate people on their rights, Black history, mental health, the courts, and criminal justice systems. Nadia has a passion for advocacy and social services. She believes that no matter how big or small, everyone can and should “Do Something!”
Seeds In The Mud Prejudiced Politicians moved us from Plantation to Prisons in pursuit of their political agendas. An American President conspired with other high profile people to smuggle crack cocaine into the country while putting heavy artillery in criminals’ hands. Get insider information about Criminal Justice, Prison, and Court Systems. Get a detailed explanation of how people have fallen prey to the Criminal Justice System in a nation founded on racism and bigotry and built with African American people’s blood, sweat, and tears. Seeds in the Mud tells the story of an archaic system that has failed to deliver equality while actively operating on prejudice, bias, and the “Good Old Boy” system. In the American Criminal Justice System, partisan politics allow guilty wealthy people to walk free while detaining the less fortunate because they can not afford to pay a lawyer, bail, restitution, fines, and fees. The book tells riveting stories about slavery, incarceration, Black Codes, and so much more.

Romelia: WHAT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT PART OF YOUR ARTISTIC PROCESS?

Nadia Davis: The most challenging part of the artistic process to me is ensuring that I only include needed information. Knowing what information to have or remove can be difficult when ensuring that you convey your point.  The other thing that I found most difficult was the editing process.  Once I completed the manuscript, which was stressful in itself, rereading from start to finish to make corrections and clarify statements was difficult.

Romelia: DOES YOUR FAMILY SUPPORT YOUR CAREER AS A WRITER?

Nadia Davis: Yes, my family is supportive of my writing career.

Romelia: IF YOU HAD TO DO SOMETHING DIFFERENTLY AS A CHILD OR TEENAGER TO BECOME A BETTER WRITER AS AN ADULT, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

Nadia Davis: In Jr. High and High School, I experienced some incredible English/Language Arts/Literature teachers. Mr. Clark was my first African American male teacher; he told the best stories; I remember that he ate graham crackers and grape jelly. In High School, Mrs.Rambo and Mrs.Coats were relentless.  If I had to do something different, I would be a better student; I would have listened more and talked less, I would have attempted to put fewer coins in Mrs.Rambo’s jar as anytime we used incorrect verbiage or misquoted, we were required to feed the jar. Mrs. Rambo is consistently in my head, walking around the class with the most sarcastic look on her face and the most   defeated tone of voice as she stated, “It’s a saaaaaaad hour.”

Romelia: HOW LONG ON AVERAGE DOES IT TAKE YOU TO WRITE A BOOK?

Nadia Davis: With constant work and a plan, a book can be written in as little as 90 days. However, life happens. For some, it may take years to complete a book.

Romelia: DO YOU BELIEVE IN WRITER’S BLOCK?

Nadia Davis: Yes, I believe that it is possible to have writer’s block just as people can get into a “rut” in any other profession.

Romelia: AT WHAT POINT DO YOU THINK SOMEONE SHOULD CALL THEMSELVES A WRITER?

Nadia Davis: I believe that someone should be able to call themselves a writer whenever they want to. If you write and think that you are a writer, who am I or anyone else to decide that they are not? I believe that the world would be a much happier place if we let people be who they want to be without judgments or criticism, especially if they do not hurt anyone.  

Romelia: WHAT DIFFERENCE DO YOU SEE BETWEEN A WRITER AND AN AUTHOR? 

Nadia Davis: I believe that writers become authors once they are published.

Romelia: HOW DO YOU PROCESS AND DEAL WITH NEGATIVE BOOK REVIEWS?

Nadia Davis: There are very few things that you will do in life that will be liked by everyone.  My grandfather used to say that “If you don’t want people to say nothing, then do nothing!”

Romelia: WHAT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT PART OF YOUR WRITING PROCESS?

Nadia Davis: The most challenging part of the writing process is gathering my thoughts to make sense to others. 

Romelia: HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WRITING OR WHEN DID YOU START?

Nadia Davis: I have been for years; however, I never considered publishing or writing as a career until the 2020  quarantine. 

Romelia: WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A WRITER WORKING ON THEIR FIRST BOOK?

Nadia Davis: My advice would be to make a plan, stick to the schedule, and write consistently.  On the days you feel that you have writer’s block, write about your favorite things or something that has been bothering you, you will be surprised how just writing anything helps.  In some cases, reading helps, even if it’s just short stories. Always jot down your thoughts. If you are walking in a store and have an idea, go to your notes on your phone and write the thought to have it when you get home.

Romelia: WHAT, TO YOU, ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT ELEMENTS OF GOOD WRITING?

Nadia Davis: A few critical writing elements know your audience and subject matter, correct grammar, and punctuation.  Another important feature is writing with clarity. 

Romelia: WHAT COMES FIRST FOR YOU – THE PLOT OR THE CHARACTERS – AND WHY?

Nadia Davis: For me, the plot and subject matter comes first.  My writing is mostly nonfiction;  the project’s objective and overall point that I am trying to make is what comes to me first. 

Romelia: HOW DO YOU DEVELOP YOUR PLOT AND CHARACTERS?

Nadia Davis: Writing nonfiction, I usually try to use the most relevant, unknown, and exciting information about the subject and the characters/people I have decided to include.

Romelia: WHEN DID YOU FIRST CALL YOURSELF A WRITER?

Nadia Davis: I only considered myself to be a writer when My book was published.

Romelia: HOW DO YOU USE SOCIAL MEDIA AS AN AUTHOR?

Nadia Davis: I use social media for marketing the book, network with other authors, and learn about events for authors.

Romelia: WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE AND LEAST FAVORITE PART OF PUBLISHING?

Nadia Davis: The favorite part was learning the publishing process and designing the book cover, and my least favorite was the editing process.

Romelia: WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO AN AUTHOR WHO WANTED TO DESIGN THEIR OWN COVER?

Nadia Davis: Have fun and take your time.

Romelia: HOW MANY BOOKS HAVE YOU WRITTEN AND WHICH IS YOUR FAVORITE?

Nadia Davis: This is the first.

Romelia: WHAT PART OF THE BOOK DID YOU HAVE THE HARDEST TIME WRITING?

Nadia Davis: The introduction because I did not want to give away the contents of the book.

Romelia: WHAT PART OF THE BOOK WAS THE MOST FUN TO WRITE?

Nadia Davis: The whole book was a joy to me being my first.

Romelia: WHICH OF THE CHARACTERS DO YOU RELATE TO THE MOST AND WHY?

Nadia Davis: My book is a nonfiction book. I relate to all of the People of Color mentioned in the book because I have experienced discrimination. I have also seen first hand how the Criminal Justice System treats people of color.

Romelia: IF YOU’RE PLANNING A SEQUEL. CAN YOU SHARE A TINY BIT ABOUT YOUR PLANS FOR IT?

Nadia Davis: The sequel will include more insight into the criminal justice system and the biases in the system.

Romelia: TELL US SOMETHING FUNNY ABOUT YOUR ADULT LIFE.

Nadia Davis: As good as I am at helping people figure out their own messes, I sometimes have no idea how to deal with my own. 

Romelia: describe yourself in a few sentences. Tell us something we do not know about you and something you hate about the world.

Nadia Davis: I have worked hard to become the person that I am.  I try to limit the amount of influence that outside forces have on my life.  I am passionate about advocating for people to create their sense of self. I enjoy helping clients cultivate their  happiness and not limit themselves by the boundaries created by others. Something you don’t know is that I’m a wanderlust. What I hate about the world is people’s need to criticize, judge, limit, and control others. I also hate discrimination as this is criticism and judgment at it’s absolute worst.   

CONTACT DETAILS:

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AUTHOR INTERVIEW 5

Victoria Hyla Maldonado

United States

Age 42

I was born in 1977 in a south suburb of Chicago, but grew up for the most part in the northwest suburb of Lake Zurich, Illinois.
 
I wrote my first full story as a short book for my reading class in third grade. As I was at that time obsessed with the Oz universe of L. Frank Baum, I created my own extended story in that world, Emerald of Oz, the tale of a unicorn whisked there away from the world she knows only to find friends and a place to truly call home.
 
Through the years, I continued to write, usually short stories and poetry and aborted attempts at longer works. I was, after all, only developing as a writer. Through the encouragement of several key teachers and of course, my mother, I continued to grow and grow and write and write.
 
During my freshman year of high school, a major crush of mine crushed back although he was two years my senior. One day in gym class, he said, „Write a story about me.” The first thing I said in response was, „Give me a character.” And so he did, and so there is Matt Brennan. When first finished, it was a fine short novella of 50 pages called A Summer of Promise. It was very innocent and very compact, but it elicited tears in the very man I had written it about. I was hooked. Although it took nearly 10 years and many incarnations, one computer hard drive fry and several complete rewrites, In Death We Part came to fruition in 2011 after I finally took a „research” trip to New Mexico and actually learned what that part of the country looked like.
 
My second book, Running in the Mists, developed even before the first was published simply because I was curious where Brianna would go in her life after all that has happened. I was not disappointed and I hope readers won’t be either.
 
My third book, Elysian Fields, takes the continuing story’s action to Paris… my other love and other „home town.” Although Brianna’s journey for the most part is complete as of the second book, this third part follows the ongoing journey of Elyse, whose story has yet to be figured out and put to rest.
 
Educated at the University of Illinois-Urbana-Champaign, I studied English Education and had a French minor. I am now a freelance editor and writer and coordinator of the Alpha program at my church.

“It’s the mistakes and imperfections that make things truly beautiful.”

Haunted by fractured childhood memories and trauma born from her mother’s death and her father’s abuse, Elyse Brennan Wylder journeys to Paris hoping to find answers about her mother’s past and perhaps her own future. With only an old photograph to guide her, she is thrown into a world far beyond anything she’s ever imagined—both good and evil.

After meeting Jérôme Sauveterre, an intriguing and passionate Parisian artist, Elyse quickly finds her life, her world, and her heart opening wide as they delve deeper into her mother’s story and learn what love and intimacy really mean.

As Elyse and Jérôme dig into the past, how far can they go before it’s too late to turn back? Will they find a light at the end of the darkness and awake in Elysian Fields? Find out as this story of love and loss enfolds as the conclusion to the Hearts Drawn Wyld trilogy (Book 1, In Death We Part; Book 2, Running in the Mists).

Romelia: WHICH OF YOUR CHARACTERS ARE MOST LIKELY TO BE AN ACTIVIST, AND WHAT KIND?

Victoria J. Hyla: Elyse, my main character of my third book, becomes an activist as part of her profession at the end of the book. I hate to say specifically as to what since that kind of reveals a ton about the plot, but it is in the category of human rights on a national level.

Romelia: DO YOU PLAY MUSIC WHILE YOU WRITE—AND, IF SO, WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE?

Victoria J. Hyla: I don’t usually because when I write the scenes for the book are running through my head like a movie and I find lyrics from music too distracting. Perhaps once in a while I will play instrumental music, and in those rare cases, its Debussy or something else classical or melodic.

Romelia: HAVE PETS EVER GOTTEN IN THE WAY OF YOUR WRITING?

Victoria J. Hyla: Every day. The cat jumps up on my desk at least once a day, loves to sit on the mouse or my hands and then bite me because I’m in her way. She also gives me disapproving looks over the top of my laptop if I won’t let her sit where she wants to sit.

Romelia: IF YOUR BOOK WERE MADE INTO A MOVIE, WHICH ACTORS WOULD PLAY YOUR CHARACTERS?

Victoria J. Hyla: Easy to say that Brianna (the main character of my first two books and secondary in the third) would have to be played my Molly Quinn (Castle is her most famous role). For Elyse, I’m not sure, but possibly either Dove Cameron or Chloe Grace Moretz. I struggle more with the men as all my favorite male actors are now too old to do the roles. But for Ben, perhaps someone up and coming like Jonny Weston. For Matt, I like Alden Ehrenreich or Garret Hedlund, perhaps. For Jérôme, possibly Gaspard Ulliel.

Romelia: HAVE YOU EVER KILLED OFF A CHARACTER YOUR READERS LOVED?

Victoria J. Hyla: Yes, I have—a major one at the end of In Death We Part. One reader once commented that when this character died, she cried so hard she threw up. That made me smile.

Romelia: WHAT IS THE MOST VALUABLE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’VE BEEN GIVEN ABOUT WRITING?

Victoria J. Hyla: Write from an authentic place, whether that’s your experiences or emotions or situations. If something about what you write doesn’t ring true with you as a writer, it will show and your readers will know it.

Romelia: WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE BEST WAY TO IMPROVE WRITING SKILLS?

Victoria J. Hyla: Write and write and write and write. Also read… a lot… from all kinds of genres, but definitely the classics and the genres you write in. I’d never advocate that someone should write like those authors, but until you experience structure and technique and how a book is put together, how dialogue and punctuation and grammar are written correctly, and how things have been put together before you, you are just spinning your wheels. It’s kind of like art with artists. Artists study all kinds of art and techniques before they find their own unique style.

Romelia: WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO HELP OTHERS CREATE PLOTLINES?

Victoria J. Hyla: You can’t write what you don’t know, so go out and experience life, make mistakes, and just be a person doing life. For me, I often take tiny details or situations or experiences that happened in my life and expand upon them with the question of “what if that had gone differently?” and the like. This gives me a lot to write about since already I’ve had several major life changes and choices (good and bad) in my own life. Writing just dramatizes and structures them.

Romelia: WHAT HAS HELPED OR HINDERED YOU MOST WHEN WRITING A BOOK?

Victoria J. Hyla: Time, on both sides of that question. Time has helped because time yields experiences and I now have the time to devote to it when I can focus on it. Time hinders always because I never feel like there is enough of it to dedicate guilt-free attention to my writing. I have so many projects in the works. Time is a fickle thing.

Romelia: DOES WRITING ENERGIZE OR EXHAUST YOU? OR BOTH?

Victoria J. Hyla: Absolutely both. I am invigorated by the creative process regardless of what that creative process is and so when things are accomplished I am very much energized and ready to tackle more and more. But in the actual process it can be exhausting. During my most recent novel, I’d come out of a writing session of something particularly difficult and my husband would say that I look thrashed or worried or just exhausted.

Romelia: WHAT IS THE BEST MONEY YOU’VE EVER SPENT WITH REGARD TO YOUR WRITING?

Victoria J. Hyla: Not sure if it’s money I’ve spent, but the best is money I’ve sacrificed. I chose not to go back to work when I found myself unemployed this time, and through fortunate circumstances that decision has been okay. This time has allowed me to work on my craft and I have been met with new opportunities that are far more satisfying than any basic “day job” working for “the man” could be.

Romelia: WHAT ARE COMMON TRAPS FOR NEW AUTHORS?

Victoria J. Hyla: Writing to make money; please don’t. If you make money, that’s fantastic, but it should not be your one and only goal. Write because writing is the thing you love to do. Write because this story needs to be told by you. Write because you have to get these ideas down on paper or never sleep. Do not write as a machine to pay the bills or make a career just because. Very few authors get there. It crushes dreams and talent if you try to make that your only purpose for writing. When writers do this, the inauthenticity is obvious. My advice is to just live your life, and out of those joys and sorrows will develop a story that can only come from you.

Romelia: HOW MANY HOURS A DAY DO YOU WRITE?

Victoria J. Hyla: If I had the time, I’d write 10–12 hours a day, but as reality would have it since I have kids and their school and other work and a house, I’m lucky if I get 3–4 hours, and typical is 1–2 hours, but I always have the notepad app on my phone handy in case inspiration strikes.

Romelia: WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE BLOGS OR WEBSITES FOR WRITERS?

Victoria J. Hyla: Really don’t have any, but I follow several writers casually on Instagram and Facebook.

Romelia: AT WHAT TIME OF THE DAY DO YOU DO MOST OF YOUR WRITING?

Victoria J. Hyla: The time of day varies depending on when inspiration strikes, but whenever it is, it is when my house is silent and I’m left alone with my thoughts. Right now this tends to be very late at night or very early in the morning.

Romelia: HOW DO YOU COME UP WITH CHARACTER NAMES FOR YOUR STORIES?

Victoria J. Hyla: For most of my main characters, I’m very intentional and research the name origins and meanings based on the cultures from which they come. Brianna, my first main character, means strong or strength (and she needs to be considering all she goes through); Ben stems from the Latin “bene” meaning good, and he is just a good person. Elyse is very significant and comes from the Champs-Elysées where Elysium or Elysées mean a peaceful heaven after a great battle; all of that echoes her journey. Felicia is inherently happy and energetic all the time. Bijoux means jewels, and she has been a showy “accessory” for most of her life. Emile Dufresne was also very significant, meaning dark rival and keeper of wealth. I do this very intentionally for short story characters as well. For some characters, I had the names first and I researched after, happily discovering that the significant personality traits I wanted for them were already in the names, like Jérôme and Geneviève. However, some characters just fall into my lap like Matt Brennan; that character name was given to me and has no real specific meaning behind it. Some minor characters are named after people I know/knew: Ed, Vanessa, Sidney, Jamie, Jason, Sergey, for example, while others also have some significance for minor reasons.

Romelia: DO YOU PARTICIPATE IN WRITING CHALLENGES ON SOCIAL MEDIA? DO YOU RECOMMEND ANY?

Victoria J. Hyla: I’ve only participated in one, and it was through the Writer Tribe group on Facebook. Each day of the month they put up a prompt and you could write whatever on those prompts. It was fun and a great morning routine. I wouldn’t be against another. It gave me some interesting ideas for future writing.

Romelia: IF YOU HAD THE POWER TO CURE A DISEASE OF YOUR CHOOSING, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Victoria J. Hyla: The easy answer is COVID because I’m tired of being stuck at home and I’d really like my kids to be able to go to school. Online kindergarten is not exactly my cup of tea. The more esoteric answer is the disease of human ignorance. It is a disease that is so endemic in certain populations. I would like to somehow eradicate that.

Romelia: WHEN YOU’RE WRITING AN EMOTIONAL OR DIFFICULT SCENE, HOW DO YOU SET THE MOOD?

Victoria J. Hyla: I don’t really do anything external to set the mood, but I do go into a bit of a trance in my brain. Perhaps it’s similar to method acting. I make myself feel the emotions the characters are feeling whether it’s sorrow or anger or delight; I’ve been caught by my husband making very strange faces at my computer if I’m trying to work something out. I’ve even made myself cry more than a few times as I’m writing.

Romelia: WHO DO YOU TRUST FOR OBJECTIVE AND CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM OF YOUR WORK?

Victoria J. Hyla: I can’t say that I really have anyone specific. I’m so hypercritical of my own work that once it finally gets into the hands of others, the comments are pretty amiable and haven’t contained much in the form of constructive challenges.

Romelia: WHAT BOOKS DO YOU ENJOY READING?

Victoria J. Hyla: I generally am drawn to the romance genre because reading is an escape for me, but that genre is so far and wide as to not be limiting, but I do also enjoy young adult and fantasy. I enjoy Christian fiction on occasion and Christian nonfiction. I really have enjoyed historical fiction like Devil in the White City and Sex in the Second City, and I’m currently reading My Dear Hamilton, a fiction based on the letters and writings of Eliza Hamilton that’s really good.

Romelia: ARE THERE ANY BOOKS OR AUTHORS THAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A WRITER?

Victoria J. Hyla: When I was a kid, I was obsessed with the Wizard of Oz collection—far beyond the story everyone knows. The world he created was fascinating and sprawling. Beyond that, probably the entire catalog of Shakespeare—man he could use language and words!

Romelia: NAME AN UNDERAPPRECIATED NOVEL THAT YOU LOVE.

Victoria J. Hyla: This is a hard one; all my favorites are quite well-known. In recent years, a few came to mind. Not sure if they’re underappreciated, but they stuck out to me. When Jesus Wept, by Bodie Thoene, fictionally tells the story of Jesus from the perspective of Lazarus; it just found it really interesting in its self-imposed perspective limitations. The Prayer Box by Lisa Wingate was just so heartfelt and sweet and made me cry. The Bookshop on the Corner, by Jenny Colgan, was just so awesome in the restriction of the main character and the things she goes through.

Romelia: TELL US SOMETHING FUNNY FROM YOUR ADULT LIFE.

Victoria J. Hyla: Not sure if it’s funny, but it’s unusual. I started chatting up this guy on a free dating app at the end of April. We messaged then talked for a few days on the phone. We met the next Tuesday (beginning of May). He moved in on Friday. I met his whole family on Sunday. We were engaged by the first week of June and married by the end of July. That was seven and a half years ago, we’ve got 5-year-old twins, and it’s still the best insane decision I ever made.

Romelia: describe yourself in a few sentences. Tell us something we do not know about you and something you hate about the world.

Victoria J. Hyla: A native of the Chicago suburbs, I’m a writer and editor through and through with very little in the way of other practical skills although I used to be a teacher. I am a mom of 5-year-old boy/girl twins and a stepmom to a teenager. I am the author of the Hearts Drawn Wyld trilogy (In Death We Part, Running in the Mists, Awake in Elysian Fields) and am embarking on many more writing projects in the future. What isn’t known to many yet is that I just became the chief operating officer of a new publishing company, and I’m very excited to reach out and work with writers who want to publish, but think there isn’t a way for them to do so. What I hate about the world… I really detest people and institutions that are self-serving, super in love with money and power, and don’t consider the impact of their actions on others who are unlike them. The lack of empathy and ignorant hatred in so much of our population is so upsetting when EVERYTHING should be about loving others just as they are. The way to get there is empathy and opening up your brain beyond your own immediate experience through traveling or reading or just being a decent human being.

630-363-0573; vmaldonado1230@gmail.com

AUTHOR INTERVIEW 6

Amy Watkins

United States of America

Age 40

Amy Watkins is a Washington, D.C. native. She received an undergraduate degree from Frostburg State University and a medical degree from University of Maryland, Baltimore. She served in the US Navy for 8 years. She currently works as a family medicine physician for the Department of Defense. She resides in Virginia with her life partner and three kids. She is a dedicated Christian who is active in church. She is also an activist for social justice.
Readers Favorite Book Award winner, 200 Letters is an inspirational romance suspense novel that follows two people as they try to escape abusive relationships. Their paths cross and they fall in love. However, the tainted lovers from their past scheme in an attempt to break up the happy couple. This scheming leads to an unjust incarceration during which letters are written between the couple. It is through those letters they gain spiritual enlightenment and discernment. Based on true events, this page turner is filled with passion, drama, suspense, and motivation.

Romelia: WHICH OF YOUR CHARACTERS ARE MOST LIKELY TO BE AN ACTIVIST, AND WHAT KIND?

Amy Watkins: Angela is definitely an activist.  She sees a wrong and she puts energy and effort to make it better.  Her best friend went to jail unfairly and she wrote to senators, newspapers, lawyers, and judges to try to get him out.

Romelia: DO YOU PLAY MUSIC WHILE YOU WRITE – AND, IF SO, WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE?

Amy Watkins: I am a mother of three.  My background noise when I write is the sound of three rambunctious people shouting, laughing, and playing.  But my favorite music is gospel, conscious rap, and neosoul.

Romelia: HAVE PETS EVER GOTTEN IN THE WAY OF YOUR WRITING?

Amy Watkins: I adopted the best mutt in the world.  She typically lays by my feet as I write and allows me to pet her while I think of my next line. She more enhances then disrupts my writing.

Romelia: IF YOUR BOOK WERE MADE INTO A MOVIE, WHICH ACTORS WOULD PLAY YOUR CHARACTERS?

Amy Watkins: 200 Letters is a romance novel like no other.  There are some great love scenes but mainly it is about a couple who is going against all odds and surviving.  It would require a very strong male and female lead roll. Jurnee Smollett would make a great Angela. Michael B. Jordan would do well as Ethan.

Romelia: HAVE YOU EVER KILLED OFF A CHARACTER YOUR READERS LOVED?

Amy Watkins: Yes.  Death is a part of life and many times the death of a loved one can set your characters on an enlightening path.  One of the most emotional chapters in 200 Letters was the death of a beloved character but through the death, a lot was learned.

Romelia: WHAT IS THE MOST VALUABLE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’VE BEEN GIVEN ABOUT WRITING?

Amy Watkins: Don’t take criticism personally. Not everyone is going to agree with the points you make in your book, especially if it is a controversial book.  My book is not a “safe” book.  It hits on some very risky topics. And while most people appreciate that leap of faith, some will reject it. You can’t please everyone. Listen to criticism with a grain of salt. If it is a valid point that needs correcting, learn from that mistake. But if it is a troll trying to put you down for selfish reasons, ignore the hate and continue to grow.

Romelia: WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE BEST WAY TO IMPROVE WRITING SKILLS?

Amy Watkins: Practice, take some courses, discuss with editors, discuss with beta readers, and reach out to the writing communities for advice.

Romelia: WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO HELP OTHERS CREATE PLOTLINES?

Amy Watkins: I get my plots from life circumstances.  I have been blessed with the gift of empathy. When I see or hear about an injustice I can imagine the reasoning behind each involved party. I write about it creating characters who are not all good nor all bad. They are very human.  They make mistakes, they have reasoning, they learn, they mature, and they develop throughout their circumstances.

Romelia: WHAT HAS HELPED OR HINDERED YOU MOST WHEB WRITING A BOOK?

Amy Watkins: Prayer helped a lot.  When getting stuck with my writing I often pray for inspiration. My own insecurity tried to hinder me but I pushed through it.

Romelia: DOES WRITING ENERGIZE OR EXHAUST YOU? OR BOTH?

Amy Watkins: Writing is an outlet for me.  My life is exhausting and filled with obstacles. Writing was a way for me to release that stress.

Romelia: WHAT IS THE BEST MONEY YOU’VE EVER SPENT WITH REGARD TO YOUR WRITING?

Amy Watkins: Paying for an illustrator to do my front cover. Despite the cliché, people tend to judge a book by its cover and I think that getting a better cover for my book drew people in.

Romelia: WHAT ARE COMMON TRAPS FOR NEW AUTHORS?

Amy Watkins: Marketing and advertisement can be a trap. It’s hard to try to determine what types of marketing to invest in. You often loose more than you gain through marketing schemes.  I have yet to find what works best for me when it comes to marketing.

Romelia: HOW MANY HOURS A DAY DO YOU WRITE?

Amy Watkins: It depends on the day. Sometimes I am motivated and inspired and I can write for hours. Other days I am busy or distracted and can only write a few minutes.

Romelia: WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE BLOGS OR WEBSITES FOR WRITERS?

Amy Watkins: Goodreads and Facebook are usually my go-tos.

Romelia: AT WHAT TIME OF THE DAY DO YOU DO MOST OF YOUR WRITING?

Amy Watkins: On weekdays I usually write in the evenings after work.  On weekends I usually write early in the morning.

Romelia: HOW DO YOU COME UP WITH CHARACTER NAMES FOR YOUR STORIES?

Amy Watkins: Some of the character names have meanings.  For instance Michael Trellis.  I gave the last name Trellis as a symbol of someone who helps you grow as his character helped the main character mature.

Romelia: DO YOU PARTICIPATE IN WRITING CHALLENGES ON SOCIAL MEDIA? DO YOU RECOMMEND ANY?

Amy Watkins: I typically do not participate in social Media challenges. But I do enter my books in competitions and am willing to help out magazines who are looking for articles.

Romelia: IF YOU HAD THE POWER TO CURE A DISEASE OF YOUR CHOOSING, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Amy Watkins: This is an interesting question as my main job is not an author but I am a doctor. I treat various diseases daily.  However, the world has been plagued with a disease for centuries and no doctor has yet to find a cure. Racism is the disease I would cure if able.

Romelia: WHEN YOU’RE WRITING AN EMOTIONAL OR DIFFICULT SCENE, HOW DO YOU SET THE MOOD?

Amy Watkins: Usually when an emotional scene in my book is written, I don’t set a mood. I am so engulfed in that scene that my real environment disappears.

Romelia: WHOM DO YOU TRUST FOR OBJECTIVE AND CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM OF YOUR WORK?

Amy Watkins: I trust my editor, my mom, and my friends.

Romelia: WHAT BOOKS DO YOU ENJOY READING?

Amy Watkins: I love general fiction and romance. I tend to like novels that are inspirational and have interesting messages behind the scenes.

Romelia: ARE THERE ANY BOOKS OR AUTHORS THAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A WRITER?

Amy Watkins: I draw great influence from Sista Souljah, Eric Jerome Dickey, Virginia DeBerry, and Donna Grant.

Romelia: NAME AN UNDERAPPRECIATED NOVEL THAT YOU LOVE.

Amy Watkins: My favorite novel is “Better Than I Know Myself” by Virginia DeBerry and Donna Grant.  It made me laugh and cry. It filled me with so may emotions as I could relate well to it. It was a book about true friendship and it was lovely.

Romelia: TELK US SOMETHING FUNNY FROM YOUR ADULT LIFE.

Amy Watkins: Did I mention I had three kids? They are always making me laugh. Once I was singing the song “Ego” by Kanye West and my son who was about 4 at the time asks, “Ego? You got a big Ego?” I responded, “Yes, do you know what an ego is?”

“What is it?”

“An ego is when you feel good about yourself.”

“No it isn’t,” he responded, “An eagle is a bird.”

Get it ego/eagle.  Well, true story. And it was funny at the time. Malachi is now 16 and yes, I embarrass him in front of his girlfriend with that story purposely.

Romelia: Describe yourself in a few sentences. Tell us something we do not know about you and something you hate about the world.

Amy Watkins: My heart is filled with love and I am so willing and wanting to share that with the world.  I have always been like that which has gotten me in trouble in my earlier years. I have loved people who have only used me and forgiven people who only willed to hurt me again. But I have a lot of strength to accompany my extravagant heart and that strength has helped me to bounce back again and again. Now I am in a great season in my life where I am surrounded by love. I gave my heart to the world and, though it took some heartache and patience, I got a lot in return. I have great friends, a great boyfriend, lots of great kids, and a wonderful mother. Something I hate about the world is self-centeredness. There are way too many selfish people who are willing to hurt you just to get their own way.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW 7

Caleb Harris

United States

Age 26

Caleb Harris is an author, filmmaker, and blogger who currently resides in Enfield, Connecticut. He’s best known for his recent story, BETTER LUCK NEXT TIME DARRELL and his popular documentary, HELP US. He also writes non-fiction, on subjects ranging from personal development to self-care tips on his blog Unpopular Opinions. When Caleb isn’t writing he enjoys long walks in the woods and a good game of basketball.
Men have been known for bottling up their feelings instead of discussing them. However, not too many men realize this behavior is not normal. Oftentimes, Dad passes this behavior to his son unknowingly. The cycle continues and were left with a generation of young men that are raging alcoholics, drug addicts, and sexual deviants who mistreat themselves and potential partners. August 15th, 2003 addressed the complicated story of one 27-year-old Substitute teacher, Ricky Johnson.

Romelia: WHAT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT PART OF YOUR ARTISTIC PROCESS?

Caleb Harris: The editing process is very frustrating because you are always debating on what to eliminate. One day everything is great but the next day things just change.

Romelia: DOES YOUR FAMILY SUPPORT YOUR CAREER AS A WRITER?

Caleb Harris: I would hope so but either way I’m still going to keep going.

Romelia: IF YOU HAD TO DO SOMETHING DIFFERENTLY AS A CHILD OR TEENAGER TO BECOME A BETTER WRITER AS AN ADULT, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

Caleb Harris: I would have read more in school. Reading has really helped transform my writing in ways I couldn’t even imagine. When you read more books the inspiration to write one yourself just continues.

Romelia: HOW LONG ON AVERAGE DOES IT TAKE YOU TO WRITE A BOOK?

Caleb Harris: Forever!

Romelia: DO YOU BELIEVE IN WRITER’S BLOCK?

Caleb Harris: Yes because it happens to the best of us. Most of us do not write for a living so it stresses us out and almost makes us never want to write again.

Romelia: AT WHAT POINT DO YOU THINK SOMEONE SHOULD CALL THEMSELVES A WRITER?

Caleb Harris: When they’ve written their first book. Without writing a book that means you aren’t a writer. Writers no matter what they call themselves out there.

Romelia: WHAT DIFFERENCE DO YOU SEE BETWEEN A WRITER AND AN AUTHOR?

Caleb Harris: Honestly, I don’t see a difference at all.

Romelia: HOW DO YOU PROCESS AND DEAL WITH NEGATIVE BOOK REVIEWS?

Caleb Harris: The practice of stoicism which means becoming indifferent towards other’s views of you or your work. People will either like or not but it’s not the end of the world.

Romelia: WHAT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT PART OF YOUR WRITING PROCESS?

Caleb Harris: I would say editing because you are always tweaking something.

Romelia: HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WRITING OR WHEN DID YOU START?

Caleb Harris: I started when I was 6 years old. It really helped when my father tried to kill my mother with my self-esteem issues. As an adult I have definitely grown into my skin as a writer/author.

Romelia: WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A WRITER WORKING ON THEIR FIRST BOOK?

Caleb Harris: It might suck but write it anyway. The first book always sucks but the next one will be better if you keep at it. However, you must not be afraid of rejection, you must become bold.

Romelia: WHAT, TO YOU, ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT ELEMENTS OF GOOD WRITING?

Caleb Harris: Good consistent story. Well-written dialogue.

Romelia: WHAT COMES FIRST FOR YOU – THE PLOT OR THE CHARACTERS – AND WHY?

Caleb Harris: The plot comes first because I need to have some kind of a story established. Characters can always come later on but without a plot there aren’t any characters.

Romelia: HOW DO YOU DEVELOP YOUR PLOT AND CHARACTERS?

Caleb Harris: I usually write my plot down on notebook paper. After that is done I will begin to write down a couple of characters and see if they will intertwine with my story.

Romelia: WHEN DID YOU FIRST CALL YOURSELF A WRITER?

Caleb Harris: Two years ago because I just realized I have the credentials. Yeah, I graduated college and high school but I didn’t have the confidence to just say it. 

Romelia: HOW DO YOU USE SOCIAL MEDIA AS AN AUTHOR?

Caleb Harris: I kept posting my books through Instagram and Facebook. Also, I kept doing as many interviews whether they were big or small to grow my audience and also promote my brand which has helped a lot.

Romelia: WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE AND LEAST FAVORITE PART OF PUBLISHING?

Caleb Harris: Favorite: Actually publishing the book. Least Favorite: Finding the right publisher.

Romelia: WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO AN AUTHOR WHO WANTED TO DESIGN THEIR OWN COVER?

Caleb Harris: Let someone else do it. People do judge a book by its cover. My first cover was trash and looked unprofessional so I decided go on Fiverr and not be cheap. Besides, depending on what you are looking for. It can range from 20-100 but more people will buy it because this is how the world works and the sooner you accept that, the better off you will be.

Romelia: HOW MANY BOOKS HAVE YOU WRITTEN AND WHICH IS YOUR FAVORITE?

Caleb Harris: 3 and my last book is my favorite because I’ve come into my own as an author. I’m really enjoying the interviews surrounding my book and I feel as if I’m getting more men to open up about their issues instead of suffering in silence.

Romelia: WHAT PART OF THE BOOK DID YOU HAVE THE HARDEST TIME WRITING?

Caleb Harris: Ricky’ abuse story was the hardest because it somewhat mirrored my own troubled past with my own father. I still wanted it to be fictional but I was afraid to confront that inner demon I had suffered with as a young child.

Romelia: WHAT PART OF THE BOOK WAS THE MOST FUN TO WRITE?

Caleb Harris: This was not a fun book to write to be honest. It was a very serious read. It’s a reflection on what Ricky Johnson has gone through a child and how it’s severely affected his adulthood. I had to confront many personal demons in my own closet that I didn’t want to face. In the end, I wouldn’t take it back because book’s about what men go through have to be discussed.

Romelia: WHICH OF THE CHARACTERS DO YOU RELATE TO THE MOST AND WHY?

Caleb Harris: Ricky because he’s my past self. It’s hard to admit it but he is. He’s the fat alcoholic who causes a lot of pain because he’s in pain himself. However, he’s too macho to admit it.

Romelia: IF YOU’RE PLANNING A SEQUEL. CAN YOU SHARE A TINY BIT ABOUT YOUR PLANS FOR IT?

Caleb Harris: There will not be a sequel but the series, „Suffering in Silence” will have 9 more books completed within the next couple of years.

Romelia: TELL US SOMETHING FUNNY ABOUT YOUR ADULT LIFE.

Caleb Harris: Even though I write very serious content on my blog: https://unpopularopinionsdots.com/ and my books: https://www.amazon.com/Caleb-Harris/e/B079J3PTT3?ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1&qid=1601683570&sr=8-1 I still laugh every time I see Beavis and Butthead or any cartoon show like I’m a kid again.

Romelia: Describe yourself in a few sentences. Tell us something we do not know about you and something you hate about the world.

Caleb Harris: I don’t hate anybody but I do hate the fact that people do not use common sense. As far as I’m concerned I’m obsessed with horror films and will watch one before I go to bed at night if I had a long exhausting day.

https://rb.gy/sq0ase

Caleb Harris

FACEBOOK: Caleb Harris

INSTAGRAM: calebhatescake

WEB: linktr.ee/charr8

AUTHOR INTERVIEW 8

Cye Thomas

United Kingdom

Age 55

Cye Thomas was born in Kent, the garden of England. He is an author and a vocalist, singing and writing lyrics for a duo in his home county of Kent. In his early twenties, Cye served in the Royal Air Force and it was during this time that be came up with the idea for his first novel Earth Door. Cye’s novel is available through either his publisher’s website Breaking the rules publishing, or through amazon, either as a kindle or paperback.
Cye is currently working on his next novel The God Bubble, which he hopes to have finished by next summer, as well as a couple of short stories, “After,” and “The man with no face.” He is also due to be published as part of a new book called “I the author,” by sweet cat press, due out sometime in November. The book is a collaboration of works by over a hundred different authors, writing about their experiences, and what inspired them to become authors.
The story is about a former U.S serviceman called Bain Edwards, who, after receiving a call for help from an old army buddy called Reeve Harrison, drops everything and flies to the U.K.
 
When he arrives, Reeve has vanished.
 
As Bain begins his search for his missing buddy, he soon realizes that nothing is what it seems. Everything he thought he knew about his friend is a lie. Who is he really and how is he connected to the strange lights at Stonehenge?
 
As the pieces of the jigsaw begin to unravel, Bain is drawn into a battle against enemies from a parallel earth, more powerful than he could ever have imagined.
 
In a race against time, he must try to save, not just his friend Reeve, but every other human being on a planet he calls home..



 

Romelia: WHAT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT PART OF YOUR ARTISTIC PROCESS?    

Cye Thomas: The editing. Creating a story is the easy part, ripping it apart and putting it back together is harder.

Romelia: DOES YOUR FAMILY SUPPORT YOUR CAREER AS A WRITER?    

Cye Thomas: Yes, I think I might get on their nerves at some points, but as a whole, they seem to be behind me.

Romelia: IF YOU HAD TO DO SOMETHING DIFFERENTLY AS A CHILD OR TEENAGER TO BECOME A BETTER WRITER AS AN ADULT, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?   

Cye Thomas: I would have listened more at school, especially in English, but life is school. We are learning all the time. I guess we never really stop.

Romelia: HOW LONG ON AVERAGE DOES IT TAKE YOU TO WRITE A BOOK? 

Cye Thomas: It varies. My first novel took years. It was a hard slog. I didn’t know what I was doing, and I had to learn as I went. I’ve recently started my 2nd novel and I’m hoping to have it finished by next summer.

Romelia: DO YOU BELIEVE IN WRITER’S BLOCK?  

Cye Thomas: I believe in it, fortunately though, I’ve not suffered from it, not yet anyway. There is still at least six more books in me.

Romelia: AT WHAT POINT DO YOU THINK SOMEONE SHOULD CALL THEMSELVES A WRITER?  

Cye Thomas: That’s a hard one. I suppose you could say that you are a writer as soon as you have something published, but it’s a grey area.

Romelia: WHAT DIFFERENCE DO YOU SEE BETWEEN A WRITER AND AN AUTHOR?  

Cye Thomas: An author is someone who creates pictures from his or her mind, like a painter puts pictures to canvass, a writer can be anyone, a news columnist for instance.

Romelia: HOW DO YOU PROCESS AND DEAL WITH NEGATIVE BOOK REVIEWS?  

Cye Thomas: I get angry, I sulk for a while and then I take the time to look at what’s been said. If the comments are fair, I dissect the critique and do my best to understand what I’ve done wrong and how I can change it.

Romelia: WHAT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT PART OF YOUR WRITING PROCESS?  

Cye Thomas: Time. There is never enough of it. Writing flows so freely when you re in the mood and having to stop is really irritating.

Romelia: HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WRITING OR WHEN DID YOU START?  

Cye Thomas: I am a late starter. I never knew I wanted to be a writer. Music was always my passion. I guess I’ve always written in one form or another though. As a vocalist I wrote lyrics for my bands and lyrics are essentially short stories aren’t they?

Romelia: WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A WRITER WORKING ON THEIR FIRST BOOK?  

Cye Thomas: Get a decent editor. Don’t try to do it alone. It is the biggest mistake I made at the start and was a big learning curb.

Romelia: WHAT, TO YOU, ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT ELEMENTS OF GOOD WRITING?   

Cye Thomas: Imagination, perseverance and self-belief.

Romelia: WHAT COMES FIRST FOR YOU – THE PLOT OR THE CHARACTERS – AND WHY?  

Cye Thomas: The plot I guess, but I usually have a name already worked out for my  main character. In my opinion the story is the most important aspect. The characters can change and often do during the process. 

Romelia: HOW DO YOU DEVELOP YOUR PLOT AND CHARACTERS?    

Cye Thomas: I get an initial idea of a plot in my head and then let it take me. The story tends to write itself.

Romelia: WHEN DID YOU FIRST CALL YOURSELF A WRITER?  

Cye Thomas: I’m still on the fence on that one. Writing is a hobby. It is not my first job. I hardly make any money from it, but I love what I do. To do it full time, that would be great Maybe then, I could really truly call myself a writer?

Romelia: HOW DO YOU USE SOCIAL MEDIA AS AN AUTHOR?  

Cye Thomas: I’m very useless with social media. As a writer, the hardest part is getting your book out there to the masses. I am still learning, exploring and figuring out the best ways to move forward.

Romelia: WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE AND LEAST FAVORITE PART OF PUBLISHING?  

Cye Thomas: Well the best part is getting your novel out there. That feeling when you first see it in print, you can’t beat that, but the worst part is the feeling of dread that follows, wondering if people will like it, wondering if you’ll fall flat on your face.

Romelia: WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO AN AUTHOR WHO WANTED TO DESIGN THEIR OWN COVER?  

Cye Thomas: If they are artistic, why not? I can’t draw a pencil, so I’ll always need someone to create my cover for me.

Romelia: HOW MANY BOOKS HAVE YOU WRITTEN AND WHICH IS YOUR FAVORITE?  

Cye Thomas: So far I have only written one novel, Earth Door. I am currently writing my next book and have just completed two short stories which I hope will be available fairly soon. I am also appearing in a work by Sweety Cat press in November called “I the author,” a collection of works by over a hundred authors, telling what inspired them to write.

Romelia: WHAT PART OF THE BOOK DID YOU HAVE THE HARDEST TIME WRITING?  

Cye Thomas: The re-writes.

Romelia: WHAT PART OF THE BOOK WAS THE MOST FUN TO WRITE?   

Cye Thomas: All of it, but I guess getting to the end was a buzz.

Romelia: WHICH OF THE CHARACTERS DO YOU RELATE TO THE MOST AND WHY?   

Cye Thomas: The main character Bain Edwards. Although he is nothing like me, there are elements of me within him.

Romelia: IF YOU’RE PLANNING A SEQUEL. CAN YOU SHARE A TINY BIT ABOUT YOUR PLANS FOR IT?     

Cye Thomas: Initially I had no intention to write a sequel but having had one or two people ask me to, I am now re-thinking. I have an initial plot in my head and hope to start work next summer. I don’t intend to give the plot away, but the book will start where the last one left off.

Romelia: TELL US SOMETHING FUNNY ABOUT YOUR ADULT LIFE.    

Cye Thomas: According to my partner I am. 

Romelia: describe yourself in a few sentences. Tell us something we do not know about you and something you hate about the world.    

Cye Thomas: Being asperges I take everything literally, so I hate the fact that this world is so very confusing.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW 9

Shabeatrice Sumlin

United States

Age 21

My name is Shabeatrice Sumlin. I’m a 21 year old girl born and raised in Nashville, TN. I graduated from Southern Choctaw High School in Gilbertown, AL. Nashville will always be home, it gave me the opportunities I needed, while Choctaw County, AL gave me those southern values I will always cherish. I will always be a southern girl at heart. Soon after that, I had my daughter Lauryn Franks, who is now 3 years old. I began writing when I was 8 years old, everything came so natural and easy to me. So recently, I began writing again after feeling like there was a void in my life, which was from me not doing what I enjoyed. I’ve always loved writing, it’s never been about work. This was always my hobby that made feel so free and true to myself. I want nothing more than to be heard, If many women could just hear what I have to say I’d be satisfied. I’m extremely humble, and grateful for any opportunity GOD has in store for me. I’ve been compared to Nola Darling & Issa Rae so don’t count me out, you will see me again.
Black Girl Bible is my advice, and experiences as a woman. As women we’ve silenced ourselves to keep from being a stereotype. When we express our feelings some may say we’re complaining, ungrateful, or have an attitude. This book is saying just LISTEN, I’m not mad, I’m tired. We’re getting to the nitty gritty about things that aren’t talked about as much as they should be.  Many times we’re lost and don’t have anybody to vent to. Well, this is your chance to relate from one woman to another. The book becomes your personal diary while detailing common obstacles women go through. You will never get bored with this one, because you’re actually writing your own things in also. The book even features a „conversation starter” section that you can have in a group setting with other men and women. 

Romelia: WHICH OF YOUR CHARACTERS ARE MOST LIKELY TO BE AN ACTIVIST, AND WHAT KIND?

Shabeatrice Sumlin: The book doesn’t have characters, but I feel many of the women I described would be activists. They’re passionate and all want to be heard.

Romelia: DO YOU PLAY MUSIC WHILE YOU WRITE – AND, IF SO, WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE?

Shabeatrice Sumlin: Actually, I don’t. I may get a great mood with music before I write, but when it’s time to get my thoughts together I want zero interruptions.

Romelia: HAVE PETS EVER GOTTEN IN THE WAY OF YOUR WRITING?

Shabeatrice Sumlin: My dog Roxi is pretty needy for attention so she finds herself interrupting me any chance she gets. I always make time for her though; I’m beginning to think she’s jealous of my writing hobby lol.

Romelia: IF YOUR BOOK WERE MADE INTO A MOVIE, WHICH ACTORS WOULD PLAY YOUR CHARACTERS?

Shabeatrice Sumlin: Definetly Dewanda Wise who starred in ”She’s gotta have it”, and Issa Rae. They’re perfect examples of women. I respect them so much.

Romelia: HAVE YOU EVER KILLED OFF A CHARACTER YOUR READERS LOVED?

Shabeatrice Sumlin: No killing over here, only letting the pass BS DIE.

Romelia: WHAT IS THE MOST VALUABLE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’VE BEEN GIVEN ABOUT WRITING?

Shabeatrice Sumlin: Stay true to myself, as long as I feel it’s right, then it’s right. Remain dedicated and be consistent.

Romelia: WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE BEST WAY TO IMPROVE WRITING SKILLS?

Shabeatrice Sumlin: I feel that everyone has their own special way of writing so I never say improve anything, but if this is something you’re wanting to take serious then I’d say practice for a while in whatever category you’re comfortable in, give details.

Romelia: WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO HELP OTHERS CREATE PLOTLINES?

Shabeatrice Sumlin: Honestly, I can’t.

Romelia: WHAT HAS HELPED OR HINDERED YOU MOST WHEN WRITING A BOOK?

Shabeatrice Sumlin: I think real world situations helped to write. I know whatever I’m doing is authentic and it gives me the drive to keep going.

Romelia: DOES WRITING ENERGIZE OR EXHAUST YOU? OR BOTH?

Shabeatrice Sumlin: Both. Sometimes I get so caught up in writing that I feel I can’t complete my day without completing whatever I’m writing, this is very draining, but I’m so dedicated to what I’m doing that draining is fine. Randomly ideas pop up in my head and that’s what make me energetic.

Romelia: WHAT IS THE BEST MONEY YOU’VE EVER SPENT WITH REGARD TO YOUR WRITING?

Shabeatrice Sumlin: I honestly haven’t spent anything. If I’d spend money on anything it would be marketing. Getting my book into the right hands.

Romelia: WHAT ARE COMMON TRAPS FOR NEW AUTHORS?

Shabeatrice Sumlin: I’m trying to figure out how to maneuver this thing myself so you probably could tell me.

Romelia: HOW MANY HOURS A DAY DO YOU WRITE?

Shabeatrice Sumlin: About 2-3 hours a day, but sometimes none.

Romelia: AT WHAT TIME OF THE DAY DO YOU DO MOST OF YOUR WRITING?

Shabeatrice Sumlin: Mornings.

Romelia: HOW DO YOU COME UP WITH CHARACTER NAMES FOR YOUR STORIES?

Shabeatrice Sumlin: No names in my books. Straight facts.

Romelia: DO YOU PARTICIPATE IN WRITING CHALLENGES ON SOCIAL MEDIA? DO YOU RECOMMEND ANY?

Shabeatrice Sumlin: No, but I should. Facebook always has the best challenges.

Romelia: IF YOU HAD THE POWER TO CURE A DISEASE OF YOUR CHOOSING, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Shabeatrice Sumlin: Cancer.

Romelia: WHEN YOU’RE WRITING AN EMOTIONAL OR DIFFICULT SCENE, HOW DO YOU SET THE MOOD?

Shabeatrice Sumlin: I put myself in the place of others. How would I feel if this was me or happening to someone I loved.

Romelia: WHOM DO YOU TRUST FOR OBJECTIVE AND CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM OF YOUR WORK?

Shabeatrice Sumlin: My sisters. They always know what to say even if I don’t like it. My brother has his opinions here and there too, but I think he’s like “you’re gonna do what you want to do”.

Romelia: WHAT BOOKS DO YOU ENJOY READING?

Shabeatrice Sumlin: I love reading poetry books, dramas, & fantasies. Something that keeps me glued to the page.

Romelia: ARE THERE ANY BOOKS OR AUTHORS THAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A WRITER?

Shabeatrice Sumlin: Myself.

Romelia: NAME AN UNDERAPPRECIATED NOVEL THAT YOU LOVE.

Shabeatrice Sumlin: I read this book Chinese Cinderella in 6th grade. I’ve always been obsessed with that book for some reason.

Romelia: TELL US SOMETHING FUNNY FROM YOUR ADULT LIFE.

Shabeatrice Sumlin: I think adult life in general is funny. We see ourselves as kids still, but the world is like nope, you got shit to do lol. It’s hard adulting.

Romelia: describe yourself in a few sentences. Tell us something we do not know about you and something you hate about the world.

Shabeatrice Sumlin: I’m a super sensitive person, in my book you would think I’m super tough and I’m not. That’s not me lol. I hate that the world is so full of color, but all people see is black and white.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW 10

Sanjeev Kumar Jain

India

Age 54


Born in Dehradun, India, author Sanjeev Kumar Jain grew up with inquisitive mind for science, technology, and Jain religion based on soul concepts.
He is an IPS officer of Haryana cadre presently placed as ADGP Home Guards at Chandigarh. He got his early education at Gandhi School at Dehradun. He did his engineering in electronics and communication from Roorkee engineering college. He has worked in Tata Steel and Indian Railways for five years before joining IPS.
He is deeply into worship meditation where he meditates on Tirthankar God Mahaveer. His active interest in science and technology and the blessings of God has led him to view the consciousness problem scientifically and find an answer for it.

Consciousness is the second topmost mystery unanswered by science. Consciousness is what makes us see colors, hear music, smell perfume and taste chocolate. It is in our consciousness that we feel pain or pleasure. Consciousness is so important for our existence yet science is not able to explain it. 
Science has rejected dualism due to the interaction problem of the soul with the matter
In this book, I am able to postulate an interacting soul that solves the hard problem of consciousness i.e. of subjectivity and provides an explanation for all aspects of consciousness. This book describes and explains consciousness comprehensively. It also leads me to offer an explanation for the origin of life and also leads to a creator God. Therefore, this book should be read by all.

Romelia: WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE UNDER-APPRECIATED NOVEL?

Sanjeev Kumar: “In search of lost time” by Marcel Proust.

Romelia: HOW DO YOU BALANCE MAKING DEMANDS ON THE READER WITH TAKING CARE OF THE READER?

Sanjeev Kumar: The topic of my book on Consciousness required to view philosophy of mind with a scientific angle. It explains many of the concepts avoiding technical jargon so that a reader of common understanding can understand the concepts involved in developing a theory based on dualistic soul.

Romelia: AS A WRITER, WHAT WOULD YOU CHOOSE AS YOUR MASCOT/AVATAR/SPIRIT ANIMAL?

Sanjeev Kumar: My theory on Consciousness by dualism has been possible due to blessings of God. In our jain religion mascot of Tirthankar God Mahaveer is lion and Goddess Durga also rides the lion. Therefore, lion is my mascot/spirit animal.

Romelia: WHAT DO YOU OWE THE REAL PEOPLE UPON WHOM YOU BASE YOUR CHARACTERS?

Sanjeev Kumar: Any work is built upon the works of other great people. I have also worked upon my theory built upon the works of other greats. I have generally mentioned their name and work in my book and I owe thanks at least to the others whom I have not mentioned.

Romelia: HOW MANY UNPUBLISHED AND HALF-FINISHED BOOKS DO YOU HAVE?

Sanjeev Kumar: The theory need to be justified by experimental backing. Therefore, I think I should try to get an experimental evidence for soul.

Romelia: WHAT DOES LITERARY SUCCESS LOOK LIKE TO YOU?

Sanjeev Kumar: Strength of the idea and consistency in my soul based theory led me to present it in a book shape. If this theory gets the evidence based backing then that will be a great success.

Romelia: WHAT’S THE BEST WAY TO MARKET YOUR BOOKS?

Sanjeev Kumar: I have become member to groups of authors and readers and book promotional groups on Facebook. I regularly check my Facebook and Youtube promotional video. I participate in comments on Youtube videos related to consciousness, soul and God. Personal networking is very useful for promoting the book.

Romelia: WHAT KIND OF RESEARCH DO YOU DO, AND HOW LONG DO YOU SPEND RESEARCHING BEFORE BEGINNING A BOOK?

Sanjeev Kumar: Every part and topic needed the research for the purpose of writing book. I attended an online course to learn the basic concepts and read and watched many videos on Youtube related to consciousness, origin of life and other related topics.

Romelia: DO YOU VIEW WRITING AS A KING OF SPIRITUAL PRACTICE?

Sanjeev Kumar: Writing should be viewed as a spiritual practice. Your idea should get the readership. You write your observation, imagination and experience in a methodical script. Yet you should be detached from the outcome or success of your work.

Romelia: WHAT’S THE MOST DIFFICULT THING ABOUT WRITING CHARACTERS FROM THE OPPOSITE SEX?

Sanjeev Kumar: My theory of soul and consciousness is applicable to all human beings irrespective of sex.

Romelia: HOW LONG WERE YOU A PART-TIME WRITER BEFORE YOU BECOME A FULL-TIME ONE?

Sanjeev Kumar: I am a part-time writer only. I feel that I am not having courage and talent to become full time writer.

Romelia: HOW MANY HOURS A DAY DO YOU WRITE?

Sanjeev Kumar: I am in the habit of writing one page daily diary. Even during my writing the book, I made it a point to write at least one page daily to keep me motivated towards completion.

Romelia: WHAT PERIOD OF YOUR LIFE DO YOU FIND YOU WRITE ABOUT MOST OFTEN? (CHILD, TEENAGER, YOUNG ADULT).

Sanjeev Kumar: My experience and readings about soul, religion and god as a teenager and young adult helped me in developing my theory of consciousness based on soul.

Romelia: HAVE YOU READ ANYTHING THAT MADE YOU THINK DIFFERENTLY ABOUT FICTION?

Sanjeev Kumar: Many times fiction is based on real world themes and has well researched intricacies of worldly system. That makes you learn more than your textbooks.

Romelia: WHAT ARE THE ETHICS OF WRITING ABOUT HISTORICAL FIGURES?

Sanjeev Kumar: The stories about historical figures should be written based on their works, their writings, their speeches, their family worlds, contemporary events and personalities.

Romelia: HOW DO YOU SELECT THE NAMES OF YOUR CHARACTERS?

Sanjeev Kumar: My soul theory of consciousness mentions the real persons names, their works and theories. Soul is for the real and not an imagination.

Romelia: DO YOU READ YOUR BOOK REVIEWS? HOW DO YOU DEAL WITH BAD OR GOOD ONES?

Sanjeev Kumar: The reviews about my book is about- am I able to establish soul scientifically or is mystery of consciousness unfolded? Generally, I have received good reviews that consciousness is well dealt and able to establish soul.

Romelia: DO YOU HIDE ANY SECRETS IN YOUR BOOKS THAT ONLY A FEW PEOPLE WILL FIND?

Sanjeev Kumar: My book unfolds the secrets of consciousness, soul and god. It does not hide any secret code.

Romelia: WHAT WAS YOUR HARDEST SCENE TO WRITE?

Sanjeev Kumar: Problems with the concept of soul and defining consciousness and free will were difficult. Developing the consistent theory explain all aspects of consciousness was the difficult thing.

Romelia: DO YOU GOOGLE YOURSELF?

Sanjeev Kumar: I google about my book.

Romelia: WHAT ONE THING WOULD YOU GIVE UP TO BECOME A BETTER WRITER?

Sanjeev Kumar: My habit of procrastination.

Romelia: WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE LITERARY JOURNALS?

Sanjeev Kumar: Your’s “Books for Life” is my only exposure to literary journal.

Romelia: WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE CHILDHOOD BOOK?

Sanjeev Kumar: Panchtantra stories.

Romelia: TELL US SOMETHING FUNNY FROM YOUR ADULT LIFE.

Sanjeev Kumar: I was driving my new car when it stopped in crowded market. Honking and comments followed. Then it was started again and I sheepishly took it to nearby petrol pump.

Romelia: describe yourself in a few sentences. Tell us something we do not know about you and something you hate about the world.

Sanjeev Kumar: I am down to earth person. I remain within my limits. I like songs and their lyrics mainly but I cannot sing even first stanza, as I do not remember them. I hate the habit of bullying of some persons.

sanjeevkumarjain3@gmil.com

+91 9416008607 Chandigarh, India 

         https://play.google.com/store/books/details?id=go_gDwAAQBAJ

        

AUTHOR INTERVIEW 11

Jovan Jones

United States


The greatest storytellers spin yarns of despair while begging for change, or induce fear or hope at the pulpit, entice citizens to vote. This writer embraces every learning opportunity so that he can provide an entertaining story filled with slick tropes and interesting accounts of characters from various walks of life and the perceptions of the reasonable and mad alike. Inspired by Iceberg Slim, Clive Barker, Walter Mosley and numerous other authors and others, he gives voices to those not heard, misunderstood, or forgotten. He invites the reader to his table and offers them a cocktail of intrigue. Jovan Jones resides in Charlotte, North Carolina with his wife and five children.
The day Clarence Bodine looks upon Dena Hines’ freshly murdered body is the day his bloodlust is born. From a troubled adolescent to a sadistic man Clarence will attempt to live out a perverse fantasy imputed into his thoughts from his childhood mentor to become a “God”. Natalie Guzman is to be his first subject. Violated to the point of breaking she will discover a glimmer of hope that inspires her to change her role as victim to victor. In the recesses of the mind inspiration is born. The mind is where Natalie must venture if she is to survive the wiles of an ambitious deviant hellbent on omnipotent depravity. Artwork by Jessica Villella.

Romelia: WHICH OF YOUR CHARACTERS ARE MOST LIKELY TO BE AN ACTIVIST, AND WHAT KIND?

Jovan Jones: Maurice Jennings, my antagonist in “On the Take” a story I wrote for the 9crimes anthology with bride of chaos publishing would most likely become a union rep because his main objective is getting money and he’s still got skin in the game when it comes to the street life and political realm.

Romelia: DO YOU PLAY MUSIC WHILE YOU WRITE – AND, IF SO, WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE?

Jovan Jones: No. I prefer quiet. My concentration is easily thrown off.

Romelia: HAVE PETS EVER GOTTEN IN THE WAY OF YOUR WRITING?

Jovan Jones: No.

Romelia: IF YOUR BOOK WERE MADE INTO A MOVIE, WHICH ACTORS WOULD PLAY YOUR CHARACTERS?

Jovan Jones: Michael Ealy and Samantha Esteban for When Cranes Feast.

Romelia: HAVE YOU EVER KILLED OFF A CHARACTER YOUR READERS LOVED?

Jovan Jones: Yes. I murdered C.J. in my book Tears of a Rose. He was the main character’s first love and one of the few characters with a heart. I offed him when he tried to cross a couple of gangsters toward the end.

Romelia: WHAT IS THE MOST VALUABLE PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’VE BEEN GIVEN ABOUT WRITING?

Jovan Jones: Write every day.

Romelia: WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE BEST WAY TO IMPROVE WRITING SKILLS?

Jovan Jones: Write every day. In everyday life begin to focus on your senses and jot them down. What did your wife smell like that day? What tool did the construction worker have in his hand? How did it sound in the line at the grocery store? With small details a larger picture is formed. In time one will know what to include in their writing and what to exclude. It comes with time.

Romelia: WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO HELP OTHERS CREATE PLOTLINES?

Jovan Jones: Start with an arche. For example: Elmore Leonard the great crime writer and screenwriter said he often would start with a bag of money and surround that bag with an abundance of criminals trying to get that bag. What is the prize or the Motive? Money, revenge, love. Discover what the character is after and then have fun with the way they get it.

Romelia: WHAT HAS HELPED OR HINDERED YOU MOST WHEN WRITING A BOOK?

Jovan Jones: The biggest hindrance for me is time. I get up early in the morning before I go to my job that pays the bills, but it isn’t enough time, still I write with the little time I have. The biggest help is the simple fact that I am blessed to have a roof over my head with electricity to use for my computer, and lights to see to write in my notebook.

Romelia: DOES WRITING ENERGIZE OR EXHAUST YOU? OR BOTH?

Jovan Jones: It never exhausts me. I may feel tired from thinking but exhaust; no. If I become weary from writing I step away for a few minutes just like any other job and come back to it. Does it energize me? Absolutely. It is a main reason I can get up early with a good attitude.

Romelia: WHAT IS THE BEST MONEY YOU’VE EVER SPENT WITH REGARD TO YOUR WRITING?

Jovan Jones: Buying my laptop. It’s where I produce my work.

Romelia: WHAT ARE COMMON TRAPS FOR NEW AUTHORS?

Jovan Jones: Self-publishing their work. With all it takes to sell successfully in self-publishing you might as well wait for an agent, or at least a traditional publisher. New authors sell themselves short by allowing their work to be taken over by small presses and sometimes large ones with no real compensation other than getting their name in print. If a person creates a work and someone else wants to use it they should be paid for it.

Romelia: HOW MANY HOURS A DAY DO YOU WRITE?

Jovan Jones: At least 2, but the goal is three. Unfortunately, I have to sleep sometime.

Romelia: WHAT ARE YOUR FAVORITE BLOGS OR WEBSITES FOR WRITERS?

Jovan Jones: I don’t have any. I need to improve on my internet knowledge.

Romelia: AT WHAT TIME OF THE DAY DO YOU DO MOST OF YOUR WRITING?

Jovan Jones: Morning. Before dawn morning.

Romelia: HOW DO YOU COME UP WITH CHARACTER NAMES FOR YOUR STORIES?

Jovan Jones: Many times, I’ll give them names that match their character. An example would be, Hermes, a character who is a business man named after the Greek god of commerce. Other times the name simply fits the face I’ve conjured in my head.

Romelia: DO YOU PARTICIPATE IN WRITING CHALLENGES ON SOCIAL MEDIA? DO YOU RECOMMEND ANY?

Jovan Jones: No. I have my own goals to tend to.

Romelia: IF YOU HAD THE POWER TO CURE A DISEASE OF YOUR CHOOSING, WHAT WOULD IT BE?

Jovan Jones: Focal Segmental glomerulosclerosis FSGS. It plagues my daughter.

Romelia: WHEN YOU’RE WRITING AN EMOTIONAL OR DIFFICULT SCENE, HOW DO YOU SET THE MOOD?

Jovan Jones: I don’t do anything different. My mind falls or rises, darkens or brightens according to the narrative.

Romelia: WHOM DO YOU TRUST FOR OBJECTIVE AND CONSTRUCTIVE CRITICISM OF YOUR WORK?

Jovan Jones: No one in particular. I listen to all. In the end I decide if it is relevant or not.

Romelia: WHAT BOOKS DO YOU ENJOY READING?

Jovan Jones: Crime mysteries mostly. Anything with a great plot.

Romelia: ARE THERE ANY BOOKS OR AUTHORS THAT INSPIRED YOU TO BECOME A WRITER?

Jovan Jones: Iceberg slim. The great random house author of the 70’s.

Romelia: NAME AN UNDERAPPRECIATED NOVEL THAT YOU LOVE.

Jovan Jones: RL’s Dream by Walter Mosley.

Romelia: TELL US SOMETHING FUNNY FROM YOUR ADULT LIFE.

Jovan Jones: My wife and I were on a cruise ship when we went to a fun little trivia event. We put our names on a piece of paper along with the rest of the audience to get picked for the contest. Well, I got picked. The question came up: “Name a famed play that shares the same name of a popular lubricant.” I had to answer. I said, “Ky-Jelly?” the audience erupted in laughter. I was embarrassed. The emcee said, “okay kids go up to your cabin. Sir, this is a family program.” when another contestant said the obvious, “grease” with john Travolta I fell out laughing.

Romelia: describe yourself in a few sentences. Tell us something we do not know about you and something you hate about the world.

Jovan Jones: I’ve been married almost twenty years with three grown children two still in the house. I am a family man with simple pleasures; although am not averse to some action in my life. My interest are wide, from the genius of gambling book houses to organ transplant procedures there is an infinite pot of knowledge to gain and most of it interest me. I hate racism.

AUTHOR INTERVIEW 12

Mahogany Clark

United states

Age 21

My name is Mahogany Clark, From Miami FL, and I am a poet, author soldier, and student and I am 21 years old and I have written two books Self Love and A Cup Of Family Tea. A Cup Of Family Tea is about how I overcame my childhood struggles and obstacles growing up, how I made it through years of dysfunction in my home, and even though I went through those things I didn’t let my past make me. Self Love was written because I was going through a time in my life where I was not loving myself, and I was giving so much of myself that it became detrimental to my being so I wrote Self Love to help myself and help others who are and have gone through the same issues. The purpose of both books, is to shine a light on situations that many people never talk about as families, and or address as individuals and to let someone relate to a piece of me to them, so that they know they are not alone. As a writer I am inspired to write such touching Content because, poetry helps. You can find both books on Amazon, I am also my very first children’s book is out now, Somebody Always Loves you.
Self-love is the best love you can ever have and sometimes we struggle with learning how and when to put ourselves first in life. No one is going to love you better than you ever will, I had to learn this for myself. Breaking my back for people who wouldn’t dare bend for me, because I simply did not know the value that I had. I honestly truly did not really begin to love all of me until two years after I have written this book. I can see the change in who I was and who I am becoming, and it is more than beautiful. I respect myself, my time, and my heart now more than ever, and I can feel it, talk it, walk it, and live it. I want you to take from this book the mistakes I made and to know not to make them or don’t continue to, to all my kings and queens please learn if you don’t know or start to love you.

Romelia: WHAT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT PART OF YOUR ARTISTIC PROCESS?

Mahogany Clark: The most difficult part would be the self-marketing, being as self-published author, I have to market myself, but I love the growth in the process.

Romelia: DOES YOUR FAMILY SUPPORT YOUR CAREER AS A WRITER?

Mahogany Clark: I want to say yes, however I have gotten used to doing a lot of things by myself and celebrating a lot of my success moments by myself. My family has always lived at a distance from each other so when we could make to events, we did if not that is how things were.

Romelia: IF YOU HAD TO DO SOMETHING DIFFERENTLY AS A CHILD OR TEENAGER TO BECOME A BETTER WRITER AS AN ADULT, WHAT WOULD YOU DO?

Mahogany Clark: I did not know I wanted to be a writer until the age of 19, I ironically did not enjoy writing when I was younger unless it was about what I wanted it to be about.

Romelia: HOW LONG ON AVERAGE DOES IT TAKE YOU TO WRITE A BOOK?

Mahogany Clark: 2 weeks to a month, depending on the book.

Romelia: DO YOU BELIEVE IN WRITER’S BLOCK?

Mahogany Clark: Yes, however I never force my books and only write them when I feel the words flowing through me.

Romelia: AT WHAT POINT DO YOU THINK SOMEONE SHOULD CALL THEMSELVES A WRITER?

Mahogany Clark: I would say if you write often, you are a writer, regardless if you are published or not.

Romelia: WHAT DIFFERENCE DO YOU SEE BETWEEN A WRITER AND AN AUTHOR? 

Mahogany Clark: There is not much of a difference, being an author starts with writing and ends with it, definition wise, and in the physical. However, I would say a book, you don’t have to have a published book to be a writer.

Romelia: HOW DO YOU PROCESS AND DEAL WITH NEGATIVE BOOK REVIEWS?

Mahogany Clark: I take the critics, and will improve if it was sincerely critic, if not I keep it pushing because somebody needed my story and my writings.

Romelia: WHAT IS THE MOST DIFFICULT PART OF YOUR WRITING PROCESS?

Mahogany Clark: If the story is a stress trigger emotionally that is when it becomes harder to write otherwise, it is smooth sailing.

Romelia: HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN WRITING OR WHEN DID YOU START?

Mahogany Clark: I have been writing since I was12 years old, and I self-published when I was 19 years old.

Romelia: WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO A WRITER WORKING ON THEIR FIRST BOOK?

Mahogany Clark: I would say, don’t rush it and write something you want to write most importantly, but also what others want to read.

Romelia: WHAT, TO YOU, ARE THE MOST IMPORTANT ELEMENTS OF GOOD WRITING?

Mahogany Clark: The way you write so readers, can understand, how it starts & ends, and if you can make the audience feel as if they are in the moment with you.

Romelia: WHAT COMES FIRST FOR YOU – THE PLOT OR THE CHARACTERS – AND WHY?

Mahogany Clark: The plot, I have written a free short story with characters and people loved it, however I always start with the plot and come up with the rest along the way. This gives a guideline to stick with while writing.

Romelia: HOW DO YOU DEVELOP YOUR PLOT AND CHARACTERS?

Mahogany Clark: I develop my plot, honestly with creative thinking and I kid you not it really comes to my mind out of nowhere, and I write it, characters fall into play the more I think, and I come up with names for them.

Romelia: WHEN DID YOU FIRST CALL YOURSELF A WRITER?

Mahogany Clark: After I published my first book.

Romelia: HOW DO YOU USE SOCIAL MEDIA AS AN AUTHOR?

Mahogany Clark: I market and network, every single day! I market my brand and I do interviews on other people’s brand, and I also share other’s brands.

Romelia: WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE AND LEAST FAVORITE PART OF PUBLISHING?

Mahogany Clark: I love it all the process in general is worth it, and I appreciate it.

Romelia: WHAT WOULD YOU SAY TO AN AUTHOR WHO WANTED TO DESIGN THEIR OWN COVER?

Mahogany Clark: I would say, do exactly what you feel, always and if you don’t like it change it until you do, and soon it will feel perfect.

Romelia: HOW MANY BOOKS HAVE YOU WRITTEN AND WHICH IS YOUR FAVORITE?

Mahogany Clark: I have written three books and my favorite would have to be my children’s book that I am getting ready to release.

Romelia: WHAT PART OF THE BOOK DID YOU HAVE THE HARDEST TIME WRITING?

Mahogany Clark: No part of this book was difficult, it took me 30 minutes to write.

Romelia: WHAT PART OF THE BOOK WAS THE MOST FUN TO WRITE?

Mahogany Clark: The whole book was fun to write.

Romelia: WHICH OF THE CHARACTERS DO YOU RELATE TO THE MOST AND WHY?

Mahogany Clark: This book does not have characters; however, I relate to the crowd I am targeting, which is children because, I remember moments as a child when I did not feel loved.

Romelia: IF YOU’RE PLANNING A SEQUEL. CAN YOU SHARE A TINY BIT ABOUT YOUR PLANS FOR IT?

Mahogany Clark: No sequel is planned at this time.

Romelia: describe yourself in a few sentences. Tell us something we do not know about you and something you hate about the world.

Mahogany Clark: I am Mahogany Clark, imperfectly perfect I have scars, that I need to heal, and pain I need to rid, I am still learning self-love, and I can’t wait to see the woman that I become, one thing I don’t appreciate about the world is how cold hearted people can truly be.

https://m.facebook.com/mahoganywritez/

https://twitter.com/mahoganywritez?s=07

https://www.instagram.com/mahoganywritez/?hl=en

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