First tell us a bit about Brenda. What attracted you to become a writer?
Wow! That’s always the hardest question, isn’t it? If I had to describe myself in three words or less, I’d say I’m compassionate, joyful and optimistic. I get pleasure from helping people find purpose in life and become successful. And it’s great to do it through writing.
For as long as I can remember I have had story ideas floating around in my head, but I didn’t always believe in myself. I had the attitude, that I’d do it someday. Finally that day came. Something in my life experience became so passionate for me that it gave me the juice I needed to start writing. The flood gates were open after that.
Tell us about your most recent book. How did you come up with the concept of this story?
My most recent book, Money Can’t Buy Love …But This Diamond Will Do was one of those stories that floated around in my head since the early nineties, maybe even sooner. I’ve always had friends. I was never a loner. We had great times and I wanted to write about them so that I could embellish our experiences. But, as I wrote, the story became more realistic. So, I let God take hold of my pen and together we wrote a fictional account of some true events in my friends and my life.
What do you like and dislike the most about the writing industry?
I don’t like cliques but that’s the way things are. You just have to get in where you fit in. The last thing you want to do is be a loner in this industry. I dislike how the industry has evolved. It has its pros and cons. I would like my manuscript to be chosen by a big publishing house on the merits that they liked my story and believed it had great potential. But them being cliquish too, has come back to bite them in the ass. I’m Pro paperback!
Have you enjoyed your journey as a published author so far? Do you have any regrets about the choices you’ve made?
I never believed I could get this far. I have no regrets. I’m excited about what’s to come. My only regret would be that I’m not a more prolific writer. I let time and people get in my way too often.
Quality is better than quantity! I’ve seen some big name authors and editors out there whose work I read and all I could do was shake my head. But like Crime Author Robert McKee said, “A great story not well told is better than a bad story told well.” It’s all about the story! I have many of them. Hopefully I can get at least most of them written one day.
What advice do you have for authors in terms of promotion? Do you use out-of-the box methods to get people interested in your work?
The best advice I would give is keep copies of your book on you at all times. However, even I haven’t been able to keep that up. But it is a must.
If you’re shy don’t expect to be popular in this industry. Learn how to talk about your book. No what it’s about. Some people write just to have something to sell. Those people don’t always know what they’re selling when you ask what it’s about. I think writers of erotica fall into this category more than most.
Books are more than a compilation of words. Books are an experience that says something about you and your audience. Others must take something from it that’s good- even if it is just a good laugh or a good cry. Learn to sell yourself well and your books will sell too. Whether people like them or not depends on if you are a skilled or talented writer. If you’re neither, try something else.
What’s something that you would tell a new writer that you wish you’d known when you started in the business?
Make sure you’re in this for the right reasons. There are talented writers and there are skilled writers. And there are writers who have neither. I may have been passionate about telling my story, but that doesn’t necessarily make you a talented writer. Know the industry well before taking the plunge. This gives you the confidence to write well and be less critical of your work. If you’re too worried about whether or not your work is good enough, you’re not ready! I was scrambling around in the industry for a while in the beginning, but I eventually gathered my footing. So, much so, I’m confident enough now to teach creative writing.
What can your fans expect from you next? Do you have any new releases coming up?
Short stories! I have gazillion of them lined up for the Kindle. That seems like the new trend now. I’ve always regretted not coming out with the new Urban Lit and Chick Lit craze of the eighties and nineties. I would like to be out on the forefront of this new trend and see where it takes me. This is where marketing yourself is most important as everybody thinks they’re a writer these days. NOT!
Authors seem to have mixed feelings when it comes to e-books. How do you feel? Do you think the digital age is a hindrance or blessing for authors?
E-books are all about convenience. I like them. However, they can be hindrance if you don’t take the right approach. Don’t think you can just pop onto someone’s Kindle and expect to be popular. You have to make a name for yourself outside of the e-cloud or take the chance of getting lost in the e-cloud as there are many e-books available. When people go in and look for something to read, they will know exactly what they want.
You seem to have a lot of things going when it comes to the writing world. What besides writing do you do in the industry?
Publishing is on the horizon. Treasure Books N’ More has the Poochie and Prince Tweenie Infatuation Series coming soon and we’re looking for writers. Also, Treasure Books N’ More is accepting manuscripts for Romance, Mystery and Crime writers.
Which book of yours would you love to see on the big screen? Who would you want to play the lead character and why?
I really would love to see my very first book The Number One Fan on the big screen. This is a romances story you don’t see much. I mean the elements are there but this particular plot is not seen often. And I would have it be a little more sinister. Sanaa Lathan would have to play Logan Cooper, she just fits. She has that depth of character that would make sense for a man to become obsessed with her. Ooops! Did I reveal that? LOL! A lot of people don’t know this but novel Committed is the sequel to The Number One Fan however the story was written so that it can stand alone.
What types of books do you like to read? Do the books and genres influence your own work?
I read fiction and non-fiction. I also read a lot of personal development books. If you’re a writer, this gives you a range on which to develop characters. Myers Brigg Personality analysis offers a treasure trove for character development. I’m a Behavior Science major myself. This is why I enjoy having multiple characters in my books. Conveying different personalities and having them shine through in an involved story borders on genius if you ask me… Excuse me while I force my ego back into my pocket. *smile*
What words of wisdom do you have for newbies starting in the industry today?
READ! Read any and everything on your genre, about your storyline and about the industry. Read other popular writers’ works. Not to compare to your own work but to learn what good writing looks like and sound like.
Thanks for stopping by, Brenda!
This was a pleasure, Stacy. Thanks for having me!