My recent book and very first book is called, The Living Testament: Trading Dollars for Change. It is a non-fiction self-help book dedicated to change both socially and personally. It addresses our most talked about issues in society such as race, religion and education. The Living Testament seeks to inspire, educate and motivate both young and old to care more about themselves and their surroundings.
Tell us something about yourself.
I was born in Chicago, raised in Tennessee where I currently reside. I am the youngest of five siblings. I received my bachelor’s degree in social work back in 2002, after college I worked with teenagers, children and the mentally challenged before I decided that writing was my passion. I have been writing since I was eight years old. I started out writing poetry, then it progressed into songs and now I’m currently working on a script as well.
What inspired you to write this book?
My inspiration came about from my own life and others around me. I still look at so many different aspects about life and know that things can get better. I wanted to change my life for the better and I felt that if others could read about the challenges that we face as a society it might motivate them to want to change as well.
How did you choose this title?
That is a good question, most people hear testament and assume that it is a religious book. Though it talks about religion in one of the chapters, it represents the present and where we have been and also where we are going if we don’t change the way we perceive and do things. So I wanted a title that stood out and caught people’s attention while at the same time giving precedent to where we seem to be as a society.
What obstacles did you encounter in getting this book published? How did you overcome them?
I actually never submitted a book proposal to any major publishing company. I went the self-publishing route because I knew it would give me total control and I could get my project out sooner rather than later. Now I knew that I would encounter different challenges this way but I was up for the challenge and so far it has been exciting to say the least.
How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?
I always had a passion for writing but didn’t think of it as a career until I got out of college. I was looking for a career change so to speak and I thought what is it that makes me happy and writing was the first thing on my mind. I have published a couple of poems here and there but this book was my starting point, my stepping stone in the direction I want to go with my writing.
Do you have any writing rituals?
I usually write when a have a great idea come to mind or I have thoughts bursting out of me. But I typically have a set schedule where I set aside time to write and read. It gets me in a rhythm and keeps me on a pattern where I can produce on daily basis if need be.
Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?
I learned a ton; it was so much information out there on publishing and writing that you almost get overwhelmed. The internet is a very important tool because you can post, receive and gather information. I would have never published this book without the help from other authors and the publishing community in general. I learned how to start my own company, market my material and why it is so important to brand yourself.
If you were doing it all over again what would you do differently?
I would definitely plan ahead more and start the promotion and marketing sooner. I would also try to see if I could acquire more finances for this project from other sources because there is a lot involved with publishing.
What types of books do you like to read? Who are your favorite authors? Why?
I mostly only read non-fiction I can’t help it I’m addicted information. I love reading books by Michael Eric Dyson, Maya Angelou readings, Cornel West and books on philosophers like Plato, Socrates and Aristotle just to name a few. I think that these are some of the most inspiring and amazing people to ever live. And their intelligence and charisma astonishes me and makes me want to work hard on my craft of writing.
Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
At the moment, I am not working on my next book. But I do know what the next book will be about and how I want to go about it. Sorry, my lips are sealed for right now.
What is the best advice you can give other writers about writing and publishing?
Do your research, read, keep writing and if you don’t at least like to do all three than this is not for you. This industry is rough and it will pass by you if you’re not serious about it.
Who is the perfect reader for your book?
To be honest, anyway between the ages of 18-36 will enjoy this book. Even though it is classified a general book, I wrote it with this specific demographic in mind because I felt like that is who needed to hear it the most.
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?