Category Archives: Authors Spotlight

Stacy Hawkins Adams

Stacy Hawkins Adams A Woman Making History
A little bit about Stacy Hawkins Adams–she is an award-winning author, journalist and book coach who weaves tales in fiction and nonfiction that help readers gain confidence in their own stories. She has penned eight faith-based novels that highlight women’s friendships, personal growth and unconditional love, and one nonfiction devotional book. Her recent novels include “The Someday List,” “Lead Me Home” and an anniversary edition of the acclaimed “Watercolored Pearls.” Stacy also serves as the parenting columnist for the daily newspaper in Richmond, Va. and is a sought-after speaker. Her tenth book is slated for release in fall 2015.
Stacy Hawkins Adams ComingHome Cover
Let’s hear what Stacy has on her mind…
You have been a successful author for a while now. How have the changes in the publishing industry impacted your career? What is the hardest writing career decision you have made?

Thank you for featuring me, Jeanette. I’m honored to share my work with your audience, and also that you’ve followed my writing journey so faithfully over the years.
In answer to your question, I’ve found the changes in the publishing industry since my first book was published in 2004 to be exciting. The explosion of social media gave me and other authors a new way of connecting with our readers, in addition to traditional book signings and book club events, and that has been wonderful. The rise of ebooks was unfamiliar territory, but has turned out to be a great avenue for reaching new readers, and for creating a venue for self-publishing that otherwise wouldn’t have been possible. I am among the many traditionally-published authors (with agents and contracts with publishing houses) who is also delving into the self-publishing arena with a few projects; so it has been great to explore and benefit from both paths.

The hardest writing career decision I’ve made so far has been one that I haven’t regretted: Limiting my author travel in favor of being a fully present mom. Because my family and I live in an area with no extended family, I made a decision early on in my career to limit frequent travels to promote my books until my children were older. I do travel some, especially in the four-to-five-state region around Virginia, where I live; but I try not to be airport-bound for at least six weeks at a time. I might have made a different decision if my parents or in-laws were living close by to assist with their care, but my daughter was 6 and my son was 3 when my first novel was published, and I wanted to enjoy that season of their lives, as well as the many that have followed. In the early years of my career, they traveled to many author events with me. As they’ve grown and their important school and extracurricular activities have limited their free time on weekends, I’ve altered my schedule to be a supportive mom, while also doing my best to connect with my beloved readers. But “mom duty” has taken precedence, and I have no regrets about that choice. Being able to connect with readers on Facebook and Twitter, and through my author newsletters and special events has been a wonderful way to stay in touch with them, and when my “babies” fly the coop, so will I! Lol

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With the many challenges and changes in the publishing industry, do you find yourself redefining your definition of success?

Yes! Like many new authors, I started out with a definition of success that didn’t include anything less than having all of my books chart the New York Timesbestsellers list. Over the years, however, I’m come to realize that success for me actually means reaching as many readers as I who can who will be empowered and transformed by the words I’ve written. By that standard, success is achieved every time a reader emails me, or shares with me at an event how she (or he) made a better choice, or renewed their hope, or re-established a relationship after reading one or more of my books. It’s humbling and amazing. These days I still aim for that New York Times status, mind you! But if I’m raising healthy and happy children, doing work I love, and feel confident that my written and spoken words are making a positive and powerful difference, then I am blessed.

The message of hope in your books is almost like a ministry of sorts. Do you find that in today’s society where people are almost overwhelmed with negativity, that people are still receptive to the concept of hope?

Yes, I do find that people still crave words of hope, and they often tell me that the ones I share reach them at just the right time. I think the message of hope is still relevant because many people are overwhelmed with negativity and with pressure in our society to be “all that” – rich, famous, beautiful and perfect. I do my best to share themes, plots and characters that remind readers that despite the difficult or challenging places life sometimes brings us to, there are ways to push through, and there are God-sent earthly angels to walk with them. I think words of hope also remind others that even when they feel like they’re the only ones going through something, they’re not, and that can be encouraging.

Stacy Hawkins Adams Some Day List pixBeing a master at multi-tasking, how do you manage your various writing, speaking and coaching activities while maintaining a busy schedule with your family?

It is indeed a challenge, but when you’re doing something you’re passionate about, and that you believe is truly making a difference, it doesn’t feel burdensome. I just do my best to prioritize each day what needs to come first and what will have the most impact, and then pray for patience from others and for grace with the rest. I also don’t do all of these things at once! If I’m in a book-writing season, I’m likely doing very little public speaking; and I only teach my six-week teleconference courses twice a year, for example.

There are many people can’t wait to publish their bestseller, in your coaching sessions how do present the writing industry in a realistic light?

I tell them the truth about the competition in getting published by a traditional publisher and also the odds stacked against them as a self-published author. I give them info on how many books are published each year, and sometimes each month. There’s a lot being published! We talk about the realities of being a writer and also needing to wear the marketing and business hats. Even so, I tell them to follow their hearts and write the best books they can, for whatever audiences they’re meant to reach. The rest will come as their schedules and personal efforts allow.

What do you want to be your literary legacy?

Wow, what a great question. I guess I’d like to be remembered as an encourager – through the written word (my books and other writings), through the spoken word (my speaking endeavors, personal coaching and mentoring) and through my deeds as an author, journalist and writing coach.  I hope I’ll be remembered for writing books that helped readers find joy in their journeys and grow into the people God called them to be.

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What can our readers look for from Stacy Hawkins Adams in 2015?

In addition to re-releasing my very first three novels in ebook form this year (Speak To My Heart, Nothing But the Right Thing and Watercolored Pearls), I’m also writing a couple of short stories that will be released in ebook form. And my 10th book – the third novel in the Winds of Change series – is slated for release in the fall. So I’m spending a lot of time in my “writing cave,” and while Watercolored Pearls is already available for purchase, I can’t wait to share these other projects with readers.

Learn more about Stacy and her body of work at:
Facebook:StacyInspires
 Twitter: @SHAdams.

Renee Flagler-She Rages On!

In the true sense of DIVA (Distinguished, Intelligent, Vibrant and Ageless)  our guest today fits the bill. Renee Flagler is a dynamic woman who reminds us of the energizer bunny. She is not only touching lives but changing them! Read her bio and then listen as we get her to take a breath long enough to do this interview. This award-winning author, educator and activist has it going on!

Renee Flagler

About Renee!

Renee Daniel Flagler is an award-nominated author, award-winning journalist and creative writing teaching artist. A speaker who is passionate about encouraging women and girls to pursue their passion and purpose. Renee is an advocate for empowering youth by influencing literacy in the United States and abroad. She is the Program Manager for Girls Inc. of Long Island whose mission is to empower girls to be strong, smart and bold.  She is also the Board Chair for LEAP (Literacy Empowerment Action Project) Global, an organization with a mission to provide innovative literacy, youth empowerment programming, and high school scholarships to students in Ghana, Africa.

Society Wives

Listen as Renee tells about her goals, projects and accomplishments!

Renee resides in New York and is currently at work on her next novel and her first, nonfiction book entitled, Passion is a Lifestyle. Renee’s book, Society Wives, has been optioned for film. She also pens romance novels under the pseudonym Nicki Night.

 

 

Renee Flagler Raging on article

Her novels!

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Read about some of Renee’s activities and projects!

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Connect with Renee:
Renee Daniel Flagler on Facebook
Renee Daniel Flagler on Twitter
Renee Daniel Flagler website

Sarah Weathersby in the Authors Spotlight!

Sarah Weathersby

Author Sarah Weathersby certainly fits the definition of a Front Porch Diva. She is living the second half of her life on her terms.

Sarah Gordon Weathersby is a graduate of Drew University in Madison, NJ. She holds an MBA from Meredith College in Raleigh, NC. She is a retired Information Technology professional. Sarah lives in Raleigh with her husband, when they are not traveling from Agadir to Maui, riding camels or bicycles.

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I write about the things that keep me awake at night, as well as the things that bring me joy. If you follow my blog, the topics can be the trivial how to work my new camera or the gut-wrenching mental breakdown of a family member. I started writing poems as a little girl when my oldest brother went off to the Korean War.

I have written two memoirs, one is the total truth with some names changed (Motherless Child – stories from a life), the other is semi-fictional (Adventures in Blackface). I have written one romance, Tell Them I Died, which falls in the Boomer-Lit genre, as all the main characters are over fifty years old.

Below is our interview with the busy Sarah!

Do you use your life experiences to influence your writing? In what way?

Yes, I do. My first published work is a memoir, Motherless Child – stories from a life, a true story of some of the critical and painful parts of my life. Then I published Tell Them I Died, a romance loosely based on a true story about friends who meet on a small social media website, and the owner/operator who dies. In this story, I decided to switch the script, and didn’t let my friend die, but live on through a romance with the man she always loved. The other main characters were based on my husband and me, and our travels around the world. I had a lot of fun with plot twists, and visiting landmarks through the story.

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How do you create or select the characters for your books?

I often base my characters on people I know. They can sometimes be composites of more than one person. And sometimes I create characters based on the story requirement and I let the character drive the story. In Tell Them I Died, I needed a scoundrel of a boyfriend for my main character, and she later needed a bodyguard who played a big part in the story. He may show up in a sequel.

What is a normal day for you?

I don’t have normal days. I am retired. My youngest son has a diagnosis of Paranoid Schizophrenia, and lives on his own. I spend a lot of time as his caregiver. I am a member of the Board of NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness) Wake County, North Carolina, and I am active in that organization. My next book is about a family situation with an adult son with mental illness.

In between my charity work, I work out three to four times a week. I do Step Aerobics, Muscle, and Zumba classes. I am also a member of three book clubs, one online on Goodreads.com, and two in-person groups.

I am currently working on my next novel, while learning to use Scrivner.

Wake County Public Library

Do you think it’s important to build a relationship with your readers? How do you stay in contact with your readers?

I have been active on social media since 1998, and have a good following of friends on various web sites. My readers became my readers before I had completed a book. I blogged about my journey of writing, and they followed my blogs. I first blogged on Yahoo 360, now defunct after Yahoo couldn’t find a way to make money from it. Now I blog on Blogger, and stay in touch with my readers on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

I’m a voracious reader, and often write reviews of the books I enjoy.

Do you believe that authors have a responsibility to impact their communities or society? If so, in what way?

I do believe that authors have a responsibility to teach, and sort out those issues that impact us all. As a mother of an adult child with a serious mental illness, I spend time fighting the stigma that keeps people with mental illness from being all they can be. I will be walking in a NAMI Walks event in May in Raleigh, to support my son’s cause. I am also the team leader for Sharing Hope, a NAMI National initiative designed for the African American faith communities. Black people, especially black church people don’t like to talk about mental illness, or they think mental illness can be prayed away. Through Sharing Hope, we allow people with a mental illness, or family members and friends to tell their story about mental illness. This breaks down the stigma, and helps others to understand what the person has been through, and what it means to reach recovery.

I pray for my son daily. I pray that he takes his medications, and stays away from those forces in the community who will lead him into trouble.

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What do you like the most about being an author? What do you find a challenge?

I like writing stories that entertain and challenge. Writing gives me the opportunity to take a real life scenario and flip the script, creating a whole new story.

My challenge is devoting the time away from my other life, in order to finish a book in a reasonable time. A book can sometimes take me four or more years to complete. And then there is the challenge of promoting the book. As a part-time author, I don’t always have the resources to invest in a major promotion.

How can our readers follow and or get in touch with you? (Website, email, blog, etc.)

Connect with Sarah:

Website: http://www.sarahweathersby.com/

Emailsarah@sarahweathersby.com

Blog: http://sarahweathersby.blogspot.com/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/saraphen

Twitter: @saraphen

Pinterest: https://www.pinterest.com/sarahweathersby/

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/1Oa5nSA

Smashwords: https://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/weathersbypub

Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/saraphen/

Purchase Links http://amzn.to/1Oa5nSA

Synopsis of Motherless Child – stories from a life:

Motherless Child

Imagine you gave a baby up for adoption forty years ago, and after years of trying to find her, she finds you. Now come the hard questions. She’s healthy, beautiful, and successful, but she wants to know why you gave her away and why you didn’t marry her father. And there is also the unspoken question of “What kind of black woman gives her baby away?” How do you explain to her that giving her away was the best gift you could offer? This is Sarah Weathersby’s first published work, a coming-of-age-in-the-sixties-single-black-pregnant and on the way to Germany, memoir.

 

Synopsis of Tell Them I Died: Tell Them I Died

 

Tell Them I Died is a romantic adventure that centers on the loves and lives of Angela and “Bodine” Beaudoin and their friends on the social networking site, Blaq-Kawfee.com. Angela and Bodine are retired and live in Raleigh, North Carolina. Every day they interact with friends all over the world on Blaq-Kawfee.com until Angela receives a phone call from Carlton telling her that his mother, A1QTEE, the owner/operator of Blaq-Kawfee died a month ago. Instantly, Angela smells foul play and finds herself working overtime, much to the chagrin of Bodine, to figure out what happened to her dear friend.

Tell Them I Died is loosely based on a true story about friends who meet on a small social media website, and the owner/operator who dies.

Video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Olfyxlml3tw

Adventures in Blackface

Adventures in Blackface – and other shorts:

Adventures in Blackface is a short story and one of a selection of “shorts” retrieved from the cutting room floor. The short story centers on a black college freshman, Ruth, one of six black students in an otherwise white university in the 1960’s. Ruth faces the challenge of the romantic advances of a white male student, and the racism of white faculty.

 

Seattle! Introducing The Front Porch Divas

The Front Porch Divas are coming to Seattle! The Emerald City is being introduced to the Over 40 and Fab movement!  One of our premier stage plays, ‘Picking Up the Pieces’, is having a staged reading on February 12th at the Denning Community Room.

The Front Porch Divas in Seattle

We are honored to travel to the Emerald City to collaborate with the talented members of The Mahogany Project (mahoganyproject.org) and The Beed Group (lindabeed)!

Collaboration is the key word! I love when our organizations work together for a common purpose and cause!

The Seattle Collaborators

The Mahogany Project logo

The Mahogany Project is a Seattle-based creative arts organization. The women of The Mahogany Project are committed to collaborating with groups and individuals in hopes of creating opportunities for local Seattle theatre artists.

Linda F. Beed head shot

Under the umbrella of The Beed Group, author Linda Beed showcases Christian fiction at its finest. She also functions as a speaker, custom dollmaker and event coordinator.

The Texas Connection

The Front Porch Divas Logo

JWHill Productions LLC was founded by playwright, director and producer, Jeanette Hill. Her work gives a realistic portrayal of the culture and resiliency of African Americans.  She is the creator of The Front Porch Divas! Created to showcase classy, sassy, seasoned…and sometimes sexy women who are Over 40 and Fab!

The Purpose

Anyone who has listened or watched mainstream media arts  acutely aware of the lack of substantial roles  women over forty.  Women of color over forty have an even harder time finding these roles. Each of the three  groups on this project is individually purposed to increase the awareness of and to create artistic opportunities for this segment of our population.

The Front Porch Divas is the creation of Jeanette Hill. It is a derivative series of plays created to bridge the gap of awareness about this sassy, classy and seasoned demographic of society and also provide artistic opportunities for these women.

The Mahogany Project of Seattle, is an arts group created by women of color with similar goals who is also dedicated to bridging this gap.

Author and speaker, Linda Beed of The Beed Group with personal connections to both groups stepped up and made the necessary introductions, which braided talent, purpose and opportunity.

So with the sponsorship of The Beed Group hosting this intimate event and with The Mahogany Project’s administration graciously agreeing to lend their talent, time and resources to  co-produce  the staged reading of one of The Front Porch Divas’ signature plays, ‘Picking Up the Pieces’,  this project was born. It will be an intimate evening of entertainment, engagement and fun!

This will be my FIRST trip to Seattle and I am excited not only to see my trusted friend, Linda Beed and meet my new friends from The Mahogany Project and those attending the reading but to see this marvelous city up close and personal! Seattle, here we come!!

The Front Porch Divas are truly looking forward to meeting its Culture Cousins in the Northwest!

(I’m taking a picture in front of the Space Needle!!)

Learn more about these creative groups on their websites!

The Mahogany Project logo

The Mahogany Project at:

www.mahoganyproject.org

 

Linda F. Beed head shot

The Beed Group/Linda Beed at:

www.lindabeed.com

 

 

 

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JWHill Productions LLC at:

www.jwhillproductions.com

 

 

PATRICIA A SAUNDERS AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT

 

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 PATRICIA A SAUNDERS…AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT

Patricia Saunders collection is described as a touching and revelatory account of a journey inward to self, love and laughter. She explains, “This third book of poetry will have fans laughing, crying and shaking their heads in agreement. The storms might bring you Through the Fire to appreciate Loving Me but when it rains, it pours. You can’t just look at the bad that happens in life rather look at it as a cleansing, preparing you for the next chapter. When prayers go up blessings, come down. I say, Let It Rain!”

Patricia A. Saunders woke up from the nightmare of personal trauma to live her dream; she talks about the journey here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LcaE3iLN-FI&feature=youtu.be.

Q&A with the author

What was most important to you when you decided to become an author, Patricia?

It was important that my words touch someone; that anyone reading my work would be able to relate to a memory. 

What audience are you speaking to through your poetry?

My audience is the woman who has loved and felt that she had to choose between work and life choices. I speak to the person who has lost it all and knows that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

 book coverWhen you talk about your books–and share reflections of your past–some parts are very painful and personal.  How challenging was it to reveal the inner aspects of your life?

It was challenging because I talk about being almost homeless, raped, molested, and some baggage that my family didn’t want me to share. I prayed that my pain would be a testament to someone that I am still standing after going through it all. I took my family’s feelings into consideration and chose not to do some pieces in public settings rather allow readers to read it themselves. 

Patricia, your mother’s illness, Alzheimer’s disease gave birth to your writing; were she alive today, what do you think she’d say about your poetry?

My Mother and I had a very close relationship. Prior to her illness, we spoke, daily and discussed everything. She used to write all of her sermons in notebooks and I write everything in my journal; she would be proud. She would be able to read the feedback from the readers who laughed, cried and praised alongside me throughout my journey. Also, she would probably say, “Baby keep some things to yourself.” 

Book Cover for Let It Rain

What does poetry fulfill in your life?

Since childhood, I have been writing as a way to express myself. Back then, I hid poetry from my family and only shared it with select teachers for school newspapers, yearbooks and friends. My mother’s passing was heartbreaking and I had to have an outlet. I had to let the words out. It helped me through some dark times. When I decided to commit to it and see writing as my mission, I let go and it just flowed. In the back of my mind I sometimes wonder if I have the same gene as my mother and ask, “will I start forgetting my words?’ My poetry is my mark that I was here!

When did you learn to laugh again?

Following the release of my first book, “Through the Fire,” I took myself on vacation. While sitting on the beach I let all the tears out. I prayed that I would live each day like it was my last. I got up from that pity party and started my second book, “Loving Me.” In that very moment, the clouds shifted.  I looked in the mirror and said out loud, “Life is too short. Live it!” I had grieved the passing of my Mother for six years, had wanted to die with her; everything had gone wrong or so I thought. I came to myself and realized that she would have wanted me to be happy; suddenly, everything turned around for me. I am laughing a lot these days.

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All books are available at http://www.patriciaasaunders.com/buythebook.html and Amazon.

Media Contact:

Sandra Varner, Varner PR Agency, 510-910-5652, varnerpr@sbcglobal.net

Patricia A. Saunders, Author , 510-427-0889

Renee Wiggins Life Changes–Adjust!

Renee Wiggins head shot photo

 

Great day to you! Healthy lifestyle advocate and author, Renee Wiggins dispenses some mother wit for women of a certain age.

Front Porch Divas, listen up!

Scene Location: On the Porch

Diva One: There you go putting that doughnut in your mouth. You just ate. And why are you drinking a diet soda? Since I have been exercising, my blood sugars have dropped and I lost 15 inches. I am so glad that I listened to my doctor. When she discovered I had diabetes, I realized I didn’t want to die. I wanted to see my grand babies grow up.

Diva Two: I exercised, but I didn’t see any changes. So I dropped out of class. Who cares anyway?

This is a conservation most women have when they are 50+ years. These women gave up trying to become healthy quickly and exchanged their sneakers and outfits for doughnuts and fries.

Our bodies are not like they were when we were 20 years old, where the body can bounce back from a pregnancy or surgery. The fifty plus-sized woman must focus on “being healthy.” And what does that mean: being able to walk, run, stand for long periods of time, reaching for the top shelf, carrying grocery bags and of course, being able to lift their grandchildren.

Just 10 minutes a day can help you stay on the right track, however, 20 minutes can increase the quality of life for 50+ old women.  If you don’t have time for 20 minutes, then focus on 10 minutes in the morning and 10 minutes in the afternoon. As Nike states, “Just Do It.”  Get off the porch (or couch) and start walking. Walking is inexpensive and easy to do. You can walk at the local mall, around the track at your local school or walk in your neighborhood.

Stop with the excuses!!!

You can march or walk in place in front of the television.  Believe it or not you can walk away the pounds.

Start slowly and gradually increase your steps and/or time. Grab your husband, children or girlfriend and walk. Map out a time frame for your walking.

You can do it, diva!

 

Renee Wiggins head shot photoRenee Wiggins has mentored, trained and changed lives in the health and wellness industry for more than 20 years. Renee a strong believer and encourager in living an authentic , healthy lifestyle. Renee specializes in designing customized lifestyle programs that are tailored to client needs, goals and habits. Her areas, whose mission s to help people achieve optimum health through nutrition and fitness supplemented with stress reduction techniques. She is author of several books, Stress Down and Lift Up and Transformations: Give Up The Struggle and her latest won the Christian Writer’s Award ” Being Fabulously Fit in God’s Kingdom: A 40-Day Journey to Wellness. You can contact Renee through email at  renee@resultsbyrenee.com

UNOMA NWANKWOR AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT

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At what point in life did you decide to become an author, Unoma? In terms of being an author, how do you define success? Have you achieved it?

Ans: Great question. I always answer this question by saying I didn’t decide on living purposefully through my writing intentionally. It wasn’t something I told myself I would do. I was “pushed” into living on purpose. It came after a life threatening incident I was involved in in 2012. When I recovered, the question that nagged me was “If I had met my Savior then, would He tell me well done for using my talents?” My answer was a resounding NO. So began the journey of conquering my fears. Writing is my ministry so success to me would be introducing and bringing people to Christ and getting that sweet royalty check while doing it. Have I achieved it? I believe I have.

 

Unoma Nwankwor Author Romance with African Spice

Do you use your life experiences to influence your writing? In what way?

Ans: Not my life experiences but things from my surroundings that have shaped my view on life. A huge part of that is my culture. You see I’m a Nigerian-American. I was born in Akron Ohio, grew up in Port Harcourt, Nigeria and now reside in Atlanta, Georgia. I am what is termed a Nigerian in Diaspora. There are certain things that are unique to us either in living abroad or returning home. I share those experiences through my characters are always returnees or new immigrants.

What genre do you write and how or why did you choose that particular genre?

Ans: I write Christian fiction with a sub-genre of romance. The genre I would write in was a no brainer for me as I love sharing the gospel of Jesus Christ. However I’m also introverted so I use my writing to say things I wouldn’t normally feel comfortable saying. Coupled with the fact that I’m a sucker for happily ever after, you have Christian fiction romance. My own uniqueness comes from the pieces of my African culture I throw into the mix.

With all the roles you fill, how do you manage to keep all the balls in the air?

Ans: I don’t think it is possible on any given day to keep all the balls in the air. The trick, my trick is not to let one ball stay on the ground for too long. So when deadlines for my manuscript loom close, I am not the perfect mother…kids eat a lot of pizza. When the manuscript is done, perfect mommy hat comes on and my promotion or plotting might suffer but no ball suffers consistently for a long period.

 

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What is a normal day for you?

Ans: My normal day starts at 5 am with prayers. Then I make breakfast and lunches and the kids and I are out of the house at 720am. I get to work an hour later and end the day at 5pm, home, dinner, homework, family time and everyone is in bed by 9pm. Then my author/entrepreneurial hat comes on until midnight….then the next day, we do it all over again.

What would be a perfect day for you?

Ans: My perfect day would be like my normal days except I work for myself full time.

You’ve inherited 10 acres of land and the money to create your own world, what are the first 3 things you create?

Ans: A home that can accommodate extended family (just for a couple of days) :-), a writing shed/office and a playground for my kids.

Most of us have held other ‘day jobs’ before embarking on our current careers. How did your previous employment help prepare you for your current position?

Ans: Actually, I’m still employed at my day job. That is something I hope to rectify soon…lol. My day job entails people and project management and that helps when I am laying out plans and goals for my writing and publishing needs.

 

UNOMA NWANKWOR 6 BOOKS COLLAGE THIS ONE

If you had to hire someone write for you for an extended period, what are the top 3 skills they would need?

Ans: Ha! Simple, the person would have to be a believer, a romantic at heart and know or be able to properly research African culture.

Do you believe that your work impacts your community or society? If so, in what way?

Ans: Yes but in a unique way. Apart from ministering and providing entertainment, my aim in writing is to educate people about Africa, especially my home country Nigeria. I’ve received numerous emails thanking and appreciating the effort I put into painting a picture they never knew existed. When you read my books you’re taken on a journey to Africa, where the culture may differ but the universal theme of faith, hope & love prevail.

Looking from the outside in, what would like for people to realize about what you do?

Ans: At the surface, I am a wife, mom and author but that is not all I do. I am also the Chief Operating Officer of my own Christian entertainment company KevStel Group LLC. KevStel group is a company my husband and I own. I take care of a lot of the administrative stuff and running of the day to day operations. In this year, I am actively working on a script for our sophomore movie.

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How can our readers follow and or get in touch with you? (Website, email, blog, etc.)

Ans: website www.unwankwor.com

Blog www.unomanwankwor.com

Email: unwankwor@gmail.com

 

Thank you, Unoma, for spending time sharing your passion and your purpose with our readers!

 

SHERYL LISTER AUTHOR SPOTLIGHT

Every week we will focus on the work of a diva who is living her dream! You may find out how and why she does what she does. Maybe she’ll read a little from her latest book. Maybe you will get a behind the scenes look at how it all comes together. Creating something from nothing? How fascinating!

…and the spotlight this week is on author…

SHERYL LISTER

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BIO: AUTHOR SHERYL LISTER…

Sheryl Lister has enjoyed reading and writing for as long as she can remember. She writes contemporary and inspirational romance and romantic suspense. Her first novel, Just To Be With You, earned her a 2015 Romance Slam Jam nomination for Debut Author of the Year, and she was awarded 2015 Best New Author of Building Relationships Around Books (Online Book Club). When she’s not reading, writing or playing chauffeur, Sheryl can be found on a date with her husband or in the kitchen creating appetizers and bite-sized desserts. Sheryl resides in California and is a wife, mother of three daughters and one son-in-love and a grandmother to an adorable grandson.

HOW DID YOU GET WHERE YOU ARE?

At what point in life did you decide to become an author? In terms of being an author, how do you define success? Have you achieved it?

Growing up, I’d always wanted to write, and when I discovered African American romance, I was ecstatic. I’d share my stories, but never put them on paper. My mother told me for years to “stop telling me the stories and write them.” It wasn’t until she passed away that I realized it was time to stop talking and get to doing.

As an author, I define success simply as accomplishing a set goals, and I feel as though I have achieved a measure of success with five published titles.

SHERYL LISTER ALL OF ME

What genre do you write and how or why did you choose that particular genre?

I write romance (contemporary, inspirational, suspense), and chose this genre because I am a romantic at heart and it’s what I love to read most. That’s not to say I won’t branch out in the future. I’d love to write a thriller/suspense one day
SHERYL LISTER TENDER KISSES

Do you use your life experiences to influence your writing? In what way?

My life experiences do influence my writing somewhat. My husband and I have been together for over twenty-four years and parts of our courtship and marriage tend to show up on the pages.

Our focus is on people in the 2nd act of their lives. What lessons did you learn in your 1st act that will make your 2nd act more enjoyable?

I learned a few lessons: You can’t take on everyone’s load; be careful who you share your dreams with because you’ll encounter naysayers; and you can’t please everyone. However, the biggest lesson I learned was to trust God to lead me. I have to say that I am enjoying this 2nd act to the fullest!

What advice would you give to someone ‘of a certain age’ who feels it’s too late to go after their dreams or goals?

If you have dreams or goals and you’re still breathing, it’s never too late. My first book was released shortly after I turned fifty. So what are you waiting for?

SHERYL LISTER ITSYOUTHATINEED_3 (1)

What part of your career do you find most rewarding? Most challenging?

The most rewarding part of my career thus far has been the relationships and friendships I’ve developed with readers and other authors. A close second is finally seeing the stories that took up residence in my head on store bookshelves. It’s an amazing feeling. The most challenging aspect is cranking out the books at a speed that the readers would like. Another challenge is getting the all the stories in my head clamoring to be told to line up one at a time, instead of shouting all at once.

What goals have you set for the next five years?

My goals for the next five years are to continue to publish traditionally and independently, and to expand my published works to include single title contemporary romance and romantic suspense.

Do you believe that your work impacts your community or society? If so, in what way?

In a time when much of what is seen in mainstream media reflects broken relationships, high divorce rates and single parent households, I want to show that real love still does exist, and especially in the African American community.

SHERYL LISTER ITS ONLY YOU

Looking from the outside in, what would like for people to realize about what you do?

Writing is not always easy and when you’re juggling life, things don’t always go as planned. Throw in a little chronic pain and it can be downright frustrating. But perseverance is the key. Keep plugging away until you see those blessed words, “The End.” In the end, it’ll all be worth it.

What is next for you?

Coming up next, I’m excited to debut a new series for Harlequin Kimani titled The Grays of Los Angeles, which will follow the lives of five sibling who will all meet and fall in love with their perfect mates. The first book, Tender Kisses, releases April 1, 2016. I also have a few surprises coming, so stay tuned.

SHERYL LISTER JUST TO BE WITH YOU

How can our readers follow and or get in touch with you? (Website, email, blog, etc.)

I absolutely love hearing from readers. You can find me:

Website: www.sheryllister.com

Email:  sheryllister@gmail.com

Facebook: www.facebook.com/sheryllisterauthor

Twitter: @1slynne

Drop me a line anytime!

We appreciate you spending time with today and the best of luck on your endeavors!!