Imani Wisdom (IW): Well, I didn’t pick to become a writer, writing chose me. Since I was young girl, I had this active imagination but didn’t understand how to put it to use. Anything inanimate objects, like my grandmother’s figurines or the old school term—what-nots, I would play with them as if I was pretending I was making a movie. I didn’t write my ideas; I acted out stories with these objects. Looking back on it, I was strange kid. Though that strangeness had went from daydreaming to putting my ideas on paper. I didn’t; however, take writing seriously until I got into my late twenties and thirties. And once I completed my first novel, I realized that it was something I have meant to do all along. Writing is more like the air I breathe, and is attach to me like the hairs on my head. It’s a part of me.
POV: When did you know you wanted to publish a book?
IM: Untimely Revelations: A Collection of Stories of Love, Faith, and Forgiveness is not the first novella I’ve written. Actually, it’s Zion’s Road: The Journey. I wrote and completed the novel in 2010, but held on to it until the time was right to release it. So it was then I knew I wanted to publish a book, but also knew I wanted to do it right. I felt taking baby steps was right then to do, and still feel this way today.
POV: Why did you pick the genre that you write?
IM: Between my love of politics and writing, I chose Inspirational/ Paranormal Fiction to write on the issues that are important to me, like sexual abuse and racism. I feel writing gives me a bigger platform instead of running for office to become a typical politician. Also, some would argue about the profanity I put in my stories if it’s suppose to be inspirational. For example, Elijah Baker from one of short stories in Untimely Revelations, The Shattered Mogul, he uses strong language to make his point about his past. I like to make my characters real as possible. Someone like Elijah, who lives a fast life as a music mogul, he will speak colorful from time to time.
Now, Paranormal Fiction is more in the short story, Zion’s Road and the novel Zion’s Road: The Journey. This genre is my favorite because I love to write about the unseen. Still, it’s inspirational as well. I mean if the story has dead people who trying to understand about their earthly lives, you best believe I wrote it to inspire.
Another thing, I could have chosen to write erotica, but I prefer to write stories like—The Shattered Mogul, or Seven Months, or if you read my blog, Second Chances Don’t Come Often. I mean these stories will get a reader upset, or get to them to think, or they could relate to one of my characters for some reason. But if I can a difference for one reader out of the thousands, then I’ve done something special.
POV: If you could write in any other genre what would it be?
IM: Mystery. I have mad respect for anyone who writes a good mystery novel. It seems you have to keep your plot on point—but I would love to try it. I feel its challenge, and I love a good challenge. Someday I’ll try to write a short story version. If I turn out well, I’ll share it with a few of my writing groups, including Café Vibe.
POV: What is your writing process?
IM: I start every story as a short story. That’s how I get the feel of my characters and storyline. As I’m writing, I can determine if this particular story is worth moving on as a novel or a play, or keep as it is. I do, occasionally will write an outline when I’m writing my second revisions. All of that pre-planning like brainstorming bubble, pre-outline, character outlines will throw me off. However, and let me stress this, just because I choose not to do this doesn’t mean pre-planning your novels is wrong. Many authors prefer to do outlines before they write, but I just do mine backwards.
POV: How long did it take you to write your current book?
IM: I wrote Untimely Revelations in two months. Three out of the five short stories, they are in length 10,000 to 15,000 words long. And usually, it takes me to write a story at that length for three days. Daniella story was originally a poem, and converted to a story form into 2,000 words. Even though that’s the shortest story, it took the longest to write because writing in first person of a seven year old girl was difficult. I also had to revise it more than once for the reason that it still sounded like a poem. So all in all after many rewrites, I can safely say it took six to eight weeks to complete the project.
POV: What is different about your book from other books in its genre?
IM: Wow, good question. Untimely Revelations is more than a book. It’s a place to curl up to escape from the hustles and bustles in life. I want my words to become the reader’s journey with the characters. If for some reason they hate my characters’, that’s fine. I purposely start most of my characters unlikable, and in hopes to the end of the story that will understand why my characters act they way they do. This also applies in real life. We can easily judge by a book of its cover, but never walked in a mile in someone else’s shoes. So perhaps my book is more than pages and a book cover, but a mirror of its own self.
POV: What mistakes have you made with this book that you will be sure to correct next time?
IM: This book was more therapy after my mother passed away in June of 2011. I dived into my work, especially blogging. But to me, I needed to keep my mind busy. However, I did not devise a business plan. The next book that’s due out summer of 2012 has already a business plan, an editor, my book cover is in the works, and I’m starting to promote the book. Being a self-published author means I’m a small business owner. I am a sole owner of Wickedly Sweet Ink LLC which was launched in September of 2011. So I’m in this for the long haul. Running a business is a totally different hat from being an author. I can’t step into this backwards.
POV: When do you feel most comfortable in your writing zone?
IM: I need to be in silence. The only thing I care to hear is the pounding of the keys on my laptop. It’s also okay if I’m in the zone with music. Most of my story ideas come from music. I guess I can say playing a beautiful melody is my muse.
POV: Who is your favorite author? Favorite book?
IM: I love Stephen King’s creative mind! I fell in love with his work when I in high school by reading one of his books, Pet Semetary. Because of him was the reason why I’m walking my path as an author. Mr. King is more than just a prolific author but a gifted storyteller.
As for my favorite book now, Push by Sapphire. I love how she took the reader through Precious’s journey from this illiterate teen who suffered terrible abuse to blossoming into her own person by discovering the power of words. I know the sequel will be equally good. I’m ready for it!
POV: What books are you currently reading?
IM: I’m almost done with reading “Team of Rivals” by Doris Kearns Goodwin. It’s about our sixteenth president of the United States forming his cabinet with his political rivals. If you’re in a leadership role, it’s a recommended read. After that I will start reading Em.Em Genesis’s, “Words of Wisdom for Warriors and Stories of Encouragement”. This is a new author who is known for their compassion. You can find this book on Amazon and other places where books are sold.
POV: What advice do you have for those who are looking to publish their first book?
IM: Research, research, and more research! Once you decide to write your book, you’re stepping into the world as an entrepreneur—regardless if you’re self-publishing or going the traditional route. Also, have realistic expectations. There’s no such thing as an overnight success. That’s a rarity. Keep writing, take constructive criticism, and most of all, be professional. Urban literature is a small community, and people do talk. The same people you see when you go up, will be the same people if you fall down. In other words, don’t step on the feet that helped send you to the top. Otherwise, their same feet will walk in the other direction when you need their help.
Read more about the author at www.fromawriterspovmagazine.com