Tell us about your passion for writing.
I am passionate about completing this very unique book of memories of the early formations of a modern day African American family owned and operated internet business. Rarely revealed, compiled, practical and easy to explain book of 21 LIFE LESSONS LEARNED that will be passed down to future generations as a survival guide to "avoid the boiling pot that seems to capture so many crabs".
Finish this sentence:I am Powerful because....
I am Powerful because I have proven that I can dream and fight to achieve my goals without concern of the naysayer or without taking my eyes off my prize for my future generation of dreamers, leaders and achievers.
Why is it important to celebrate Black History 365 days a year?
There is just waaaay too much to learn and review in 28 days! I have been fortunate to have taken several courses in college and graduate school on African and African American History. There is more to being black than slavery and Jim Crow. Many people forget about reconstruction and early African civilizations are a part of our history too.
Where are you from?
I am a native of Mount Vernon, NY as explained in my book I moved twice during my childhood. Typically, I claim Baltimore, MD as my hometown because that is where I proudly graduated Class President of Milford Mill High School. After graduating undergrad from Hampton University with a BS degree in Business Management, I lived in Indianapolis, Indiana and later relocated to obtain my MBA in International Finance and Marketing from the Ross School of Business in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I was blessed to do internships and assignments that took me to Johannesburg, South Africa, New York, Racine, Orlando, Fort Lauderdale and ultimately to the plantation of my ancestors in Urbanna, Virginia.
How did you start your writing journey?
My journey as a writer really began through my daily diary entries as an early teenager. I felt the urge to compile a book of lessons when I had a near death experience at age 14 years old. I did not get the motivation to act upon this goal of writing “Cotton Pickin’ Paycheck-A 21st Century Journal of Escape from Slavery” until last year. Living back in my ancestors’ hometown on a 40 acre parcel of land seemed to inspire me to hurry and finish while we were living in a historical moment of time.
Who are your two main characters and what do you like most about them?
Well because this book is truly like a memory book of life lessons there are tons and tons of characters painted in the book. The main characters are of course me and God.
What makes your book stand out and would entice a reader pick it up?
I think people will see that my book is like looking at a colorful mosaic artwork. Each person reading it will find a little bit of themselves deep down but rarely will two people see the exact same thing in my stories and the respective lessons. I have been told by many different readers that it has indeed inspired them to DO something with the lessons and stories swimming around in their subconscience. It is like reading a love letter to my great great great great grandchildren that I am allowing the world to share.
Ultimately, what do you want readers to gain from your book?
I want readers to be compelled to relook at their own lives to gain tips on how to avoid distractions, petty behaviors, "crab mentality" urges and step out on faith that there is a greater purpose in their lives and have a reminder that they have a limited time on earth to enjoy it. I want folks to DO vs. YAP. I want them to fall in love with their lives and livelihoods. I want them to fall in love with their own personal heritage.
What is the most surprising thing you have learned in creating books?
It is a whole lot of work. I have had days where I have pretended NOT to be in the middle of writing a life changing story. Days where I have admittedly did very little towards it at all because the thought of completion was so overwhelming. Yet, I have also had nights where I could not sleep until I could actually print out the finished thoughts and feel the paper in my hands. Achievement was seeing a chapter on my nightstand.
What would you say has been your most significant achievement as a writer?
Just making the plan of action to DO IT. How did you do it? A lot of prayer. Hearing from various readers all giving me their personal testimony truly motivated me to keep on going.
What advice would you give a new writer?
Follow your heart. Get started.
Name 3 things that it takes to make a successful author, in your opinion?
Keep the reader engaged, write the way U would tell them in a conversation, enjoy weaving your story.
What can we expect from you in the future?
There will probably be more books from my munchkins because they are inspired to see me write. My 6 year old has a manuscript already called "My Timeline About Me" that she finished the other day. It contains 5 chapters and she has illustrated it herself!
Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases.
Our family business is launching a new educational campaign this year that is spearheaded by my 6 year old called, "We ALL start small" and there is a new website www.WeALLstartsmall.com I am working with an illustrator to create a book that will be the first in a series that pay tribute to our rich cultural legacy of dreamers, leaders and achievers.
Most of all, I invite everyone to join my site at CottonPickinPaycheck.com.
Anyone interested in gaining a 50% discount from the price book’s launch price once released. I am offering this only to the first 100 customers. I know they will love the final product, but I want to have a mailing list of people who “get” what I am trying to do for the world with this book. So please check out the site and make it one of your favorites as I am always updating it with something inspiring and motivating.
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