What is the hardest part of writing your books?
The hardest part is the first sentence, getting going and into the rhythm of the chapter. Once I rewrite the first few lines a couple times, break the barriers of familiar words and phrases, something usually sparks and then I’m off and running. Love that feeling of punching through the proverbial writer’s block and getting some clear, crisp thoughts on paper.
What songs are most played on your Ipod?
I enjoy creating Spotify playlists for different moods—relaxing, walking, or doing chores around the house. Most played are songs by my daughter Stasney Mav (Caroline Shumate), Stevie Wonder, John Mayer, Sade and Santana. The single most played song of 2019 is “Love So Amazing,” by Cindy Cruse Ratcliffe. It’s both affirming and uplifting. And I sing along every time—my carpool karoke.
Do you have critique partners or beta readers?
A couple of my family members read early drafts and gave good feedback. The editors at Lucid gave me insightful direction and made the work stronger and more cohesive. The editing and production team at Lucid are my critique partners/beta readers.
What book are you reading now?
Just started “Factfulness, Ten reasons we’re wrong about the world and why things are better than you think,” by Hans Rosling. My go-to genre is non-fiction and favorite book in the last 6 months is “Big Magic, Creative Living Beyond Fear” by Elizabeth Gilbert. This book gave me the emotional fuel and courage to take my book idea and early drafts to the next level and I hope to find a way to let her know that.
How did you start your writing career?
My writing career began as a producer/reporter when I was barely 20 years old at WWL-TV in New Orleans, Louisiana. The whole process of researching, writing and sharing the work is rewarding to me—challenging and sometimes frustrating, but ultimately very rewarding.
From writing promotional copy for shows, to news stories, documentaries, speeches to a couple stabs at fictional writing, I now feel a calling to the inspirational/mentoring space. Young people moving into adulthood today are looking for support, encouragement and reassurance that they can make mistakes and recover. And I share their love of emojis ☺
Tell us about your next release.
I’ll be continuing with the “Always and Never”™ theme and envision a series. “Always and Never, 20 Truths to a Happy Heart,” Book and Journal, will be followed by “Always and Never for a Confident Heart,” “Always and Never for the Healing Heart,” and then “Always and Never for the Helping Heart.” These are working titles and concepts.
There may be a companion journal for each book and imagine the book format may be a little different each time. I’ve started the rough outline for “Confident Heart.” Hoping to release again for the Class of 2020. And I already feel behind—ah, joy of writing!