1. When did you first know you wanted to be a writer?

I believe in my heart that I always wanted to be writer. I had started writing dramatic romance novels in my spare time when I was in my early 20’s. I wanted to write like Danielle Steele, she was my favorite author long ago.

More recently, I rediscovered my love for creative writing after a lot of unrelenting prayer. A car accident, 3 years ago, left me unable to continue my chosen career path as a spinal cord injury home care nurse. Thus, completely disrupting my livelihood and physical ability to support others.

Therefore, I had to find an outlet outside of my physical body. I believe reading, writing, painting, drawing, and praying has kept my mind active. And after the accident these outlets have served as an opportunity for my body to rehabilitate from the injuries. I may not ever fully recover from the damage the accident caused to my body, but I am striving.

Nonetheless, I’ve come a long way and with the help of my Lord and Savior answering my prayers. I have a hope and a future in creative writing and illustration, with a focus in writing for children.

2. How long have you been writing? How many books have you written?

Professionally, I have been writing since April 2021. This is when I started a specialized certificate program in Children’s Book Writing and Illustration at University of California, San Diego.

In June 2021, near the end of class, I wrote The Bird Bath with illustration captions. The illustrations for The Bird Bath were created, by me, with some photos I took, a good set of colored pencils, an app I purchased, (which at this time I am not at liberty to disclose, because I want to keep my trade secrets a secret), and Adobe Lightroom during July/ August. The Bird Bath, is my first and only publication at this time.

I have four manuscripts ready for publishing, currently working on the illustrations for them. I have a complex manuscript that I have decided will be better suited for a small series of books about the characters, prior to the main story.

3. What made you want to self-publish?

The main reason I decided to self-publish is because I wanted to get my name, as an author- illustrator, into the publishing world.

In the short time I’ve been researching this career path, I have found that publishing with a well-known large publishing company is nearly impossible without a “name” or other “connection” to the industry.

Additionally, I want to own the rights to my publications, creative writing, and artwork.

4. Would you recommend new authors self-publish, and would you recommend Gatekeeper Press?

Yes, and yes.

My experience with Gatekeeper Press has been a blessed and stress-free journey. Namely, my author manager Sarah Spencer. She has taken the guesswork out of my first publication. She has also inadvertently been an astounding and fortitudinous counselor. I recommend her favorably as an author manager for any self-publisher.

5. What do you do marketing-wise to help announce and sell your books?

I have a great number and network of friends/ family across the country and around the world. Before I became interested in pursuing children’s book writing and illustration, my former career afforded me the opportunity to travel abroad. I also traveled for pleasure within North, Central and South America. During all my travels, I have met numerous people. I believe being a good steward in my relationships with others and friendly with everyone I meet has been to my advantage. To quote a friend of mine, “I have made an impact on everyone I meet”, and I do make the effort to keep close personal relationships with many of the people I meet. It has been through these relationships, whether personal or professional, that I have been able to promote myself (as an author) and the book.

6. What advice do you have for a new or fledgling author?

I am rather new at this myself, but I believe in the process of creative writing. First and foremost, set aside time to write. I understand that life can be hectic, but there is always a way, if one is willing, to make a discipline of writing. Take a few minutes in the early morning or late night to write, even if it is only for 15 minutes. There will be a sense of accomplishment in just getting something on paper. What you write doesn’t even have to be “publish-worthy”, it’s the point that you are disciplining yourself to sit down and do it. This is the most important part of being a writer, disciplining oneself to write. Creativity may come at unexpected times throughout the day, so carry a notebook or recorder to jot down ideas, or clever statements and sentences. The second most important task, in my opinion, is to read. If I cannot find time to sit and read a book, I’ll buy an audio version and listen.

For myself, when I feel am losing my creative writing edge, I instead create artwork, with my earbuds tucked in and blasting my Jesus music. 😇

7. What social media platforms are you on?

I have been on Facebook since 2007. I am on Instagram, TikTok, LinkdIn, Twitter.

8. What is the one piece of advice you wish you had known when you first started out?

Promotion, marketing and finding ways to get my book on brick-and-mortar bookshelves are the biggest challenge. I am still open to advice about these areas.

And that writers’ block is REAL!

9. What do you feel is the biggest challenge authors are facing going into 2021 (and beyond)?

eBooks. I think the electronic age has been the downfall of owning a physical book. Regardless, there is no doubt in my mind a physical copy of any book surpasses the electronic age. For me, reading digitally does not leave an imprint in my memory like reading from an actual book. With a book, I remember the cover, the spine, the color of the book and I can remember a specific area in the pages in which I read a passage too.

10. Have you won any awards or contests that you would like to mention?

Not yet, I am hopeful though. I did write an article and enter a contest, Cosmopolitan Magazine ran back in the early to mid 1990’s, titled “Is It a Puppy or Baby?”. The article consisted of the daily, (and sometimes middle of the night), duties and requirements a human mom must endure to a newly adopted puppy; I did not win the contest.

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