Smiling For My Friends

I love it when my friends conquer their fears, meet their goals, and just do some really cool things. My real-life friends and fellow blogger Biranda just wrote a book. How cool is that? And because I’m smiling for her…I kind of decided to interview her.
ME: How did you come up with the idea to write a book?
BEE: I began this journey 4 years ago, writing by hand in a notebook. After about 3 pages, I put it down. Well my youngest brother Marcus asked to use the notebook.  Of course I let him use it; one thing led to another and I forgot about the notebook, not completely, but it was something I put on my bucket list–something I would get to one day. Then my brother Marcus called me one day, about 3 years later and said, “Bee, when are you going to finish the book?” I said, “What book?”
And he began to read the 3 pages I had written years before, the words that I had forgotten, the rising plot that I had been so anxious to see pan out. That’s how it all began.
ME: How did you go about the writing process?
BEE: This is my first time writing a novel, so looking back on the process, I was all over the place. I started out writing every night and then letting my daughter edit what I  wrote. As the book began to take on a life of its own, I began writing when the inspiration would hit me. But I made sure I touched the story in some way, everyday, whether it was doing research or reading a chapter to a family member. Now that I have finished the book and am weeks away from releasing it, I know that having a scheduled time to write is important, for me at least. With “City of the Guardians: Introducing Alex Honor”, I would finish a complete chapter before moving on to the next. I am taking a different approach with the second book of the COTG series. I have written 3 chapters for the next series but they aren’t complete, I will come back to them as the ideas come to me. Instead of being stuck/having writers block, I just keep it moving.
ME: How long did it take you to write the book?
BEE: I started the book May of 2012 and finished Mother’s Day of 2013.
ME: Your daughter, Amaya, seemed to be a big inspiration for you in writing the book? How did she impact this project?
BEE: Amaya was a HUGE part of this book. I truly believe one of the reasons God placed her in my life was for this specific project. I was working at a restaurant called Outback Steakhouse and no matter how hard I worked, I never made a substantial amount in tips, ie: $36, $25. It was very disheartening. Then when I would come home and  take care of my little boy who was around 8 or 9 months at the time and he wasn’t sleeping through the night. Needless to say, I was exhausted and would fall asleep on the couch with my son in my arms. Amaya would wake me up and say, “Mama, you gotta write. Mama, wake up. You need to write.” She was my inspiration. She saw my dream for City of the Guardians, when no one else did. Amaya has always believed in me and my work. I am utterly thankful and blessed to call her my daughter. Amaya’s future’s so bright, sometimes I wonder why God gave her to me.
ME:  So far, I’ve read two chapters of the book. The character, RIP, gave me the chills. Do you think that all the characters live within us?
BEE: Ooohh, good question. This is  of the things I look forward to most, being able to delve into the characters and how they relate to us all. Rip represents Rage and is a very bad Guardian. He is supposed to give you chills because what he stands for is not something we want to come in contact with. Unfortunately we see his presence  all the time, like when the nightly news reports on a family being killed by a relative or a person shooting up a school. It’s something that I wish didn’t exist but reality says otherwise. I believe we all have experienced each of the characters in one form or another. I know we don’t like to admit it but if you could replay your life, it is guaranteed that there have been moments when you desired the worst  for someone who may have hurt you or a loved one. Not to say you acted on it or even still feel the same way now, but in that moment there was a whisper that wanted you to get Vengence (Vile), Hate (Hurl) someone or caused you to feel Guilty (Gib) about something.
The thing about the Guardians is that they all represent emotions we as a society have dealt with. My mission is to expose the whispers that we sometimes ignore because we are not inclined to listen to that gut instinct or in the case of the “bad whispers,” we think they are the right thoughts at that moment. Everyone knows right from wrong and everyone will be faced with a decision to make, most times on a daily basis. City of the Guardians: Introducing Alex Honor is spiritually based, but I don’t push that because I don’t want an Athiest/Non-Believer to pass it up because it’s labeled as a “Religious” book. I want them to read it too and maybe have a change of heart.
ME: Do you have a favorite character? Who is it?
BEE: Right now my favorite character is Mica because he is the most different of all the Guardians. Mica represents Mercy but he isn’t the soft spoken type. He is very direct and about his business. The characteristic that will stick out most about Mica is his hair. It’s solid white and is constantly blowing, whether he’s outside or not, there is a breeze about him wherever he goes.
ME:  After you write, you must then go through the publishing process. What’s that like?
BEE: I published with a company called Xulon Press. It is a type of Vanity Press in which the author pays a publishing company to publish their book. The process was strenuous because of all the approvals and decisions you have to make. They do what you ask and the rest is up to you. So if you don’t proof your Book Cover well, and it ends up having a typo, that’s on you. The author has the final say on everything. Also, all the marketing is on the author. A Vanity Press will give you outlets and suggestions, but they all come at a price. In the end, I am responsible for making sure the world knows about COTG. I am responsible to getting people interested in it and pushing the brand.
ME: Do you already have ideas for the next book?
BEE: Yes, I have already started on Book 2 and have a good idea of how the series will end. The journey continues and the best is yet to be read.
ME:  What advice do you have for up and coming writers?
BEE: I would tell up and coming authors to write because they love to do it. Don’t write because you want to become rich, if it’s your passion, pursue it, otherwise don’t waste your time. It’s hard and sometimes disappointing but also very rewarding. I will continue to write even if not one person buys by book. I love to write, that’s how I express myself best.
Next, I would tell them to surround themselves with people who can help them achieve their goal. People who believe in them and who can give advice about the craft.
Last but definitely not least, get plugged in to the social media scene, ie Facebook, Twitter, and any other avenue of networking. I have met and connected with so many people, some of whom have pre-ordered my book @ www.beelkirk.com
If you are interested in learning more about City of the Guardians, check out Biranda here:
Twitter: @beelkirk
Keep smiling Bee!

2 thoughts on “Smiling For My Friends

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