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Author, Singer, Songwriter Talks about Upcoming New Book ‘Guide Me Home’

 

Ana Gibson is a Professional singer, songwriter and the 2018 Award- Winning Fiction Author.  She has published already two books and is about to release her third book “Guide Me Home,” that will be published in October.  

 

“As I learn myself more, I’m also being intentional about bringing others along with me to begin to understand what it means to recognize ourselves—flaws and all—and to grasp a hold of the version we desire to be.”

 

Tell us about your journey as an author

AG: I started writing fiction at the age of 14. I didn’t get serious about self-publishing until I turned twenty-five. That’s when I released both books, My Brother’s Secret 1 & 2. Writing has always been a creative outlet for me since I could remember. I believe one of the first books I’ve ever read was “The Skin I’m In,” by Sharon Flake. And from there, I was fascinated with story-telling. Over time, I challenged myself to learn how to write and write better—the formatting, plots, character arcs, scenery, deep point of views, etc, which gives me all the confidence today to put out Guide Me Home. This is my BEST work to date, and it’s completely different from any other story I’ve written. It’s an Inspirational Romance—borderline, Christian Fiction (Got too much cursing in it to be officially qualified as that LOL) Looking back on all of the stories I’ve done, reminds me of how much I’ve grown as a writer and the evolution shows, even from my previous two books that I have out.

My journey is still writing itself, but I can say that right now, where I am, I couldn’t be happier. I’m definitely not where I used to be and I’m certainly looking forward to where I’m going.

 

So, you have written other books in the past. What genre are they?

AG: The other two novels are considered Urban Dramas.

The title is really catchy. How did you come up with the title?

AG: Guide Me Home came about when I was watching Tyler Perry’s, “Temptation: Confession of a Marriage Counselor.” The end credits were scrolling by and for once, I was actually paying attention to them. One of the songs listed was called “Guide Me Home” and that’s when it hit me. I was like, ‘that’s the name of the book.’ It makes all the sense in the world.

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When writing this book, what were your inspirations behind it?

AG: The book started off with me just wanting to write something similar to what Tyler Perry did when he released Good Deeds. So, it was originally going to be talking about homelessness and helping those in need, but after three years of revisiting the manuscript and the need to feel connected to it, it shifted into something more than just homelessness. Its theme is on the topic of Childhood Emotional Trauma and its effects of it into adulthood. I think many of us, on some level, will and can find ourselves in the storyline. When I did my research on what Childhood Emotional Trauma was, it blew my mind away. The things I found, had me nodding in agreement because I could see myself or someone else. This helped me to also write my character’s, Devin and Faith, better because they suffered greatly behind this particular issue. It’s a subject that’s rarely discussed and if you were to ask someone if they knew what it was, 9 times out of 10, they would not know unless you went down the list of symptoms.

 

It’s a great mental health piece, especially advocating for emotional health in African-American men. So that’s where the biggest inspiration came from—just learning about what that looks like amongst many other things and being able to put it into story form.

 

As a published author, what challenges do you find? (If any)

AG: In the beginning, when I first considered publishing my stories, I didn’t understand how much work I needed to put behind it, like focusing on your target market, making necessary edits, saving money to be able to take care of the small stuff, marketing and promotion etc. So, the first two novels didn’t work out so well, but with Guide Me Home, I’m revisiting those lessons and applying them to this particular project which seems to be helping. A lot of preparation has gone into making this book a potential bestseller. With God, all things are possible. I’m claiming it.

 

Let’s talk about your Book Launch event for next month. How long did it take for you to plan the event?

AG: I started planning for the book launch sometime in December of 2017. Everything I do has to make sense and be done with quality and with order. So far, it has been a solid nine months of planning for the big day. I have quite a few things happening that I don’t think has really ever been done for a book launch party. I’m excited about it.

 

What makes this event stand out than any other book launch events?

AG: I think the biggest thing that stands out for this event is the fact that I’m including a one act play; where I have a few people acting out a scene from a chapter from the book to give people a visual of what they’re about to read. I have not heard or seen that done before. Also, most authors are not singers. I am. I have written a song for the book, (soundtrack single) which I will be performing on that day as well. It’s called ‘Thankful.’ It’ll be available when the pre-order drops.

 

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I find it amazing that you are having the event on your birthday! How amazing!

AG: Yes! My birthday is actually the 26th of October but it falls on a Friday, so I chose the 27th because you know most people are available on weekends. LOL But I’m including my birthday because this is a major thing for me. I’ll be turning 31. When I turned 30, I told myself that I have to make this decade count, and doing this book and launch is a part of that declaration. So yes, I get a two for one deal.

 

What do you want readers to take away when reading your book?

AG: This is kind of a loaded question. Hmm. I want people to take away that no matter the adversities, the situations or circumstances standing against you, that there is a power within that is ready and willing to help you overcome. I want people to know that in life, it’s important to have the right people around you, especially when facing difficult and dark times and to understand how important Faith, Grace, and Forgiveness is to one’s healing.

 

I was looking on your website and I see that you have a book launch team for your new book. Tell us more about that.

AG: My Launch team is pretty cool. It’s about fifteen of us total. I decided to create a launch team for this book because I understand that I cannot do all of this by myself. It can get pretty stressful. It takes a village to really make something successful. Ooo that rhymed. But anyway, I can post and shout to the mountains all day long about the book, however, people get tired of hearing it from just one person, right? So why not include others who equally believe in what I’m doing to help push the product to the masses? And that’s what the team is all about. They’re helping me to succeed because they believe in the story just as much as I do.

Do you have any goals for the book? Media appearances? Interviews? Book tours?

AG: Yes. I definitely have plans to market and promote to local news stations, do podcasts interviews, blog interviews and hopefully reach two national TV shows like The Real and Sister Circle. Book tour is definitely in the works all along the east coast. And if things go right, maybe a stage a play or movie deal.

 

Being an author can have its ups and downs. What do you believe is the best way to remain humble as an author when things can be challenging?

AG: Best way to stay humble is to always know you have more growing and learning to do. You’re never done evolving or expanding in your writing. Something or someone new always comes along and can easily take your spot. In the words of Kendrick Lamar “Sit down, be Humble.” Reality is, things can go either way.

 

Where do you see yourself five years from now? Ten years from now?

AG: Five years from now, I see myself growing and being able to build an empire from this book alone. Ten years, maybe be on the same caliber of Oprah or somebody.

 

Who are some of your favorite authors?

AG: I don’t have many, but I would say Eric Jerome Dickey and Devon Franklin. That could change later, though.

 

How can readers connect with you? How can they pre-order your new book?

AG: Readers can connect with me by visiting my website at www.officialanagibson.com. All of my social media buttons are available on there. Guide Me Home pre-orders will be available September 12, 2018 wherever books are sold. Official release date is October 22, 2018.

 

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Author Spotlight: Bianca Lynnette

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  • How did your writing journey begin?

I started writing as a pre-teen. I was a quiet child growing up with a lot on my mind, so I resulted to writing poetry.

  • Was writing something you always wanted to accomplish as one of your goals?

Yes, most definitely.

  • What do you want your readers to take away when reading your books?

My number one message for my readers is for them to know that they have the power to speak lyfe no matter what’s going on around them.  I want them to be empowered and to know they have a voice.  It is very imperative that they know how much their voice matters.

  • How many books have you written?

I’ve written and published one book and co-authored on one book.

  • Do you plan to publish more in the future?

I sure do!

  • Have you had any book signings? If so, how did that go? If not, do you plan to have one to connect with new readers?

Yes I’ve had a few book signings and I’ve also sold my books at my events. I think book signings are an awesome opportunity for your readers and supporters to get to know you as both an Author and a person. They get to hear about your mission and I truly believe people support purpose. I do plan to have future book signings because I love connecting to new people and I also plan to add on to my current book.

  • What marketing strategies do you use for your books?

For my marketing strategies I use social media to promote my book, I host events that are centered or include my tagline to help promote my book and I’ve also added shirts to support my Speak Lyfe movement.

  • Are there any challenges getting people to support you?

Yes, unfortunately. I’m grateful for my stream of supporters, however, it definitely can be a challenge.

  • What is your writing style like? Any special places you like to go and write at?

It really depends on what I’m writing. Sometimes I like to write in an open space or outside. At times I like to write to music, it helps me to stay in my zone. My ideal writing location outside of Starbucks would be near water on a beautiful day.

  • How can readers connect with you and buy your books?

They can reach me on fb as Bianca Lynnette Speak Lyfe, IG: Speaklyfe_bianca, my books are available on both Amazon and Barnes and Noble as well as my website Iambiancalynnette.myshopify.com

  • Tell the readers more about the types of books you write? Are some of them based on real life experiences?

“Speak Lyfe: 31 Days to a New You!” will always be a personal favorite of mine. When I was going through a dark place in my life, I literally had to look myself in the mirror and say these exact affirmations everyday for 30 days. This along with daily prayer helped to save my life. In the “Walking in my Identity” book collab I shared on a very personal point in my life that stemmed from me learning to embrace my voice. Overall I prefer to write both about my life experiences and on empowerment but I won’t limit it to that because you never know what God has planned for you.

 

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Author Spotlight: Diane Guntrip

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How did your writing journey begin?

This is a difficult question for me to answer. From a young age I have always been actively involved in some creative pursuit. I trained as a teacher specialising in English and Textiles and taught Textiles for 6 years. Later I became a jewellery designer and also ran a business featuring designer pillows all whilst I continued with my teaching career. There has never been a time when I have not been busy with some form of creativity. So to return to your question, I decided to write short stories, perhaps 15 years ago. There was no idea of publishing. ‘Dear H’ began in a different format to the present diary. The writing was spasmodic and one day, the story had become longer and had transformed into a dairy.

My neighbor’s granddaughters read the manuscript and urged me to publish the book. After submitting it to a few publishers with no offers of a contract, I lost interest. It was not until my circumstances changed, a badly shattered wrist, that led me to re-edit the book and I made the decision to self publish.

Was writing something you always wanted to accomplish as one of your goals?

No, I can’t say it was. I was busy expressing myself creatively in other ways.

What do you want your readers to take away when reading your books?

‘Dear H’ is for young people of aged 10+ although a lot of adults have read and enjoyed the book. It was originally written just as a book to be enjoyed. However, once the book was completed, I saw it in another light. The book is a diary written by 12 year old Amanda who is constantly being bullied. I have been instrumental in presenting workshops in primary schools and the book has proved to be an excellent discussion tool where the students can speak freely on bullying, depression, self-esteem, diary writing and their dreams for the future etc. The book is motivational and inspiring.

‘The Daisy Chain’ is the sequel and is written for girls from 13+ years. Amanda is now a student at a prestigious music academy. She is determined to set up an anti-bullying support group called the Daisy Chain. The book introduces new characters who are experiencing problems of adolescence. Amongst them the reader sympathizes with mental health issues and an unplanned pregnancy. Again, the book is for enjoyment but is full of ‘tips’ and discussion points.

How many books have you written?

So far two, ‘Dear H’ and ‘The Daisy Chain’.

Do you plan to publish more in the future?

I have made a start on ‘Tilly’s Story’. This is the story of how Tilly, in ‘The Daisy Chain’ has to leave the college due to her pregnancy and give up her place at a music conservatorium.

Have you had any book signings? If so, how did that go?

For both of my books I arranged book launches which were held in my local Art Gallery. These were well advertised with guests of honor. Book signings were part of the events. I also sign books when I visit schools to do workshops.

What marketing strategies do you use for your books?

I have a website, www.dianeguntrip.com. Initially for the book launches, I was featured in the local paper and on community radio. I have also been featured in blogs and a recorded radio interview. I use Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and Twitter. I approach schools and associations to offer to speak.

Are there any challenges getting people to support you?

Yes, especially as the books are self-published. A lot of institutions, some libraries and book fairs do not accept authors who are self-published.

What is your writing style like? Any special places you like to go to write at?

As both books are diaries, I would say they are chatty, easy to read, conversational. I can only write when I am in my study with the door closed!!

How can readers connect with you and buy your books?

I can be contacted via the Contacts Page on www.dianeguntrip.com or directly on dianeguntrip@hotmail.com

For Australian residents the books can be ordered from the website. For elsewhere they are available from Amazon.com, Amazon.co.uk. Barnes and Noble and the Book Depository.

Tell the readers more about the types of books you write.

My books are fiction and the characters are all from my imagination. However, the issues that are mentioned are all problems that young people can encounter in today’s world. I hope that my books will inspire others to have the strength to follow their dreams.

 

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Author Spotlight: Philandis Stovall

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 How long have you been writing?

I started writing at a very young. I would say, it was around the age of 5. I used to write in a daily journal about anything. I would create short stories, poems and writings about expressing my thoughts and experiences.

What motivated you to become an author?

My personal journey as while as the people around me motivated me to want to get my story out there. In that case, I would become an author. I would go through obstacles and, of course, some of them I didn’t understand until I kept maturing with each level of my spirituality. And I remember stating on several occasions I wanted to write a book . I was going to write a book. My goal has always been, “Lord, if I touch just one, I have done my job. If I touch more than one, the calling & purpose has just begun.

When will your book be published? Is this your first book?

Yes, this is my debut novel. Currently, it is set to be released on March 5, 2018.

Do you plan to write anymore books in the near future?

Yes, I do plan to write more books. I don’t want to go too much into details of what kind yet. I will give more insight when it’s time.

Are you planning to have a book signing for your book release?

I do plan on having a book signing among other amazing events. I am currently having meetings to work out all of the details at this moment. I will be sure to update you all when we have finalized date(s) set in stone. Be sure to follow my author’s page for upcoming events & other information.

Even through the storm is a great title! Can you elaborate on what the book is about? Is there a main message you want your readers to take from this?

Thank you. 🙏🏽

Even Through the Storm is memoir about my family’s cancer journey. My son who was born a completely healthy baby boy received a cancer diagnosis at the age of 4. And we faced obstacles along the way. But, God never left our side!

No matter what you go through in life hold onto your faith & trust God’s unchanging hands.

Know that storms run out of rain…

Know the sun comes out from behind the clouds…

Know that there will be clearer skies…

Know that the grass will grow again…

You have to go through to get to.

How do you plan to promote/market your book? 

Yes, I do plan to promote/ market my book and I personally have been doing so. To name a few ways: Networking, branding myself, posting on social media outlets, making phone calls and shooting emails & more. Also, I have media kits & a press release.

It takes a lot of your own leg work+.

Do you have a particular place you like to write at?

No. I don’t necessarily have a particular place I like to write at. I write wherever the inspiration hits me. But, I do like to write while relaxing in a bubble bath tub.

What are some of your writing strategies?

A few of my writing strategies are:

Create an idea and/or getting inspiration for an idea & write it down

Decide in what direction is best to go in with the idea when putting the whole idea in perspective

Make a outline of significant points you want to discuss/target

Knowing your audience

Be authentic

Be creative

Use invention strategies (freestyle write)

How can readers connect with you on social media?

My readers can connect with me on my author’s page:

https://www.facebook.com/Even-Through-The-Storm-Philandis-Stovall-1578259265591406/

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Author Spotlight: Beatrice de Cecil

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  • How did your writing journey begin?                                                                                Since I can remember I’ve wanted to write.  In fact, I’d tried to write at various stages in my life but the words or story would never come.  Any job I held in my adult life left me feeling incomplete, like I was missing something and just settling.  I realized I never truly belonged in any of them.  So in 2012 I made major lifestyle changes including walking away from traditional employment.  Depression found me with my head buried in lots of books after which I concluded it was time to give my dream of writing another go.  One wintry day in October 2016 I opened my laptop and started typing.  To my delight I discovered the words and story which had evaded me for so long had found me, they now flowed freely and  Whispers of the Realm was born.    Was writing something you always wanted to accomplish as one of your goals?
  • Yes, it’s been a lifetime dream since childhood.

    What do you want your readers to take away when reading your books?

  • Satisfaction, pleasure, enjoyment.  Perhaps the desire to read another.

 

  • How many books have you written? 
  • One
  • Do you plan to publish more in the future?

Yes.  I’m halfway through writing the second book and already in the planning stage for a book three.

  • Have you had any book signings? If so, how did that go? If not, do you plan to have one to connect with new readers?

No book signings yet but yes I aim to do them when my debut novel is released.

  • What marketing strategies do you use for your books?

I have the usual social media channels including a Facebook page and up-to-date website; both are actively promoted.  I also belong to several Facebook writers groups where I network regularly.  I designed some awesome business cards which are handed out at every opportunity.  Word of mouth.  I’m open to suggestions and always looking at new ways to market!

  • Are there any challenges getting people to support you?

No.  I’ve found people to be very supportive and enthusiastic.  When people find out I’m an Author it actually seems to ignite their interest, they want to learn everything about me.

  • What is your writing style like?

Any special places you like to go and write at? It’s important I’m connected to what I write, the best way to achieve that is to write from the heart.  If I can feel it, I can express it and it will work.  I’m a perfectionist which means I’m constantly editing.  It can take me a long while to produce something I’m happy with, I won’t start the next component unless the last is right!  A special place doesn’t have to be physical as long as I have peace or gentle Celtic music I can pretty much write anywhere although I avoid crowds preferring the company of my dogs and to be in nature.  

  • How can readers connect with you and buy your books?

Readers can connect with me at my website www.beatricedececil.com  Facebook:  https://facebook.com/beatricedececil  E-mail:  beatricedececil@gmail.com   Links will be available on my website to purchase my books and also available through the publisher (details will be available at a later date on the website and Facebook).

  • Tell the readers more about the types of books you write? Are some of them based on real life experiences?

I write fantasy and paranormal.  Yes, I like to blend real life and knowledge in my novels.  Before I started writing seriously, I kept a dream journal for several years.  Many of my dreams have been adapted and used in my first book.  I also found my personal experience as an Aura reader insightful and helpful when writing Whispers.

  • I was reading your bio on your website and I noticed it said you read eight books in a week! Wow! How do you do it?

Lol  Reading has always been a good therapy for me.  Since childhood I’ve been an introvert and as a teenager the neurological disorder epilepsy appeared in my life.  I became even more reclusive, losing myself in books and listening to music.  Although I came to terms with my condition, my love of reading continued.  A few years ago something cropped up which led to depression followed by PTSD with spells of insomnia so I turned to reading.  Devouring 8 books in a week was quite commonplace at the time.  Nowadays, it’s more like 2-3 a week.  

  • Whispers of the Realm sound interesting. When is that set to release?

I’m not sure!  I recently signed Whispers of the Realm, my debut novel, with a notable U.S. publisher.  There’s a lot of prep work involved before it’s ready for the market.  I’m thrilled to be working with them and anticipate it will be later this year.

 

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