Author spotlight caught up with super heroine Brenda Mohammed and her trusty sidekick pooch, cruising in her cancer kicking pinkmobile.
Advocate for all things rosy, Brenda is sure to be found at the forefront of any cancer related crusade. Without further ado, here’s Brenda!
Why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself?
First Susan, let me thank you for offering to do this interview. I am a Multi-Genre Author living in Trinidad and Tobago and am a fan of photography and art. When I am not writing I am on Canva.com playing around with graphics. If you visit my author page at Amazon, you will see the seventeen books I wrote and the ones for which I received awards.
Two of my non-fiction books and one fiction book have won awards.
‘My Life as a Banker: A Life Worth Living’ was voted second in the category Best Bio/memoirs in the SIBA Awards by Metamorph’s Publishing in 2016
‘Zeeka Chronicles: Revenge of Zeeka’ placed third in the category Best Science Fiction in SIBA Awards 2017.
I donate books to children’s hospitals, national libraries, and school libraries. I love to travel and I wrote a book on my travel memoirs.
How did you get started on your writing journey?
I started writing after I left the corporate world. I retired at an early age from my job as a Manager of a leading bank in the Caribbean and entered the Insurance Industry. I qualified for the prestigious Million Dollar Round Table six years in a row. As a result, I attended the MDRT Conferences in various cities in the United States. At those conferences, I heard from many speakers, who spoke about how they achieved success in life. Every one of them wrote a book. I decided to write a book and to date I have written seventeen.
Are there any poets or writers who influence you? How so?
When I was attending High School, I read, “The Power of Positive Thinking,” by Norman Vincent Peale. That book influenced my life in many ways.
Let’s talk about your novel! What is it about?
How is the title significant?
The title is just what it is. After twelve years, I am still cancer free.
Where did inspiration for this come from?
When I decided to write this, I felt that I had a good story to write – a story that will benefit others who may find themselves in a similar position in which I found myself. I did not start writing about my bout with ovarian cancer until eight years after I was afflicted with it. I wanted to be sure that I was indeed cancer free and could convey that message to the world.
Who do you think would like your story and what kind of readership are you aiming for?
Persons who have cancer or have a loved one going through that ordeal are interested in my story.
What is the message you are trying to get across in your book?
Never give up. The doctor in Trinidad gave up on me. My husband, children, and others did not; neither did the doctors at the University of Miami Sylvester Cancer Centre. I also emphasize the power of prayer.
What is your writing process like?
At first, I had no process. I just sat at the computer and wrote. Later on, after reading several writing courses I learnt to draft a plot before starting my book.
How do you go about editing your story?
I invested in Pro-Writing Aid. This software helps me to fix style and other issues. It searches out elements like repetitiveness, vague wording, sentence length variation, over-dependence on adverbs, passive voice, over-complicated sentence constructions, and much more.
ProWritingAid analyzes my writing and presents its findings in twenty-five different reports. It highlights potential pitfalls in my writing.
I can decide which suggestions work for my content, and the ones to ignore. When I am satisfied with my final draft I send it to my beta readers for further evaluation.
Where did you find your cover artist and what was the process like?
For this first book, I designed my own cover, but I discovered Sharon Brownlie for my fiction series, Zeeka Chronicles: Revenge of Zeeka. She is a person I can relate too.
How did you go about getting published?
I chose the self-publishing route and published on Amazon Kindle Publishing and Draft2Digital.
What was your self-publishing experience like?
I had no problems. I followed the guidelines and the book was published.
What are the pros and cons of self-publishing?
With self-publishing, you can go in and change your content as often as you wish. I can also choose the price I wish to sell the book. With traditional publishing, authors do not have those privileges. I know of authors who complain that their books are priced too high, readers refuse to buy, and they can do nothing about it. Self-publishing has its stigma. Maybe readers prefer traditionally published books but I have not felt any loss by being self-published.
What were the surprises? Good or bad? If so, what were they?
There were good surprises for ‘I am Cancer Free.’
In September 2016, the book was winner in the category non-fiction in McGrath House Indie Book Awards.
In February 2017, it received a five-star review and five-star seal from Readers Favorite.
At one time, it was No.10.
Two of my other self-published books received awards from Metamorph Publishing Summer Indie Book Awards, five-star reviews, and five- star seals from Readers Favorite in 2016 and 2017.
How do you go about promoting your book as a self-published author?
I do ads with canva.com and post them on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. I also write about my books in my blogs. I have a page on my website for all of my books.
Is there something about the whole process you wish someone had told you before? Good or bad?
Yes. I wish that I had taken writing and book marketing courses before I started writing. I have learned from trial and error over the past couple of years.
Do you have any advice for writers who want to self-publish?
Yes. I do. My motto always has been “The sky is the limit. Always reach for the skies.” That should be every author’s motto. I am also writing a new book, ‘How to write for Success: Best Writing Advice I received.’ It will be published in early January 2018 so please look out for it.
What plans do you have for the future of your writing?
I will continue to write when the ideas flow.
What are you social accounts if people want to connect with you?
Google Plus https://plus.google.com/+BrendaMohammed5555
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