Wednesday, April 25, 2007
FEATURED AUTHOR: Joanna Bradford
SORMAG: Please give the readers a brief bio on you the person and the writer.
Joanna Bradford: I’m married with one son, who is thirteen—a “man-child.” At times, it’s almost overwhelming to think that I’m responsible for helping to shape this young life, especially when we’re in the midst of going over chores week after week. Other times, I catch glimpses of the young adult he’s becoming and I think, “What a great kid! Thank you, Lord!” I think that the Peace Corps slogan perfectly describes motherhood: “The toughest job you’ll ever love.” Of course, there is that other tough job: writing.
I’ve always been a reader. At some point, I thought, “This writing thing looks pretty easy.” Words spoken by someone who had no idea of what I was getting into. I didn’t aim for the Christian market. I had two rules for writing: no inspiration or romance. My first proclamation crumbled when I received a racist death threat. After that, I wrote an article about how God brought my family through that experience. (The story is on my website.) I turned to romance after I’d penned another story based loosely on one of my brothers. When my two brothers died within sixteen months of each other, with my mother sandwiched in between, someone suggested I take a break from my life and write romance. My first published novel: inspirational romance. At times, I believe I hear laughter from heaven. And it’s all good.
SORMAG: Tell us about your current book?
BRADFORD: The Father’s Voice details the drama of Brenda Quinn, a successful, African-American attorney who has made it out of Rattlebone Hollow, a neighborhood filled with crime, poverty and despair. Brenda has kept to her deceased father’s direction. “Run away from Rattlebone Hollow and never look back.” Then, Russell Dawson comes into her life when his cleaning company begins servicing the building where Brenda works. He spends much of his time at My Father’s House, a center for troubled neighborhood teens as well as seniors—in Brenda’s old neighborhood. He wants Brenda to become involved—at the center and in his life. Brenda’s boss encourages her to remain dedicated to her career. Matters become even more complicated following a burglary at Brenda’s office, throwing suspicion on Russell and his cleaning company. Brenda’s torn between Russell, the center, her boss’s advice, and the promise she made years earlier. Ultimately, she must learn to listen for the voice of her heavenly Father.
SORMAG: What would you like your readers to take away from your book?
BRADFORD: God has a plan for each of us, and He is no respecter of persons. Owning a “cattle on a thousand hills,” God is not impressed by our degrees or titles. One friend, an attorney, commented, “I’m not dating somebody wearing a white collar or a blue collar. I’m dating a man with no collar.” Girlfriends, if a Godly, loving man finds you, go for it. You can find somebody with a good job and if he’s not treating you right, all the money he has won’t make up for it.
SORMAG: Tell us about your publishing experience?
BRADFORD: “The Day I Received a Death Threat” was published in Today’s Christian Woman Magazine and devotionals for Victory in Grace Magazine. I’m also working on a couple of other articles which I’d like to see published in a marriage publication and another one in a child-centered magazine.
SORMAG: Do you ever have a hard time letting go of a character after the novel is finished?
BRADFORD: With some characters, “Yes.” I actually keep putting facets of the same character in each novel, changing the age, and in some cases, the genre. I guess I haven’t let go, huh? I had also started a sequel to The Father’s Voice involving domestic abuse and the police officer, Wendell Jackson, in my first book. After doing research on domestic abuse and its deep, even fatal wounds, I can’t let Wendell’s story go untold.
SORMAG: What one thing about writing do you wish other writers would understand?
BRADFORD: Be prepared to market your book like crazy! With limited resources at publishing houses and the presence of so many books on the shelves and on-line, you have to constantly think of ways to get your book and name out there.
SORMAG: How do you introduce your book to a new reader?
BRADFORD: For my first book, I seized any opportunity to mention it in conversation. I also obtained radio interviews, mentioned it on a T.V. interview focused on my faith, had it promoted at church, sold it at book tables, etc. Exercising the bodacious belief I’m claiming in my non-fiction book, “Becoming a Bodacious Believer.” I’m getting ahead of the publishing by putting part of the intro on my web site, mentioning it in my speaking ministry (Bold Believer) and even developing promotional products. I want to generate excitement, not just about the book, but about what God can do in a believer’s life.
SORMAG: Spring is here, what fun activity do you do in the spring time?
BRADFORD: I love to throw things away! I sometimes get so carried away that I’ve had to re-purchase items I’d accidentally tossed. My husband and I are very active in “watching” our son run track. Also, my neighbor, an avid gardener, has somehow infected me with this dreaded disease of digging up earthworms in the name of planting flowers. Somebody stop me!
SORMAG: What was the last book to keep you up at night reading it?
BRADFORD: To Kill a Mockingbird. My reading is an extension of my writing, so to help me with the literary novel I’m working on, someone suggested this book.
SORMAG: What resources do you use on the net?
BRADFORD: “Bible Gateway” is one of my favorites since I write for the Christian market and need quick access to scriptures. For fun, I visit www.flylady.net which has nothing to do with writing. It just feeds my love of throwing things away. For research purposes, I’ll visit sites related to the topic. I also do on-site research and interviews. Working on The Father’s Voice, I visited a detention facilitiy and received permission from a judge and the attorneys to attend a “closed” juvenile hearing. Very unusual, and exciting.
SORMAG: How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
BRADFORD: I just updated my website: www.joannabradford.com I’d love to hear from my readers with thoughts about this book and the upcoming “Becoming a Bodacious Believer.”
Thanks to Shades of Romance for allowing me to be a featured author. Get your praise on through reading!
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