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Welcome To SORMAG's Blog

Monday, January 14, 2008

FEATURED AUTHOR: Abiola Abrams


Please give the readers a brief bio on you the person and the writer.

I am a BET host, art filmmaker and now proud to say a published author. I am Guyanese American and was raised mostly in New York City. The show that I host is called The Best Shorts. It’s an indie film competition that airs throughout the US and Caribbean on BET J. My work is all about empowering people, mostly women, culturally, politically, emotionally and sexually.

My writing has been featured in a few other anthologies, and I have a motivational interactive site at www.thegoddessfactory.com . I am the daughter of writers and I have always loved writing. I have written many other books, but this is the first one that has been published. I feel like I have just given birth! I live in Harlem and I am a sister of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.

What inspired this book?

As a member of the hip hop generation, I wanted to do a project that didn’t indict or accuse hip hop for the ills of America, but shone a light in a comedic way on materialism and misogyny. In addition, I went through a very painful breakup right before writing this book. It was helpful to my own recovery to write a character dealing with the same thing.

Tell us about your current book?

This is my debut novel, LaShaunda! I am so excited. Dare is about an intelligent, professional woman who has studied social psychology and through a series of unpredictable events, she becomes a rapper named Jezebel. The book is comedic, romantic, and tons of fun, but there is a deeper message, a message of strength and self-esteem. The book includes glimpses into Maya’s inspirational notebooks full of affirmations and empowerment exercises for readers. My website will also feature downloadable worksheets to continue this work I call dareitude—daring to live the biggest, juiciest life possible.

What would you like your readers to take away from your book?

I want readers of Dare to feel what you know at the end of The Wizard of Oz—you had it all along my dear. We are powerful beyond measure and the keys to achieving more bounty than we can imagine is within us. We can be our own blessing or our own curse.

How long did it take from first word to sale? What were some of the steps along the journey?

The story of Dare has been percolating in my mind for a while. I felt a bit like my main character Maya when I was a teenage rapper attending a prestigious all girls prep school on the Upper East Side. A version of a similar character to my main character Maya first appeared in a hip hop play I wrote named Goddess City, then similar character appeared in a couple of films I made about self-esteem and women’s sexual empowerment. From first word to sale may have been about 6 months, and then I delved into completing the novel and working on it for a year. Again, I wasn’t starting from scratch. When I write, I immerse myself into the process. I turn off the phones and don’t leave the house.

What have you learned throughout the process of writing, pitching - and now, promoting your book?

I am still learning and relearning over and over again that pitching me is only up to me. I Abiola Abrams falls apart tomorrow, Simon and Schuster and BET will be fine. Also, it’s equally important to be a business person as it is to be an artist. I look forward to communicating with my audience of readers and building a strong on-going relationship with them.

Any exciting things happening before or during the time period while
the book is releasing?

My book release party is called Party Like a Book Star, and I’m really excited about my virtual tour called the Dare to Be B.A.D. Revolution. I’ve gotten great feedback from women who I really respect:

"DARE takes chick lit to another level. Without a doubt, all the fun and fantasy is still there, but Abiola Abrams serves them up with a healthy serving of smarts and spirituality. Her debut novel, at once, gives us what we love about this genre, yet breaks new -- and deeper -- ground." - SOFIA QUINTERO AKA BLACK ARTEMIS, author of Divas Don't Yield and the Black Artemis hip-hop novels

"Abiola Abrams' debut is like a breath of fresh air for young fiction and the depiction of women in hip hop. Finally, the world will see the conflicted struggles of ladies in the rap biz in a way that women in hip hop have known and understood for years." -Raqiyah Mays, Writer/Radio Personality on Hot 97 & 98.7 Kiss FM

"ABIOLA ABRAMS puts it down in her new novel DARE. Full of flavor, a fast-paced mix of wit, drama and scandal. You did your thing, lady." -TN BAKER, Essence Best Selling author of Sheisty and Dice

"DARE is a good read all the way around from the title chapters that take you back to memorable female lyrics to the fascinating plot. Different, adventurous, and just plain fun, this debut adds much needed spice to the literary arena." --MIASHA, Essence Best Selling Author of Mommy's Angel, Sistah for Sale and Never Enough: No Secret's Safe

Yay!

How much marketing do you do? What have you found that particularly works well for you?

I am just learning this marketing game—it’s tricky. Being able to share with my readers via my website, myspace and blackplanet works for me.

What are three things you wish you'd known before you reached where you are now?

1) Happiness is important. When we grow up in communities of color, we often think that happiness is a luxury. It’s in the American constitution. Joy is key and we have a right to it. There’s no need to feel guilty for living well.

2) That being said-- No one else is responsible for our happiness. The only person responsible for how you feel is you. People behave in certain ways and we may choose to react, but we also choose how we react.

3) Other people’s opinions of you do not matter. At the end of the day, your life and choices are between you and your creator. It is better to take a risk and fall short than not to try at all.

What do you do to make time for yourself?

Balance is really the key, LaShaunda. I work extremely hard, but I play hard, and my spiritual foundation is critical to my survival.

The Dare to Be B.A.D. Revolution is about having the moxie to live your life your way. A Dare Girl is a woman who is self-empowered, so my biggest beauty tip is about the mind. The keys to dareitude as I call it, or the Dare lifestyle are joy, love, beauty, moxie, harmony and truth. We are a divine beings who are inherently worthy. We don’t have to prove ourselves. We are already worth more than we can imagine. Our lives are a reflection of what we have focused on in our minds. So often we cheerlead for everyone else, but then we rip ourselves down because many of us as women have been trained to take care of everyone else BUT us. There is a reason why they tell you on the plane to put your own mask on before assisting anyone else.

How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)

I love interacting with readers. They can find me all over the web:

Abiola Abrams Official Site: http://www.abiolaabrams.com/

Abiola on Myspace: www.myspace.com/goddessfactory

Abiola on Blackplanet: www.blackplanet.com/Abiola_Abrams


3 comments:

Steph said...

This looks great! I love Abiola's show and I look forward to checking the book out. Thanks.

Angelia... said...

I am going to order this, I love the excerpt...

angelia

nIKKI b. said...

THAT WAS SO INSPIRATIONAL. I AM READING THE BOOK NOW AND I CAN'T PUT IT DOWN!

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