Friday, July 18, 2008
FEATURED AUTHOR: Norma L. Jarrett
Norma L. Jarrett is a speaker and author of the novels Sunday Brunch and Sweet Magnolia (An Essence magazine national book club selection), and The Sunday Brunch Diaries (August 29, 2008 release). She’s a graduate of Thurgood Marshall School of Law and North Carolina A & T State University. Her work has gained attention in Ebony, Essence, Upscale, USA Today, Gospel Truth, Publisher’s weekly and other media. Among other honors, she’s been awarded a Certificate of Congressional Recognition for her literary work. She attends Lakewood Church in Houston, where Joel Osteen is the Pastor. Please visit her site at http://www.normajarrett.com/.
Sunday Brunch Diaries
The Ladies of Sunday Brunch, Capri, Lexi, Jermane, Angel, and Jewel are back with more mayhem and madness, in this follow up sequel. Just when they think that everything has fallen into place, these five friends are forced to trust God as they find themselves in unexpected situations and facing new challenges. The Sunday Brunch Diaries explores what happens when your prayers are answered but you wind up getting a whole lot more than you bargained for. Lexi discovers that priorities and commitments change as a newlywed. Jewel learns her husbands “Ex” isn’t void of baby momma drama. Capri isn’t happy about the limelight as an NBA player’s wife. Angel has begun attending Lakewood Church. Jermane learns her husband isn’t superman and struggles with family secrets. Through another series of triumph, tragedies with the men in their lives, the Sunday Brunch ladies realize take their spiritual walk and sisterhood to a new level.
What would you like your readers to take away from your book?
I like for readers to be able to identify with some aspect of the character’s humanness. I’d also like to let readers see the growth in each of the characters. I love humor and a great romance. However, we must all learn to give up that “idealism” in life, love and relationships. Of course, what comes out naturally through my characters is the element of spirituality, not religion, but spirituality. So many of us get caught up on religion, but I want readers to identify that we are all at different places in our spiritual walk and we need to continually strive to get in line with God’s plan and purpose for our lives. I try to do all of this with an entertaining story with moments of clarity, truth and even sometimes tragedy.
What did you learn while writing this book?
I’ve learned that every thing is seasonal. Depending upon where we are in life we may have to let go of the familiar in order to grow. By God’s design, he allows people and friends to come in and out of our lives in order to get the best out of us. I’ve also learned that life is dynamic; you don’t know what is going to unfold over the course of time. I’ve learned that sometimes we seek explanations for life circumstances, but there are times when God offers none and we just have to trust and continue believing. I also learned, as Lexi has, that true love does exist in the least expectant circumstances, but only after you completely surrender and become whole.
What is the hardest part about the writing business?
Staying focused and getting in the mood to write. Also, staying on your own path and not getting distracted by what other writers are doing. I try to stay in tune with God and He never fails to open major doors! Also, creating time for writing, as I can procrastinate and make excuses! Because I am with a publisher, you may have to make a few compromises here and there, but for the most part I am in a very blessed situation.
Do you still experience self-doubts regarding your work?
Absolutely! That’s when I have to rely on prayer. My confidence is in God and what He wants to accomplish through my work, so as long as I am seeking Him, I’m good. However, if I start to slack in that area, I start to question myself. No matter how hard you try, there will be those who enjoy and appreciate your work and others who may not. You must not let your highs get too high or your lows get to low. I was really concerned about The Sunday Brunch Diaries, as it was the sequel to a very well received book . However I just recently received a great review from Publisher’s weekly.
What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
It’s not about the money! (sort of). Of course you want to make a great living, but it’s also about the process and honoring your gift of writing.
What marketing have you found that particularly works well for you? Definitely all forms of media. Magazines, Radio and the Internet have served me well. Also, book clubs are a major force to be reckoned with.
What are three things you wish you'd known before you reached where you are now?
1. Writing is a journey nothing happens over night!
2. I started out self publishing then went on to a book deal. When I was self published I should have learned how to run a business!
3. Not every event and/or opportunity is for you and to pray before making all decisions!
This month our theme is Agent Hunting. Do you have any advice for finding an agent?
1. Do your research – try to speak with past or current clients.
2. Present your best work to the agents who handle your genre.
3. Know how to sell your work in a two minute pitch! (verbal or written).
4. Attend writing conferences & network.
5. Don’t ever pay in advance for an agent (standard is 10-15% commission).
6. Try to find an agent that matches your personality and wants to explore all opportunities.
7. It’s okay to have a lawyer review your agent contract.
Do you have any advice for the aspiring writer?
1. Believe in yourself.
2. Identify what your niche and literary calling is.
3. Writers write…get started instead of talking about it.
4. Self Publishing is a great option to get started (it lead to a book deal for me!)
5. Nothing takes the place of hard work.
6. Be prepared for the word “yes” (Have a finished, polished and professionally edited product).
How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
- I believe in promoting authors and their books. Let me introduce you and your books to online readers.
I'm also a happily married mother of three who's trying to break into the Christian writing field. The writing road can be rocky.
I’m available for:
Online promotion coaching
Contact me at:firstname.lastname@example.org