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Welcome To SORMAG's Blog

Monday, December 08, 2008

FEATURED AUTHOR: Brittney Holmes

Brittney Holmes is a recent graduate from Redan High School in Stone Mountain, Georgia, where her outstanding GPA earned her the title of Salutatorian of her senior class. For her outstanding academic and extracurricular status, she is recognized in Who’s Who Among High School Students. A gifted journalist, Brittney is a youth contributing writer for Global Woman magazine. Published through Urban Books (Urban Christian imprint), her debut novel, Living Consequences gained recognition from the African American Literary Awards Show where she received the 2007 Open Book Award for Best Young Adult Fiction of the Year. Her second novel, Testing Relationships, was released in June 2008. Brittney is currently a full-time student at the University of Georgia in Athens, where she is majoring in Journalism.

Testing Relationships

After years of dating and raising a daughter together, Shimone and Marques find that their lives seem to be heading in two different directions. And as Ronald and Nevaeh pray that their best friends’ relationship can be salvaged, trouble taunts Ronald’s own family and he wonders if prayer alone can mend the broken ties. While her friends’ relationships are tested a time zone away, Sierra is living a fairly good life despite her health, but she desperately longs for a lifetime commitment with the man she loves and happiness for the best friend she cares deeply for. When these relationships are put to the test, will these families be able to grab onto God and allow Him to bring them through the storm?

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

In reading my books, most of my readers will find themselves in one the characters’ situations. It is my hope that by finding themselves in the situations presented in “Testing Relationships,” they will see that, like my characters, they too can make it through any situation with God on their side.

What is your favorite scene from your book?

In “Testing Relationships,” there are several scenes that I really like, but I think the one I favor the most is the scene where Shimone leads Alexia to Christ. I really like this part of the book because it shows that no matter our relationship with others—whether they are our best friends or, in this case, our worst enemies—it is still our job as Christians to show them God’s love. Shimone understood that and took it upon herself, despite the fact that she and Alexia weren’t on good terms, to make sure Alexia knew of God’s gift of salvation.

Why did you elect to write for children?

I’m not really sure why I chose to write for teens. I believe that since I started writing when I was 14 years old, I began writing what I was more familiar with. At that time I knew a lot about teens and what they went through simply from my friends’ and my own experiences.

What did you learn while writing this book?

In writing, “Testing Relationships,” I realized that while Christians do strive to live a godly lifestyle, there will be times when they will fall. And while falling is okay, getting up and resuming your walk is what’s most important. If you fall and remain in your fallen state, the spiritual walk will only get more difficult. Many of the characters in this book messed up while walking with Christ and it took most of them going through their toughest trials in order to realize that they needed to make-up with God if they wanted their lives to be filled with the peace they’d once had. I try to remember this when I make mistakes in my own relationship with God and I hope that my readers receive the same message as they read my novels.

What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?

I personally believe that writing isn’t something you just suddenly decide to do. I think it’s something that is given to you as a gift or something you take the time to craft; it’s not something you wake up one morning and decide to do. So when you are reading a book that is truly enjoyable and contains a sincere message, know that the author took his/her time in making the novel that way.

What is the best lesson you have learned from another Children book writer?

Stephanie Perry Moore is one author, who has penned several children/teen novels, and I have learned that in writing for children, you have to write about situations that they can understand. With my audience ranging from young teens to young adults, I have to make sure that I write in a way that every reader within that range is able to understand and relate. Stephanie Perry Moore does a very good job of doing that within her novels and I’ve learned to do the same.

What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer?

I believe the toughest challenge I’ve faced as a writer would have to be making sure that I live the lifestyle that is portrayed throughout the messages in my books. I write Christian fiction because I am a Christian, but as a young adult it’s not always easy to live that lifestyle. My beliefs, morals, and values are always being challenged but I’ve learned to pray that I remain focused on the blessings that God has given me and remember that I am only in this world and not of the world.

What is something readers would be surprised you do?

I think since most people who know I’m a writer, and don’t know much else about me, they’d be most surprised with the fact that I don’t sit in my room and write books all day long. I do go out with my friends, I love to dance, sing, and shop until I literally drop from exhaustion. I tend to do those things more than I write, even though writing is probably the one thing that brings me the most happiness.

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

I definitely wish I would’ve known how to speak better in front of audiences. I was very shy coming into this profession and having to speak in public didn’t sit well with me until very recently. I also wish I would’ve known how to promote myself as a writer. It took a while for me to be comfortable with letting people know that I am a published author; sometimes, it still doesn’t come up unless my friends or peers mention it. Finally, I wish I would’ve known more about developing my craft, which would’ve helped me grow as a writer before actually being published.

How do you reach new readers?

I reach new readers, first, by keeping in contact with fans who have already read my previous works. They are usually teens who will share their book with their friends or tell their friends how much they enjoyed reading my novels. I also make myself available for various reader groups to contact me so that I can meet with the members of their book club or organization. I also keep my website (http://www.brittneyholmes.com/) updated so that those readers looking for more information about me will always have the latest news.

Can you give us five Children book authors you admire?

Stephanie Perry Moore, Victoria Christopher Murray, Jacquelin Thomas, ReShonda Tate Billingsley, and Michelle Stimpson. These women are all excellent and inspiring young adult writers.

If you could have dinner with 3 authors to talk with about their writing (living or deceased) who would you invite and why?

I would definitely like to talk to Maya Angelou. She is just a wonderful writer and I would like to understand her personal methods and motivations that have kept her doing what she’s done for so long. The other two authors I’d like to talk to are women I have had encounters with already. They are Victoria Christopher Murray and my mother, Kendra Norman-Bellamy; I’d like to hear about their experiences as writers and see what advice they’d give me as I mature as a Christian fiction author.

Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a children’s book writer?

DO be sure that this is something you not only want to do, but something you love to do and be persistent in your aspirations.

DON’T enter this profession only for monetary reasons because disappointment will be your reward.

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

Readers can contact me through my website at http://www.brittneyholmes.com/, on Myspace at www.myspace.com/authorbrittneyholmes, or they can reach me by email at brittholmes2008@yahoo.com.

Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?

My next book is entitled, “Grace and Mercy,” and it will be released in June 2009. The most I am going to reveal about the book is that it’s a story of a young girl who risks losing her family and friends for a love that continuously hurts.


Rhonda McKnight said...

Looking forward to Grace and Mercy. Great interview with Brittney.

Michelle Stimpson said...

I'm so proud of you, Brittney! Thanks for the love - and your picture is too cute. Sookie Sookie now!

Kendra Norman-Bellamy said...

I'm one proud mama! I can't wait to see where God is going to take Brittney in every aspect of her life. We keep her lifted in prayer, realizing that with God, she can overcome every obstacle and reach every goal that she has set for her life and her career.

Anonymous said...

This is a wonderful and inspiring interview! You are such a young woman of God, and it shows in your words and your walk. God's best to you and your awesome mama!

Tanisha Jones

Wanaada Murray said...

I am so proud of you!!! Keep up the great work and keep putting God first in all you do.

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