Friday, August 14, 2009
FEATURED AUTHOR: Shelia Lipsey
Shelia Lipsey is a multi-award winning author, and the winner of the 2009 SORMAG Readers’ Choice Awards for her novel My Son’s Wife. She has penned four novels, which includes her newest release titled Beautiful Ugly. She is president of Urban Christian books’ UC His Glory Bookclub (uchisglorybookclub.net). Lipsey is also an inspirational speaker, professional proofreader and a literary expert. She recently relocated to Tucson, Arizona.
Beautiful Ugly is the story of three friends who are on a spiritual journey that they’ve yet come to realize or understand. There is Layla who struggles with severe obesity and a low self image. Kacie is a single parent of seven children with six baby daddies and a physical disability of cerebral palsy, and then there’s successful, and secretly promiscuous Envy who seems to have her life well defined, except for the fact that she struggles with the issue of why her mother named her Envy and the division between her and her sister Nikkei.
What would you like readers to take away from your book?
I would like my readers to see the importance of beauty and ugliness as it relates to one’s inner spirit and self image. It is my prayer that after reading Beautiful Ugly readers will glean a portion of outward beauty and ugliness and what it truly means.
Why did you choose to write this book?
I chose to write Beautiful Ugly because our society today is based so much on the outward person rather than the inward beauty of another human being.
What did you learn while writing this book?
I found out that it is difficult to heal and escape from the cruelty inflicted on others and especially ourselves.
What was your favorite scene/chapter from the book?
My favorite scene/chapter is yet to be determined. The entire book was written according to what God gave me to place on paper. Each character is special to me in a unique way.
What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
I would like them to understand that not just anyone can write a story. I run across so many people who tell me that they should write a book, as if it is so easy. However, in my opinion, writing is a gift, a true talent that I take seriously. It takes true dedication, commitment and a constant perfection of your craft. For me, it is truly a gift bestowed upon me from a gracious and merciful God.
What is the best lesson you have learned from another writer?
Read other writers’ works and always try support other writers rather than compete against them.
What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer?
Meeting my deadlines is a proven test for me. I write according to what God gives me to write so it can be difficult to set a time frame on my writing. But God is good and He has never allowed me to miss one, single writing deadline.
What is something readers would be surprised you do?
Readers would be surprised that I love to swim.
What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?
That the literary game is tough and it is always changing.
I can never take my writing or my talent for granted.
The more people read my work, and know my name, the more I must produce an even higher quality, more dramatic, more inspiring work than the one before.
How do you reach new readers?
I do a great deal of online networking. I always try my best to respond to my readers. I always try to extend sincere courtesy to anyone, whether they are purchasing a copy of my book or not. Attitude, disposition, and how you treat others go a long way in this world.
If you could have dinner with 3 authors to talk with about their writing (living or deceased) who would you invite and why?
J. California Cooper. I love her style of writing. She is my mentor and she doesn’t even know it. When I visited my sister this past winter in Oregon, I searched high and low to locate J. California Cooper because I read that she relocated to Oregon. I was unsuccessful in my search but I would love to meet her one day.
The second author is Francis Ray. I love Francis Ray’s writing. I didn’t have the opportunity to meet her when she was in Memphis so I would welcome the chance to meet her live and in person.
The third author is William Faulkner. He is such a talented and gifted writer of literature.
Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?
1. Be dedicated to your craft.
2. Don’t listen to naysayers. If you have the gift of writing – write with all that is within you.
How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
Our theme for this month is STAYING OUT OF THE SLUSH PILE. What is your advice to an author who is ready to submit and doesn’t want to end up in the slush pile?
I cannot stress enough how important it is to submit your best work. Make sure your work is submitted according to the agency/publishers guidelines. That includes format, making certain your work is edited properly and your query letter, synopses, and/or proposal is on point.
Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?
My next novel will be released by Kensington/Urban Books September 2010. It is the sequel to my third novel, My Son’s Wife. The title of the book is My Son’s Ex Wife –The Aftermath. All I can tell you is, if you haven’t read My Son’s Wife yet, please read it after you finish reading Beautiful Ugly. You will get the full effect of My Son’s Ex Wife only if you’ve read My Son’s Wife. Many unanswered questions and just rewards will be brought to the light.
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