Friday, November 06, 2009
FEATURED AUTHOR: Zaria Garrison
Zaria Garrison was born and raised in Greenville SC, where she found a love for reading and writing at an early age. In 2005 her first novel Baring it All was released by Publish America under her birth name Gena L. Garrison. It received rave reviews and she was awarded the best new author award of 2005 by Mahogany Media.
As she continued writing she felt she could no longer write stories that involved explicit sex and violence. She could only write what God told her to write. Following her transformation, as he did with Saul, God gave her a new name Zaria, which means new beginnings. As an award-winning author she is committed to writing and publishing literature that ministers as well as entertains.
Zaria is also part owner and staff writer for EKG Literary magazine. An online magazine dedicated to being the pulse of the literary community.
Zaria also offers insight and encouragement to aspiring authors through workshops, and writing classes that allow each participant to discover the craft of writing and how it can be used to effectively minister to youth, women, and all members of the community.
Prodigal is her first Christian fiction novel.
What would you like readers to take away from your book?
I want the readers to feel entertained, as well as enlightened. I'd also like for them to feel the theme of forgiveness. I hope they feel it in their hearts and take it for use in their lives.
Why did you choose to write this book?
I thought it would be interesting to take a look at the Biblical story of the Prodigal son, from a female perspective. So I decided to make the sibling involved women.
What did you learn while writing this book?
I learned a great deal about myself as a sibling who also has dealt with sisterly rivalry. After writing some scenes I went back and re-read the book, and was able to see God speaking to me through my own words. Writing this book taught me a better way to deal with my sister and our issues.
What was your favorite scene/chapter from the book?
I actually have two favorite scenes. The first is the scene when Phylicia realizes the truth about her husband and her sister, Phoebe. It's a very heart wrenching scene. The second is a dream sequence. I don't want to give details about that because I don' t want to give spoilers. However it was really fun to write.
What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
I think most non-writers don't understand how much research and effort actually goes into writing a book. Even when I'm not physically typing words, I am going over scenes and chapters in my head. Sometimes I'm online researching situations or fact checking things I want to write about. There is a lot more to writing than just putting the words on paper.
What is the best lesson you have learned from another writer?
Ebony Farashuu taught the value of networking and having friends in the publishing industry. She and I became friends online and since that time we've both had books released and our friendship and connections have been very valuable.
Without knowing it, Victoria Christopher Murry taught me the value of being approachable and humble. Whenever I have emailed Victoria whether as a fan, or an aspiring writer, she always responds and she's always cordial. I know that's the type of author I want to be.
What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer?
Learning how to promote myself has been very tough during this recession. I lost my day job, which meant I also lost my income. However, in order to continue with my writing, I still needed to continue with promotions. So I had to learn to think outside the box, and just keep persevering. It's been difficult but I can honestly say that it's possible to promote on little or no money.
What was the best advice you’d ever gotten about the publishing industry?
Essence best selling author Angel Hunter told me to do lots of research before submitting to any publisher or agent. That has helped me to avoid some of the mistakes I see others making in the business. I do my homework and try to go into every situation with my eyes wide open.
The worst? Thankfully I've never been given any bad advise about the publishing industry. I feel blessed that everyone I've encountered has offered valuable information.
Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?
The biggest do is do read. I don't think that anyone can be a good writer without first being an avid reader. I think anyone aspiring to write should read anything they can get their hands on. Read magazines, books of different genres, websites and especially newspaper. I feel that will teach the writer to recognize a good story. The biggest don't, would be don't give up. I talk to people all the time who say they wish they could become writers, but they have a mountain of excuses for why they have given up. It's not easy, and success won't come overnight. But it's rewarding and well worth pursuing.
I borrowed this question from Author Carleene Brice, What is your author fantasy?
My fantasy would be to have my books simultaneously sitting atop several best seller lists. Because of that, there is a line of hundreds waiting outside bookstores to talk with me and have me sign their books. That would be awesome.
What is something readers would be surprised you do?
I think some readers would be surprised to know that I sing. I'm a soloist with my church choir, and singing is actually my first love, before writing. Most people who know that I sing are surprised to find out that I also write, so I think the reverse would be true also.
Five questions about books:
One book that you have read more than once.
The Coldest Winter Ever by Sistah Souljah
One book you would want on a desert island.
One book that made you laugh.
So you call yourself a man by Carl Weber
One book that made you cry.
Joy by Victoria Christopher Murry
One book you wish you'd written.
Whatever book is currently sitting atop the NY Times best seller list.
Our theme for this month is Time Management. Do you have any tips on making time for writing?
I made a commitment to write for at least 30 minutes per day everyday. That means no playing on Facebook, watching TV, or even listening to music. I set my cell phone alarm to remind me when to start and stop.
Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?
My next book is called Losing it.
Grammy award winning gospel singer and actress Sharmaine Cleveland has been arrested and charged with the attempted murder of her husband, Leon. This follows on the heels of another scandal involving sex tapes that have been distributed to news stations across the country. Allegedly, the woman in the tapes is Sharmaine Cleveland.
Her latest CD release is a flop, while her newest movie release has been placed on hold indefinitely. Believing she wants him dead, her husband Leon abandons her, and her mother in law forcibly takes her children.
Sharmaine’s life is sinking fast. Will she go under or will God be able to pick her back up and put the pieces back together.
Losing it will be released Oct 2010
How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
My email is firstname.lastname@example.org
My website address is http://www.zariagarrison.com/ and also http://www.ekgliterarymag.com/
It’s good twin versus bad in this Christian drama filled with romantic rivalry and sister strife. Phylicia and Phoebe are both in love with Reverend Gary Morgan, the pastor of Freedom Inspiration, but he only has eyes for his high school sweetheart, Phylicia. That doesn’t stop Phoebe from scheming to get him, however. The girls are saved and saving themselves for marriage, but Phoebe decides to pose as her sister one day and seduces the poor pastor—who’s enraged when he learns he’s been duped. Phylicia and Gary are able to get paste it and build a life together, while shamed Phoebe leaves town. But that’s not the last they’ll all hear of the betrayal that altered the course of everyone’s destiny, including that of their children…
Buy Prodigal (Urban Christian)TODAY
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