Friday, October 07, 2011
FEATURED AUTHOR: Sonnie Beverly
The success of her first two novels garnered the attention of the Time Warner Book Group. In 2001, she was signed to a book deal for three novels; her two self- published works and a third manuscript, Out of the Mouths of Saved Babes. Five years after inking the deal with Warner Books’ Walk Worthy Press imprint, Saved Folk In The House was finally published in 2006. She went on a national book tour to promote her first major publishing release, doing an extensive round of book signings, speaking engagements, radio and television interviews.
In addition to her novels, Ms. Beverly is also a contributing author in the Women of Color Devotional Bible, the Women of Color Daily Devotional Book, the Women of Color Cookbook, as well as an anthology of short inspirational stories to be released in 2012.
Beverly has also had an extensive career as an accountant working for major accounting firms and mega international ministries. The mother of three adult children was the outreach accountant for Creflo Dollar and World Changers Church International and is currently an accountant with Destiny Metropolitan Worship Church in suburban Atlanta.
In the summer of 2011 Beverly launched the long awaited Saved Folk Seek First Brand with the release of her latest novel, Seek First Incorporated. The logo will be seen on clothing, jewelry and other paraphernalia promoting the message that to ensure salvation, one must make God top priority in their lives by seeking Him first.
How did you start out your writing career?
I’ve always loved to write. I got my best grades in English and writing, however when I got to college I asked my advisor what did I need to major in to guarantee employment upon graduation and he said Accounting. Therefore, I’ve been a professional accountant since I graduated college with an accounting degree in the early 80’s, but I never gave up my dream of seeing my name on book covers in bookstores. When my father passed unexpectantly in 1998, I was paralyzed and the only thing I could do was write. So I wrote and self-published my first novel in 1999, REAL SAVED FOLK. When I got born again for real in 1988 and decided to do more than just go to church as I had done my whole life, I began to see some trends between people who went to church and those who were striving to do what the Bible instructed, as I was striving to do. I used my characters to distinguish the church folk from the saved folk, because I wasn’t so sure that the difference was clear.
What did you learn while writing this book?
I learned that no matter how extreme our differences are, white/black, educated/drop-out, democrat/republican, elite/ghetto, etc., if there is a will, there is a way that we can come together and build something glorious for the Kingdom of God.
What did you hope to accomplish with this book?
This country is so divided and fractured, that I wanted to demonstrate through my characters, who are from very different walks of life, that our differences are our strengths and shouldn’t be feared or hated, but combined as one to do amazingly positive things to make the world a better place.
Which character did you have the most fun writing about?
Wendell Monroe was the most fun and challenging character to write about because he had the most dramatic transformation. I had to bring him all the way from one extreme over to the opposite position that he initially hated. I had to do this realistically, convincingly and with his character and personality still intact while showing readers how to not only make an external transition, but how to transform internally through the renewing of the mind with the Word of God.
What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
I’m most surprised by the fact that writing the book is the easiest part. The real work begins with trying to get it published. And even after it’s published, it’s pretty overwhelming to walk into Barnes and Noble and to figure out how to get your work to stand out among ALL of the products they have for sale.
What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?
I’m a mother and raising three wonderful children has been the best, most rewarding part of my life. So to create and develop wonderful characters that I have complete control over is what I love the best. My least favorite thing to write is fluff. I’m an accountant, the bottom line type. I don’t like wasting words on describing outfits, the weather, scenery, but much prefer presenting a problem and writing the step by step solutions to the problem. I love quality and substance and believe they are important take aways for readers.
What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?
I don’t have any regrets because I think writing was what I used to transition and to transform in a world without my father and it has been very cathartic. I didn’t push, but was led by the Holy Spirit the entire time to get to this point in the process, so everything I’ve learned along the way has been enlightening and instrumental in my development. I believe everything was revealed to me at the precise time it was suppose to be.
Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?
DO maintain INTEGRITY in your writing. Write to please yourself and don’t compromise yourself to please your readers. Hypocrisy is so obvious.
DON’T rush the process and then try to come up with excuses as to why you have put sub-standard mess out into the world. You only get one chance to make a first impression and that first impression is what sticks.
What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
That the devil is in the details. Non-writers get the polished, finished product and have no idea what all it took to get it there. Criticism and critiquing are different. Non-writers who criticize just for the sake of criticizing should probably understand that a little more depth of thought could help them to be taken more seriously.
If you could be a character from any book you’ve read, who would you be?
Nobody, seriously. I’m totally and completely satisfied, content and abundantly blessed being Sonnie Beverly.
When you’re not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?
I’m a movie buff and I love the theater, having been to the theater a dozen times this year from New York to Los Angeles. My brother, a New York playright and composer finally got our musical play CHILDREN OF GOD into the Midtown International Theater Festival this summer and was nominated for 6 awards, including Best Musical, as well as the lead acting nominations. I have boy and girl twins, who have film and theater degrees respectively. Their missions are to adapt my novels into screen and stageplays and then produce them. I’m the executive producer over all of these other forms of entertainment.
What do you do to interact with your readers?
I might be on Facebook and Twitter a little bit too much. I was actually chatting with one of my readers while she was reading SEEK FIRST INCORPORATED and we had to be very careful that I not give anything away that she may not have read yet. It was so much fun.
Our theme for this month is BUSINESS OF WRITING. What were you surprised by about the business side of writing?
Being a business woman, first and foremost, I’m not easily surprised. What I was surprised about was how non-business savvy people are who are out here trying to run a business and when they are called on it, how quick they are to reclassify it as a hobby or their hustle. The distinction needs to be made up front. Business people need to deal with business people and hustlers need to stick together.
Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?
What I know for sure is that only what’s done for Christ will last.
Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?
I introduced some pretty powerful and amazing characters in SEEK FIRST INCORPORATED. So powerful that they and their fans are demanding their own separate novels developing more of their background story, showing how they came to be the amazing men and women that they are. Since I started writing at the beginning of the new millennium and spent a decade trying to get folk saved with my writing, REAL SAVED FOLK, SAVED BABIES DADDIES, OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF SAVED BABES & SAVED FOLK IN THE HOUSE, I plan to spend the next decade showing folk through the SEEK FIRST INCORPORATED characters how saved folk should be seeking God first in all that they do. So THE SEEK FIRST BOOK SERIES is coming where folk can focus on their favorite character to learn how to walk upright with God.
How can readers get in contact with you?
www.sonniebeverly.com, www.savedfolkseekfirst.com firstname.lastname@example.org email@example.com
SEEK FIRST INCORPORATED
From 9/11 to the election of President Barack Obama, journey with six powerful, wise, and fearless individuals as they overcome every physical, mental, and spiritual attack that threatens their families, careers, and sanity. Determined to walk in victory through college and corporate America, the Bible study group applies what they learn in the Word of God to their everyday lives. Sidney Monroe, the homeboy from Washington, DC has seen only fatal tragedies strike his family his entire life. With laser focus, he resolves to stop the madness by bringing together his college educated friends and his gangsta siblings to build an empire to the glory of God, while showing the world what respect, commitment, true friendship, and walking in one’s destiny should look like.
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