Friday, February 10, 2012
FEATURED AUTHOR: Quiniece Sheppard
Quiniece Sheppard is the author of “The Seven Deadly Sexual Sins”, published in April 2009, co-author of an e-book anthology titled “Christmas is More than a Myth: There is a Reason for the Season, published as a free e-book in December 2010, author of an e-book titled “Walking the Path to Real Love: 12 Steps to Practicing Abstinence and Celibacy, published as a free e-book in January 2011 and author of “Before the Lights Go Out: 11 keys to Achieve Real Physical Intimacy published in June 2011.
Ms. Sheppard also established Chasing books Book Club in March 2011 for African American self -publishers and independent authors. Ms. Sheppard is founder/CEO of “I Am the Chase Ministries, LLC”: a single women’s ministry whose mission is to promote abstinence and celibacy. Ms. Sheppard wants to help every woman define and understand her self-worth and value so she can live out her purpose and destiny.
Ms. Sheppard has spoken at several women’s conferences, a parent-teen retreat speaking on abstinence, held her own seminar in September 2010 and held her first single women’s conference in April 2011. Ms. Sheppard currently resides in Alexandria, VA but frequently travels as a motivational speaker to deliver messages of inspiration, transformation and enlightenment to make a lasting impact to audiences everywhere. Ms. Sheppard speaks at workshops, conferences, seminars, book clubs, churches, youth groups and more. To contact Ms. Sheppard, please visit her website at http://www.iamthechase.com/ or http://www.chasingbooks.com/
for more information about her ministry and book club.
How did you start out your writing career?
I started my writing career with the publication of my first book titled “The Seven Deadly Sexual Sins” in April 2009, which was very difficult for me to do because I didn’t know how I or my book would be received by the public since it a taboo topic. When God called me to write this book, it took me a year to get started because I was so scared of the rejection, but out of obedience to God, I finally surrendered to his will. I released a free e-book in January 2011 titled “Walking the Path to Real Love:12 Steps to Practice Abstinence and Celibacy” and this was released to prepare people for my third book which was just published in June 2011 and that book is titled “Before the Lights Go Out:11 Keys to Achieve Real Physical Intimacy”. I’m learning more and more with each book and since both of my books are totally different, it’s great because it gives people more to choose from based on where they are in their lives. The recent book is a self-help relationship book based on Christian principles and it was written to combat the dissolving relationships that are happening right now and to provide a greater level of understanding of what intimacy is about and how to achieve it in your relationships. It goes way beyond sex, but real intimacy is about having an emotional and spiritual connection. Those two areas are where a bond and a connection is truly established. You can’t get that bond solely in the bedroom.
What did you learn while writing this book?
I learned so much about the publishing process with writing my first book. Because this was my first book, I didn’t have any knowledge of the publishing, editing, graphic design and marketing process, so you can imagine I had quite a few errors with that book. I had so much joy in writing it and finally seeing my vision in fruition, but it was a lot of work and very time consuming. I enjoyed the process. When the second book was released in June 2011, I had learned so much and since I have a background in marketing, I knew how to get out there and reach the audience I wanted to reach. With the second book, publishing it was a bit easier and so was the writing because it is a much lighter book than the first. It’s an easy, fun read, but also thought-provoking and challenging. It requires you to dig deep within yourself and in your relationships to see what you are looking for in a mate, what qualities you possess to be a potential mate and how to go about getting those qualities once you find the mate. I loved every minute of writing my latest book and what God had given me to write was such a timely message when so many relationships are in disarray and with Valentine’s Day coming up, it’ll be a great book for couples and also singles who desire to be in a committed relationship.
What did you hope to accomplish with these books?
I didn’t have any unrealistic expectations or specific criteria that I wanted out of these book other than they would be a blessing to others. I wasn’t looking for any type of monetary gain or special recognition, but I wrote these books because my passion is to minister to others with the messages God gives me to write about. I want people to have an encounter with God once they read them and perhaps take on a different mindset and begin living a different way. With the first book “The Seven Deadly Sexual Sins”, I wanted to help people overcome their sexual struggles and live a life pleasing to God. With the second book “Before the Lights Go Out:11 Keys to Achieve Real Physical Intimacy”, I wanted to fix broken relationships and give those who desire to be in a committed long lasting relationship such as marriage, biblical insight and Christian perspectives so that they can make their marriage work.
What came first with this story, the characters or the plot? Why?
Both of my books are Christian non-fiction books, so I typically don’t use plots in my books. I was the main focus in the first book. I also interviewed and talked to a few people who shared their stories in some of the chapters in the book to help bring validity and credibility to the book. It’s a book about deliverance and healing and having a better walk with Christ. In the second book, it is a Christian based book, so of course, I talked about a few characters in the bible like Job, Jesus, Esther and Ruth, etc.
What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
I am most surprised at how much respect and admiration you receive from others when you have published a book especially from those who aspire to be authors. They look to you for advice and counsel and that is awesome because I didn’t expect that at all. I’m also grateful for all the people I meet at my book signings and how they are so happy and excited to meet an author because I’m sure people buy celebrity books, but never really get to meet the author, so to actually meet an author is exciting to them and that surprised me at first because I am a new up and coming author who’s receiving all this attention and excitement. It’s amazing. I’m still so humbled by it.
What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?
I love to write. I’m able to share what God has given me with others and that is awesome. Whether it’s my personal experiences or just biblical insight and wisdom from God, I am able to share it freely, authentically and originally. What I love about writing is no one can say what you want to say and say it how you want to say it, so it’s your own individual expression. No two books are the same. They may have similar topics, but the writing and the views of the author will be totally different. Everything about writing comes from a passion inside me to help others and obey God and live out the purpose He has called me to. It truly comes from within and all I’m doing is taking what God has placed inside me and sharing it with others. It’s a blessing to be able to do that.
What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?
Wow! Only 3 things, lol? This has been an incredible journey for me and I use the word “journey” because I’m still traveling it. After I published my first book, God gave me the vision to start a ministry and I had no clue on what I was doing, but I thank God because he held my hand every step of the way. I would say I wish I knew more about publishing or starting a ministry, or starting a business, how much money would be involved, how time consuming it would be, how to speak in front of a crowd, or how to deal with rejection and depression, and how I didn’t know this would be a lonely journey and go through a series of tests and trails, and so many more things that I’ve had to go through in my journey, but I don’t have any regrets. Each and every thing has been a part of my growth process and truly relying on God to increase my faith in Him and trust Him completely. Having to literally do things on my own was God’s plan to depend on Him and not others and to know that I can do all things through Christ. Psalm 119:71 states “it is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statues.” Trials and pain bring out the best in a person because it humbles you. It also develops your character. It’s all good with me.
Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?
I have a lot of do’s and don’ts to give, but I will stick to just one. One do for aspiring authors is set a budget on how much you want to spend on publishing your book, that includes editing, graphic design, etc and stick to it. Don’t think you know it all and do everything else. Ask for help and advice from other authors who have accomplished what you are trying to accomplish and they can offer you a lot of sound advice and wisdom, but don’t just ask any author. Seek out those who have published at least two books and are actively out there promoting their books. Seek out authors who are accomplished.
What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
Speaking only for myself, I hope non-writers understand that writing is not just a pastime or a hobby for me. It is a calling by God to minister to other people. Yes, some writers write books for fun and enjoyment and even write as a career, but my sole purpose for writing is ministry, plain and simple.
Tell us something few know about you?
Well, not sure what people know or don’t know because I share my personal background in my books and on my website, but I do like to tell people about my southern roots. I grew up in a small town called Plantersville, AL and I come from a large family. I have 13 brothers and sisters including myself and I’m number 12. People are surprised to hear that I have a big family and that I’m southern until I open my mouth and my thick, country accent comes out. Lol.
When you're not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?
When I’m not writing, working full time as a legal assistant, doing book signings, speaking engagements, planning a conference or a teleconference, choosing the next book read for my book club, updating my website, promoting my book, attending church on Sunday, attending my church’s women’s ministry meetings every 3rd Saturday of the month, serving on the board of the women’s ministry every 1st Saturday of the month, then I’m sleeping. Lol. Yes, I am busy for the Lord in the ministry, but I do love going to movies, getting my hair done, eating out and sista girl loves to eat and of course, I love to shop as well. I do find the time to do a lot even though I have a busy schedule.
What do you do to interact with your readers?
I do a lot of social networking that allows me to interact with my readers and also those involved in my singles women’s ministry. I started my own book club in March 2011 called Chasing Books Christian Book Club so that allows me to meet and greet the book club members. Since we are an online book club, we have a chat with the author teleconference after the quarterly book is read so that gives us a chance to chat with each other and the author about his/her book.
Our theme for this month is Writing the book, what advice do you have for staying motivated to complete the book?
Writing is a passion, so you should have a desire to write. There are times when you either don’t feel like writing or frankly don’t have anything to say and I’m in the place right now where I just don’t feel like it. What I advise is to still take notes when the inspiration and thoughts come to you so you don’t lose the essence of what it is you want to say and when you are ready, then begin writing it in your book. You will be ready one day as that passion to write doesn’t go away easily. It is there inside you and will be there which is why you must take notes and jot things down as they come as they will come, but once you set aside some time to write it in your book or motivate yourself to do it, then you will start writing and not be able to stop. The words will begin to flow easily and freely. I pray that for each of the aspiring writers because writing a book has to be more than just a hobby or earning a paycheck as you can easily stop writing whenever you want. You have to have a desire and deep passion for it for it to be long-lasting.
Do you do anything to promote Black History Month?
I didn’t do anything locally, but on a personal level, I try to do things to work on myself so I will work on a business plan, or work on a conference or even write in my book, but I try to do things that are beneficial for my personal and professional growth as that is truly what Black History Month means to me. I see it as more than a day off, but a chance to work on me and when I get “me” together, I can help others get themselves together.
Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?
I know for sure that Jesus loves me and I hope He knows for sure that His daughter named Quiniece loves Him right back.
Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?
The first book was called “The Seven Deadly Sexual Sins” published in April 2009. My second book was called “Before the Lights Go Out:11 Keys to Achieve Real Physical Intimacy” and my third book that I’m currently working on will be called “The Battles Within: The Problem is Me” and in this book, we will take a closer look at our internal struggles: loneliness, depression, rejection, low self-esteem, etc and find out why we feel the way we feel, what caused us to feel that way and how we can overcome them and live a victorious life. If we can’t truly love ourselves, then we will have a difficult time in loving others. This book is primarily about me, a look inside my thoughts and feelings, highs and lows and as women, we deal with the exact same things. Until we realize that we are the problem, then we won’t ever be the solution. It’s a book written for women who are hurting and want to stop hurting and who just want to “get over it” or “get over themselves”.
How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
Readers can contact me via my website at http://www.iamthechase.com/, or I am the Chase Ministries, PO Box 320001, Alexandria, VA 22320 or through Social Networking sites such as LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter. Twitter name is Dladyque. I do speaking engagements, book signings at your book club or if you just want to connect with me and be a part of my ministry, I’d love to have you. Also, feel free to join my book club where we read books by African American self- published authors at http://www.chasingbooks.com/. God bless you all. Love your sis in Christ, Quiniece Sheppard.
Before the Lights Go Out:11 Keys to Achieve Real Physical Intimacy
If your idea of foreplay includes candlelight dinner, rose petals and whip cream, you are misguided. We have been focusing only on the physical while we are neglecting the emotional and spiritual needs of our mate. This neglect has lead to dissolving relationships, conflicts in the marriage, and internal struggles. In Before the Lights Go Out, I outlined eleven keys to enhance foreplay, which will develop the intimacy in your relationship, thus allowing you to form a tighter bond with your mate. For single ladies, it is a guide to help you choose the ideal man for a queen like you because any man won't do. In other words, what is he bringing to the table besides himself? For married couples, this book will force you to look into introspection: examining yourselves and retrospection; examining your past to see where you went wrong and what you can do going forward to fix it. The key to a long lasting relationship is establishing intimacy, which mean knowing if he/she is "into you": body, mind and spirit. We will leave the lights on a bit longer to begin the emotional and spiritual journey towards a better you and a better relationship with your mate.
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