Today the featured author is Heidi Lewis-Ivey. Welcome Heidi.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am a national award winning and bestselling author and international speaker. I’m the oldest daughter of 4 children, a proud aunt and great-aunt and ordained Elder. My mother is my hero!
What do you do when you are not writing?
When I’m not writing, I hang out with my sister, I enjoy NFL football and watching the Food Network.
Do you have a day job as well?
I do have a day job. I’m a Business Engagement Manager at a large financial institution where I’m responsible for managing a technology project pipeline for one of the major lines of business.
When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I’ve been writing my entire life. Writing has been my life line. I’ve never had the words to express how I feel so writing became that for me. As a child life was overwhelming, writing became my way of coping. On more than one occasion my writing has saved my life.
‘Can I Rest Awhile’ is my first book it was published in November 2017. There are several other books on my laptop in varying degrees of process.
How did you choose the genre you write in?
Poetry chose me. It’s the way my soul expresses itself.
Where do you get your ideas?
I don’t know that I get ideas. I typically hear the words in my heart and begin to write. I don’t want that to sound audacious. There are few times that I’ve been very intentional about my writing for example, after reading ‘No One’s A Mystery’ by Elizabeth Tallent, I was inspired to write a series of short stories.
Do you ever experience writer’s block?
I had writers block for years. I had a very demanding career and ministry responsibilities that killed my creativity and took the voice of writing from my heart. Once I was laid off from my job, I began to hear the voice of writing again. I also have to thank my writers group Pentimenti Women of Dorchester MA, who helped me.
Do you work with an outline, or just write?
I usually just write. I find it very difficult to use an outline.
Is there any author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
The first novel I ever read was I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, by Mya Angelou. She was influential, as is Nikki Giovanni, Zora Neal-Hurston and Gwendolyn Brooks. Recently, I’ve discovered authors such as Bernice L. McFadden, Jesmyn Ward and Dolores Phillips.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
Can I Rest Awhile, was never intended to be a book. It’s my journal, so it was written for me. However as I began to share from it I realized it need to be published. The greatest challenge for me was letting go of the fear of allowing others into my heart and seeing my vulnerability.
If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
I wouldn’t change anything.
How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
I market my work via Radio (including my own broadcast) and Podcast interviews, speaking engagements, book tours, social media, vendor opportunities and word of mouth.
Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
No, I haven’t tried to get a book published through any of the mainstream publishing houses. As an Indie author, I purchased a package from Purposely Created Publishing, an Indie publisher owned by Tyesha Davis.
Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
Can I Rest Awhile is my first book. It is my life and experiences in poetic expression. It gives the reader a window into my childhood, my womanhood and my relationships. More importantly it weaves a beautiful cord of God’s grace and unfailing love. This book will help the reader find their voice in midst of chaos.
Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
Can I Rest Awhile is my journal, it is my life and experiences.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
My favorite part to write was Collide, because it helped me finally express how I was feeling about a relationship I was in when I was in my early twenties.
How did you come up with the title?
The book was originally copyrighted under a different title. I began to realize it was finished. In 2013, as I sat in my writers group, I wrote the title poem and knew that this was the correct title.
What project are you working on now?
I’m currently working on Journal that provides the tools to help readers find their voice.
Will you have a new book coming out soon?
It’s my hope that the journal will be out this spring or summer.
The book may be purchased on Amazon.com:
FB: Heidi Lewis-Ivey