Sunday, September 07, 2008

Author Interview, Dwan Abrams


Today I welcome author, Dwan Abrams to Urban Christian Fiction. Dwan resides in an Atlanta suburb and she's a member of Visions in Print Writer's Group. Although we see each other monthly at our meetings, I didn't really get to know Dwan until we attended the Faith and Fiction Retreat a few weeks ago. She and I shared the back seat of the car and a bathroom, so you know that was going to make or break a potential friendship. Well, I'm happy to report the sistergirl bond is stronger. She was a pleasure. I'd hang my towel anywhere with her.

Dwan, welcome! (Cyberhug, girl). Tell us about your novel, Divorcing the Devil.
Divorcing the Devil took me approximately six months to write, and it’s a story of true love and forgiveness. For Skyler Little, it’s not easy being a psychoanalyst and a Christian. Sometimes it’s hard not getting drawn into her patients’ personal lives filled with adultery, abuse and turmoil. Yet, she remains steadfast in providing them with the best in Christian counseling. She even counsels her friend, Gabriella, who has just learned that her husband is cheating on her. But when Skyler learns whom Gabriella’s husband is cheating on her with, things start to spiral out of control, and she is now caught in the middle. Can Skyler get herself out of this situation, or can anyone be spared when you try to divorce the devil?
Divorcing the Devil (Urban Christian)

What inspired you to write Divorcing the Devil?
I was inspired to write Divorcing the Devil while attending a birthday party for a friend. The lady sitting next to me was a psychoanalyst. Since I had never met a psychoanalyst, I was intrigued and wanted to learn more about the profession. That’s when the character, Dr. Skyler Little, was created. She’s the common thread of every character in the book.

Tell us about your journey to publication.
When I initially entered the literary arena, I had one of the agents listed on the predator’s list. Of course, I didn’t know that at the time. When I finally found out, I was devastated. I was so frustrated that I seriously considered giving up writing altogether. I’m thankful that I did not obey my flesh. Instead, I followed my spirit… at least partly. I released my first novel in 2004, and it was self-published. It was also a secular novel. Not long after that, I read my first Christian fiction novel and realized that was the genre in which I was intended to write. I quickly finished my first inspirational novel, Only True Love Waits, which won the 2007 Pen of the Writer POWER Award. Within four months after releasing Only True Love Waits, I had contributed a short story to the Christian anthology, The Midnight Clear, and completed the manuscript for Divorcing the Devil. The funny thing is that I only submitted Divorcing the Devil to one publishing house, Urban Christian, an imprint of Urban Books/Kensington. From there, I landed a two-book deal.

You own a small press, Neveah Publishing. Tell us about your company and how you got started and where it’s going.
Nevaeh Publishing is a small press independent publishing house. From the beginning, the company was founded to assist other authors with their publishing endeavors. I currently haven’t published any of my own titles through my company.

I wanted to become a publisher because I know how difficult it can be for first time authors to get published. It is also another form of ministry. Although we publish books in various genres, we are committed to publishing quality books that don’t contain profanity or explicit sex scenes.

In 2009, we intend to release six new titles. Our goal is to further develop our brand and establish ourselves as a reputable organization. Additionally, we want to increase our distribution and attract more established authors. In regards to new authors, we want to continue working closely with them and educate them on the industry.

Okay, so you are superbusy, how do you manage to do it all? I really don’t know. LOL! For the most part, I compartmentalize my life. If I’m working on a manuscript, I pace myself according to my deadline.

I also work as a freelance editor, which can be very time consuming. When I have an editing assignment, I usually devote as much time as necessary to completing the task in a timely manner. Some times that means forgoing working on my own manuscript. Even still, I try not to go too long without working on my manuscript. The characters just won’t let me. They start talking and that’s that.

In regards to the publishing house, I have help. In the beginning, I used to edit the manuscripts myself. Now I don’t have to do that. I have editors to assist me.

When it comes to my family, I make time. Since my daughter is only five years old, she requires a lot of my time and attention. I’m careful not to shortchange her. Because she is a priority in my life, I try to get most of my work done while she’s at school and the rest after she goes to bed.

Believe it or not, I spend at least an hour a night taking a relaxing bath and reading a book. I have to do something to unwind.

What’s been the most exciting thing about Divorcing the Devil’s release? There have been quite a few exciting things about the release of Divorcing the Devil. When I first started receiving emails from readers, in various geographical locations, telling me that they got my book in some small town that I had never heard of, that was exciting. Then there was the time that a friend of mine saw my book prominently displayed at a Barnes and Noble in New York, that was exciting, too.

One thing that I have really enjoyed is the overwhelmingly positive feedback that I have received from the readers. Whenever someone takes the time to send me a note letting me know that that my work touched them, that means a lot to me. The support from readers has been phenomenal. So far, Divorcing the Devil, has appeared on the Black Expressions Bestsellers Lists for Christian fiction and Fiction. In addition to that, Divorcing the Devil has been nominated for the 2008 African American Literary Awards Show. I have really enjoyed the journey.

What advice do you have for an aspiring writer? Don’t give up and keep on writing. Read a lot of craft books and read for pleasure. Just read, read, read. Did I mention that every writer should read?

I asked Dwan to get personal with us and she agreed to answer a few questions so my readers could get to know her better. Here are her answers:

Favorite Color: Fuschia
Favorite Time of Year: Fall (Christmas)
Favorite Dessert: Key lime pie and vanilla ice cream with rainbow sprinkles.
Beach or Mountains: Beach for sure!
If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be and why? Fiji… just seems exciting.
If you could spend one hour with someone, living or deceased who would it be and why? That’s a good question. I had never really thought about that before. Hmmm…I’d have to say my paternal grandmother. She transitioned long before I was even born. I’d love to see her face and give her a great big hug!
What would readers be surprised to learn about you? Oh my! They would probably be surprised to learn that I’m really sensitive.

What’s next for Dwan Abrams? My fourth novel, Married Strangers, will be released in December 2008. I’m currently working on the manuscript for my March 2010 release.

Where can readers find out more about Dwan Abrams?
Readers can visit me on the Web at http://www.dwanabrams.com/ and www.myspace.com/dwanabrams to find out about my upcoming releases and tour schedule. They can also visit http://www.nevaehpublishing.com/ and www.myspace.com/nevaehpublishing for submission guidelines and information about our authors and upcoming releases.

Thanks so much for stopping by Dwan. It was great getting to know you better. Love the cover for Married Strangers.

Thanks, Rhonda, for introducing me to your readers. It’s been a pleasure.

2 comments:

Rebekah (the_littleminx) said...

Divorcing the Devil sounds like a great read. You don't see a lot of good Christian Fiction out there that just draws you in whether your Christian or not. This one strikes me as one that will appeal to everyone. :)

Rebekah

Wanza Leftwich, The Gospel Writer said...

My niece is reading this book now! She says its great (and she's 15).