Hello Sistahs On Lit! I’m so excited about being your guest. Right off the cuff, I want to announce that I am definitely my own woman (all smiles). I’m so proud to say that. Though, I wear many hats—all various size and shapes: I’m a wife, mother, author, pastor, business owner, daughter, sister, and friend. I try to do it all with style and a double dose of pizazz!
I am a native of Texas. Currently, I live in Killeen, but I was born and raised in the small town of Lufkin, Texas to James and Claudlene Duirden. I was born into a huge family. There’s a total of 13 of us, 7 boys and 6 girls (people always ask: same mom and dad) Yes, same mother and father. I’ve been married 22 years to the love of my life, Albert, a career soldier. Together we’ve traveled the globe extensively. We share two beautiful children, Jordan who is 17 and Sydney (my oops there it is baby) is 9. I’m blessed because they are both tremendous kids.
I earned a Masters from Tarleton State Central Texas. As I celebrate the beauty of every day, I look forward to seeing what the next chapter in my life brings!
2. When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Wow! I’ve been writing stories almost as long as I’ve been reading. I began my writing career at the tender age of six. Yes, stapled notebook paper in booklet form. Back then, I was sure my 4 page masterpiece would be a bestseller. Because I come from a generation when children didn’t have to be entertained, we made our own fun. I would occasionally be in a certain mood, often on boring rainy days when we were forced to stay inside, or when I was feeling especially melancholy, I would write stories, songs and plays. Of which, my sisters and other neighborhood girls would perform. Thinking back, those were really great times. Other than God who obviously is the source of my talent, I inherited my gift of story from my mother. As far back as I can remember she’s written poems, and stories or either had her head buried in a book. Those factors combined, nurtured my desire to write and became fodder for Looking For Me.
3. What inspired you to write your first book?
My inspiration to write again came from my daughter Sydney. She was six at the time when we were sharing a conversation about what we want to be when we grow up. Sydney has big plans of one day becoming a ‘superstar’. She talked in great detail about singing on stage, and blowing kisses at her adoring fans. Watching her prance around and act out the whole scene gave my heart great joy; my cup positively runneth over. As Sydney finished her routine, she took her bow and turned to me, giving me a message that changed my life: “Mommy you can be a superstar, too, if you want to.” Simple in word and delivery, but it spoke to a part of me that for many years had lain desolate. I knew Sydney’s high-pitched, squeaky voice resonated the voice of God. It’s truly amazing what can happen when God uses someone to speak directly to your issues. Sydney’s message impacted the very core of my heart, bypassing all self-doubts, insecurities, and feelings of insignificance. Her childlike words inspired me, they validated me. I was so inspired; I made a demand on my unfulfilled dreams. I sat down that same day and, through abundance of spirit, I began to write. I knew then that Sydney’s words had connected with the power of my authentic purpose. Like Sydney, I don’t know if I will ever achieve the status of a ‘superstar,’ but I, too, believe I can. It’s never too late to learn to fly!
4. What books have influenced your life most?
I get a lot from biblically based, inspirational, and motivational books. I enjoy Iyanla VanZant’s work: One Day My Soul Just Opened Up, Until Today, and Yesterday I Cried, only to name a few. In addition, Joel Osteen’s: Every Day A Friday. Gotta keep my spirit high!
5. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
When it comes to literature, I love the old-school feel from timeless authors like Zora Neale Hurston and Mia Angelo. I would love to sit at the feet of Mia Angelo and drink from her well of wisdom.
6. What book are you reading now?
The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks
7. What do you like to do when you’re not writing?
As I previously mentioned, my hubby and I pastor a ministry so that keeps us quite busy. In addition, I host a local Christian television show. I’m also very involved in the extracurricular activities of my children. Lastly, if I’m not working on my latest spicy novel, you can find me curled up on the sofa wrapped in a blanket crochet by my older sister reading a book, engaged in politics (I’m a self-professed political junkie), or indulging my shamefully sweet addiction to chocolate.
8. Where do you get your ideas for your books?
Oddly enough, when I’m writing a novel the title comes first. From the various ways the title speaks to me, my characters derive, my plot thickens and my story generates. In addition, I’ve also gained tremendous value from simply observing everyday people. Actually, I glean plots and characters largely from my own life experiences. I use traits from people I’ve met, nuggets of wisdom I’ve learned from my grandmother, my mother and father, drama from my friends and turn them into a story. This serves as a “flashing light” warning for family, friends, and casual acquaintances: BEWARE! Anyone can end up in one of my novels, so people really need to be careful of what they say and do around me.
9. What new author has grasped your interest?
While all of my OKP fellow authors are talented, I like the writing style of Madeline Hampton, author of Skye’s the Limit. I’m keeping an eye on this young lady.
10. If you couldn’t be an author, what would your ideal career be?
Without doubt, I’d be an attorney. I have always wished I would’ve attended law school. Nobody is better at arguing a case than me. Just ask my hubby. (Lol!)
11. What was your favorite chapter to write and why?
My novel “Looking For Me” details the emotional journey of heroine, Mona Bishop, whose life has been shaped by horrific circumstances. She’s broken, needy, and unbearably insecure at times. I wrote a scene in chapter 9 that is my absolute favorite. Mona has returned home from a hard day’s work. Her husband Lee has dinner prepared and has secured a babysitter for their 3 year old daughter, hoping Mona will accompany him to the club where he performs. In an effort to persuade her, Lee draws Mona a warm bubble bath. He bathes his daughter, Jade first, and after tucking Jade into bed, he returns to the bathroom with a glass of red wine for Mona. He turns on Kenny G, lights the mulberry scented candles surrounding the bathtub, and dims the light. He carefully washes and conditions Mona’s hair, and then takes his time bathing her body, paying particular attention to her “sweet spots”. Mona has never in her life been handled with such lovingness. She can hardly stand it. It’s the most erotic, yet sensual thing she has ever experience. Although Lee has his issues, I wanted to show the tender side of the black male. I tend to get a lot of feedback from that scene. The ladies love it!
12. Why do you feel you had to tell this story?
Ultimately, “Looking For Me” is a story of love, triumph, and of a woman digging deeper than she thought possible trying to find the strength not to completely crumble.
With this novel, I was aiming for one of those rare, thunder booming, lightening-strike moments. The overall theme of my novel is empowerment. I so badly want women and men alike to find their own voice, and not merely live the script written by others. We shouldn't have to sacrifice our joy, happiness, or dreams because of acts perpetrated against us by others that have made us believe we are less worthy. Nor should our own actions or decisions drawn from a shallow well of wisdom have the power to do the same. I would like my novel to be used as a platform for self-reflection and honest dialogue for those experiencing issues, which ultimately steers them toward pivotal change and a more fulfilling life. And, if they fall, I want them to know they can get back up, dust off and try again. After all, we only get one shot at life, and we are entitled to as much happiness as our hearts can handle. My motto is simple: “If you don’t like the hand that life has dealt you, tell the dealer to hit you again!” Life is truly what you make of it. And, if just so happens that you are not a card player and life delivers you a bucket of bitter lemons, gather those lemons and make some (oh so sugary) pink lemonade. Most of all, I want women to step to the plate to meet the challenges of their personal survival, freedom, and dignity. Not because I’ve said it, but because they KNOW they are worth it!
13. Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
“Looking For Me” is my debut novel, the first of a planned trilogy. I’ve recently completed the sequel: “Looking For Me II: Bitter Sweet Lies and Soul Ties.” My readers are chomping at the bits to get it. I can’t tell you the number of emails I’ve received. I love it! “Looking For Me II” is set to release February 2013. I have a few other projects in the works, so hopefully readers will be hearing a lot from me this year.
14. How do you market your book(s)?
I market my novels with book signings, book fairs and special events, book club appearances, and promos, but mainly through social media such as Facebook: Angela Duirden-Galbreth, (My fan page) Marinating with Novelist Angela-Duirden-Galbreth. Twitter; twitter handle: Angela Galbreth. My books can be found/ purchased via onekarmapublishing.com, amazon.com (paper back & kindle), barnesandnoble.com (nook), smashwords.com, and in Hastings Book Stores.
15. Do you have any advice for aspiring authors?
Believe in yourself, but also develop a thick skin. It’s a bitter pill to swallow, but a necessary one because rejection is almost certain. But, never give up. While an agent or publisher might reject your work a number of reasons, on the flip side, others might love it for those exact reasons. Secondly, remain true to your voice. Lastly, the most profitable investment a person can make is an investment in his/ her self. Put in the hard work. Spend time developing and sharpening your gift. And, with our Heavenly Father as your guide, failure is not an option.
Thank you again so much, Sistahs On Lit for having me. Much love to you and yours!