INTERVIEW | Wanda Campbell

Wanda, describe yourself for our visitors.

My family and friends would disagree, but I am really a shy and introverted individual. I am very quiet and as rule only speak when I have something important to say. I consider myself very comical and a wealth of information. I enjoy encouraging and motivating individuals to move beyond the fear dreaming and turn those dreams into reality. My motto is, “If you don’t try, you’ll never know what could have been only what isn’t.”

I am the mother of three and godmother of five. I hold the dual position of being the oldest of five and the youngest of twelve. My father was a rolling stone. I have been married to the same person continuously for nineteen years. My husband and I both ordained elders, taught Couples Ministry for over ten years at our former church and current serve in leadership with our new church family.

I am a literary junkie, to the point I carry a book around in my purse. I’ll read any where, the car, on the elevator at work, in line at the grocery story, at the stoplight, just anywhere. About the only place I won’t pull out a book is at church.

I musical interests range from traditional and contemporary gospel to light R&B love songs. I love anything with a saxophone.

My favorite gospel group is Israel & New Breed. If there is such a thing as a gospel groupie, I guess I would be it. I have every CD, DVD, book and have flown just to see them perform twice.

One day I plan to meet Israel and New Breed and thank them for the blessing their ministry has been in my life.

Other hobbies include collecting magnets, watching baseball while reading, and playing bad mitten.

How do you find time to connect with God?

Before starting my day, I pray and read at least on chapter from the Bible. Aside from the morning, I don’t have an allotted time with God. Throughout the day, if I need to talk to my Father, I do and He responds.

Who are your favorite authors? Favorite books?

Being a literary addict, it’s hard to identify favorite authors. I’ll read just about anything outside of sci-fi and erotica. I enjoy established writers such as Sharon Ewell Foster, Jacquelin Thomas, and Kendra Norman Bellamy along with the highly gifted Urban Christian authors. Through the Writer’s Hut and The Culture Clique Book Club, l have been introduced to the awesome talent of new writers Fon James, Lacricia Peters, Maurice Gray, Linda Beed, Linda R. Herman and Toni V. Lee.

My favorite books of all time are Tryin to Sleep in the Bed You Made (Deberry and Grant), For Love and Grace (Kendra Norman Bellamy) and First Sunday in October.

Tell us about your journey to publication.

My journey began on December 13, 2005, the day I first picked up a notebook and pad and began writing First Sunday in October. I had the manuscript completed by mid January. Divinely orchestrated events led me to Georgia June 2006, to attend The Writer’s Cocoon, an exhaustive writing seminar facilitated by National Bestselling Author Kendra Norman Bellamy. By that time I had completed three manuscripts. I returned home and applied the knowledge into self-publishing First Sunday in October January 2007.

Still reeling from First Sunday in October’s success, I entered a short story contest abroad Cruisin for Christ I, with the prize of a mainstream publishing deal. I praise God for blessing me to win and joining me with the Urban Christian family.

For the most part I enjoyed the self-publishing experience, but if offered the choice, I would opt for mainstream publishing.

Tell us about your current book?

Julia Simone has been thru some very hard times. Her first husband died, leaving her a single parent; her second husband was an abusive man. She has overcome all those difficulties and is now very successful. Julia has everything she could ever want: a beautiful daughter, a loving family, a best friend, and is financially sound. The only thing missing from her life is a true love, but Julia has given up on ever finding that. Besides, she does not have time to get involved with someone.

Rev. Reginald Pennington is a man with a past that would surprise many. He is ashamed of his past, but he is now a different man. He is a man with a purpose, to spread the word of God. He has committed himself to his church, heart and soul. When his path crosses with Julia’s, the electricity between them is very evident to everyone but him. He keeps her at arms length, wanting to be with her but telling himself he has no plans to get involved.

Julia and Reggie become fast friends after a business deal between her company and his church. At first, they tell themselves it is merely friendship, and then they become closer and things start to change. Julia’s feelings change when Reggie sends mixed signals. Each has a past that they must come to terms with; things for which they must forgive themselves in order to move forward. Life altering events bring surprises and sorrow that test their faith in God, themselves, and each other.

How did you come up with ideas for this book?

I am a hopeless romantic. It could have something to due with my birthday, February 14th. Naturally, I wanted to pen a love story but I also desired to convey a message of forgiveness while portraying Christians in a realistic light. I wanted to dispel the myths that Christians are perfect, in particularly Christians in leadership. Also, I wanted to give an example of Christian dating and how God blesses the union of whole and complete individuals.

List your three most recent books.

Mommy’s Present, a short story in The Midnight Clear, an anthology; First Sunday in October

What’s next for you?

My first mainstream novel, Illusions will be published by Urban Christian February 2009. I am very excited about this because Illusions was written through prayer. It’s a bold depiction of pornography addiction in church leadership. The story takes you beyond the surface of this addiction and forces the reader to dig up the root cause and allow healing to take place. This novel will be a blessing not only to those struggling with this issue, but also to the ones who love them.

Where can visitors find you online?