Anjalon, describe yourself for our visitors.
I grew up writing books between me and my friends. When other people were passing notes to each other, we passed notebooks with stories. My first novel, Reality Check: Stepmother Chronicles was formed from journals I had kept over the years. I am a mother of two young children, but a stepmother to a 13 year old. I have connected with many other stepmothers over the years because we all agreed- no one truly understands our point of view but us. I have a social work background and currently work in a local school district. My desire has always been to help others through my writing. I feel that my first novel is able to do just that and I look forward to putting more books into print for the purpose of encouraging and teaching others positive ways to confront their situations and develop positive coping skills to push through any circumstances- first and foremost leave it at God’s feet.
How do you find time to connect with God?
I just recently began praying while on my treadmill for thirty minutes. Not just so that I could get through my workout, but also because that is a private time I can have alone with him and it takes the place of tormenting myself with my mental to-do list. I just talk to Him out loud, in general conversation. Making sure I praise Him for all He has done for me and asking Him to tell me what to do next.
Do you have a favorite bible verse and or quote you wish to share?
Proverbs 3:6 “In all thy ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct they path”
Who are your favorite authors? Favorite books?
Right now, I am reading a lot of non-fiction. Probably because I am always looking for ways to become a better wife, mother, and a better person all around. So I am reading “Love and Respect” by Emerson Eggenrich (for the second time), Have a new kid by Friday by John Lehman, and just recently picked up Guilty of Love by Pat Simmons (fiction).
Tell us about your journey to publication.
As I’ve noted, I have always been writing. Secretly wanting to become a published author for years. When I realized the need for a realistic book on being a stepmother, I jumped at the chance to share my story and the story of other stepmothers. Instead of sending out multiple manuscripts and hoping for a great offer, I invested in myself (after some encouragement from my closest loved ones) and looked into self-publishing. I made sure that I found a publisher who would not expect to break me financially and one who could produce multiple books for me in a timely fashion. I also wanted a self-publishing company that could get me connected to online bookstores and provide some marketing tools. When I looked into Xlibris (which is a self-publishing company under a major Publishing house), I felt that my requirements were met. I’ve been pleased with their services.
Tell us about your current book.
Reality Check: Stepmother Chronicles is a fiction novel based on the life of one stepmother, Carmen Fuller. Carmen is getting fed up with the baby mama drama, her medaling in-laws and her guilt-driven husband. Stress levels run high for this thirty-two year old mother of two. She struggles with her feelings as a stepmother to nine year old Junior and discovers that she is not alone. Her situation intensifies when she suspects her husband, Tyrell, of unfaithfulness. The couple struggles with moving forward. As she figures things out, she makes some astonishing discoveries about Junior that have been happening all along. Carmen decides to choose her battles carefully and make some self-adjustments according to her situation.
How did you come up with ideas for this book? ‘
My novel is currently the only fiction novel that portrays the stepmother as the protagonist in a positive aspect. There are so many negative images and messages about this taboo topic. I just wanted to lay out the truth of the dynamics and the emotions affiliated with them in a storyline matter. It’s the first of its kind. So many people can relate to the situations in my novel because they are true-to-life familial relationship situations which some of everybody encounters.
Did you have a favorite character(s)? Who and why?
My favorite character happens to be Simone because she is a “tell it like it is” character. She lays her expectations out early for her mate and he respects that. Although that doesn’t eliminate the drama, he at least knows where she stands. To some extent that is a trait most stepmothers need to have in order to be in a successful blended family. Be upfront about your feelings and expectations- of course there is a way of going about it.
What’s next for you?
As I said, I am working on Stepmother Chronicles II, the non-fiction sequel to this fiction novel. I have already done some interviews and gathered statistics on stepmother issues that I plan to share and build upon. I am also working on another non-fiction book that sheds light on relationship issues- such as being a submissive wife and making the best out of your marriage.
Where can visitors find you online?
Please visit me online at www.stepmother-chronicles.com. Follow me on twitter or visit my blog at www.queenae.wordpress.com.