Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Nationally Best Selling Author Kendra Norman Bellamy
Hello Everyone! I hope that your still persuing those goals you've set. Remember time waits for no man. You do not want to have any regreats in the future. So take faith and do what you are chosen to do. If you make one step, God will make two. Believe this. I recently had the pleasure to interview one of my favorite authors of ALL times. She is just gifted as a writer and loving as a person. Please enjoy our chat below.
With multi-book deals with the highly esteemed publishers of Harlequin's Kimani Press (New Spirit imprint), Moody Publishing (Lift Every Voice imprint) and Urban Books (Urban Christian imprint), Kendra has risen to become one of the most acclaimed voices in Christian fiction.
Among other honors, Kendra has been named a bestselling author on the Black Expressions Bestsellers List, the Walmart Bestsellers List and the Essence Bestsellers List, where her novel, "Crossing Jhordan's River" peaked at #1 for paperback fiction. Most recently, Kendra was presented (by the African American Literary Awards Show) with the 2008 awards for Best Christian Fiction of the Year (for "Battle of Jericho") and Best Anthology of the year (for "This Far By Faith").
Richardson: You are releasing your latest series installment titled: "The Lyons Den." Could you please tell reader about this delightful read.
Norman-Bellamy: This book released on April 1st and it is the third (and possibly final) book in the Shelton Heights series. Each book in this series are surrounding the lives of people who live in or are connected to an infamous community called Shelton Heights. It is believed that this community is somewhat cursed, so those who are connected to it often find themselves in very bizarre, unexplainable situations. In "The Lyons Den," Stuart Lyons (who is a police officer and the head of security at his church) begins to be stalked by an unknown perpetrator, and he has no idea who it is. The stalker will only identify himself by a signature that is left behind at every prank and crime that is committed. The signature simply says: Dr. A.H. Satan. That's the only evidence ever left behind. At first, Stuart is certain that the power of the capable police force will be able to nab this faceless predator, but when the culprit continues to avoid capture and begins to threaten the safety Stuart's family, Stuart realizes that if there is any chance of his stalker being captured, he's going to have to stop putting his faith in man and trust God to solve the mystery on their behalf. "The Lyons Den," like the other books in the Shelton Heights series, is a faith-based romantic suspense novel.
Richardson: Wow a faith based romantic suspense novel. This sounds intriguing and I love an intrigue. I can not wait to get my hands on my copy! Kendra, why did you "decide" - if I can call it that- to write Christian Fiction?
Norman-Bellamy: There was never a decision-making process involved. I'm a double PK (preacher's kid). Both my parents are preachers, and I was brought up in the church my whole life, accepting Christ as my personal Savior at the age of twelve. I didn't make a conscious decision to write Christian Fiction. When I started writing, what came out of me was what had been poured into me from infancy. I didn't choose Christian fiction, it chose me, and somehow, through it, God has given me a worldwide ministry of sorts.
Richardson: I believe that in all things we should give God glory. As an reader I respect author's written works. As an writer, I want to "know" their stories. Do you want to testify? Kendra what is your story behind the glory?
Norman-Bellamy: Oh, honey....how much time to you have? LOL! I love to give my testimony and it's really too long to print in detail. But not only did I not aspire to write Christian Fiction, I didn't aspire to be a writer at all. I found my purpose through pain. Writing began as a form of therapy for me after the death of my first husband. When I began writing, it brought me healing, and God spoke to me and told me that just as my writing had been a source of healing for me, He would use my pen to do the same for others. So my stories, although they are fiction to me, they are nonfiction to someone else. The fictitious situations that I write about in my story are God-inspired. So whereas they aren't my own reality, they are someone's reality, and in spite of the entertainment value, the books serve their purpose to those who read them. Knowing that my books bless people is the greatest reward ever.
Richardson: I can certainly attest to the fact that your books are certainly a blessings to many. There are no greater rewards than being in the perfect will of God, and in His will a chain reactions occurs. As you;ve stated: People are blessed, encouraged, inspired, and we are rewarded, our homes, families, church, and our quality of life. Kendra you are also founder of CRUISIN' FOR CHRIST, an annual Christian cruise that celebrates artists who use their gifts to glorify God! This sounds delicious! How can readers become apart of this event?
Norman-Bellamy: It is delicious indeed! The website is http://www.msplinks.com/MDFodHRwOi8vd3d3LkNydWlzaW5Gb3JDaHJpc3Qub3Jn. It's an awesome at-sea adventure that brings people and their favorite Christian artists, authors, musicians, actors, comedians, etc. together for a fun-filled week of ministry, education, entertainment, and relaxation. It is just an amazing experience, and this year we set sail September 5-12. Cabins are still available, so now would be a great time for readers to register!
Richardson: What advice do you have for aspiring writers, who opt to traditional or Self Publish?
Norman-Bellamy: I'm an advocate of self-publishing because I believe it forces writers to learn the ins and outs of the industry and I think it's important that we know the whole of what we are a part of. I also believe that self-publishing gives writers a higher appreciation for their own gift. I started out as a self-published author, and it's a great way to get your foot in the door and begin building a name for yourself while you wait for the traditional publishing deal to manifest itself. And yes, it can be a waiting game when your goal is to become a traditionally published author. The market is saturated and it's not easy to land a mainstream publishing deal. The current economy has made it even more difficult now than it was just a year or two ago. You have to have a tough skin and some true stamina to survive the challenges.
That's why I often tell people that there are three ingredients that every aspiring writer needs to have - regardless of whether they are self-publishing or going the traditional/mainstream route. Prayer, Patience, and Perseverance. Without those three things, the climb to success can seem uphill every single step of the way. But if you're prayerful, patient and determined to persevere, the process is a lot less stressful. God will arm you with all you need to sustain the pressure. I also think that it is important that aspiring writers be aware that this is not the industry to get into if the sole purpose or the main goal is to get rich. There's not a lot of money involved, especially at the beginning of a writer's career. A lot of hard work goes into being a successful novelist. The competition is stiff, and readers have an abundance of books to choose from. If you want a reader to notice your work, you need to be willing to write well and work hard!
Richardson: Thank you so much for taking the time to chat with me. I am looking forward to hearing nothing but the best from you, by you, all through Christ. Continue to inspire as you aspire.
Norman-Bellamy: Thank you, Vanessa. I pray God's best to you and your readers.
Christian Fiction Author: Kendra Norman Bellamy