Personal Stuff: Proud Mom to one, son, Marcus. He serves his country in the Navy.
Debut Book: The Father’s Voice (Moody Publishers, Lift Every Voice Imprint, February 2006) details the conflicts of a black female attorney, who realizes she’s living her deceased father’s dream and not her own. “Ain’t no money in helping folks unless you a doctor or a lawyer.” In addition to exploring the drama that may arise when we follow our passion, the book also explores the issue of cross-class dating. What’s a successful, career woman to do when the man she loves isn’t “white collar or blue collar,” but “no collar”?
Writing Habits: I begin with prayer, asking God to reveal more of Himself to me. I ask that He remove the desire and pressure of focusing on being published so I can write freely for Him.
Favorite Book(s): God’s Trombones, by James Weldon Johnson. Wonderful sermons are captured in verse. Also, I love Ellen Foster, written by Kaye Gibbons. I could spend hours in her character's head.
Influences: My mother, who fed my reading passion by borrowing money to buy books for me, and my third-grade teacher. Ms. Wilson spanked me in front of the entire class for failing to insert a comma behind the close of a letter. She might have ruined me. I read a book by a well-known author and found the missing period out of 265 pages.
Best Writing Advice: Thinking I’d written a best-seller, I sent my manuscript to Leonard Bishop, who wrote Dare to be a Great Writer - 329 Keys to Powerful Fiction. He read 20 pages of my work and wrote five pages, single spaced, of all the things I’d done wrong. Feeling like a failure, I wrote him back that I was taking a break from writing to “think about my characters.” His response was tough, but I’ve kept this now-yellow, dog-eared letter because it contained invaluable advice for aspiring authors. “Stop stewing in the juices of despair and doubt and depression, you will become marinated into paralysis. Just get on your rump and write.”
Future Plans: I am working on a devotional book and also have another novel in the works. I also want to spend more time as a writing coach. I also plan to teach at a writers' conference.
Home: I attend Willow Creek Church in suburban Chicago. I’ve also worked with adult literacy programs as well as mentoring youth in writing and speaking.
Other: You'll often find me in a line dancing or acrylic painting class.
Joanna McGee Bradford, Author, Speaker and Writing Coach
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