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 that 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 and asking God to reveal more of who He is. I ask that He remove the desire and pressure of focusing on being published.
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 characters' heads.
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, Leonard Bishop, “Dare to be a Great Writer - 329 Keys to Powerful Fiction,” read 20 pages of my work. He wrote five pages, single spaced, of what I’d done wrong. Feeling like a failure, I wrote that I was taking a break 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: With God’s grace, I have another novel in the works and a devotional book. I also want to teach a writing class, either on line or at a writers’ conference.
Home: A Chicago suburb, where I attend Willow Creek Church. I’ve also worked with adult literacy programs as well as mentoring youth in writing and speaking.
Other: Line dancing and acrylic painting.
Joanna McGee Bradford, Author and Speaker
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