Welcome Brenda to Empowered to Prosper
Tell us about yourself.
Hi everyone, my name is Brenda Barrett and I am a bookaholic. My addiction to books started quite early in life. One day when I was about six or seven our television broke down and I was stuck at home with only my mother's vast bookcase for entertainment. I’ve not been the same since. I’ve gone from being an avid reader to writing, and I love it. There's nothing else I'd rather do, though I have tried doing other things. I lectured at a university for a few years and I even worked in the corporate world in human resources.
Tell our readers about your journey to writing.
I loved going to Library Studies class in high school. The classes were kept in the library, which was the oldest building on campus, it was always a treat to sit in the old building and soak up the atmosphere.
In one particular library studies class, my teacher told us to write a book, it could be on any subject. It should be punctuated properly and have a coherent story line. The assignment would be 70% of our overall grade.
I was super excited. I loved to read; now I was going to write! I was listening to Phil Collins' “Another Day In Paradise” at the time and I wrote a touching story about a woman who was kicked out of her family home because she was different. I got full marks for that story and after that I started writing several short stories for the entertainment of my family and friends.
What was your path towards publication like?
In 2004 I sent my first manuscript to a publishing house in Jamaica and it was kindly rejected. I got very detailed feedback from that publisher that I am still grateful for. So armed with the advice, I decided not to waste my time getting publishers to publish my work. I decided to learn the publishing process and do it myself.
How do you balance your life as an author with your duties as a business person, employee, parent and/or spouse?
I am always struggling for balance, I would love to write all day when I am inspired and not having to think about the real world. When I got married, my husband had to adjust to me being absent for a while but now he is a pro at it. Luckily, I have capable persons running various aspects of my business and I have put aside time for important things like daily devotion and exercise that I will not trespass against no matter how involved I am with a book.
What is your best advice for getting past writer's block?
Exercise; walking is especially good and is even better if you are walking with somebody you can bounce ideas off.
What was the best writing-related advice you ever received?
Write from the heart not from some notion about what you think the marketplace wants.
Can you tell us a little bit about your latest book?
My latest book, The Preacher and The Prostitute, is about an ex-prostitute who has left her past behind and is now a respectable Christian. She falls in love with the handsome single pastor and finds herself painstakingly trying to hide her past from him as he reciprocates her feelings.
How did you come up with the idea for your book?
I am always fascinated with the meeting of opposites, and I sometimes ponder the possibilities. What could be more opposite than a preacher who is very conscious of morality and a prostitute whose profession is regarded by society as the height of immorality.
I had a conversation with a friend, who was looking for movie ideas and I said I was thinking of writing a book about a preacher and a prostitute. His eyes lit up, he was so excited. When I ran through the plot I was thinking of by him, he was beside himself with glee, write it! Write it!, he said. So I went home and did just that.
What was the most difficult aspect of writing this book?
The most difficult part of writing this book was the last four or so chapters. Usually I have a clear idea as to how I would end a book but this time there was nothing. I did not want an unrealistic, rushed ending, nor did I want it to end on a cliffhanger. So I took a long break and then wrote the ending five to six months after.
Did you have to do any special research for your book?
No not really. I spoke to some few pastors about a few scenarios and noted their reactions, I wanted an authentic pastoral view but that was pretty much it.
What’s ahead for your writing?
I have already completed my eighth book, Private Sins, It is the story about a pastor's wife who had an affair with the first elder in her church and subsequently got pregnant with his baby. Could she keep the secret from her husband and pretend that all was well? Or should she confess her private sin and let the chips fall where they may?
I’m already half way through writing number nine and plan to write one novel a month until my birthday in May next year -- It’s crazy, I know.
What opportunities have opened up because of your writing?
I have gotten queries from two persons so far who are interested in turning one or more of my books into movies, its still early days, so we'll see how that goes.
How can people connect with you? List links
I am working on a personal blog but readers can find me at one of my other blogs:
Readers can also connect with me on:
Where can readers purchase copies of your books?
Readers can find my books at all major online book retailers. Here are links to the major two: