Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Interview with DeBora M. Ricks- Author of Love Addicted

1. How long have you been writing? When and why did it all begin?

It was 1985 when I started writing. My sister, confidant, and friend had abandoned me for the sun, water and mountains of Jamaica to share a new life with a white man she’d met while vacationing there months earlier. I missed her. Just as I was about to get married, I was now had no one to help me sort through the many love and life challenges. One day while sitting alone in my studio apartment I picked up a black and write spotted notebook and began to write. Onto those pages I confessed my fears, longings, hopes and dreams. I got hooked when I saw how journaling cleared my head and healed my heart. The summer of 1998, on the Sony PC that I’d bought for my four year old, I started to pen Love Addicted.

2. What inspired your first project?

Love Addicted vibrated in my soul and wouldn’t loose me until I surrendered to the pen. This was a book that insisted upon being written. I felt led by Spirit to give voice to my story. A well known radio personality once said nobody wants to read autobiographical books by non-celebrities. At first that stalled me. Then I decided to ignore that and instead chose to believe my story was as worthy as any. Finally, upon my death I wanted there to be at least one thing that wouldn’t die with me. Black women and love addiction? Who talks about that? The tendency to seek approval and validation from men, the impulse to avoid one’s own pain by jumping into a relationship, I sensed, wasn’t unique to me. There are hundreds of thousands of people—women and men—who are love and relationship junkies. Love Addicted is proof that healing happens.

3. What genre of books do you write? Are there any other genre’s you may consider?

I love writing non-fiction, inspirational and self-help books about love and relationships. Although I’ve edited fiction, that genre doesn’t speak to me as a writer.

4. Do you have a particular writing style?

No, I don’t. I only insist that my writing be honest and clear and meaningful. I want my readers to be touched, moved and inspired to become the best version of themselves.

5. Who or what has influenced your writing?

Author Toni Morrison once said, “Write the book you’d like to read.” Well, that’s what I set out to do. I did that with Love Addicted and with my next offering, Why Did He Break Up With Me? I’m driven by that advice.

6. What has been the most rewarding part of being an author?

One day a young woman walked up to me and said, “Your book changed my life!” Another woman posted a message on my Facebook wall, it said, “Love Addicted was instrumental in helping me to change the course of my life! To have given the world something that inspires another soul to grow and change is gratifying beyond words.

7. What is the most important lesson you’ve learned in your writing career?

Fortunately, one of the most significant lessons that I learned before publishing my first book I learned from the missteps of other authors: Always hire an editor because no matter how much of an eye you have for detail you can never catch all your typos and mistakes. Edit or regret it.

8. You’re not only an author but also a speaker and facilitator, what is the most rewarding thing you get from your speaking engagements?

I absolutely love engaging with people, speaking and facilitating affords me that opportunity. When I speak, I get to share what I’m learning on this amazing journey we call life, connect with women and men committed to growing and expanding, hear their wisdom and learn from them.

10. What characteristics do you feel are most important for speakers and facilitators to develop?

Speaking isn’t about impressing your audience but about connecting with and inspiring them. So a powerful speaker isn’t necessarily she with the fanciest credentials but about she who has a love for people, has a passion for sharing and inspiring, and is committed to speaking the truth as she knows. If a person desires to serve humanity by speaking, there will always be someone who wants to hear her.

9. If you could have one author as a mentor, who would it be? Why?

Willie Jolley. He earns more than 10K to speak. Whatever he knows, I want to learn it and will!

10. What is normal day like for you? What do you do daily to stay motivated and keep your creativity flowing in your craft?

I’m an attorney for a recovery center; I spend my weekdays assisting men and women recovering from drugs and alcohol in untangling their legal issues, speaking to probation agents and judges, accompanying clients to court and troubleshooting. As one who writes and speaks about the dynamics of human relationships, everything and every encounter inform my writings. I people watch and engage in conversations that feed my curiosity about love and relationships. Everyday I learn something that helps me better understand what builds strong, elastic relationships and what drains and tears them down. What pearls I glean I share with my audiences. Early mornings, evenings and weekends you’ll find me working out, speaking, signing, writing, spending time with my teen daughter Adia and networking.

11. What book is currently on your night stand?

Hill Harpers’s The Conversation, The Writer on Her Work, edited by Janet Sternburg and Street Shadows by Jerald Walker

12. If you had to suggest one book that you have read in your life that was a vital tool, what would it be?

For those looking to self publish, Dan Poynter’s Self Publishing Manual is a must have. Brenda Ueland’s If You Want to Write helps writers find their authentic voice and The African American Guide to Writing by Jewell Parker Rhodes is an excellent resource for non-fiction, autobiographers, and memoir writers.

13. What is currently heavy in rotation in your ipod/mp3 player/CD player?

Accompanying me on the treadmill is any music that inspires me to move for 30-60 minutes—the Black Eyed Peas,, Michael Jackson and Beyonce do it for me.

14. If your life had a theme song what would it be?

Mary J. Blige’s Work That when haters try my nerves. Jill Scott’s Golden and It’s a New Day the other 98% of the time.

15. What words of wisdom would you give to an aspiring author? Speaker/facilitator?

Read, read, and read some more. Readers make better writers. Keep a journal. Journaling sharpens your writing skills. Write and speak about what matters to you. Don’t imitate others. Do you! Your uniqueness is a gift to the world. Remember that courage is not the absence of fear but action in the face of it. Do the thing that scares you. Cease to wait for someone else to give you the green lights, give them to yourself. Go!

To learn more about DeBora M. Ricks visit our website, The Pearls Book Club

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