Ah, yes…. A Grateful Heart for all the awesome people that’s crossed my path, an Author of Inspirational Books and Fantasy & Paranormal Romance Young Adult Novels… an avid Book Lover who resides in Spring Hill, Tennessee! ?
Oh, I said it- absolutely crazy about these authors: Stephenie Meyer, Amanda Hocking, Samantha Young…and a Self Proclaimed Writer of the Year (Ok, perhaps a stretch but I’m on my way!).
Alright so I’m not in my twenties… probably starting my writing career just a tad-bit late… but I’m determined to be a success story too! I heard 40’s s the next twenties in this century… If they are right, then I just peaked! Hooray for me. My friends range from ages 14 – You know… let your imagination run wide…. Ha!
Some call me an Humanitarian and a Life Changer for Children in Africa (http://www.adassafoundation.org)…. Host of “From Scratch TV,” an Online Inspirational TV Programming (http://www.fromscratchtv.com), Mother of 2 Terrific Sons and Daughters, and an Adventure Seeking Adult with an unquenchable love for Young Adult Novels.
What inspired you to write your first book?
I was born in Africa but have lived in the United States of America for over 30 years. A little over six years ago, my father called me up and told me it was time to return home. I’d literally grown up in the US and this was home to me. Though father lived in the US too, he felt it was time to give back to Africa.
This was an important trip for me as I’d not been back for over 23 years! The trip was equally important because one of my cousins was being crowned a king in one of the provinces and my father felt it was a great opportunity to reconnect with my roots.
The journey was exhilarating yet filled with anxiety as I did not know what I was going to encounter. I trusted my father, packed my bags and went back to West Africa with my family. It was the most incredible journey of my life… to witness a King’s coronation… no words could describe the feelings. What was more important was the surprise which awaited me! The community people rallied around me and reminded me of who I was… their princess who had been gone for long and was now back! I took the time to revisit my childhood boarding school and low and behold, all of my experiences at the school came rushing back.
The characters that readers will encounter in the Adventures of Jewel Cardwell are a culmination of my childhood friends as well as “the conjured friends in my head.” These characters have consistently plagued my dream and haunted my mind into bringing them alive. Every year I would return to Africa (with my American Friends) serving the children in the communities through my non-profit organization the Adassa Foundation, I am reminded of the colorful ambiance and the need to share this part of the world with book lovers.
As I began to paint this African adventure on paper, my sons, 17 and 15 ( now 22 and 19) nudged me with their support and their instant enjoyment of the plot. Every time I would complete a chapter, they wanted more. They wanted to see what would happen to the characters. More importantly, they were intrigued by the description of the African setting, the culture of the people revealed through the different characters and the blended families relayed by the characters. Different characters elicited different emotions as they read alongside other young adults reviewing the story.
While there has been some popular fantasy books like Harry Potter, Amanda Hockings Trylle series and Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series, with settings in Europe and America, there has not been one to present the other part of the world. The characters urge me to fill this gap!
I wanted my readers to be transported to a place where they’d never been before. I wanted them to see how other people live in other parts of the world… I wanted them to also see how people like them, who have travelled to live in Africa… how they adjust to the culture and setting. The characters though reside in Africa come from various parts of the world especially Europe. My sons were very helpful in painting vivid imagery of “the characters in my head.” Bola, my oldest son was inspired to travel across the ocean… and he made renditions of scenes directly from the book: www.worldoffumihancock.com. He alongside his younger brother composed and arranged the trailer songs.
What books have influenced your life the most?
The Hobbit by Tolkien and the Lord of the Rains. I love the way the author have used language to drive the story. I am glad that those who have read my book, the Adventures of Jewel Cardwell: Hydra’s Nest say the same.
What are your current projects?
I am currently finishing up the second in the Grimmlyn Series: The Sorcerer’s Purgatory (www.worldoffumihancock.com) . This promises even greater adventures and fantasy. In preparation for the holidays, I am also working on a drive for my foundation: www.adassafoundation.org. It is time to send some African ki8ds to school and every help counts.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Absolutely not…. I love every ounce of it. The journey I took to write the book, my trips to Africa, my inspiration from my African kids… Loved it all. I am better for the adventure.
What has been the toughest criticism given to you as an author?
Just few days ago, a reader on goodreads gave the book a 2.5 / 5. This was the first in the 18 reviews I have had. Thus far, The Adventures of Jewel Cardwell has had only one 4/5 rating on amazon and the rest is 5/5. It was interesting to see that even with the rating; she insisted that people read the book. It was also interesting to see that her rating was tied to her feelings for the main character Jewel. While she was unsympathetic to her, others loved the book simply because they were able to follow Jewel’s erratic behavior. For me, this showed me that my work was done as my goal was to elicit different behaviors regarding JEWEL.
As a writer, we have to be able to take “the good, the bad and the ugly” and grow from them all. Thank goodness, I have not had any “ugly” reviews. I am truly appreciative of my reviewers and my readers. Love them all.
What has been the best compliment?
My boys telling me they love me and more importantly, when they came back from college and said “THANK YOU for making us great young men I could BE PROUD OF”. Needless to say, the tears came pouring uncontrollably.
Do you have any advice to give to aspiring writers?
Write! Write! Write! Don’t write because you feel you will make money off it but write because you know your life depends on it. That is, LOVE IT. When you write with passion, your love for the craft will show in your writing and people will eventually get to love what you write.
What is your favorite quality about yourself?
I regard myself as very humble, compassionate, trusting and always eager to lend a hand. These qualities have certainly helped me in launching my non-profit organization, the adassafoundation (www.adassafoundation.org). This is a foundation which seeks to help alleviate poverty amongst children and their families in 3rd world countries, especially Africa. This has been a truly great and rewarding aspect of my life.
What is your least favorite quality about yourself?
People call me a work-a-holic. At first, I didn’t believe it but lately I must confess with the hours I push during the launch of my book… I am in agreement with my loved ones.
Is there anything else you would like to share?
Absolutely! The Adventures of Jewel Cardwell: Hydra’s Nest is one in the Grimmlyn series. The whole idea started off with me knowing that I would create a series out of it. I felt that the characters were large enough; they had more depth to them that simply creating one book would do injustice to them. The second in the sequel, The Sorcerer’s Purgatory will provide an opportunity for readers to get to know even closer one of the great characters, Kaya Darkling in the first book.
The Cover Reveal of this can be seen:
http://www.worldoffumihancock.com/#!the_sequel/crpz. This is scheduled for release early next year. Stay tuned!