I have the pleasure of interviewing independent author Brenda Mohammed today. She is not only a multi-genre author, but a multi-award winning author, who seems to dabble in a bit of everything. She comes from a background in finance, but became an author when she wrote a memoir about her battle with ovarian cancer. Since then, she’s written several other memoirs, as well as a science fiction series, a horror novel and a crime novel, as well as a wonderful self-help book for aspiring authors. She has done so much, and made so many travels, and I’m thrilled to have her share all that with us here, on Writing to be Read. Please give a warm welcome to Brenda Mohammed.
Kaye: When did you know you wanted to be an author?
Brenda: I never planned to be an author. I was a successful Bank Manager for many years. After I retired from the Bank at an early age, I became an Insurance Professional. I loved working in Finance and helping many people achieve their financial goals. In 2005 I was stricken with ovarian cancer. My doctor in Trinidad told me that she could not help me, and no other doctor in Trinidad at that time was qualified to do so. I sought treatment in Miami and gained a new lease on life. In 2013 I wrote a book about my cancer ordeal and recovery, I am Cancer Free. That was my first book and I have never stopped writing after that. To date I have written nineteen books.
Kaye: You’ve written 6 memoirs, 2 children’s books, a science fiction series, a crime novel, and a nonfiction book on writing. What’s the secret to tackling so many different genres?
Brenda: There really is no secret to writing in multiple genres. I have always loved a challenge and constantly seek out new opportunities. I write whatever I feel passionate about.
Kaye: You have written books in multiple genres: science fiction, memoir, self-help, etc… What are some of the differences you run into in writing different genres?
Brenda: When I am writing science fiction I maintain my focus on science fiction, and similarly with the other genres. The secret is to stay focused on the plot or the subject to achieve the end result. However, the problem I faced was in promoting my books.
I discovered a way around that and made Facebook Author pages for each genre. I have seven Facebook author pages. I also joined several Facebook groups that specialise in genres in which I write, to promote my books.
Kaye: Which genre is your favorite to write in? Why?
Brenda: I really enjoyed writing my science fiction series because it took me to another world for a while. When I wrote it I found myself becoming the hero or heroine and doing impossible things.
Kaye: You won a Readers’ Favorite Award in the 2018 International Book Awards for both your YA science fiction series Zeeka Chronicles,and your memoir I Am Cancer Free. What, if anything do these two books have in common besides both being Reader’s Favorite Book Award recipients? What makes them award winning books?
Brenda: Strange. I think I just answered that question above. The books have nothing in common yet there is a common thread. One is a futuristic thriller and the other is a survival story. As I said above when writing science fiction. i.e. Zeeka Chronicles, I found myself becoming the hero or heroine. In I am Cancer Free I am the heroine.
Seriously though, I quote from Readers Favorite: “Contest entries are judged all year long and are given a rating score based on key literary elements. The judges simply read the book and score it based on its merits.”
Kaye: Those are not the only award winning books you’ve written. Two other memoirs, My Life as a Banker received a second place award in memoirs in the Metamorph Publishing’s Summer Indie Book Awards in 2016 and Your Time is Now received IHIBRP 5 Star Recommended Read Award Badge. What can you tell us about those two books?
Brenda: My Life as a Banker is a memoir about my life in Banking. Banking was my first love. I always wanted to work in a bank. I love serving and helping people and seeing them prosper. Banking gave me the opportunity to do so and especially when I climbed the ranks to Commercial Area Credit Manager and was able to help business people with startups and expansion. Banking allowed me to play my part in building the economy of my native country, Trinidad.
Your Time is Now is intended to help people understand their own lives and to realize that we are all here on earth for a purpose.
The reviews for both these books speak a lot for them.
Kaye: What is it like to receive notification that your book is the recipient of a prestigious award?
Brenda: I have won many awards before in both Banking and Insurance.in my home country
However, as this was an International Award it was a most joyous feeling to tell my friends and family that I won two prestigious awards with Readers Favorite International and will be attending the Awards Ceremony in Miami. In November.
Kaye: What’s something most readers would never guess about you?
Brenda: I dabble in art, poetry, and graphics in my spare time. Some of my art work hang on the walls of my home.
Kaye: What time of day do you prefer to do your writing? Why?
Brenda: I prefer to write in the still of the night. When everyone is asleep I find peace to think and write.
Kaye: What is the biggest challenge of being a writer?
Brenda: Only a few days ago I penned this poem about writing:
Writing takes me into a fantasy world.
Sometimes I find myself in a black hole.
I edit and fight to come out of it
But not before I get into a fit.
My books have gathered great reviews
Won awards and made the news.
Is it worth it, I sometimes ask?
Writing a book is a great task.
A writer’s life is a rather lonely one.
All day behind a computer is no fun.
An author must make the time
Read others’ books and go out and lime.
Do not sit at your computer all day.
Join the family in travel and play
Love of a family is life’s greatest gift
When you need to relax they give you a lift.
Kaye: Is there anything unique or unusual about your writing process?
Brenda: Before writing a story I write an outline of the entire plot in a couple of pages. I then use that to build my story. It sounds simple, but it is not.
Kaye: Your book on writing is titled How to Write for Success: Best Writing Advice I Received. Can you briefly share what the best writing advice you ever received really was? What is the main message of this book?
Brenda: The Best Writing Advice I Received was “Keep the Reader in mind when writing. In other words write for the reader and your books will sell.”
To answer the second part of the question I will quote one of the five-star reviews. The one from Readers Favorite is too long so I will share this one from an Amazon Reviewer:
“Having read a couple of Mohammed’s books, I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed in this self-help book, and I was not. The book covers not only the gamut on the art of writing, but the formulation of an idea for a book, to proofreading, and eventual marketing of his/her book. This is an excellent book for anyone who finds him/herself contemplating becoming a writer. With Mohammed’s book in hand, there should be little, if any, room for error. I highly recommend.”
Kaye: You like to travel. Do the places you travel end up in your books?
Brenda: Yes they do and they did. I wrote Travel Memoirs with Pictures: Exploring the world. It is an illustrated picture book filled with reflections of my travels around the world.
In this pictorial travel book of my priceless memories, I describe places visited and the wonderful times I and my family had in our tourist trips. The book is great to read while on a vacation or for some travel inspiration.
I want to thank Brenda Mohammed for joining us here today and sharing a little about her lovely books. You can learn more about Brenda and her books on Amazon at: http://Author.to/BCM786. I love how she turned her own life experiences into books to be shared by all.
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