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Interview with Qiana Drennen

I have watched Qiana for almost a year now, and I love the work she is doing. She not only has the hottest online and in-person book club today, but she also advocates to raise money to help struggling mothers, and the elderly. She is currently working on purchasing bottled water for those affected by the recent water crisis in Flint, Michigan. She is an amazing lady. It is with pleasure to introduce to you, Qiana Drennen.

1) Were you born and raised in Ohio?

Yes, I born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. I actually still live in the house I grew up in. My parents purchased it when I was four years old.

2) What was your childhood like?

Wonderful. I come from a two parent home with loving parents. My father owned his own business and my mother was a stay at home mom. My parents were not only parents to me and my six siblings, but to anyone else that we brought around. It was nothing for me to come home to see one of my (or my siblings) friends at my house eating or just hanging out.

3) When did you begin reading?

I began reading when I was in the fourth grade. My school librarian, Mrs. Hunt put the book in my hand after my teacher read it to the class.

4) Do you remember the first book you ever read? If so, what was it?

Not only do I remember the first book, but I still own a copy and read it every year. Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor.

5) Who are some of your favorite authors and why?

My all-time favorite will always be the late great Jackie Collins. No one can tell a story like her. Her writing was raw, gritty and in your face. I’m getting teary eyed just thinking about how great she was and why her passing is such a huge loss to the entire literary world.

Fabiola Joseph is another. Some people may think that I’m being bias because she’s not only an author but a dear friend of mine. But even before we became friends I would tell everyone that she’s the most versatile writer in the game. Nothing is never the same with her. Everything she writes is completely different. And now that she’s signed to a major, the world will get to see what I already knew.

6) What are some of your all-time favorite books?

Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry is my all-time favorite, and Chances by Jackie Collins

7) When did you begin DRMRAB? What propelled you to start it?

DRMRAB actually started in 2013. But I didn’t really put any effort into it. It had became just a place to drop links. However, in December 2014, Fabiola convinced me to revamp the website and put more into. And I did. It was some of the best advice I’ve gotten. I’m so thankful for her pushing me to do it because it has been a huge success.

8) What is your vision for DRMRAB?

I would love for DRMRAB to go global. It’s not only a Facebook club, I also have in-person chapters here in Columbus, DMV, and New York City. So I know it’s possible.

9) What do you believe sets your book club apart from any other?

Honestly, I think it’s the members . Our members are RAW, they will not sugar coat anything. Also, I think it’s the fact that we actually discuss books. Most book clubs don’t anymore. We host at least six book discussions a month, sometimes more.

Last, but not least, my admins. Tyresha Tyler and Jocelyn Boffman have been there with me from day one. I will forever be grateful to those two ladies. Also, my other admins Tonya Woodfolk, who I handpicked when I decided to revamp and is a big part of the way the group has turned around. Lenika Winfield and Kia who just came on board just a couple of months ago, but their presence has already made a difference. Fabiola Joseph also. She helps me so much behind the scenes, and I really appreciate her.

10) Lastly, with the amount of books you’ve read, do you see yourself penning a book any time soon?

Ha ha ha. I’m asked this a lot. I’ve started writing a novel maybe three years ago, but it’s not in my heart to write. I see myself more as a behind the scenes type of person. Or maybe even a Oprah style talk show that caters to Afro American authors.

BIO: Qiana Drennen was born and raised in Columbus, Ohio. She is the mother of six children and one granddaughter. She holds a business degree, and a certification in Chemical Dependency.

Qiana collects paperback books and is a proud owner of over 700 paperback books. Her favorite quote is from Mark Twain, “An open mind leaves a chance for someone to drop a worthwhile thought in it.”

When she is not reading, you can find her traveling from city to city attending different book events all over the country.

In 2013, she broke away from one book club and with the help of others, formed ‘Don’t Read Me, Read A Book!‘ (the reading room). In 2015, Ms. Drennen turned the Facebook club into in-person chapters which meets on a monthly basis. In the future, she would like to have her own talk show that caters to authors, and travel to do interviews with them.

You can find Qiana Drennen on DRMRABFacebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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Author Interview: Dutch

It began several months ago, when I wrote a letter to Dutch telling him how much I enjoyed reading his book, Above The Law.  Little did I know it would blossom into a beautiful friendship. I have a deep respect and admiration for him. Not only is he a phenomenal writer, he is a genius and wonderful person. I am blessed to know him and call him friend. It is with great pleasure to introduce to you, Kwame Teague, aka Dutch.

1. Where did you grow up? How was your childhood?

I was born and raised in Newark, New Jersey. Normal ghetto story, grew up too fast. DJ’d, stole cars and sold drugs. Cliché.

2. What is the most memorable event you experienced as a child?

When I was three, I ditched my babysitter and went to the store. Everybody thought I got abducted. I came back and got my ass whooped.

3. What was your dream?

To be Scarface (lol). Who else? I also wanted to go into politics and be president.

4. Do you remember a teacher encouraging you in school?

Yep. My third grade teacher, Ms. McGeorge. She’s the one who said I’d be president (she may’ve told us all this).

5. Who had the greatest influence on you growing up?

My Uncle Hakim (God bless the dead). He was cool and didn’t take no shit. He spoke six languages and when he died in his 80’s, he looked like he was 50.

6. When did you realize you were a writer?

When I was twelve. I wrote a story about selling drugs.

7. Were you into reading books as a child? What book stood out for you?

Yes, a lot! Still do. I think that is the most important thing for kids, reading. My favorite book is Les Miserables by Victor Hugo.

8. How were your teenage years?

I was selling drugs, State to State. Delaware, Baltimore, Virginia and North Carolina. I wasn’t a king pin, not even close, just young and wild.

9. Was Dutch your first book published?

No. Ghetto Sam is my first book.

10. What did it feel like to be a published author?

To be published gave me a sense of accomplishment.

11. How did it feel to become an award winning, critically acclaimed and Essence #1 best selling author?

To win awards kept me humble.

12. What is your philosophy in life?

Act as if you are right, but know you can be wrong.

13. What gets you through difficult times?

My belief in myself.

14. Who are some of your favorite authors?

Wahida Clark, Al-Saadiq Banks, Eyonne Williams, Stone Ramsey and DC BookDiva (who is just so damn sexy).

15. Besides being an incredibly gifted writer, and prolific author, you are currently fighting for your innocence. Can you share how that is going?

I’ve been incarcerated for twenty-one years, and trying to prove my innocence. I’m currently raising money for a top notch lawyer, but I need all the help I can get!

16. What do you believe constitutes good writing?

Good writing paints a picture, takes few words and makes you think.

17. How did you become the talented writer that you are?

Working hard and eating Wheaties. No really, I love life, so I see the beauty and the ugliness in it.

18. What did you do to hone your skills?

Live, love and learn.

19. What is your principle goal when you began penning books?

To make you think, challenge what you think and make you wet…

20. What is your writing process?

Listen to music and then ask what if…

21. Do you use an outline?

Very rarely.

22. Do you write every day or only when you are inspired?

I write ten pages a day.

23. How long does it take you to write a book?

Thirty days on average.

24. How did you develop the confidence as a writer?

Because I’m confident as a man.

25. What is your vision?

To be free and free minds along the way.

26. Was there a particular book that you enjoyed writing the most?

Good question… I have a book called God that I haven’t released yet. God is my favorite.

27. Lastly, what would you tell a novice writer coming up in the industry? What advice would you give them?

Build your brand and open up the overseas market! The American market is saturated.

Bio: Hailing from Newark, New Jersey, Kwame Teague is the award winning, critically acclaimed, and Essence #1 bestselling author of the street classic Dutch trilogy. His other novels include Above The Law, the Dynasty trilogy, ? (pronounced Que), The Adventures of Ghetto Sam and the Glory of My Demise and Thug Politics under the pseudonym Dutch. With a passion for writing, Kwame is hard at work on his next novel.

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