Tag Archives: Jackie Collins

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: Fabiola Joseph

I connected with the beautiful and talented Fabiola Joseph on Facebook almost a year ago. I watched her from afar, and saw her passion for the arts; writing, reading, music, film, cooking, and everything in between. She has exquisite taste and I resonate with everything she posts. Her writing is beautiful. Her energy and vibe is unique and special. I was so happy she agreed to do an interview with me. My prayer is that the rest of the world will see her gift. I see it, and I know others do too, but my hope is that the rest of the world sees it, and experiences her talent firsthand. It is with great pleasure to introduce to you, Fabiola Joseph.

1)  What was it like growing up in Springfield, Maryland as a child?

Growing up in Maryland was lovely. I have always enjoyed watching the seasons change and it offered so much to do. I love the zoo, museums, and poetry clubs. I could go on for days; there was always something to do. There was always a reggae club or house party I was sneaking out of the house to attend. I just love the feel and flavor of Maryland. One minute, you could be in Washington D.C. enjoying the fast city life, and the next minute, you could be in the suburbs. I had the pleasure of growing up in Montgomery County. It was extremely diverse and allowed me to interact with people from all over the world. I always laugh when I think back and remember this girl Sarah. She was a Jewish girl who introduced me to Snoop Dog and 4 Non Blondes. I grew up not seeing color or religion, I just saw people…and I credit that to growing up in Mo county, as we call it.

2) You found your passion with the written word in middle school. Do you remember what book did it for you?

Yes, it was a combination of four books and a movie. Whoreson and Street Players by Donald Goines. Disappearing Acts but Terry McMillan, Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree, and the movie “Poetic Justice.” I was captivated by all four of them and they made me want to build my own world and tell a story.

3) What was the first piece you ever wrote?

The very first book I wrote was titled, Among Us. It was a tale, of sex, friendship, and deceit. It was soooo juicy, but someone stole it from me years later. It was hand written.

4) Did anyone influence or encourage you to write?

My school mates and my teachers all pushed me to write. I was in middle school yet I had teachers letting the class socialize quietly so that they could read the fresh chapter I wrote the night before. I had to keep a separate notebook and write names down so the students could get their turn as well.

5) Describe the world through your eyes?

The world through my eyes is a beautiful, tragic, scary, loving, and colorful place. Beautiful because I have decided to see the beauty in the good and the bad. Tragic because monsters are real. Scary because at times, we don’t know who the monsters are until they are unmasked. Loving because I have had the pleasure of experiencing true love. Colorful because when it comes to people, I love them for exactly who they are, and that takes things from a dim grey to an array of colors. I get to understand the truth of their soul, and that is priceless because as a writer, we yearn for authenticity.

6) You have excellent taste in music. Where did your passion for music begin?

Thank you. My love for music comes from my upbringing. My mother always cooked and clean at night. She was also married to a man who was in a Haitian folk dancing group. They would practice at our house and the music would be blaring from morning to night. When my mother cooked and cleaned, she always had music on. She also has a great musical palate. She listened to everything from Haitian and Jamaican music, to Latin and American. I got so used to falling asleep with music on that I still go to bed with it on today.

7) What is your process as a writer?

I am always stumped when it comes to this question because I don’t think I have a process. My ideas usually come to me while writing. I guess that’s when my creative juices are flowing. For me, as long as I have a computer, music, and a snack, I’m good. At times, I need the music very loud, and other times, I need dead silence. It all depends on my mood and the mood of the piece I’m working on.

8) When you started to write for your first novel, how did you feel? Was it difficult? What did you find the most challenging? What did you learn through the process?

I always say that writing for self is one of the best experiences. When there’s no pressure from readers or publishers, I feel like I have free range to create. They only thoughts or voices in my head are that of my own, and my characters. That’s what it was like when I wrote my first book. I was free, and every single word on that paper was exactly what I wanted, not what I thought people wanted to read. That is what I have taken with me, what I have learned from writing that first book. I learned to write for myself. To stay true to me, no matter what. I still live by that motto today. I write for me, and hopefully, the world will understand and appreciate it.

9) What do you believe makes you different, distinct and sets you apart from other authors?

I laughed when reading this question because I have had shows where people call in and say, I know your writing, as if they could pick it out in a literary line-up, and I love that. I only know that I am different because the people who read my work say so. When I sit down to write, I don’t think, how can I be different this time around? I just sit and write what the characters are saying to me. I write what I am seeing while my fingers move. I don’t try and recreate anything someone else has done. I strive to tell the story my way, and that sets me apart I guess. Maybe that’s why each and every one of my books has been different from the last. I follow the characters, they lead me.

10) Are you a full-time writer, and if so, how did you make the transition?

I always say I’m a full-time author, even when I work. {lol} To me, writing is always full-time. If I’m not sitting there writing, I’m thinking about writing.

11) What does your typical day look like?

I’m always busy. I can’t wait to move back to Maryland and just have days to myself. I run around a lot. Always helping someone else, which is rewarding, just tiring. I don’t make it to bed until three, four in the morning. Then I’m up by ten the next morning to do it all over again. I hit the malls a lot between all of that. I have a shopping addiction I need to get control of. {lol}

12) What steps did you take to perfect your craft?

I’m still learning and I’ll die a student. I don’t think anyone ever reaches perfection as a writer. Hopefully, you just get better with every book you write. But, I do try and read authors far more advanced than me. I am also a huge movie buff, and that is a great teacher as well.

13) If there is one thing you could change about the industry, what would it be?

I would change how a lot of African American writers are pushed to the masses. I think that there needs to be more visibility when it comes to our work. I would love to see more of our books turned to movies, and have our books read outside of our community. Don’t get me wrong, I have readers of all races, but let’s take a book like…Fifty Shades of Grey. The reason it was so huge was because EVERYONE wanted to read it and see what the hype was all about. I only wish that for our work as well. Books don’t have a color, no matter the race of the writer or the race of the characters. A good story is just that.

14) What are some of your all-time favorite books and authors?

Donald Goines and almost all of his work. It’s so chilling and real. I love how Terry McMillan tells a story. I love the diversity in Omar Tyree’s work. I think Brandie Davis weaves words like a magician and makes them so beautiful. I love the tragic tale of Janet Fitch’s White Oleander. I also love the raw and sexy swag of Jackie Collins. There is also a book called, Groove, Bang, and Jive Around by Steve Cannon. It’s nasty, crude, shocking, and downright disgusting at times, but I loved every minute of it. I had never read anything like it. I could really go on for days but, they stand out to me right now.

15) Please list and describe your books.

I will go in order of publication. 1. The Art of Deceit. It’s a tale of sex, drugs, music, murder, and the grime that dwells behind the shadows of Hip-Hop. Tangie is a video girl who wants the world, or she’ll take it. She’ll do anything to make sure she gets what she wants. 2. Porn Stars 1&2. Author Mathew Ramsey and I really wanted to dive into the lives of our porn stars and fill you in on what happens once CUT is yelled and they go home. It’s sexy, thrilling, and full of action. 3. Rebel’s Domain. Scarlett is a 15 year old girl with an insatiable appetite for blood. Her father trains her in the act of seduction and murder, and soon, she grows into a full-blown monster. 4. Niya 1&2. Niya is a coming of age story that deals with the main character coming to terms with being a lesbian and falling in love with her neighbor, Jamilla, who isn’t quite sure how to deal with falling for a girl. It’s touching, has helped so many people, and are my most successful books to date. {Niya 1&2 has been picked up by Urban books and is not available for purchase at this time. It will be re-released into one book late 2016} I have two shorts, The Bully Bangers, and Truth or Death. In the Bully Bangers, the victim finds a way to get even with her tormentors, and in Truth or Death, you find out what happens when a man lives a double life and someone is out for revenge. Coming soon I have The Turn Out Queens anthology. Four other authors joined in on the fun to bring the readers sexy stories dealing with the workers in a lesbian night club in Washington D.C. I had a blast working with Christiana Harell, Raynesha Pittman, Ben Burgess Jr., and Renee Wallace. Pricey: Playing in Traffic was also picked up by Urban Books and it’s a hell of a story dealing with human trafficking and what happens to its victims. It will be out August 2016.

16) Which book was the hardest to write and why?

The hardest to write was Niya 2. I was going through hell emotionally and I didn’t want to have to go to that place I knew Niya would take me. A lot of my real life is in that book and that fact made it hard to write.

17) How long does it generally take you to write a book?

I have written books in as short as a few weeks, Niya 1. And up to six months, The Art of Deceit. But TAOD was well over 100k words, and Porn Stars 1&2 was well over 200k.

18) What do you want your readers to get from your books?

I want the readers to walk away from my work understanding the world more. Maybe acquiring more tolerance, more love, and more peace with themselves. I want them to be entertained. I want them to laugh and cry along with the characters. I want them to be turned the hell on and drop my book and jump on their mate. I want them to enter my world and never come out the same person they were when they read the first sentence.

19) What are some things you still want to accomplish?

In 2015, one of my literary dreams came true, and that was being signed to a major. Now, I plan on reaching the masses and changing the world, one reader at a time. I dream of my work on the big screen. I pray to touch more people and open minds. And yes, I am working on something new. I feel like she’s taking me back to that place I haven’t been since writing TAOD and Tangie. She is so raw and sexy, and I love it.

20) Lastly, what advice would you give a novice writer?

The only advice I constantly give when I am asked is, remain true to who you are and what you want to write. Never follow fads…they fade.

A lover of literature, good music, movies, and art, Fabiola Joseph is multifaceted. She was raised in Silver Spring, Maryland and while in middle school, she found her passion for reading and writing. She began her love affair with the power of the written word, and it was clear that writing was her destiny.
In 2011, The Art of Deceit, a novel about the grime that dwells behind the shadows of Hip Hop, through the eyes of a video vixen, was released. In 2012, she co-authored the erotic tale, Porn Stars 1 & 2, which provided readers with a behind-the-set look into the pornographic life style. November 2012, Fabiola unleashed the fifteen-year-old serial killer, Scarlett Rose. Rebel’s Domain is new and exciting,, and it brings something different and captivating to urban thrillers. Suffocating in darkness, this teenager is nothing like any girl you’ve ever read about before. Her newest release is NIYA: Rainbow Dreams. Niya explores the world of a stud lesbian named, Niya, and her best friend, Jamilla. This is a story about two young women who are coming to terms with who they are. It’s a touching tale of friendship, love, dreams, and murder. Niya 2: Dreamer’s Paradise was released in 2014, continuing the Niya saga. Ms. Joseph also published two short stories The Bully Bangers, which deals with a growing problem in America’s schools. The Bully Bangers brings justice to the jilted with a twist where the predators become the prey. Truth or Death brings to the readers a new meaning to couple’s therapy and the repercussions of a man who is living a double life. Pricey: Playing In Traffic is Fabiola’s next major release. She delves deep into the world of human trafficking, and is sure to tug at your heart and soul with this gut-wrenching novel. Billie and Carmines story is not for the faint of heart. Join them as they go from kids to monsters, and from slaves to beasts.What does it take to survive in the world of human trafficking? Find out August 2016.
Fabiola is uncompromising when it comes to her work. She believes that for her… there is no box, so never try to fit her talents into one. Taking risks, being open and free within the realms of her words, and writing from the heart is the only code she lives by within the domain of literature. Enter her world and she promises that you will not come out the same. With her pen, she plans on changing the world.
In 2015, Fabiola signed a multi-book deal with Urban Books. Niya 1&2 will be turned into one book and re-released under Urban Books, 2016. It is no longer available for purchase independently.
Contact Fabiola Joseph
*Twitter – @Soulofawriter
*Facebook – Fabiola.Joseph3
*Fan Page – FabieTheDreamer
*Instagram – TheArtOfBeingFabie
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