LaToya: If you could choose a famous African American who has impacted your life who would it be and why?
Fatima: I love the fact that I come from such a diverse culture of men and women who have impacted the world as much as the African American race has. If I had to choose one that has impacted my life, it would have to be Ms. Sojourner Truth. Upon reading her autobiography, I discovered that this beautiful African American woman was a slave in rural New York, escaped her own captors, preached to former slaves and fought for women’s equality. As an African American former slave in the early 1800’s! How awesome is that! Truly a messenger sent from the Almighty.
LaToya: Where are you from? Where do you live now?
Fatima: Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois, I’ve relocated a number of times, but I currently reside in the suburbs of Atlanta, Ga.
LaToya: Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?
Fatima: Yes and no. I’ll explain: As a child I was the kid in class that the teachers always sent to the citywide competitions, whether it was composition, math decathlons, and spelling bees. I was always told with the multiple awards and achievements, mainly in English composition, I would be best suited in a journalism career. Once I hit high school, I discovered in my junior year I would be responsible for funding my own college education. My first thought was to join the military, but my parents shut that down real quick. Taking a job at a local retailer, I quickly moved up in the ranks from a part time cashier to full time, to supervisor and eventually into management.
Switching retailers as my career grew, I also made the decision to transition into the online learning community while completing management training. After obtaining my BA in HR Management from Capella University and settling into a surprisingly demanding career, I eventually found myself juggling a lot of responsibilities without enjoying the intrinsic rewards. I prayed, begging God for a sign to where He wanted me to go in my career. That led to me returning back to my first love of writing, and the rest is history.
LaToya: When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
Fatima: I first started writing last year, just mainly random scribbles to myself. There were so many stories going on in my head, I wanted to chronicle my childhood, what I’ve seen and heard as a teenager growing up in the city of Chicago. I sat down one day and decided to put my thoughts into a file. Initially everything was scattered, but as the idea took shape in my mind, the story began to congeal together and made sense. I emailed paragraphs to my friends and family first to get their thoughts before I sent it out to any publishing company. Getting a positive response, I decided to get an unbiased opinion from a couple of publishers.
LaToya: How did you choose the genre you write in?
Fatima: I write about what I know. If I wrote about my life in management, the highlights of that book would be the customer experience during Black Friday and holiday sales for the most part. You can only tell the story about the customer who brought his goat in the store to shop with him for so long. The stories of things that I’ve seen and heard growing up Chicago are a lot more entertaining.
LaToya: Where do you get your ideas?
Fatima: A little of everywhere. My own experiences, of course. I also have a colorful set of family and friends that are dying to lend me their stories. And some is just plain old fiction. For instance, the Chi Town’s Queen series is my take on the classic Cinderella tale, if Cinderella grew up on the west side of Chicago and actually liked her siblings.
LaToya: Name one book that you would categorize as a life changing read.
Fatima: The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison. I love her work, and this particular book spotlights the perception of race in America prior to the Black Lives Matter movement. A real eye opener.
LaToya: Who is your favorite author?
Fatima: If I absolutely HAD to pick someone, I’d say me. Just kidding. Truthfully, I’m friends with a lot of phenomenal authors and love a variety of genres, so it would be very difficult to pin down one.
LaToya: Name one book you wish you’d written.
Fatima: Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. I’ll happily take the credit for over a billion dollar box office gross!
LaToya: Tell us about your latest book.
Fatima: Well, my latest book, M.T.A.K., is in the early editing stages, so I can’t really talk too much about it, other than it’s a departure from my previous books. To me, it’s gritty, urban and raw emotion from the characters themselves. As an urban fiction writer, my goal was to tell the other stories outside of drugs and the streets. I wanted to tell the other stories of what people go through just trying to make it out of the hood and Ain’t No Thug Like The One I Got is an example of those types of stories (one of the main characters wasn’t necessarily a ‘thug’ until life pushed him to do so).
If anyone has read the anthology book that I contributed to (Love, Betrayal and Dirty Money available on Amazon from Royalty Publishing House), I showcased a bit of the writing style that is prevalent in M.T.A.K. This story in particular, I drew off of real life experiences. Those that know me personally may not know this particular side of me and I’m curious to see how this book will go over with my current fan base.
LaToya: How can readers connect with you?
Fatima: I Love interacting with my readers and hey can follow me at:
Facebook: Author Fatima Munroe
Goodreads: Fatima Munroe
Google Plus: Freida Kelley
LaToya: What advice would you give to aspiring authors?
Fatima: Writing isn’t easy, and everyone won’t fall in love with your work. Don’t use that as an excuse to defer your dream. Listen to the voices, they have a story to tell and it’s up to you to allow them to tell it. Pray, meditate and pray some more. Then log onto your laptop and crank out that novel.