Thursday, February 4, 2016

Author Interview with Crystal Briggs

LaToya: Hi Crystal, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Crystal:  Crystal Biggs (formerly Crystal Lett) was born on September 20 to Wayne Lett and the late Vickey Elaine Kirkland-Lett in Pascagoula, Mississippi. She was raised on the Mississippi Gulf Coast, in a small town known as Moss Point. Her mother died when she was 11-years old, causing her and her older sister, Demetria (Cedric) Moore, to ultimately end up living with her paternal grandparents. After graduating high school with the astonishing Moss Point High School Class of 2002, she went on to get her Bachelors in Social Work in 2005 from Jackson State University and Masters in Social Work in 2006, also from Jackson State University. Currently residing in Jackson, MS, she is a Licensed Master Social Worker (LMSW) and a Provisionally Certified Mental Health Therapist (PCMHT).  Also in 2006, Crystal married De'Miktric Biggs Sr. and together they had three children (De'Miktric Jr., Allanah, and Kaiden).

LaToya: What are your ambitions for your writing career?
Crystal:  As a new author, it has been very tough starting off.  I have been learning a lot on my journey thus far even though it has not been such a long one yet.  I do one-day hope to be at a point where I can self-publish one day and build a fan base that is receptive to any genre of writing.  I don’t want to categorize myself as just an Urban Fiction writer.

LaToya: Which writers inspire you?
Crystal:  My biggest inspiration has been Maya Angelou.  She has used her writing to do a multitude of things and when she passed she left a legacy for others to follow.  That is something I definitely would like to do. 

LaToya: What are you working on at the minute?
Crystal: I am currently working on a series that was originally titled “Kecia Got A Thug.”  I believe the title is in the process of being changed.  This is something that is a big step for me being that I don’t know anything about thugs or their lifestyle. You can only imagine the amount of research I had to do.  In the end, it was definitely worth it.

LaToya: What genre are your books and why?
Crystal: As of right now, I am writing in the Urban Fiction sector because those were the type of books that caught my attention when I first start to read.  Besides, those books are what’s really selling right now.  But I do plan on expanding my writing skills beyond just writing in Urban Fiction.

LaToya: In 10 words or less can you create a quote that describes you and your writing?
Crystal: Through my writing is how you get to know me.

LaToya: Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
Crystal:  Definitely Toni Braxton.  Most people know her as being a singer, but she’s definitely played in a movie or two.  In fact, my main character (Clarice) is meant to be her look alike.  She is absolutely flawless and I love how humble she is.

LaToya: When did you decide to become a writer?
Crystal: The way I started writing is actually quite funny to me.  I stay looking in my kindle reading whatever books I can.  In July I told a family friend that I was interested in writing a book.  He actually wrote a poetry book and self-published it himself. Now, mind you, I have never written anything but papers to graduate so I had no idea where the writing could go.  The fact that my mind is always going and my imagination is mad crazy sometimes, I sat down and started writing on July 29, 2015, and three weeks later, I had my first book.  I didn’t work up the nerve to submit my book to anyone until September 11, 2015.  I was signed to Pretty in Ink Presents on September 12 thanks to Cole Hart, Margaret Flack, and LaQuita Cameron.

LaToya: Do you write full-time or part-time?
Crystal:  I write whenever I have free time.  I do have a full-time and part-time job as well as trying to spend as much time with my children as I can.  I can say that I have had a lot of sleepless nights trying to complete my writing. 

LaToya: Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
Crystal:  When I am writing, I aim to get at least 10,000 words a day.  That gives me at least a week to meet my required minimum amount of words and constantly go back to edit my book before turning it in.

LaToya: Where do your ideas come from?
Crystal:  My ideas or just thoughts that pop into my head.  Of course some of my characters or very relatable or they are based of people I know.  That goes the same for some of the situations.  I just try to change them up so I won’t be giving out too much of mine or anyone else’s business.

LaToya: Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
Crystal:  I tried to develop an outline when I first started writing, but that didn’t work for me.  Not, I’m always sitting in front of the computer typing my heart out allowing the book to lead me in the direction it should go.  If I’m typing and something pops in my head that flows, I’m all for it. 

LaToya: How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
Crystal:  Although I write Urban Fiction books, they have dealt more so on the romance side.  Now, I have been able to write about thugs when is something I wasn’t able to do in the past. 

LaToya: What is the hardest thing about writing?
Crystal:  The hardest thing about writing is realizing that just because a book is good to you doesn’t mean it will be good to someone else.  I can recall receiving my first bad review and I was a little upset.  But we have to be able to accept criticism from others even if it may be bad.

LaToya: What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
Crystal:  The hardest thing about writing my latest book was coming up with a plot line that would hit on some touchy issues that needed to be focused on like AIDS and make it more about the education of it versus being something that was just thrown inside the book.

LaToya: What is the easiest thing about writing?
Crystal:  The easiest thing about writing is coming creative ideas to make a book interesting and developing plots that’ll be mind blowing.

LaToya: How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Crystal:  It really depends on how focused I am and what I have going on.  I can typically get done with a book in three weeks, but that’s just the rough draft of it.  Then I have to go through the process of editing and proofing with could be another couple of weeks so about a month and a half.  

LaToya: Where can you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
Crystal:  In the next 5 years, I see myself excelling in this writing industry to the point that I have built a big enough fan base to make writing my only career.  I also see myself being a self-publisher.

LaToya: What advice would you give to your younger self?
Crystal:  I would have told my younger self that I was made different for a reason.  Not everyone is going to like you or stick up for you, but as long as you love yourself then you will be fine. 

LaToya: Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
Crystal:  Without question, it would definitely have to be Maya Angelou.  She set a high standard for African American women writers and that is something that I do hope to accomplish as well.

LaToya: If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
Crystal: In all honesty, I don’t think there is a book that I would change.  When people sit down and write, they are writing from their own experiences or in regards to something that may have a meaning to them.  Changing it would only take away from the value of their work.  Putting myself in their shoes, I definitely would not want anyone to change anything that I originally wrote. 

LaToya: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Crystal:  If writing is something you really want to do, then keep pushing forward.  It may not happen when you want it to, but if it is meant to happen, then it will.  Never give up on your dreams.

Connect with Crystal:

Twitter: @mz_biggs

Instagram: Authoress Crystal Biggs

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