Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Author Interview: Gigi Wilkins

Hi Gigi Wilkins, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background? 
Thank you LaToya for this opportunity! I was born and raised in Houston, TX. I’m a mother of 3 and grandmother. I’m an empty nester and adjusting to single life. I began working as a freelance actress and writer in 2007. Prior to relocating to Georgia in 2015, I devoted a lot of my time to mentoring, volunteering at church, and supporting organizations dedicated to improving the lives of women and children. My professional background spans over 20 years in various facets of healthcare, training, emergency management and quality assurance.

What are your ambitions for your writing career?
My goal is to demonstrate and create a voice identifying the systemic effects of child abuse, unhealthy relationships, and exposure to domestic violence. I sincerely hope to encourage others to remain vigilant in pursuing their dreams.

Which writers inspire you? 
My first love is poetry. As a child I loved reading Zora Neale Hurston and Langston Hughes. I’m inspired by so many, especially Nikki Giovanni and Maya Angelou. I also love reading Carl Webber and Eric Jerome Dickey novels. 

What are you working on at the minute?
I’m continuously focused on improvement in every area of my life. I have two more books, scheduled to be released titled, “God Stop Changing My Plans” and “Mama Used to Say”.

What genre are your books and why?
Creative Non-Fiction. I want to create a platform for women and children to walk confidently into their purpose by having a palpable reference of resilience. 

In 10 words or less can you create a quote that describes you and your writing? 
Put God first, with relentless determination, possibilities are endless.

Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
Gabrielle Union and Idris Elba. I admire them both. They are versatile, beautiful people of color who seem to be very genuine and passionate about their craft.

When did you decide to become a writer?
It’s been woven into my fiber since childhood. One of my elementary teachers helped me assemble my first book of poems for a school project and I had so much fun doing that. As far back as I can remember, family and friends would ask me to write all types of letters, resumes, etc. My primary duties as a professional, consisted of creating and writing policies and training manuals. In times of tragedy, journaling has been my source of healing and I find so much peace. Writing allows me to focus on the positive in every adversity.

Do you write full-time or part-time?
I write every chance I get. I keep pen and paper with me, especially after my computer crashed. 

Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
Not really, my day normally begins about 3AM with meditation. Meditation is like caffeine, I can’t function without it.  

Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
I’ve tried both, it made writing feel more like a job. So now I set aside 2—3 hours daily. 

Where do your ideas come from?
I’m so thankful that I’m able to laugh at myself and accept who God has made me. Most of my work is derived from personal experiences and life lessons. 

Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer to just see where an idea takes you?
I work to an outline. It helps me maintain structure. 

How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I’m a work in progress, my motivation is intrinsic. I’m very open to all genres of writing, the process of becoming a published author has peaked my interest in producing and writing screen plays.

What is the hardest thing about writing?
The hardest thing about writing is containing my thoughts and ideas. 

What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
There were obstacles, simply because I’m a novice at this. The challenges motivated me, made me even more determined and really catapulted me out of my comfort zone.

What is the easiest thing about writing?
The process of writing is easy, especially since I know this is just what I was meant to do.

How long on average does it take you to write a book?
I work on several projects at a time. I set personal timelines to maintain balance and focus. 

Where can you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
In 5 years I will be 50! I’ve been so BLESSED to come as far as I have. I’m ready for where ever God takes me.

What advice would you give to your younger self?
Invest in yourself, invest in your future, and never settle.

Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
Oprah Winfrey. My mother and I watched her show and joked about one day being a guest. She has been a trailblazer and inspiration for many, especially women of color. I think Oprah is a great teacher who doesn’t compromise value. 

If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. I read this book as a teen, and didn’t fully comprehend the metaphoric expressions of racism, sex, and literacy. Reading the book as an adult really illuminated the emotions I carried as a child, but wasn’t able to articulate. I could almost hear music reading this book.

What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
PRAY and JUST do it. 

Connect with Gigi Wilkins:
Website: www.gigi-wilkins.com
Twitter: @msgigiwilkins
Smashwords: GGWilkins

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