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Author | Blogger | Workshop Facilitator Visit my website at www.authordeelawrence.com to learn more about my romantic suspense novel, Gotta Let It Go, which is set in Baltimore. Connect with me online @authordeelawrence (Facebook) and @thewritepen (Twitter). Thanks for visiting with me today!

Monday, May 22, 2017

Interview with LaDonna Smith, Author of I Married Satan

Author Bio: Ms. Smith is a native of Fairmont Heights, MD and a graduate of Prince George’s Community College. She also attended Bowie State University. A talented writer, LaDonna has worked with The Dr. Michael Eric Dyson Show (WEAA), The Bernie McCain Show (WOL/WOLB), Justine Love Sex Talk and Slow Jams (WPGC), Community Affairs with David Haynes (WPGC). She is also the former Events Coordinator and Board Member on the Board of Directors for the Black Writer’s Guild of Maryland, Inc., President and Vice President of the Maryland Writer's Association (Baltimore Chapter), and a member of the Maryland Business Roundtable Speaker’s Bureau

Her book, “I Married Satan” has also been listed on Essence Magazine’s www.essence.com. She is also the former Editor and Founder of G.R.A.Y. Magazine,  G.R.A.Y. TV ShowThe Owner's Roundtable Report with LaDonna radio show – returning soon! In 2015 LaDonna released the exciting info-tainment follow up to “I Married Satan” called “Oh! Is That Why I am Still Single?” She also hopes to release her children’s book “Hannah’s Song: A Musical Approach to Potty Training” in 2017 as well. 

However, LaDonna has a life outside of books where she owns Prince George's County's first and only professional sports team - American Basketball Association Expansion Team PG Valor Basketball Team, which played its inaugural season in 2016 ending ranked #2 in their division and #24 in the entire ABA and participated in the playoffs!

What inspired you to write your book?
LS: Life itself because of experiences-both good, bad and indifferent inspired, motivated and forced me to write my books. 

Is there any particular author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
LS: I look up to several authors and writers including, Terry Woods, and Tyler Perry. I love Terry's writing style and Tyler's life story. I also love reading Shakespeare and Greek Mythology. Although some may argue that they conflict with my religious views if they weren’t dynamic pieces of art. 

Is this your first book? How long did it take to start and finish your book?
LS: I have two books completed and one about 95% completed. 

Do you write with an outline, or just let it flow organically?
LS: I do both. I start with a mental picture of what I am going to write. As the mental concept grows I begin to write out an outline. Then I type up my outline. Before long my typed outline gets inundated with handwritten notes. Then I retype up my notes. I then begin to use that as a guide to motivate me to write. I go for a drive, go sit in a park, library or anywhere else outside of the house. Unless a situation or experience requires a lot of emotion from me, I find it very difficult to write in the house. I can often be found sitting in a library or Starbucks on grind mode. Some people need silence, I need ambiance. I need music, soft noise, a way to be able to stare out a window or ride with the window down. Then my creative juices begin to work and I am able to work. I write in notebooks, on receipts, toilet paper, scrap paper, post-it notes and anything else that I can find. Ironically, I can only type directly when I'm on a desktop. I also tend to write more while I'm editing because for some reason or another my thoughts flow. It's almost as if I get a Spiritual download while I am working on a manuscript several times.

Do you listen to music when you write? If yes, is there a theme song for this book?
LS: As I mentioned earlier I do listen to music. But I have been known to have a good movie on or just some type of noise. I didn’t think about it but sometimes there are themes. I may put on a lovey dovey type of movie if I am working on something with relationships or I could put on a children's type of program event etc. If I am writing a good and happy relationship part of the book, I tend to listen to upbeat and/or happy relationship songs about being in love and in a good relationship from people like Kem, Jaheim, Charlie Wilson, Dru Hill, Mint Condition, SHAI, and my all-time favs Boyz II Men. However, if I am in a bad mood and writing about relationship drama I may turn on my girl Fantasia and let her motivate me or Mariah, Tyrese, and others. If I am needing to feel inspired and want to give a "powerful" spiritual nugget then I may turn on gospel. You may be surprised to hear but I may turn on Classical, Jazz, GoGo, Reggae or even Latino music. I am a musician so diversity in music is a must. 

What are the keys to success in getting your book out to the public?
LS: Marketing and Promoting are the keys to get your book out to the public. It makes absolutely no sense to write a book. I mean pour your heart and soul into a book, fight to get it published or spend time and money self-publishing and then have your books just sit. You have got to tell the world about your book whether they want to listen or not lol. You won’t know that they don’t want to listen until you try and reach out to them. And marketing and promotion don't begin when you have your book in your hand it begins when you copyright your first draft!

What advice would you give to new authors?
LS: My advice for new authors is to dream big realistically. We all have that dream of writing the next best seller and then get discouraged when copies are barely selling. With all of the books and authors in the world why should anyone care about your story? Why should anyone buy your book? Do not be afraid of the word No! As it can actually help you. It is perfectly fine if every single solitary person in the world is not as passionate and in love with your book as you are. It is not the end of the world. You can do one of two things only focus on those people who would be interested in your type of book or who need it (aka your target audience) or you can motivate people to be interested in your book and need it. It is not impossible but you gotta stay on grind mode. There are going to be sleepless nights as you are up emailing and posting on social media etc. 

Do your research and find out what is best for you. What worked for me and mine may not work for you and yours. It's ok to take a piece of what others are doing. But make sure you are infusing it with what you are doing so that you aren’t cheating yourself out of opportunities. Networking is your friend. Make sure you keep books/cards or some type of information about your books with you at all times. You never know who you are going to run into. If you work your mojo you can sell a book in places you would have never expected. Make sure your website or online presence looks at minimum semi-professional. In this day and age the first thing people do is "look you up". If you are someone who is nasty and inappropriate on social media you may want to make those post private and only for you. 

How about sharing excerpts from your books?

I Married Satan Preface
They had the marriage license, the ceremony and her name changed...but no marriage!

For 4 1⁄2 years author LaDonna M. Smith thought that she was married to the man of her dreams...but the marriage turned out to be a 4 1⁄2 nightmare, which God made disappear in moments.

On August 14, 2003, LaDonna got married to a man she was prepared to spend the rest of her life. However, after days, & months of physical, mental, emotional & spiritual abuse – she found the strength to leave him.

But she would soon return to endure even more hardships – some repetitious – some worse.

Finally, a year later she left for good and 3 1⁄2 years later she filed for a divorce. Only to find out that her spouse had filed for an annulment – a month later. How can he file for an annulment after so many years of marriage?

Because - before, during, and after their marriage, he was still legally married to his first wife.

The book I Married Satan takes you inside the life of a woman who suffered, endured and eventually triumphed through an abusive marriage; swallowed the pain; and forgave her ex ____________ (you fill in the blank) and has since become stronger, wiser, and more spiritual than she could have ever imagined.

Oh! Is That Why I'm Still Single?

One day this metaphoric revelation came to me: years ago I wasn’t truly ready for you because I was allowing little boys to play in the shallow end of my pool. Now I have learned that if I venture out further in the pool that the pool gets deeper and only those who can swim will jump in. Some will be bold enough to jump off the diving board, but many will reach the bottom. The pool discussed here is symbolic of MY HEART!

I didn’t know or understand how deep true love really was until I continued to journey on through life. I had some relationships work (I was able to swim), and some fail (they almost drowned me). Some have tread water (barely made it and the guys had fake motives in dealing with me); some didn’t put forth an effort and just tried to go along for the ride (they drifted and floated through). Some didn’t put their all in it like I did (they got their feet wet but they may, or may not have been dressed/prepared for the trip or the depth of my love that I was ready to give, so they never got completely in or fully committed). But each and every experience brought me to a point where I finally learned what true love from a man, and more importantly God is, and how I should expect to receive it unconditionally.

True love waits – if God designed for you to be together. You will be with him.

What God put together, let no man (or woman) come in between and destroy it.

True love is imitated but never duplicated.

What’s next for you?
LS: Next is more books and more basketball. There are a lot of things that I have in my "lab" right now and will be working on and releasing soon. Not that I have gotten through my first season with the basketball team I am now better prepared to handle my writing and the team. I am truly graduating into working for myself only. I would love to be able to focus primarily on books for half the year and still do basketball secondary. And then during basketball season focus primarily on basketball and books secondary. Notice I never said just one or the other only! I also want to finish the audiobook versions of the books and go ahead and produce the I Married Satan stage play which has been written and copy-written yet sitting for a few years now. So to answer your question I have a lot coming up next lol.

Where can readers
Blog: N/A-Maybe I should do one?

LS: Thank you for taking the opportunity to reach your readers. As always, I look up to you and your accomplishments. So keep doing what you are doing to improve and progress!

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