“Take a negative experience and turn it into a beautiful memory.” – Leah Forney
Blaque: Welcome back everyone to another author spotlight. Today, I have the pleasure of speaking with Nonfiction author, Leah Forney. She is the author of “Unapologetically me: Living, Owning, and Walking in My Truth”.
Leah: Thanks so much for allowing me to interview with you Blaque Diamond.
Blaque: I am the one who feels honored. I want other authors like myself to get as much exposure as they can. Any little bit helps, and I want to do my part to help guide your writing career any way I can.
Leah: I am definitely thankful for this opportunity.
Blaque: So, tell me a little about your book “Unapologetically Me: Living, Owning, and Walking in My Truth”. It sounds like a book full of inspiration and strength.
Leah: Well, that it definitely is. This is my story. The story of my struggles, strength, and redemption. I want to teach others that even the most painful parts of our lives have a purpose. With God by your side, you can become who you were created to be.
Blaque: Wow! That is such a powerful statement. I have always believed that to be true. That’s why I never regret anything I have went through in my own life. I believe it made me who I am today, and I am unapologetically me.
Leah: That’s the message I am trying to convey in my book.
Blaque: Well, I’m sure some lucky reader out there is going to get your message loud and clear. So, let’s get to know the woman behind the inspiration. I think your book gives us an idea of who you are, but let’s touch on things that might not have been revealed about you in the book.
Leah: Ok. That sounds good to me.
Blaque: So, What inspires you to write?
Leah: I am inspired by life to write, and also by the people around me. My family and friends, my relationship with my fiancé Joseph, and the good, bad, and ugly aspects of my life inspire me to write. I believe that everyone has a story to tell. No one can tell your story like you can.
Blaque: That is so true. No one can tell your story like you can. Now that we know what inspires you to write, where is your favorite place to write?
Leah: My favorite place to write is in my bedroom. It is something about my bedroom that allows for my creativity to run wild. I have penned some of my greatest poems, short stories, essays, etc. in my bedroom. It is also the place that I pray and worship my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I believe that’s why my bedroom is a special place for me to write.
Blaque: When it comes to creativity, I believe the place where you develop your craft should feel sacred to you. What is your favorite season, and why?
Leah: I am a winter baby. I was born in January. My favorite season would have to be the spring. Spring is the start of new beginnings and fresh starts.
Blaque: We all have those things that annoy us, so what is your biggest pet peeve?
Leah: That’s a great question. LOL. My biggest pet peeve is someone who is a habitual liar. I don’t like liars because I believe that liars take away a person’s right to choose.
Blaque: That is one of my biggest pet peeves also. If you could change one thing in the world, what would it be?
Leah: I would change human-trafficking. Human-trafficking is happening every day. It is not being talked about on a regular basis like it should.
Blaque: You are right about that. That is one of the most deplorable and inhumane things someone could do to another person. SMH. Everyone has the right to make decisions for themselves. No one should have the power to dictate your life, but I’m not going to get in my feelings about that right now. We’re trying to keep things on a positive note. LOL. So, what is your favorite food?
Leah: My favorite food is Lasagna. I absolutely love Lasagna.
Blaque: What is your favorite holiday? Why?
Leah: My favorite holiday is New Year’s Eve. It is something about the start of a New Year that makes me feel amazing.
Blaque: Since you are so full of inspiration, I know there has to be others who inspire you. Can you name three people who inspire you and why?
Leah: The three people who inspire me are my mentor Andrea Hines, my spiritual mother Pastor Karla Godbee, and my grandmother Noel Mays. Andrea Hines inspires me because she was the first person that believed in the writer in me. She was the first person to ever allow me to act on stage as well as contribute to writing a stage play. Pastor Karla Godbee inspires me because she is my spiritual mother. She is also born on the same day as my biological mother. She is the mother that I never had, and I love her so much. Lastly, my grandmother Noel Mays inspires me because she is the first person to introduce me to Jesus Christ. I learned about faith and Jesus Christ from my grandmother.
Blaque: It’s nice to have so many people in your life who can encourage and inspire you to achieve your dreams. So, where do you see yourself in five years?
Leah: In five years, I will be married with a child. I also see myself writing and publishing more books. I will be traveling more, and by then I will be a licensed marriage and family therapist.
Blaque: That all sounds amazing. It’s always important to have a plan for your life. How many books have you published to date?
Leah: This year is the first time I became an author. It has always been a dream of mine. I have only released one book, but my second book will be releasing in early 2018.
Blaque: As authors, we are also readers, so how many books can you honestly say you’ve read in one year?
Leah: I have read six books and counting so far this year. I am an avid-reader. I believe that if you consider yourself a leader in any capacity, then you should be reading.
Blaque: How do you deal with writer’s block?
Leah: When I am experiencing writer’s block, I usually have to take a break. I don’t get writer’s block often. I usually have to do something fun that will help me to relax because I am putting too much pressure on myself.
Blaque: Yes, taking a break is the best way to give your mind time to slow down and relax. You can’t give something your all when you can’t focus properly.
Leah: You’re speaking the truth.
Blaque: Who has been your biggest supporter in your writing career?
Leah: It is a tie between two people. My grandmother Willetta Daniels, who is my father’s mother and my fiancé Joseph Washington. My grandmother literally carries my book in her purse so she can brag to everyone about it. My fiancé is an incredible guy who knows how to push me in my writing, but also knows how to help me relax.
Blaque: Do you prefer to write your first-draft on paper, or on the computer? Why?
Leah: I prefer writing on both. I usually make an outline with my key ideas on paper, then I transfer it to my laptop. I feel like paper makes it feel more alive than the computer does. The computer aspect is more so for convenience.
Blaque: Where do you get most of your story ideas?
Leah: I get my ideas from life. My stories are my experiences in life. They come from the people in my life. Every good, bad, and ugly experience in my life creates my stories.
Blaque: What advice would you give someone who aspires to be an author?
Leah: My advice would be a few things. First, know your why, and be patient with the process. There’s a misconception that you can become an author overnight. Many of us, including myself, know that it can take years to become a published author. Knowing why you want to be an author will help you to stay motivated on the days that you want to give up. Secondly, know your audience. Who are you writing to and for, is very important. My publisher told me that my book is not for everyone. It is very true, so knowing who your audience is will help you to write your story. Lastly, be unapologetic in your story-telling. Again, No one can tell your story like you can, so own it and be bold about it.
Blaque: That is some very good advice you gave. I’m sure an aspiring author can gather confidence in their writing from your thoughtful answer. So, who is your favorite author, and why?
Leah: My favorite author is Shonda Rhimes. Shonda Rhimes inspires me on so many levels. She has a humble yet unapologetic spirit about herself. Her book “The year of Yes” inspired me to take a leap of faith into becoming an author.
Blaque: What is your goal as an author?
Leah: My goal as an author is to touch one person’s life. It is also to inspire, encourage, and motivate a generation of people who are experiencing such hopelessness in the world we live in today.
Blaque: What has been the hardest hurdle you had to jump over while embarking on your writing career?
Leah: I would have to say getting over the fear and just doing it. I can be my own worst critic at times, so I had to stop giving into the self-doubt and take the leap in faith.
Blaque: If your parents could see you right now, would they be proud of you?
Leah: I would hope that my parents would be proud of me. I don’t have a relationship with my parents because they have battled with addiction and incarceration since I was two-years-old, but I would hope that they were proud of my accomplishments.
Blaque: What a way to end this interview. I would hope that your parents are proud of you also. Despite your misfortunes in life, you have persevered and strive to encourage and inspire others.
Leah: We all need someone to inspire us and push us in the right direction.
Blaque: Sometimes that encouragement comes from home, and other times it comes from strangers. No matter who it comes from, it can impact someone’s life in a positive way. I thank you for all that you do to enrich the lives of others out there in the world. We need more people like you in society today. Thank you so much for talking with me. It was a great pleasure to get to know you better, and I’m sure readers will find your amazing spirit and drive throughout your book. Where can they get their hands on a copy of your book?
Leah: My book is available in paperback and as an EBook on Amazon.
Blaque: Are you active on social media?
Blaque: Well, that’s all I have for today. I hope everyone enjoyed getting to know author Leah Forney in a deeper sense, and I hope she brought you encouragement through her words of inspiration. If you haven’t already read her book “Unapologetically Me: Living, Owning, and Walking in My Truth”, I would encourage you to pick up a copy and see what Leah has to share with you. Until next time. Happy writing.
Leah: Thank you so much for having me.