Anna Christian is an author, freelance writer, and educator who has been a member of the BWRC family since the very beginning. She is one of the original members of Black Writers Alliance, and she attended the first Black Writers Reunion & Conference in Atlanta ten years ago. She joins us to discuss the organization, the conference, and her books.
What has kept you involved in the organization all these years?
I find the group to be very professional, generous in sharing information, encouraging, and supportive. I’ve learned a great deal from the online writing group as well as from the conferences I attended. When I joined Black Writers Alliance, I had just published my first book, Meet it, Greet it, and Defeat it? the Biography of Frances E. Williams/Actress/Activist. While I didn’t actively participate in the discussions as much as I should, I enjoyed reading the emails and putting into practice the information and tips I received. One person in particular who shared helpful information for me was Emanuel Carpenter. I saved a few of his emails. (Unfortunately, since I changed computers, I lost them.)
Then I attended the first Black Writers Reunion & Conference held in Atlanta in 2000 and was amazed by the gathering of professional and non-professional authors as well as the many in attendance. I tried to attend as many workshops as I could: Mack and Sara Smith on Self-Publishing, Mystery Writing with Evelyn Coleman, Tonya Marie Evans “Find Your Own Shine.” I watched as BWRC honored Francis Ray, Donna Hill, Kathleen Cross, Brandon Massey, Sharon Ewell Foster, and Pat G’Orge Walker.
In 2006, I attended the Black Writers Reunion & Conference in Dallas. There I heard ReShonda Tate Billingsley, Evelyn Palfrey, and Vincent Alexander speak, and saw Max Nomad for the first time. He, too, has a wealth of information on writing, publishing, and promoting and doesn’t mind sharing. I learned much about the editing process from Shana Murph. I could go on, but it would take volumes.
What is your most memorable BWRC moment?
There were several! At the 2000 conference, I shared a book signing table with Chassie West and met Evelyn Palfrey and so many others; sharing a book signing table at the 2006 conference with Tonya Marie Evans and eating breakfast with Stormy Steele. I also had a few pages of my manuscript critiqued by Mondella Jones who gave me positive feedback, and I got to pitch to Parker Publishing.
Are there any particular speakers or workshops at one of the conferences you attended that you feel were especially helpful to you in achieving your writing goals?
I used “How to Self-Publish & Market Your Own Book” workshop and book by Mack E. Smith and Sara Freeman Smith to self-publish my children’s book, THE BIG TABLE. And I am currently using their guide for my adult novel, DANIEL’S WIFE, due out this year. Tonya Evans’ Literary Law Guide for Authors has also been invaluable.
Tell us about your books, freelance writing and/or other achievements since joining the BWRC family.
Thus far I have published three books, MEET IT, GREET IT, AND DEFEAT IT! The Biography of Frances E. Williams, Actress/Activist; MRS. GRIFFIN IS MISSING AND OTHER STORIES, a Bobby and Sonny Mystery for pre-teens; and THE BIG TABLE, a children’s picture book. DANIEL’S WIFE, my adult novel, will be published this year, and I’m working on another story in the Bobby and Sonny mystery series entitled THE NEWCOMER. I have two biographical entries in the 2008 African American National Biography Project published by Oxford University Press—one of Frances E. Williams and one of Rupert Crosse, actor.
Have you networked with anyone at the conference and has that contact continued?
Shana Murph edited my manuscript, DANIEL’S WIFE, and I have networked with Vincent Alexander. We both attended an empowerment seminar last year in Emeryville, California. I’m also on Facebook where I am in contact with a number of other writers.
What would you say about BWRC to encourage someone who’s thinking about attending?
I’d say it is one of the best investments you can make if you’re serious about becoming an author. Even if you’re not thinking about writing, if you love to read, it is a valuable experience especially because you get to meet well-known and not so well-known authors and you can learn so much about the inner workings of the publishing industry. Also, I’d been told that African Americans didn’t read. I was amazed by the enthusiasm and support of the community who purchased books by the bag full.
Where can someone get more information about your books or purchase copies?
My books are available at Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble (Mrs. Griffin is Missing and Other Stories) and also by contacting Dadielte Production at P.O. Box 1266, Moreno Valley 92556-1266.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I’d like to say Thank You, Tia, and all who work with you. You are an asset and very much appreciated.
Visit Anna on the web at the following websites: