Annette James is a daughter, a sister, a wife, a mother, and retired law enforcement officer. She grew up in Washington, D.C., in the southeast neighborhood in Anacostia known as Barry Farms. She currently resides in Maryland with her husband of 20 years and their teenage son. Her favorite pastimes are spending time with her family, acting, tutoring children, writing poetry and inspirational songs, watching a good movie, traveling and playing tennis.
1) When did you know that writing is what you were called to do? What is it about being a writer that you love the most?
I didn’t know I was called to be a writer until the year 2018. You see, on February 27, 2018, I discovered through Ancestry DNA that my father listed on my birth certificate was not my biological father. This discovery was quite traumatic but one that I had to face head on. After being told by several close friends that I needed to write a book about my experience, and praying about it, I began to put pen to paper.
2) Can you tell us a little about your book(s) and where our readers can find out more about them and you?
My book, Turning My Pieces Into Peace, (available on Amazon.com and where ever books are sold), is about my surprise DNA discovery of my biological father and siblings. Its about the trauma I experienced and how I was able to survive it. I wrote the book to make an impact on the world by helping others survivors boldly tell their stories so they can heal and go on to live a blessed life no matter their circumstances. Where you are that person or you know someone this has happened to, you are not alone.
3) What projects are you currently working on?
I am currently working on the audio version of the book and perhaps a devotional as well. I have had people who have read my book ask me when I was going to write another one. I find that quite amazing since I don’t consider myself a traditional writer. But, who knows what God has in mind. I’m open to that possibility.
4) What has been your most significant achievement as a writer thus far? Where do you see yourself within your career in the next five years?
Looking forward, I would love to have my book transformed into a movie to be seen on in theaters all over the world.
5) Do you have a schedule for when you write? Do you outline your novels? How long does it generally take you to finish a novel?
You asked if I have a schedule when I write. While writing my book, I usually wrote during the morning hours while my son was at school. It took me about a year and a half to finish writing and editing my book. I had a few revisions while writing. I knew there were some sections I was going to take out but needed to express them as a form of therapy for myself. I knew I would be in a different mind set when I came back around to those sections. I also had two readers go through it and give me feedback which was extremely helpful.
6) Do you believe that there is ever a point in life where it’s too late for an aspiring writer to become successful in this industry? Do you feel a late start would hinder their chances?
I think it’s never too late to write. The older you get, the wiser you get. You have a life time of experiences filled with difficulties and triumphs. I’m a prime example that everyone has a story to tell. Everyone can be an inspiration to someone else.
7) What’s the first book you ever read that really touched you emotionally and moved you? Who is your favorite author? What book are you currently reading?
One of the first books I read that touched me to my core was, The Shack, by William P. Young, and anything by Joyce Meyer. I’m currently reading, Better Than You Can Imagine by Patrick Quinn, Becoming, by Michelle Obama, and The Inner Game of Tennis by W. Timothy Gallwey.
8) So many writers say that they hate reading their own work? Do you ever just sit down and curl up with your own book?
Do I sit down and curl up with my own work? I love that question. I don’t sit down and curl up with my own book. I might take a look at a particular chapter or two if I’m getting ready to talk about it with someone or if I’m preparing for a speaking engagement. Now that you have me thinking about it, perhaps I will. LOL!
9) What are your thoughts about how the publishing industry is drastically changing?
I think it’s probably easier now than ever to have your book published. I used a local publisher who was actually connected to my church. I saw her Facebook post one day, and contacted her. Thank you Jay Media Publishing for being a part of my journey. I think there are probably a lot of people out there who would like to write a book and have it published but they don’t take that next step because they think it’s going to be too expensive and difficult to get it done, or they don’t think their grammar will get it done. My suggestion for all those aspiring writers is to allow a reputable publisher to come along side you and help you through the process so you can share your work with the world. Some one is waiting for your story. If I can do it, anyone can.
10) I feel like writing is a remarkable tool to help people not only express themselves, but also to cope emotionally and mentally. I know for me I write to be and feel more authentic. What unique quality is there about you, about your art, that you feel represents your authenticity? How does writing help you to be more empowered in your purpose?
Writing certainly helped me deal with the trauma I faced emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I think my unique quality that helped me express myself on paper is the fact that I love the Lord with all my heart, and with all my soul. I would not have been able to share my story without God’s love living on the inside of me. I can now tell my story with the purpose of helping others survive and live their new normal just as I did and am still doing to this day. I am inspired everyday. I wake up with peace, hope, and love for my journey.