U.M. Hiram is an #1 Amazon Bestselling and New Release Author. She is an East Coast native who currently resides in Junction City, Kansas. She is an author, human resource professional and retired Navy veteran. Her love for writing began at an early age, evolving into independent publishing books in multi-genres. Reading, traveling, watching sports and spending time with her family is what she enjoys doing the most when not putting pen to paper.

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1) First, I want to thank you for taking the time to do this interview with me!  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? What about being a writer frustrates you the most?

You’re most welcome and thank you for this opportunity Jimmetta. For me, I’ve always loved to write from a very young age whether it was journaling, poetry or creating my own personal story books. What I love the most about being a writer is the creativity. I can’t really say there’s anything that frustrates me about writing because it provides an escape for me from the daily stresses of life. 

2) Can you tell us a little about your book(s) and where our readers can find out more about them and you? 

I am writing in multi-genres that include contemporary fiction, inspirational, paranormal, romance, and romantic suspense. My most recent release Persistence: The Power & Breakthrough of Fervent Prayers has elements of Christian fiction, inspiration, and memoir. It is Book #8 in the Merry Hearts Inspirational Series. Readers can connect with me on social media through Sociatap authorumhiramsociatap or my website https://authorumhiram.com.

3) Where do you draw your inspiration from for the stories that you manage to weave together and the characters that you create?

Inspiration comes from a number of different places for me. It includes everyday life occurrences, things that I may see or have even experienced, as well as simply people watching. 

4) 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?  What projects are you currently working on?

Writing at night and on weekends is what I normally do because I work during the day. As far as outlining my novels, I don’t do this all the time. Sometimes the story and content just flow naturally, especially with the initial draft. As you know, the best laid plans sometimes take on a life of their own, which can be exciting and surprising. 

When I do complete an outline, it’s normally in a simple story flow format. For each chapter I’ll write two to three sentences and then build on those. Finishing the first draft of a novel can vary for me, weeks to months, depending on the word count. I’m currently working on edits for Queen of Wilmette that will be released in December. It is a romantic suspense novel that is a part of the Queens of the Castle Series. After that, I’ll be working on finishing up the rewrite for my book baby Finally and shifting focus to two of my 2022 projects. 

5) What’s the first book you ever read that really moved you emotionally?  Who is your favorite author to read?  What book are you currently reading?

There have been two books that moved me emotionally, Roots by Alex Haley and The Autobiography of Anne Frank. Both of these timeless literary works were gut wrenching, mind blowing, and took me on an emotional rollercoaster. Regarding my favorite author to read, there are too many to name. I’ve been writing more than reading. I’m hoping to be able to dive into some of the books in my Apple Books and Kindle apps during the holidays. 

6) 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?

Becoming a #1 Amazon Bestselling Author has been my most significant and humbling achievement as a writer thus far. In addition to that I’m a member of an amazing writing tribe, Naleighna Kai’s Tribe Called Success, whose encouragement, and support is second to none. In five years, it is my goal to write and publish at least ten more books as well as become an award-winning author. I’d also like to provide my book coaching services to aspiring authors, helping them work towards achieving success on their literary journey. 

7) How have you dealt with rejection within your writing career? What is your advice for other writers to better be able to cope or navigate their way through the publishing process, be it traditional or self-publishing?

I’ve dealt with rejection by remembering the reason why I’m on this journey and not focusing on any negativity that may arise. My advice to writers who are navigating their way through the independent publishing process is make sure that you educate yourself through books and courses as well as get connected with a mentor who has successful navigated their way through this process. 

Also, I would recommend that writers become familiar with industry standards for the genre(s) that they are writing stories in and sharing with the world. You want to make sure that your books are not only self-edited, but you hire professional editors (i.e., developmental, line) as well. Also, make sure that your book cover and interior design is comparable to that of a traditional publisher. Additionally, invest in one or two beta readers. All of these steps assist with making your book marketable. 

8) Do you find it hard to juggle the creative side of being a writer against the business side of being a writer, in terms of marketing and promotion and things of that nature? How hard has it been (or easy) for you to build up your author platform?

Honestly, I’m still working through achieving a balance with all of this. I’ve been blessed to have great mentors, coaches and an amazing tribe who are veterans in the literary field. Regarding my author platform, I’m in the building stages – moderate and steady progress. 

9) So many writers say that they hate reading their own work. Do you ever enjoy reading your own work back to yourself after it’s out there for the rest of the world?

For me when I’m done then that’s it. I’m ready to start on the next body of work. Because I have to read that particular book a lot during the editing and rewrite phases, I am tapped out and feel I’ve done the best that I can do. Now, I do value the readers feedback and reviews. Who knows? Some characters may decide to reappear, so I would have to go back to read my previous work. I’ll never say never. 

10) 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?

Absolutely not! Age doesn’t matter, it’s all about your writing aspirations. I was 47 when my book baby Finally was independently published. I don’t believe that a late start will hinder anyone’s chances. As long as you are committed to studying the craft, setting writing goals, and staying focused, there are no limits to what you can achieve. 

11) 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 allows me to tap into my creative energy and disconnect from the corporate persona. While I enjoy what I do on a daily basis, there’s a balance added to my life when I’m able to create characters and a story. Empowerment and authenticity, for me, comes through the development, use, and growth of my writing skills. I believe that art, in its many forms, brings so much vibrant color to life.