Quanda R. Graves is a California native, and is currently living and working in Los Angeles, CA. She fell in love with writing the minute she could pick up a pen and write her name and although she loves to write any and everything, poetry has always been her first love. Quanda is a soon to be author of her very first poetry edition and will keep us updated on when the book will be published.
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?
Oh you’re so welcome. Thank you for having me. I’m an admirer of Write 2 Be Magazine, so I’m honored. I first knew I was called to write the minute I could pick up a pen and write my name. Seriously, it was that simple. What I love about being a writer is the freedom I feel, it’s truly how I breathe. I’m in love with pen and sheet, they are my best friends and I love that with them I’m blessed to touch the minds and souls of people who choose to read them. Actually nothing frustrates me about being a writer. I love the whole entire process that it comes with. I’m all in. Does that make sense?
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 the author of two books. One, is called I Just Want To Write! It’s my love affair with the three P’s: Pen, Paper, and Pencil. It entails poetry, essays, food for thought pieces and much more. You will find it to be semi-autobiographical and a word play of lyrical fun. Two, entitled Dreaming Of A Place (On The Wings of My Imagination) is a straight poetry book. Blissfully written for my readers to take their minds off the madness happening in the world today (Police Brutality, COVID-19, Outlandish Never-Ending Racism, etc.) at least for a temporary moment. I welcome and would love for your readers to acquire more knowledge of me at my website: www.untilnomore.net. I’m grateful when they decide to do so.
3) What projects are you currently working on?
I’m currently working on a third book. I’m saving the title but I will tell you that it is to help people to start a business and/or self-publish with so much more. Let me ask you, do you think the market is too saturated that idea of book? I’m also working to get my company’s product Dreams Are Meant To Be Lived Oolong Tea in stores. Do you drink Tea? Do you know people who do? If so, please share this with them.
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?
My most significant achievement as a writer, and you’re not going to believe me, but just to write. Writing is sacred, personal, joyous, and rapturously beautiful and though there are some people out there that call themselves writers, they rarely ever take to it, commit, and write. But for the sake of sharing, when I finally got the chance to self-publish my very first book. It was my dream since the age of six, so to accomplish that was breathe-taking because it had taken ten years to achieve.
I’m a poet, author, journalist and an overall creator/visionary and I created my own company, QS Simple Treasures & Greetings LLC (QS). Which simply means I’m a poet with products. I work to inspire, motivate and encourage through any creative medium I see fit and so in five years, if the Lord bless, all will have grown in every aspect of my creativity. Greetings, books, short films, production company, voice-overs and travel wherever my writing takes me. I hope to be out of my mind happy, that will be my career in five years. Don’t you think happiness plays a BIG part of our careers?
5) How have you dealt with rejection within your writing career?
Perfectly fine. I look at rejection in a couple of ways. Either, it wasn’t a good fit, it wasn’t for me, and something is out there better, or if it really hurts, LOL! I look at what I was rejected for and work to create my own lane in it. For example, I love greeting cards. Since the eleventh grade of high school, I’ve always dreamed of being a greeting card writer. So, I created a few that I thought were very good, and in 2013 I submitted to Blue Mountain Arts, they rejected me. I moved forward and a few years later, I created my very own greeting card collections, currently working on a fourth. The Why don’t Bright Idea Love Series collection was featured in Heart London Magazine 2018, you can now purchase the I’m Sorry collection at the Guild House Gaming Store in Bellflower, CA to date. Our customers always talk about the simple designs and the short but sweet impactful messages of them. There is never one way of doing things, that’s why it’s important to try. Never let anyone stop you from what you want to do. If its your dream, passion, joy, whatever, figure it out. No one person has the answer or way. Now look, I’m a greeting card creator and writer, by my own standards, did it my own way. *smile* Sorry I’m a little verbose on this. LOL!
6) 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?
No. Never have. I write when I want, whenever I’m inspired. The process for me varies. I haven’t written a novel, but one is in the cue. However, I outline everything. I will let you know when I actually come to tackle that. How long does it take you? How many have you written? Are novels your passion?
7) 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?
No. Some of the greats didn’t become noticed until way later in life. I urge you to google writers with a late start, you will find plenty, like Toni Morrison, Charles Bukowski and many more. No, I don’t. I’m not the person to ask this question because my motto is Dreams Are Meant To Be Lived (one of my fan favorite poems). I live by that, and I don’t believe it’s ever too late to try. Never too late for your dreams, goals, plans, NEVER. Never give up. I will NEVER encourage someone to give up. Because the day or moment you decide to give up, it very well might be right around the corner for you. You know? I just feel that’s how life works. Puzzling but true.
8) Are you an avid reader and have you always been? 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?
No I’m not. I used to be and fell off. Now, I’m working my way back. LOL! There are a few, outside of the bible, a book at six years old, I bought, titled, Round the Corner by the Bank Street Reader Group, also a book called Sweet Lavender by Terry a O’Neal. Oh I can’t narrow down to just one, but there is Terry a O’neal, Virginia Woolf, Nikki Giovanni, Charles Bukowski and so many more. Can you narrow it down to one? I just finished “Pitching for Profit by Precious Williams and I’ve now moved on to We Should All Be Millionaires by Rachel Rogers. What are you reading?
9) The Pandemic was a challenging time for some writers and creative individuals but also for others it was time that they needed to focus on their creative passions. Which side of that spectrum do you fall on? Are there any lessons or nuggets of wisdom that you gained during the Pandemic that help you within your writing career? Did the quarantine stifle your creativity or did it make you even more driven to get things done?
I was so sorry about the tragedies and circumstances of others, and I did pray for them. As for me I have to say though it was a wonderful time spent with my family and I. We indulged in plenty of rest, and I dived into all things creative and passionately interesting I normally didn’t have time to explore, and it was great. I published Dreaming Of A Place, 2020. I won third place in the Michelson IP essay contest and was featured in Inventors Digest Magazine 2020 and won my first grant in 2021 and much more. So, my time was profitable, fun, and restoring. No, the “Quandatine” as I call it, actually pushed me to become more driven. Because things are working to get back to normal and I’m still moving at the same pace as I was during the pandemic and that’s saying something. LOL!
10) What are your thoughts about how the publishing industry as it is being represented today? Do you lean more towards traditional publishing or self-publishing as a preference? Does being a hybrid author interest you?
Honestly, it seems as though it’s traveling back to when people published their own works. And I love that because that’s the way I wanted to do it when I finally made the decision. I am inspired by the 1900’s and always wanted to walk the lines of Dudley Randall, Beatrix Potter, Nikki Giovanni, Margaret Atwood and many more. Did I answer that right? Self-Publishing. I’m in love with this path. You do things how you see fit. You get to bring your vision to life, you’re the creative director, start to finish. How could you not want that? But I will say, you have to have a desire because it’s trying, and you will have your work cut out for you. If you choose that route, you must like to learn, want to read, research, be organized, patient and good with stretching a dollar. A little. But I march to the beat of my own drum. I guess if I ever decided to be a hybrid author, it would have to be like Gwendolyn Brooks. She got the fame and left the big publisher and went with Dudley Randall’s publishing company. They stuck together back then. There were more than a few that pursued in that way. Furthermore, if you gain a great readership from the big publisher, you can now carry them over into your self-publishing journey, you then get to keep all your money at the same time. It’s a win/win if you can strategically position it in this structure.
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?
My honesty and imagination in which I turn into reality. I have a poem called “A Better Person” and it’s about how writing allows me to look at myself in whole. The good, the bad and the ugly and from there I can work to heal, right my wrongs and move forward in a better light. So, because writing empowers me to be a better person, that in turns helps me walk in my purpose confidently, to inspire, motivate, encourage, just be positively contagious and bring joy. Isn’t writing amazing? God knew what He was doing.