Hello Book Smugglers!
I recently got the chance to read an unpublished chapter of, Racism: The Real Reason I Left The South, and am so excited to announce that I had the opportunity to speak with the author, Regina Hanson. Keep reading to see what Hanson has to say about becoming a published author and advice she has for fellow writers.
What inspired you to write a book?
I use writing as a form of activism. To shed light on injustices or cultural needs helps me to feel like I’m giving back in a positive way – a part of the solution instead of the problem. This is very important to me. The most natural way for me to do that is to write.
Was there a book or author that you admired that played a role when developing your book?
I remember the first time I read “Why I Caged Bird sings” by Maya Angelou. It was the most incredible experience. I could hear her voice as I read the words. Many years later I would see an interview with her on Oprah. Her voice was exactly as it had sounded in my mind. She was an incredibly gifted writer. Ms. Angelou left no stone unturned in her work. From rape to racism, she dissected it all in an effort to facilitate positive change. She wasn’t afraid to delve into the ugliness of life in order to help others heal. I too carry this torch. If my writing helps someone, even just one, then it was worth every ounce of effort. This belief affords me the strength to write about difficult subjects that others may shy away from. My first book was a brief memoir about racism. A brutally honest look at my family and community, this work delves into waters few are willing to tread. Of this I am most proud, and I have Maya Angelou’s legacy to thank. She has been an immense inspiration.
It is often said that in order to write something, you must believe in what you are writing. Do you agree with that?
This is a true sentiment in my mind’s eye. Whether you are journaling to process your own emotions or writing to help another, you have to believe in its power to do so. Writing can change hearts and minds. The power of the pen is as mighty as the sword.
Tell us about your writing style, how is it different from other writers?
I am a stream of consciousness writer. This may be my greatest gift. Whether research and writing for an article or blogging, I just let it flow. The astounding part is I rarely have to reorganize my work. Even in my first book, there were only one or two places where I moved a piece to another section. For the most part, it flows through me as it is meant to be read. That doesn’t mean I don’t edit. As a matter of fact, I never publish anything, not even a LinkedIn article without having someone else edit it. (My roommate is also a writer so we edit each other’s work.) Most writers already know that our mind often sees what it supposed to be there instead of what is. When we write a piece of work ourselves, we hardly ever find our mistakes. However, I do find it helpful to put it away for a day and then go back and reread the piece. But overall, I write when I am inspired. And inspiration finds me almost daily.
What, according to you, is the hardest thing about writing? What would you say is the easiest aspect of writing?
I think getting started is the hardest part for most writers. We tend to wonder if it will ever be read and think, “what’s the point anyway”. But remember, writing will help you process your own emotions and stay mentally healthy. It’s like therapy. Don’t make it a chore. Do it because it is a part of you. Consider it your gift to humanity. The greatest part of all of us is our uniqueness. We all have to something to say. And as most writers are introverts, writing is the easiest way for us to communicate.
Any advice you would like to give to aspiring writers?
I’m a firm believer in speaking your truth. If you have a burning desire in your soul to write and don’t know where to begin, look inward. Nobody has lived your life, your way. Even if you are writing fiction, your mind is a one of a kind. Putting your own spin on a creative tale will be different from any other, particularly if you draw from your own life experiences. Don’t suffer over every word. If I reach a point where 2 words pop into my mind and I can’t decide, I put a slash in between them and choose my preference during the edit. If I still can’t decide, I’ll let whoever does the final edit pick their favorite. Editors appreciate the gesture.
Are you working on something new at the moment?
Currently, I’m working on Sexual Intellectual Female. This is a term I penned for my master’s thesis. I use it to describe the 21st century “real woman”. By exploring social media, popular culture and current events, I’m validating a new woman emerging. It’s both empowering and exciting for me. For me, writing about subjects that carry potential for personal growth help me stay inspired and motivated. I’m hoping to finish it up by July of this year. Wish me luck!
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Regina G. Hanson has a B.A. in American History from Armstrong Atlantic University (now Georgia Southern), and an M.A. in American Studies from Kennesaw State University. As a writer, she incorporates a conversational tone that affords the reader a more intimate experience. Her writing genres include historical documentaries, cultural studies, children’s books, memoirs, blogs, and general content. Regina is a music lover and nature observer. She finds inspiration in both, as well as, cultural circumstances and societal needs. This author is also a dynamic public speaker, as well as, activist. Promoting equality for all and cultural appreciation is the foremost of her agenda. Having founded Personal Empowerment Publishing, it is Regina’s hope that each work published will empower her readers to grow and evolve into their best selves.