Today we have the pleasure of speaking with Author Chelle Ramsey. Chelle is one of the sweetest people that I've met in the publishing business. She and I have traveled in the same circle of friends for the past few years and it's good to finally get to know her better. Chelle is very helpful and she's always included me as a guest in her special author features, so today my team and I are paying it forward by helping the world to get to know this lovely lady and talented author. Chelle, please tell our audience a little bit about you. C:
I’m an Atlanta native and currently reside in a rural community of Atlanta. During the day I put my MBA/HR Management degree to use at a fortune 500 company as an HR professional. However, my most important roles are those of a wife and mother of three. During my “me time,” I become enraptured with the enthralling stories of Terry McMillan, Nora Roberts, James Patterson and Stuart Woods. I also enjoy family time and watching NBA games with my husband.
I began writing at the age of 12, as an outlet to express my feelings and whenever I was bored. It soon became an essential part of who I was, but I never thought of doing anything with it until I met my husband and he “discovered,” my writing, which had been hidden from the world, including my family. My major focus is women's fiction; however, I’ve penned contemporary romance and Christian fiction novels, that I’m preparing for publication. Besides being an author, I’m also a freelance writer, ghostwriter, and blogger. I host the annual 20 Days of Love
authors’ blogging campaign, March Madness Authors’ Giveaway
campaign, and showcase other authors on my blog every Friday at www.chelleramsey.com/beautifully-inspired-blog
Wow! you're a very busy woman! I can see some of your personality in the types of books that you mentioned you enjoy reading during your "me time." You're an NBA fan? Wow! who knew? We'll have to chat about that because you know I'm a huge NBA fan as well. C:
Chelle, I’ve always admired your pleasant spirit, and I think it harmonizes with the six books you’ve written, in particular, the Bejeweled series. Tell our readers about this series, and what made you want to turn the first book into a succession? C:
I had never wanted to pen a series. When I wrote book 1, it was a compilation of books 2 and 3. My husband kept telling me that I needed to do something different, but he wasn’t sure what. He said the book was too long and was like a Bible. Well, one of my Betas at the time also happened to be a romance author. She suggested that the book should be turned into a series, which I kind of shunned, but she convinced me to do it, and I’m glad I did. Since that time, I’ve penned other series that are waiting to be released.
The House of BeJeweled is about salon owner Olivia and her talented team. She’s a spiritual and inspirational woman, who happens to be lonely when the lights turn off in the shop at night. Her heart desires to have love, at the same time she desires to see healing in the lives of her team. Olivia has harbored a secret love for more than 20 years for her best friend. When he suddenly becomes available, she has to decide if she’ll open up to pursue loving him. In the meantime, we see her team members lives unfold as they struggle with various battles from infidelity to domestic violence and barrenness. Throughout the course of the four books, we continue to see Olivia’s life blossom and her faith increase as she travels the journey she’s destined for.S:
I know Bejeweled is the name of Olivia’s hair salon, but what made you select the name? C:
Her mother’s name was Jewel and the salon was originally hers, but she inherited it upon her mother’s death. I wanted the salon to circulate around her mother’s name, as a legacy of the loving and inspirational spirit her mother had and passed down to her daughter. My husband came up with BeJeweled.S:
Will there one more book from the Bejeweled series?C:
There are only four books in The House of BeJeweled series, BeJeweled: The Flight of an Angel, BeJeweled: What A Tangled Web We Weave, BeJeweled: A Beautiful Blend, and BeJeweled; Standing Strong. I had to put that love affair to bed. LOL!!! No more from them, although they (characters & the salon) make minor guest appearances in upcoming novels.
Your sixth novel Affliction seems to focus on a new character Ambiance, would you say Ambiance is somewhat like Olivia in terms of juggling family life and business?
No, I wouldn’t say that. A Woman’s Design: Afflictions focuses on three best friends who have to take on self-responsibility for the past choices they have made that led them to the current state of their lives. Ambiance just happens to be a businesswoman with marital issues. However, the other two characters, Naomi and Paige are dealing with very different issues. Naomi’s struggle is that of being a single mother who comes face to face with the father of her child after seventeen years and now he wants to make a return. Paige is dealing with issues of promiscuity and eventually finds herself in a life-threatening situation because of her choices. So, this duology focuses on women facing themselves, their attitudes and behaviors, and learning to become self-responsible and being strong despite adversity.
S: I love that! I'm going to check it out! So, what inspired you to write, and out of all of the books you’ve written, which one is your favorite and why?
C: I write because I honestly believe that’s my calling. It’s an integral part of who God Almighty designed me to be. It’s like the air I breathe, I must have it because it allows me to express myself in ways that I cannot do any other way. I share it because my husband helped me to see that the Lord does not give us gifts to hide from the world but to share them. I’m often told despite the drama that many of my novels contain, they all inspire, motivate, and hold a message for the reader. I cannot say that I have a favorite. I love them all and they move around in my heart at different times for different reasons. I like to think that each of them is a reflection of my growth as a woman, wife, mother, child of God Almighty, and a writer at different times in my life.
S: I can tell you treasure writing as a God-given gift because I can feel your passion about it. It's good that you also use it as a tool to inspire others. Not only do you write women’s fiction, but your blogs also inspire women. You talk about anxiety and depression, and things that affect not only women but people in general within our community. Why is that important to you?
C: It’s important to me to share my testimony and allow other people to have a platform to share theirs, as well. There are so many people hurting in this world and they need to know they aren’t alone. We need to learn to extend mercy towards others rather than judge them and have compassion on their plight. I like to try to offer that to others, praying that people will find healing in it. Not just women, but men also.
S: In sharing your experiences, do you think authors should engage with others on social media and discuss some of the topics you’ve covered in your books and blogs? Or do you think authors should keep the mystique and stick to literature and books?
C: I think every individual has their own journey to traverse, and whatever that journey or calling might be, that’s what they have to be true to. My husband often says we all have to pick up our cross and bear it, and whatever your “Cross,” may be that’s what you must represent.
S: Do you write every day?
C: Absolutely! Whether it’s a blog post or a few sample paragraphs of a short on Facebook to entertain people for the day, I have to pour out what’s in my heart.
S: What is your writing gem and why?
C: I would have to say my husband. He is the most supportive element to my writing and my number one fan, believing in me even more than I do. However, there are times that I get lost in my writing world, and he points out to me that I need a break and to take time out to refresh, refuel, and be restored.
S: Aw that is so sweet! Tell your husband kudos for being so supportive of you!
C: Thanks, I will.
S: Why did you select the route of self-publishing versus traditional publishing? And what will you say are the pros and cons of each industry?
C: It wasn’t really a choice for me. I didn’t want to share my writing with the world initially for fear of rejection. However, my husband kept pushing me towards putting it out to share with the world. To satisfy him almost two decades ago, I submitted two query letters and received rejection notices. I gave up, but he continued pushing until I finally decided to heed his advice one more time. I loved writing so much, I simply wanted to write and nothing more. Therefore, I shared one of my books with my book club anonymously and they loved it. They wanted to encourage the author to publish it and then I revealed it to them. They joined my husband’s team and I finally listened and decided to self-publish. Once I put a couple of novels out, the response I received encouraged me to continue. I have not experienced the traditional publishing industry, so I’m not sure what the pros and cons are. I do plan to pursue that route eventually. In terms of self-publishing, I love that I can do everything on my own terms and not have to hand over creative control to anyone else. Alternatively, the downside is that I don’t have the access to the same resources that an author in the traditional publishing industry might have.
S: Do you think self-publishing is a phase or something that will be around for a while?
C: No, I don’t think it’s a phase. I believe that it will take its twists and turns and may look extremely different in a few years than it does today, but that’s pretty much standard in any given industry. It’s just the way of the world and you have to change with the demands of society and the industry to keep up.
S: You mentioned having access to the same resources would probably be the only con in comparison to tradional publishing, so what areas of self-publishing would you say would make the playing field more competitive and/or fair?
C: Access to marketing and promotional opportunities.
S: I agree.
S: Do you think an ego helps or hinders an author when it comes to book reviews?
C: I believe it depends on the author’s audience. Different people like and expect different things. For me, it’s always best to be humble because anything can change and will at any given time. The reviewers like what they like, and if they love your work it may not matter whether you have an ego or not.
S: I agree.
Now for that fun part. It’s March Madness! Give us your Final Four favorite authors. I know you mentioned some earlier, but who would make your Final Four?
C: Terry McMillan, Nia Forrester, Chicki Brown, and Rhonda McKnight.
S: What do you like to do for fun?
C: Spend time alone with my husband. I love ladies’ nights with my girls, and hanging with our children. Those things can include going out to restaurants, pottery classes, a day at the spa, going to the mall, traveling, making dance videos, church functions, etc.
S: Sounds fun, especially a good spa day.
For aspiring authors, what piece of advice would you give them?
C: Be true to your craft. Don’t try to pen what’s trending at the moment but write what you love and love what you write. Most important, please, please, please get an editor, Beta readers, and a professional cover designer.
S: Yes! I'm glad you said that! Stick to being who you truly are at the core!
S: Chelle, we have a pretty good following for booksbyselena.com, so to anyone who is reading this right now, tell them why they should purchase copies of your books.
C: My writing voice is authentic, designed to take you on an emotional rollercoaster ride, one page at a time. I pull people into the lives of the many personalities that reside within me as if they were present in the moment. My novels are about real-life stories using fictional characters. I tempt and tantalize the emotions in a seductive, compelling, yet soothing manner. Every story spin drama, suspense, thrills, and an inspirational message at the end. I leave readers with an uplifting, encouraging, thought-provoking message that will strengthen you and speaks to your heart and soul. My stories are about you, me, her, and him. This gift I’ve been blessed with is undeniably from a Power Greater than me that wants to be heard.
S: If you're looking for authenticity guys, than try reading books by Chelle Ramsey. Chelle, where can our readers purchase your books and connect with you on social media?
Long Link: https://www.amazon.com/Chelle-Ramsey/e/B00JSC7NAG
Short Link: bit.ly/ChellesBookCafe
S: Thank you for joining us today! We wish you much-continued success!
C: Thank you so much for having me. It has truly been a pleasure and an honor, and I hope that I’ve met some new friends today. I wish you much success, also, Selena.
S: Thank you!