Hi everyone! Today’s featured author for the 31 Days, 31 Authors event is Cassie Edwards Whitlow! She recently signed to SBinkley Publishing and I have to admit, she is such a talented author. Her latest book, One Wish, will truly have you go through so many emotions from start to finish, which for me, means your book is truly wonderful, especially if you can experience every type of emotion.
Now, here’s Cassie, as she talks about how she became an author. 🙂
Unlike many authors and others in various professions, Cassie Edwards Whitlow never dreamed of becoming an author. She spent a great deal of her childhood and teen years writing songs and pursuing a music career. It wasn’t until her early twenties that she discovered her love for writing stories.
During her early writing career, she has released two inspirational novels, “Temptation” and “One Wish”.
Not only does her knowledge and passion of women’s mental and physical health issues shine through in her stories, but her relatable characters and expressive dialogue will definitely keep readers turning the pages to find out the outcome for each character.
Cassie received a BS in Criminal Justice from Southern Arkansas University and an MS in Psychology from Grand Canyon University.
She’s also the wife of an Air Force Sergeant and has two children. She currently resides in the United Kingdom of Great Britain.
1. Besides writing, what else do you like to do?
I love to sing, play my guitar, and read.
2. What inspired you to become an author?
About 10 years ago when I was first introduced to African American inspirational fiction, I was in awe because it was something I could relate to. I especially loved the church scenes. I decided on that day that I wanted to write stories. Back then social media wasn’t big and I had no idea where to start nor did I have money to publish so I let the dream go. About a year ago per my mentors advice, I began journaling. During this time, I fell in love with writing and decided to give writing another try. I messaged a few of my favorite authors and asked for advice and was told about a writers workshop. I took it and finished my novella. One of the best days of my life.
3. What was your first reaction when your debut novel was published?
I was scared out of my mind. I wondered if people would like it. I wondered if people would read it. Would I get horrible reviews? And to this day I’m still nervous when people tell me they’re reading it. But Even more I’m proud of the accomplishment.
4. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
I see myself as a multi published author, who also teaches other aspiring authors steps to take to publish their first story. I just want to inspire others to fulfill their destiny.
5. What advice can you give to anyone who wants to become an author?
Ask questions. Network. Support other authors especially in your genre, and keep sharpening your skills. Take classes. don’t be afraid to take risks. And lastly remember not everyone will like your story. Don’t let that stop you because somebody need to hear what you have to say.
Excerpt from One Wish
Iman bolted straight up in bed. She squeezed her eyes shut, opened them, and repeated until her vision became clear. Finally able to take in her surroundings, she remembered she was at her grandparents’ home. Struggling to regulate her heartbeat, Iman turned her attention to the sound of the ringing phone. She glanced at the space next to her, checking to see if the intrusion had awakened her husband. To her surprise, he wasn’t there.
The clock read 3 a.m. She yanked the covers off the bed and tossed the pillows onto the floor. When she still didn’t see her phone, she flipped the light switch and followed the sound to the dresser on the other side of the room. She went to reach for it and knocked it behind the dresser. With a loud, frustrated grunt, Iman pulled the dresser from against the wall, kneeled onto the floor, reached behind it, and pulled the phone out.
By the time she’d gotten to it, the ringing had stopped. She frowned and wondered why her cousin Tiana, who should have been asleep in the next room, was calling her. She figured it must have been a mistake, so she didn’t call back.
Still feeling uneasy about Cedric not being in bed, she looked out the window to see if their car was gone. It was still parked in the driveway.
Finally able to catch her breath, she flopped down onto the bed. He was probably in the bathroom or still downstairs playing cards with her uncles. It was tradition that everyone gathered at Iman’s grandmother’s house in Augusta to celebrate Christmas together.
Iman had three great aunts and two great uncles who still lived in the area, but most of the family opted to stay at her grandmother’s. Not only was there more space, Vivian Braswell went above and beyond to assure everyone felt at home. Tiana’s mother lived only three blocks away. Why she always felt the need to stay at Vivian’s was a mystery.
Iman and Cedric had been there three days and were leaving for Montego Bay the next day to celebrate their one-year anniversary. Iman’s grandmother didn’t understand why anyone would get married on Christmas Day. She’d often said Christmas was to be celebrated with the whole family and not a day to celebrate a wedding anniversary. They’d compromised and told her they’d spend the days leading up to Christmas with the family.
Iman had chosen to marry on Christmas, in hopes of creating pleasant memories, instead of dreading it as she’d done for years. She was born three days before Christmas. Her mother died on Christmas Day of the same year. Three days after her third birthday, her father was found dead in an alley. It would be three years ago tomorrow that her grandfather had died of a heart attack. Needless to say, the holidays didn’t mean to her what it meant to most. Although she had a lot of bad memories about Christmas, Iman was determined to do whatever she could to create better memories.
Iman’s family believed in making a big ordeal during the holidays. She’d be lying if she said she didn’t enjoy staying up late cooking and reminiscing with her grandma, great aunts, and cousins, while the men watched football and argued over whose team was better.
The older women always tackled the meat and side dishes, while the younger women made desserts. Iman lived for pecan and sweet potato pies. The best part was the singing. Every woman on Iman’s mother’s side of the family could sing. The harmony that sounded through their kitchen when they sang I’ll Be Home for Christmas and Silent Night could put the Braxton Sisters to shame.
With the exception of Tiana, whose birth name was Tina, Iman got along well with her entire family. As far back as Iman could remember, Tiana hated her birth name. She always said, as soon as she became an adult, she would change it. Tiana was three years older than Iman, and they’d gotten along fine until around the time Iman was a freshman and Tiana a senior year in high school.
Iman was raised by her maternal grandparents. Tiana’s mother, Helen, and Iman’s grandmother, Vivian, were sisters. Tiana was the surprise baby, born when her mother was in her late forties. She was the youngest of eight children. Both being raised by older parents, they found comfort in having one another to deal with their old fashioned upbringing without going insane.
One day, for some unknown reason, Tiana started ignoring her and making fun of her in front of her classmates. Still, Iman called and attempted to find out what she’d done to make Tiana treat her that way. After a few weeks, she realized their close relationship was over.
Cedric didn’t seem to need much sleep. Iman, however, believed in getting as close to eight hours as possible. To avoid any more unwanted interruptions, Iman switched the sound on her phone to vibrate, placed it on the nightstand, turned the lights off, and crawled back into bed.
No sooner than she’d dozed back off, the sound of her phone vibrating lulled her from her sleep. Now, she was concerned. Tiana was calling her again. She clicked the answer button on her iPhone. If Tiana was calling her this late, something must be wrong.
Tiana never called. She wondered why her number was even in her contacts. It certainly shouldn’t have been in her call log. She braced herself for the worse before she answered.
Iman looked at her phone with disgust and rolled her eyes. The sound of heavy breathing clued her to what Tiana was up to. One finger hovered over the end button until she heard Tiana say, “Oooh, Cedric. You always know just how I like it.”
A muffled male’s voice could be heard groaning in the background. Iman shook her head. No. It couldn’t be.
Cedric was a common name. Surely, this wasn’t her Cedric. They’d had their share of problems over the past few months, but they’d been together since high school. And he wouldn’t dare mess around with her cousin, especially with her family around. But still, something inside her wouldn’t allow her to end the call. She sat down on the side of the bed and listened.
“Sneaking around like this where someone could catch us at any minute turns me on so much. And you know how I love the new car smell.”
New Car? Iman stood and ran to the window. “Not the Range Rover he just bought me.” She strained her eyes, but the windows were tinted too dark to see anything.
Inhaling deeply, Iman squeezed her eyes shut. Was Tiana really with her husband? At her family’s home? The home she’d grown up in? She wouldn’t put it past Tiana, but Cedric was better than that.
Iman was anything but naïve. She’d suspected Cedric a few times but could never prove it. It’d been five months since he’d touched her romantically. A month after her miscarriage, he’d stopped sleeping with her. She assumed it was because the doctors said her chance of carrying a child full-term was low. She knew Cedric wanted children almost as much as she did.
Had he been with Tiana all this time? Tired of hearing him grunt and Tiana moan, she disconnected the call and dialed Cedric. The call went to voicemail without ringing.
Iman’s face started to burn. Her heart beat rapidly. She paced back and forth from the bed to the window. Refusing to allow even one tear to escape, Iman was determined to get answers.
Iman refused to waste any time feeling sorry for herself. She looked outside once more. This time, she noticed fumes coming from the tail pipe. “These fools are having sex in my car.”
Grabbing her robe and slippers, Iman scurried out of the room. She grabbed one of her grandfather’s golf clubs from the storage closet before walking outside. She’d worked hard to recreate herself as sophisticated and classy, but there was a little bit of hood aching to be unleashed.
With quick measured steps, Iman sneaked up on the car, not bothering to peek inside. There was no need to. She’d heard Tiana loud and clear in her description.
Without giving her conscience time to talk her out of it, she started swinging the golf club. First, she busted out the windshield. Cedric jumped up, knocking Tiana onto the floor. He quickly tried to cover himself with his shirt. He scrambled clumsily, pulling both legs of his jeans up at the same time.
Satisfied with his startled reaction, she moved to the back window, where only seconds ago they were going at it like wild animals. Iman swung the golf club, moving around the car with swiftness until she’d busted every piece of glass in sight.
Dressed in only a tank top and some booty shorts she’d just pulled up, Tiana’s eyes bucked. She swiftly moved to the opposite side of Iman and her golf club, opened the door, and jumped out. “Have you lost your mind?”
Iman shook her head. “No.” She held the club up in one hand and started towards Tiana. “But I’m about to lose a cousin.”
The scowl on Iman’s face was enough to cause Tiana to step back. She moved back just in time to bump into Cedric, who’d just stepped out of the car. He quickly pushed her off of him and stepped closer to Iman.
“Iman, calm down. I can—”
“Don’t you dare fix your lips to say you can explain,” she yelled. Iman pointed the club in his direction, causing him to freeze.
She glanced at Tiana, who was now leaned up against the house. Iman wondered what type of flesh the girl was created with. Tiana wasn’t even shivering in the below 30-degree weather and if she didn’t know any better, Iman could’ve sworn she saw a smirk on her face.
She wondered if Tiana’s phone call was an accident. Had she wanted me to catch them?
“Baby, I swear. It was nothing.” Cedric reached for Iman’s arm. “It didn’t mean anything. She forced—”
Iman swung the golf club wildly as hard as she could, not caring whose head it connected with. If Cedric hadn’t ducked, she probably would have cracked his skull. She hadn’t planned to cause physical harm to anyone when she first grabbed the club, but the more Cedric talked, the more she felt her control slipping away.
“What is wrong with you? You’re acting like a crazy—”
“You haven’t seen crazy.” She chased him around the car as he ducked and dodged.
“Mimi, stop!” Iman’s head turned at the sound of her grandmother’s voice. Her uncle James and cousin Anthony approached her.
“This fool ain’t worth you out here actin like this,” her uncle said.
“Yeah,” Anthony said. “That’s my job.” With a face full of venom, he stared at Cedric.
“Put the club down and let’s go inside,” Vivian said.
At some point during the commotion, Tiana either left or went inside because she was nowhere in sight.
Iman fixed a shaken Cedric with a disgusted look. Her entire family was standing around looking on. Without acknowledging their presence, she headed towards the front door and threw down the club.
“I hate Christmas.”
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