Merry Christmas, everyone! I know what you’re thinking: Why am I getting another go-around since I participated in the 30 Days, 30 Authors event? Due to personal reasons, one of the authors backed out at the last minute; so I decided to take their spot. Besides, I think a lot has changed from the last author’s event. So here’s my second interview. Enjoy! 🙂
Sheena Binkley first discovered her love for storytelling when writing her first story for a class project at the tender age of nine. Since then, she has composed several short stories and numerous tales that are not only engaging, but simply entertaining. She is also a freelance writer, penning articles on various topics including education and entertainment.
In November of 2014, she signed her first publishing deal with Write House Publishing under “Tiece Presents”. Her first series, Something Just Ain’t Right, was released in January.
In April 2016, Sheena launched her own publishing company which focus strictly on romance books. Besides writing, she loves reading, shopping, and spending time with family and friends. She lives in Houston (where the weather is always unpredictable) with her husband and son.
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/sheenabinkleyauthor (Like Page)
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Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/577100099053119/?fref=ts
Mailing List: http://eepurl.com/bY22E9
1. Besides writing, what else do you like to do?
Besides writing, I love to hang out with my family and friends, listen to music (old school mainly), and just relax. That’s something I haven’t been doing lately, so when I have a chance to do it, I take advantage of it, lol.
2. What inspired you to become an author?
It all started when I was nine and I had to do a story for a class project. I loved writing it so much that I decided to continue to write short stories and eventually a series titled Homeroom, which is based on a group of friends as they go through the ins and outs of high school. I love to write, so it wasn’t hard to pursue something that I hope I can turn into a full-fledged career.
3. What was your first reaction when your debut novel was published?
I cried, mainly because I was seeing my dream come true. Not only that, but the one person that supported me with my writing, which was my mom, was not here to share in the celebration. I know she was looking down on me in heaven, proud that I stepped out in faith and released my first book. That alone was the most important factor to me.
4. Where do you see yourself in the next 5 years?
Besides still writing (praying that I am), I hope to be a New York Times best-seller. I’m an Amazon best-seller, but to me, you made it to the big times if you’re either on the New York Times or USA Today’s best-seller’s list. I also would love to own my own bookstore and sell only independently owned books. I think authors should support each other, especially independent authors; therefore, this would be a wonderful way in doing that.
I also would like to write a children’s book someday. I probably will in the next two years.
5. What advice can you give to anyone who wants to become an author?
For me, I would say to never give up on your dreams. There will be doubters and haters who don’t want you to succeed, but do not listen to them. Being able to write and release a book is a blessing, so you should go out and pursue it. Don’t hide it because you will never know your potential if you do. Also, make sure you make the right decisions with publishing your books. If you want to be independent, then be independent; if you want to go to a publisher, make sure it’s one that fits you and your writing style. Don’t go somewhere because they’re popular or have a lot of readers supporting them. Go to one that you are comfortable with and know that you will shine with.
Excerpt from A Love, Life, & Happiness Christmas
What is the definition of family? Does family have to be by blood only, or can it be by association? To me, family aren’t just the people related to you; instead, it’s the people who will be with you through the good and the bad. They believe in you, no matter what, and will love you unconditionally. Sure, I have that with my biological family, but I also have it with the people I’ve known since stepping foot at Shaw University six years ago. We’ve have been through so much, which has given us a unique bond that no one can break.
Now that we’ve all graduated college and ventured out into the real world, we’ve experienced even greater challenges; but no matter what, we still had each other’s backs, making our bond even stronger.
With our careers and kids, we barely have time to hang out; that’s why we made a pact in February to clear our schedules during the Christmas holiday and spend it at the Robertson’s cabin. My wife, Riana, and bro-in-law, Jayden, frequented the cabin when they were younger. Although Ri hasn’t been there in years, Jay has, and I’m sure it will bring back great memories for him and his wife, Britney.
As we arrived, I parked my Dodge Charger in the winding driveway as Riana looked around. She turned to me with her eyes lit up.
“Wow, this place has really changed!” she exclaimed. “I haven’t been here since I was a kid.”
“Your uncle owned the place, right?”
She nodded. “Yeah. Now that he’s passed, Jay has been the one keeping it up.”
“Mommy, is there a TV here?” our son, Elis, asked.
Riana turned to look at him with a smile. “There is, but we probably won’t be using it. We’re going to spend time as a family and do family activities.”
“Mommy…” he whined.
“Elis, we talked about this. Besides, Preston will be here, so you’ll have fun,” I added. Ever since Elis turned four, he’s developed a smart mouth. I guess I can’t blame him too much since that’s how I was growing up.
He leaned back in his car seat and folded his arms with a mean scowl. I gave him the death stare, and he quickly turned that scowl to a pout.
“Don’t try my patience, Elis. I’ve done all that with your Meme and Papa; it doesn’t work.”
Riana looked at me. “Baby, stop. He’s only four.”
“And he’s old enough to not try my patience.”
She shook her head, wearing a tiny smile. I noticed her eyes light up again. “There’s something I want to talk about later.”
“What is it?”
“You’ll know soon enough.” She said then gave me a kiss.
When we turned to look at Elis, who looked disgusted, we saw Marcus’ BMW X5 pull up behind us and smiled. He got out of the driver’s seat then went to get my niece, Troian, from the back seat. She was only three-months-old, but she was already a firecracker. She probably got that from her mother, Cheryl.
“I didn’t think they would bring Troian,” Riana said.
“You know Cheryl wouldn’t leave her. Besides, the cabin is equipped with everything imaginable, so she’ll be fine.”
Cheryl tapped on the passenger side window, and Riana rolled it down. “Why are you all in the car? It’s cold.”
“We have to wait on Jay; he has the key.”
“Are you serious?! It’s freezing!” Cheryl shrieked.
“That’s why we’re sitting in the car, and I’m sure there’s heat in the BMW. Besides, Jay is almost here,” I told her.
She rolled her eyes and walked back to Marcus’ SUV. He came over to my side, and I rolled down the window.
“Don’t pay her any mind; she’s been moody all day,” he explained.
“I see why: She’s barely getting any sleep,” Riana said, staring at Marcus. “Speaking of which, why does it seem like you’re okay?”
“Believe me, it’s affecting me, too; I’m just not showing it.”
“Hopefully, this doesn’t ruin our vacation.” Riana muttered.
“Marcus! Bring Troian back to the car!” Cheryl fumed.
“See?” Marcus pointed out then headed back.
I looked at Riana, who shrugged. “Cheryl has the right to be upset. She shouldn’t be out in the cold, whether she’s bundled up or not.”
Several minutes later, Jay and Brit finally pulled up along with Monica and Donnell. Monica rushed out of the car as Donnell threw his hands up.
“God, that man is a damn headache!” she yelled.
Jayden looked between them and hurried to the cabin door.
“Sorry we’re late, but you all can see why,” Britney apologized, coming over to us. Riana got out of the car and hugged her, peeking into the double stroller. Jay and Brit’s twins, Carter and Isabella, were both asleep.
“How are my niece and nephew doing?” Riana asked, pulling the blanket up on Isabella.
“They’re fine; the feedings are becoming a hassle, though. But now that Jay is back, it’s a little better,” she replied as we walked to the porch.
“I’m sure it is. I even missed you, big bro,” Riana told Jayden, embracing him.
“It won’t be long before I’ll be back in the states. Believe me, I love being in Italy, but I miss my family.”
“What about Zack? He’s not going to try out for any teams?” Riana asked.
“I think he likes it there, especially since Ciara moved there permanently.”
“Why are we still out here in the cold?” Cheryl interrupted with an attitude. She quickly picked up Troian and stomped inside.
“What’s her issue? It’s not even that cold,” Jayden said.
“What we’re going through now: lack of sleep,” Britney explained and rubbed Jay’s shoulder.
“Let’s get this vacay started,” I suggested as we went inside.
“What about everyone else? We can’t do anything without them, especially Mika and Devin. They’re getting married here,” Riana pointed out.
Mika and Devin’s second child was due to arrive any day now, and Mika insist on getting married before their baby arrived. With their busy schedules, they weren’t able to plan a wedding, so Riana had this elaborate idea to plan it. I think this is all for the new book she’s writing.
We walked into the cabin, taking in how spacious the area looked. Jay had done a lot of renovations throughout the years, including brightening the lights and adding modern furniture. He also added two rooms, which is good, considering all the people that will be here.
“When are your parents coming?” Britney asked Jayden and Riana as she sat on the black leather loveseat.
“Tomorrow. Marc had some things to take care of with the team before leaving,” Riana answered, referring to her and Jayden’s stepfather.
With the scandal involving Jayden and Zack a year ago, Marc lost his coaching position with the Baker Trojan but was ultimately hired back by Shaw University. Despite the backlash from several board members, their mouths quickly shut once he won them another championship. Jay even helped with practice during his off-season, which had helped them with their recent championship.
“I hope they come. I really want us to go out,” Cheryl said.
“You do realize we’re almost an hour away from Baker, right? There is a bar 10 miles out, but it’s not worth going to,” Jayden pointed out.
“Still sounds good to me,” Cheryl quipped.
“Is everything okay, Cher?” Riana asked.
“Everything is peachy, just peachy,” she answered, still holding Troian.
We looked around at each other as Monica rushed into the cabin with her two kids. She almost slam the door in Donnell’s face before stomping into the common room.
“Really, Monica?!” Donnell yelled while dumping their luggage on the floor.
“I don’t want to talk to you right now!”
“I think we should. You’re being unreasonable.”
“And you’re being possessive, like always!”
“Here we go,” I muttered, taking a seat beside Ri. This was their daily routine.
“Maybe you two should go outside and ‘talk,’” Riana suggested, using air quotes.
“I don’t need to talk to Donnell. I’ve said my piece; he just doesn’t want to accept it.”
“Because you didn’t talk to me about it!” he retorted.
I shook my head at them, thinking they needed to grow up. But despite the constant bickering and the overly dramatic behavior, this is still my family, and I’m going to miss them when I leave Baker. But the hardest part is telling Ri…
Please enter into the event’s giveaway to receive books from each great author that are participating!
Since this was short notice for me, I’m going to do something completely different. Instead of me participating in the giveaway, I will be giving away two eBook copies of A Love, Life, & Happiness Christmas to two people who can share their most memorable Christmas moment. I will be gifting the winners at 12:01 on December 26th.
I can’t wait to read your stories! 🙂