Renee Drummond-Brown is an accomplished poetess with experience in creative writing. She is a (Summa Cum Laude) graduate of Geneva College of Western Pennsylvania and graduate of The Center for Urban Biblical Ministry (CUBM). Renee’ is still in pursuit of excellence towards her mark for higher education.
She is working on her sixth book and has numerous works published globally which can be seen in cubm.org/news, KWEE Magazine (Liberian L. Review), Leaves of Ink Magazine, New Pittsburgh Courier, Raven Cage Poetry and Prose Ezine, Realistic Poetry International, Scarlet Leaf Publishing House, SickLit Magazine, The Metro Gazette Publishing Company, Inc., Tuck, and Whispers Magazine just to name a few.
Civil Rights Activist, Ms. Rutha Mae Harris, Original Freedom Singer of the Civil Rights Movement, was responsible for having Drummond-Brown’s very first poem published in the Metro Gazette Publishing Company, Inc., in Albany, GA. Renee’ also has poetry published in several anthologies and honorable mentions to her credit in various writing outlets. The Multicultural Student Services Office of Geneva College presented her with 2nd prize in the Undergraduate Essay Contest. Renee’ also won and/or placed in several poetry contests globally.
She was Poet of the Month Winner in Our Poetry Archives, 2017, and in the prestigious Potpourri Poets/Artists Writing Community. The author has been interviewed by Urban Heroes Blog Talk Radio and her poetry aired on Fifth Wall Radio. She has even graced the cover of KWEE Magazine in the month of May, 2016. Her love for creative writing is undoubtedly displayed through her very unique style and her work solidifies her as a force to be reckoned with in the literary world of poetry. Renee’ is inspired by non-other than Dr. Maya Angelou, and because of her, Renee’ posits “Still I write, I write, and I’ll write!”
Welcome to Scarlet Leaf Review!
Q: Tell us a little about yourself and your background.
I, Renee’ B. Drummond-Brown, am the wife of Cardell Nino Brown Sr. and from our union came Cardell Jr., Renee’ and Raven Brown. I am the offspring of Mr. Peter C., and the late Barbara Ann Drummond of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. My siblings are Delbert D. Drummond and the late Pastor Shawn C. Drummond. I was born in North Carolina, at Camp Lejeune US Naval Hospital. I am a graduate of Geneva College of Western Pennsylvania; with a Bachelor of Science degree in Christian Ministry Leadership and a Biblical Theology Studies Minor. I also hold a Christian Ministry Associates degree from The Center for Urban Biblical Ministry (CUBM) and plan to study creative writing in the fall semester. My love for creative writing is undoubtedly displayed through my very unique style of poetry. My poetry is inspired by God and Dr. Maya Angelou. Because of them, I pledge this: “Still I write, I write, and I’ll write!”
Q: Do you think that your school years have had an impact in your writing career? If so, what were you like at school?
I do feel that my school years, especially; the English, Humanities and Wisdom literature courses taken while in college had a major impact on my writing prose. However, during my earlier years in school; books such as Great Expectations by Charles Dickens and The Great Gatsby by: F. Scott Fitzgerald charted my writing path.
I was an extremely shy student, somewhat awkward and required remedial guidance in math and science in my earlier years. However, writing has always been my oxygen and poetry would later define my voice.
Q: Were you good at English or like Einstein you excel now in a field that was a nightmare for you as a student?
I was ‘NO’ Einstein in school, but, English was not a nightmare for me either. In fact, looking back at some of my report cards; I always had pretty decent marks in English and penmanship.
Q: What are your future ambitions for your writing career?
Prayerfully, to obtain a Master of Fine Arts (MFA) degree and become a renown poetess. My long term and SMART goal is to become a household name.
Q: Which poets have inspired you and how? What was their impact on your work or your literary perspective?
I have been inspired by Paul Laurence Dunbar and Dr. Maya Angelou’s work for years, because, their writings are strikingly similar. As a woman of color; I can identify with their plight through poetic thought/accounts. Their impact and writing prose left a legendary perspective on my worldview. Both writers have affected me in a profound way, therefore, my love for poetry is a template of their legacy. I cannot leave out that I absolutely love, love, love Dr. Maya Angelou’s gift for poetic gab which left a huge impact on my writing prose.
Q: So, would you mind telling us what you have written so far?
I have written 5 books thus far and presently working on 6 & 7 simultaneously. My books include “A B.A.D. Poem”, “The Power of the Pen”, “SOLD: TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER”, “Renee’s Poems with Wings are Words in Flight-I’ll Write Our Wrongs!” and an e-Book “Renee’s Poems with Wings are Words in Flight.”
Q: Where can we buy or see them?
My books are Hardback, paperback and in e-Book form and are available online; sold on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Kindle, Nook and in over 33,000 websites globally. I am published with AuthorHouse Publishing Company, WestBow Press Publishing Company and The Metro Gazette Publishing Company; Albany GA.-Chief-in-Editor Judith Hampton-Thompson.
Q: What are you working on at the minute? What's it about?
I am presently in the photo selection and cover design stage with my up-coming book “A B.A.D. Poem” so WATCH OUT FOR IT!!! However, I don’t want to give away the books clues (just yet) but, what I will say is that the book will drift you on a memory and it is dedicated to the memory of my beloved mother Barbara Ann Drummond. Her initials were used to come up with the book’s title. THIS BOOK IS MY BABY!
Q: What genre are your books and what draws you to this genre?
Renee’s Poems with Wings are Words in Flight are a plethora of poetic thoughts penned to inspire and nurture the soul. I am drawn to poetry because you can start a story and finish it all in the same day. For me; short, pithy writes are the way to go.
Q: How much research do you do for your books?
Approximately 90% of research went into my poetic accounts because I was attending college while writing my books.
Q: When did you decide to become a writer and why? What was the principal reason for taking up a pen (metaphorically speaking) and write that first sentence?
I began writing as early as five years of age (and loved, loved, loved every minute of it). However, because of Publisher Judith Hampton-Thompson, of the Metro Gazette Publishing Company taking a personal interest in my poetry; she challenged me to begin to take my own craft more seriously, which then caused me to fulfill my desire and finally write that book. Nevertheless, I considered myself a writer while at Geneva College; year 2013, when Rutha Mae Harris of Albany, GA., Original Freedom Singer and Civil Rights Activist gave my poem titled: “Ms. Rutha Mae Harris” to Judith Hampton-Thompson, Publisher, Metro Gazette Publishing Company to be published. It was at that very moment that I knew, that I knew, that I knew that I was an Author.
Q: Do you write full-time or part-time? Do you have a special time to write or do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when?
I write full time for now, until Grad school starts in the fall. I try to write every single day 24/7; 7 days a week! As previously stated in my book, “SOLD: TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER”, “WRITING IS MY OXYGEN” (Drummond, R., p.xii). My favorite hours to write are in the still of the night between 12:00 & 6:00 AM.
Q: Where do your ideas come from? Or is it just the spur of the moment, a special feeling you experience or a specific conjuncture that offers you inspiration?
My writing ideas come from Scripture (The King James Bible), oppression, injustices that reflect periods in time relating to slavery, Civil Rights Movement, and the plight of the 21st century children.
Q: How do you think you've evolved creatively?
I have evolved creatively because of this scripture “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2Timothy 2:15 KJV).
Q: Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I never write creatively with an outline or plot. I ‘ALWAYS’ write backwards. I must see an ending to create the beginning.
Q: In your opinion, what is the hardest thing about writing?
The hardest thing about writing is the lost time stolen away from family and friends.
Q: Now, what about the easiest thing about writing?
The completion phase of each book is ‘ALWAYS’ worth the author’s wait.
Q: Do you ever get writer's block and if so do you have any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer's block?
YES!!! YES!!! YES!!! I dread writers block. Nevertheless, I had to learn when to hold ‘em’, when to fold ‘em’ and when to walk away from a writing project!!!
Q: Do you read much and if so who are your favorite authors? For your own reading, do you prefer eBooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
I love to write vs. read! Nonetheless, my favorite authors are Alice Walker (The Color Purple), the late poets, Dr. Maya Angelou and Paul Laurence Dunbar. I prefer traditional paper/hard back books, because, I’m old school and want the book in my hand.
Q: What book are you reading at present?
I am currently reading Phenomenal Woman by Dr. Maya Angelou.
Q: Tell us about the covers of your books. How did it/they come about?
I am presently working on my newest book cover for “A B.A.D. Poem” and I don’t want to give away the cover design; just yet. However, it is important to note* that I will publish a brilliant 10 year old Author by the name of Angelo C. Collins work, within this book. His parents and I are extremely proud of his highly proclaimed credit.
I am not a picture person; therefore, “The Power of the Pen” book cover was designed in text which included my photo to finally introduce me to my readers/followers. It was my husband’s idea for my photo to be placed on that particular book cover.
I came up with the “SOLD: TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER” book cover because of the theme of that particular book, which was centered on our past, present and future as African American people. For example: one poem in my book is titled: “Tell ‘em’” which is a poetic account of a 14 year old slave girl who visits my dreams and request over and over again that I “tell ‘em’” all about her troubles which includes her being sold on the auction block. Therefore, the cover “SOLD: TO THE HIGHEST BIDDER” was derived from that poetic account.
“Renee’s Poems with Wings are Words in Flight-I’ll Write our Wrongs!” book is a collection of poetic accounts designed to have colorblind justice. Therefore, I used a justice scale of good vs. evil on the book cover (appearing as though evil is outweighing the good) however, this Biblical scripture sets the background tone for the book cover “But I say unto you which hear, Love your enemies, do good to them which hate you, Bless them that curse you, and pray for them which despitefully use you (Matthew 6:27-28 KJV).
Q: Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
Definitely yes!!! If one is a visual learner like me; the colors, photo and graphic design is what brings the book title/message to life, which ultimately enhances the buying process.
Q: What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?
The advantage of self-publishing is the fact that you are the Publisher, Editor, and Designer. You get the last say. Buck stops with you!!! YOU’RE IT!!! As oppose to a publisher/publishing house rejecting various ideas as it relates to your creativity and thought.
Q: What do you do to get book reviews?
I allow my books to speak for themselves and then I read the various reviews on Amazon.
Q: What are your views on social media for marketing? Which social network works best for you?
My very first published e-Book is what introduced me to social media in 2015. My daughter and namesake, Renee’, advised me that Face Book was a necessary tool to use to properly market my books/e-Books. Face book and LinkIn are the social media sites that I use to advertise my book links. I also belong to numerous poetry groups on Face book and post poetry frequently. I have been interviewed by Chief-in-Editor Fiona McVie of the United Kingdom, Author Susan Joyner-Stumph of Wildfire Publication Rhythm And Muse Artist, KWEE Liberian Literary Magazine and even graced their cover in May, 2016. I have even been featured as a spotlight poetess online and have won and/or placed in several poetry contests globally which is wonderful media marketing.
Q: Do you think that giving books away free works and why?
Book give always are always good because it makes the reader connect to you as a writer and want to tell others more about you as an author. On another note* Author Halif Khalif Khalifah just requested of me on Face Book; one of my books for nominees for Black Book Awards for Excellence in Black Literature, which is also another way to promote your work by giving away free books.
Q: How do you relax?
I relax with Scriptures, music, meditation and memories.
Q: What is your favorite motivational phrase? What is your favorite positive saying?
My favorite motivational phrase and/or positive saying is actually one of my own quotes taken from my book: The Power of the Pen which is "You can’t break me; you didn’t make me” (Drummond-Brown, R., p.xxi).
Q: What is your favorite book and why?
My favorite book is The Holy Bible, King James Version; because it’s the ‘only’ infallible truth.
Q: What is your favorite quote?
One of my favorite quotes is “And he sent forth a raven, which went forth to and fro, until the waters were dried up from off the earth” (Genesis 8:7 KJV). I absolutely love this quote, because, I see myself as that ‘black bird’ that travels to and fro with an ordained poetic flow.
Q: Where can you see yourself in 5 years-time?
I see myself with a Master’s degree completion and possibly (God willing) in a Doctoral program.
Q: What advice would you give to your younger self?
I would have advised myself to put more emphasis and focus on my education. I would have become a Doctor of Philosophy.
Q: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
The advice that I have to offer to aspiring writers is “education is the key that turns your future” (Drummond-Brown, R.) which is a quote taken from my book as well.
Q: Where do you see publishing going in the future?
Because social media has become so technological, I see publishing advancing leaps and bounds.
Q: Is there anything else you would like to add that I haven't included?
“Step out on faith, find your purpose and write your own legacy” (Drummond-Brown,R.,).
Q: How can readers discover more about you and your work?
Readers can discover more about me and my books on the following links . . .
https://www.amazon.com/Power-Pen-Renee-Drummond-Brown/dp/1524640948 http://www.authorhouse.co.uk/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001114530 https://www.amazon.com/Sold-Highest-Bidder-Renee%C2%92s-Flight/dp/1504968395 http://bookstore.authorhouse.com/Products/SKU-001068789/Sold-To-the-Highest-Bidder.aspx https://www.amazon.com/Renees-Poems-Wings-Words-Flight/dp/1490887946 http://bookstore.westbowpress.com/Products/SKU-001005621/Renees-Poems-with-Wings-Are-Words-in-Flight.aspx
My Poetry/Interviews have aired Fifthwall and Urban Heroes Blog Talk Radio:
Fifthwall Radio. Santa Fe, New Mexico. Radio Station, Hosted By Jack Kolkmeyer. http://www.fifthwallradio.com
Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.
To bring joy to readers everywhere.