"People always ask me… You have so much confidence. Where did that come from? It came from me. One day I decided that I was beautiful, and so I carried out my life as if I was a beautiful girl. I wear colors that I really like, I wear makeup that makes me feel pretty, and it really helps. It doesn’t have anything to do with how the world perceives you. What matters is what you see. Your body is your temple, it’s your home, and you must decorate it.” – Gabourey Sidibe
Tell us a little about yourself.
I was born and raised in Bronx, New York and spent my formative years between New York and my parents’ hometown of Georgetown, South Carolina. I’m single and still reside in the Bronx with my son. I am a book reviewer and contributing writer for several publications. I’ve written professionally for print and film, including the optioning of a screenplay with Flavor Unit Films, Inc. I currently head Big Body Broadcasting, my BlogTalkRadio network, and I am the President and CEO of my own publishing company, Big Body Publishing.
What sets your Big Body Publishing imprint apart from all others?
I created Big Body Publishing to fill a need that is not being served in the publishing industry. We are the premiere publishing company for content written by and geared towards the plus-size population. Big Body Publishing gives a voice to the confident, mature and sexy side of full-bodied temptresses.
What are some of the services your company offers?
In addition to being a traditional publishing house, we have partnered with J’son M. Lee of Sweet Georgia Press to form Synopsis Synergy. Synopsis Synergy helps authors put the pieces together by editing, creating and fine-tuning their bios, book synopses and/or submission packages. We look to add book coaching and media training to our Big Body Publishing services roster in the future.
Why did you decide to establish a presence in broadcasting in addition to publishing?
I believe it was fate. I started my BlogTalkRadio show, The Q-Spot with Big Body, as part of Julia Press Simmons’ QMBXRadio network. For personal reasons, Julia made the decision to end her evening lineup. I didn’t want to lose my audience or give up something I love to do, so I established my own network, Big Body Broadcasting.
Tell us a little about your show, The Q-Spot with Big Body.
The Q-Spot with Big Body is my monthly show that airs every first Friday at 9:00 pm EST on the Big Body Broadcasting network. The show serves as a platform for authors, entertainers and entrepreneurs seeking additional promotion and exposure for their projects and services.
Is your writing being showcased anywhere other than through your publishing company?
Yes, it is. I am currently a book reviewer and contributing writer for African Americans on the Move Book Club, and they also publish my monthly column, The Situation Room with Michelle Cuttino. I am a columnist for Proud Times Magazine out of Spokane, WA, Curve Appeal, and Real Life, Real Faith Magazine. One of my shorts is also included in an erotica anthology released by Strebor/Simon & Schuster. I have also appeared as a guest blogger on many prestigious and inspirationational websites.
Your debut novel is titled Love & Happiness. Without giving too much away, what is the book about?
Love & Happiness is about a plus-sized woman named Roxanne, who expertly manages her marketing firm while her attempts at controlling her personal life are faltering. In her quest for fulfillment, she unsuccessfully juggles her engagement to fiancé, Mark Watkins, her complex dealings with her stepsister and ex-lover, Ayana Linden and her no-holds-barred affair with Royal T. Roaman—who just so happens to be Mark’s nemesis, and Ayana’s new obsession. As all of their lives and relationships begin to intertwine, truths are unearthed, infidelities come to light and futures are threatened. If they aren’t careful in their search for Love & Happiness, Roxanne, or one of her lovers, may lose everything—including their life.
I love the name "Queen of Plus-Size Fiction." It represents unapologetic strength. What's the story behind it?
My parents taught me the key to success is doing something you love, and getting paid for it. My passion is writing. With writing, I was told you must write what you know. Incorporating the two concepts, I decided to write fiction geared towards the plus-size population. I am a full-figured woman, who loves the skin I’m in. My characters personify me as well as those I encounter in my daily surroundings. I always felt if I was going to do anything, I needed to do it bigger and better than the competition. In order to reign effectively, rulers assume a title. My title is the Queen of Plus-Size Fiction.
If you knew then what you know now as a seasoned author, and you went back in time to meet your novice self, what advice would you give yourself?
I would tell myself not to stop. There was a point in my life when writing was all I did. I ate, slept, and drank it, and I was beginning to garner a buzz and make a name for myself. Then all of a sudden, I just stopped. Someone stole my joy, and I let go of my passion. A few years ago, I lost my seven-year-old niece, who was like a daughter to me. Her death inspired me to live life to the fullest, and do what I love. In writing her obituary and eulogy, my love for storytelling was rekindled. I’ve been on a mission ever since. This time I refuse to quit.
You’re an author, motivational speaker, columnist, plus-size lifestyle blogger, talk radio host, publisher, entrepreneur and mother—all while working a full-time job. How do you juggle so much responsibility without one or more suffering?
It’s not easy, and some things do suffer. My deadlines are strict and sometimes coincide with each other, so I can’t spend as much quality time with my family as I would like. My life coach sessions with Dawniel Patterson-Winningham taught me about time management. I follow her teachings to the letter. I take notes in my notepad and schedule everything on my calendar. Even if it’s a date or a catch-up session with my sons, I write it down. With so much going on in my life, it’s easy to forget things. If it’s on my calendar, it will definitely get done. Time management is key.