Seeking First with Sonnie Beverly
Since I'm all over the place, with my hands in many pots, wearing many hats, I'll be posting my links in this blog.
1. How did you start out your writing career?
I’ve always loved to write. I got my best grades in English and writing, however when I got to college I asked my advisor what did I need to major in to guarantee employment upon graduation and he said Accounting. Therefore, I’ve been a professional accountant since I graduated college with an accounting degree in the early 80’s, but I never gave up my dream of seeing my name on book covers in bookstores. When my father passed unexpectantly in 1998, I was paralyzed and the only thing I could do was write. So I wrote and self-published my first novel in 1999, REAL SAVED FOLKS. When I got born again for real in 1988 and decided to do more than just go to church as I had done my whole life, I began to see some trends between people who went to church and those who were striving to do what the Bible instructed, as I was striving to do. I used my characters to distinguish the church folk from the saved folk, because I wasn’t so sure that the difference was clear.
2. What did you learn while writing SEEK FIRST INCORPORATED?
I learned that no matter how extreme our differences are, white/black, educated/drop-out, democrat/republican, elite/ghetto, etc., if there is a will, there is a way that we can come together and build something glorious for the Kingdom of God.
3. What did you hope to accomplish with SEEK FIRST INCORPORATED?
This country is so divided and fractured, that I wanted to demonstrate through my characters, who are from very different walks of life, that our differences are our strengths and shouldn’t be feared or hated, but combined as one to do amazingly positive things to make the world a better place.
4. Which character did you have the most fun writing about?
Wendell Monroe was the most fun and challenging character to write about because he had the most dramatic transformation. I had to bring him all the way from one extreme over to the opposite position that he initially hated. I had to do this realistically, convincingly and with his character and personality still intact while showing readers how to not only make an external transition, but how to transform internally through the renewing of the mind with the Word of God.
5. What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
I’m most surprised by the fact that writing the book is the easiest part. The real work begins with trying to get it published. And even after it’s published, it’s pretty overwhelming to walk into Barnes and Noble and to figure out how to get your work to stand out among ALL of the products they have for sale.
6. What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?
I’m a mother and raising three wonderful children has been the best, most rewarding part of my life. So to create and develop wonderful characters that I have complete control over is what I love the best. My least favorite thing to write is fluff. I’m an accountant, the bottom line type. I don’t like wasting words on describing outfits, the weather, scenery, but much prefer presenting a problem and writing the step by step solutions to the problem. I love quality and substance and believe they are important take aways for readers.
7. What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?
I don’t have any regrets because I think writing was what I used to transition and to transform in a world without my father and it has been very cathartic. I didn’t push, but was led by the Holy Spirit the entire time to get to this point in the process, so everything I’ve learned along the way has been enlightening and instrumental in my development. I believe everything was revealed to me at the precise time it was suppose to be.
8. Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?
DO maintain INTEGRITY in your writing. Write to please yourself and don’t compromise yourself to please your readers. Hypocrisy is so obvious.
DON’T rush the process and then try to come up with excuses as to why you have put sub-standard mess out into the world. You only get one chance to make a first impression and that first impression is what sticks.
9. What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
That the devil is in the details. Non-writers get the polished, finished product and have no idea what all it took to get it there. Criticism and critiquing are different. Non-writers who criticize just for the sake of criticizing should probably understand that a little more depth of thought could help them to be taken more seriously.
10. If you could be a character from any book you’ve read, who would you be?
Nobody, seriously. I’m totally and completely satisfied, content and abundantly blessed being Sonnie Beverly.
11. When you’re not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?
I’m a movie buff and I love the theater, having been to the theater a dozen times this year from New York to Los Angeles. My brother, a New York playwright and composer finally got our musical play CHILDREN OF GOD into the Midtown International Theater Festival this summer and was nominated for 6 awards, including Best Musical, as well as the lead acting nominations. I have boy and girl twins, who have film and theater degrees respectively. Their missions are to adapt my novels into screen and stageplays and then produce them. I’m the executive producer over all of these other forms of entertainment.
12. What do you do to interact with your readers?
I might be on Facebook and Twitter a little bit too much. I was actually chatting with one of my readers while she was reading SEEK FIRST INCORPORATED and we had to be very careful that I not give anything away that she may not have read yet. It was so much fun.
13. Our theme for this month is BUSINESS OF WRITING. What were you surprised by about the business side of writing?
Being a business woman, first and foremost, I’m not easily surprised. What I was surprised about was how non-business savvy people are who are out here trying to run a business and when they are called on it, how quick they are to reclassify it as a hobby or their hustle. The distinction needs to be made up front. Business people need to deal with business people and hustlers need to stick together.
14. Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?
What I know for sure is that only what’s done for Christ will last.
15. Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?
I introduced some pretty powerful and amazing characters in SEEK FIRST INCORPORATED. So powerful that they and their fans are demanding their own separate novels developing more of their background story, showing how they came to be the amazing men and women that they are. Since I started writing at the beginning of the new millennium and spent a decade trying to get folk saved with my writing, REAL SAVED FOLK, SAVED BABIES DADDIES, OUT OF THE MOUTHS OF SAVED BABES & SAVED FOLK IN THE HOUSE, I plan to spend the next decade showing folk through the SEEK FIRST INCORPORATED characters how saved folk should be seeking God first in all that they do. So THE SEEK FIRST BOOK SERIES is coming where folk can focus on their favorite character to learn how to walk upright with God.http://sormag.blogspot.com/
Romans 12:19: Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
The power of forgiveness is phenomenal. Remember that when you have been wronged. Not for the other person, but for yourself. Forgiveness is something you do for yourself. As hard as it may be to forgive someone who has done you wrong, once we understand that forgiveness is for us, deep revelashaun will flood our hearts and minds and move us closer to our mission and purpose.
The 14th chapter of Matthew brilliantly demonstrates this concept. John the Baptist, Jesus' cousin, the man who baptized Jesus Christ our Lord, was brutally murdered for no good reason. John told King Herod that it was not lawful for him to have his brother Philip's wife, upsetting the sister-in-law to the point where King Herod had John imprisoned for speaking the truth. But sister-in-law still wasn't satisfied. She even went so far as to plot to have her daughter dance for King Herod in such a way that he would do anything for her. The daughter danced and pleased Herod so much that he promised her anything she wanted. Per her mother's instructions she asked for John the Baptist's head. Herod, disturbed that this was not cool, was still too craven to stand up for what was right. So the punk kept his promise and granted the dancing girl's wish and John was beheaded. I was outraged when I read that in the Bible. All I wanted to know from that point on was what did Jesus do? Once I found out, it gave new meaning to the popular phrase "What Would Jesus Do?" I traced Jesus' steps from the point that John was murdered to find out what He was going to do to exact revenge on Herod. All I wanted to know was how was Jesus going to retaliate. I mean John was family after all.
As I studied Jesus after the murder, I became perplexed because He didn't retaliate the way I thought He should have with all of His power. Our thinking is so warped. As I continued to make sense out of the scriptures I found that we have a lot to unlearn before we can learn. We have to practically reverse our way of thinking. For example, to get, you have to give. That is contrary to popular belief. Work, work, work is how you get. But the Bible says if you have a need, sow a seed.
When the disciples told Jesus about what had happened to his cousin John, I wanted Jesus to get up and go destroy Herod and everybody in the palace, well at least the dancing girl and her mother, which is why God only gives us the amount of power we can handle because some of us would abuse it. We think God is holding back on us, but actually He is protecting us from ourselves by not giving us more than we can handle. When Jesus heard the news, He went to be alone to pray, however people followed Him because I guess they wanted to know what He was going to do too. What He did was heal the sick among them. In the midst of His pain from the death of His cousin, He still had enough compassion in His heart to lay hands on the sick and heal them. I remember saying to God when I read that, "Jesus is wonderful and that was a nice thing He did during His grieving period, but when is He going to get the dancing girl, her mother and uncle?" I did not get it. I was missing the whole point being conditioned to retaliate. So God had me to continue reading.
Next when the disciples were about to send the people away hungry, Jesus concerned that they hadn't eaten all day had them to determine how much food was available among the people with which to feed the multitude. Now multitude is right. The Bible speaks of 5,000 men, besides the women and children. Considering today's ratio of women to men, plus their children in a time when there was no birth control, there were way more than 5,000 people to feed, although the Bible stops at 5,000. Probably too many to count. All the disciples rounded up were two fish and five loaves of bread to feed all those people. Well, we know the story. They all ate til they were full and they had enough left over to fill 12 baskets. Each disciple got a doggie bag. I told God that was awesome, awesome, awesome. Then I asked God, "But when are we gonna get the dancing girl and mama nem?" The point was still going over my head. So I kept reading.
Jesus went into the mountain to pray and the disciples stayed on the boat. When Jesus came to join them, He walked out to the boat, right directly on the water and didn't sink. He frightened the disciples and Peter said, "If it's you Lord, let me walk on the water too." Jesus said, "Come", and Peter went. Peter walked on water too, but was distracted by the boisterous winds and waves and took his eyes off Jesus and began to sink. Quick lesson: When you are out there in that deep water, don't you take your eyes off Jesus. Jesus caught Peter, of course and this being one of the greatest miracles in the Bible, if anybody asked what was something miraculous Jesus did, most people will say He walked on water. Even after all that, I had the audacity to ask God again, "This chapter is wrapping up, now just when are we going to kill the dancing girl, mama and king unk?" I thought if we didn't get them by the end of the chapter then I must have missed something. So I kept reading.
I read that when they reached land, and the people heard that Jesus was there, they brought every sick person in the land to Jesus and He healed them all. The Bible said that every last one of them were made whole. In today's terms, Jesus went up in the hospital and turned it out. WOW!! It was then that I got it. I said to God, "So instead of retaliating the devil's way, we are to handle it YOUR way, by loving, having compassion and blessing people." We should never handle our situations the devil's way because we can never beat him at his own game. If Jesus had taken care of it my way, the only thing that would have been accomplished is three more people would have been dead. But Jesus did it God's way. In the face of hatred and murder He demonstrated love and compassion. He performed some of the greatest miracles in the Bible in that one chapter in retaliation for what the devil did to his cousin. He healed the sick, He fed the hungry multitude, He walked on water and He turned the hospital out completely restoring, making whole all who touched Him.
Then God let me know that it wasn't the dancing girl, her mama or her uncle that was the enemy, but the spirit in them that drove them to commit murder. That spirit is what we have to learn to recognize and come against so that the people can be spared and saved. Ephesians 6:12 tells us who our true enemy is, "For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." We are wasting our time fighting each other. We need to do what Jesus did and with love and compassion, kick the devil's butt, but good. This is the reason why I write the way I do.