Guest Author - Shelia M. Goss
Please introduce yourself to the readers.
My name is Dorrie Williams-Wheeler. I am an author and entertainment writer. I am a Chicago native and I currently reside in Virginia Beach. My latest book is named Sparkledoll.com but I am probably best known for my fiction books Be My Sorority Sister-Under Pressure and Sparkledoll Always Into Something 2004 Edition. I just turned 30 and Iím excited about that. I feel like I have accomplished a lot in my life and career and I need to be 30.
Tell us about your books.
My current title is named Sparkledoll.com-Reflections, Celebrity Interviews and Behind the Scenes with Author and Pop Culture Critic Dorrie Williams-Wheeler. Itís a professional autobiography of sorts. I wanted to write something personal but I didnít want to have to go through all of the legal drama of having people sign off on releases that a true autobiography would require. So I wrote about myself, my writing career, my personal thoughts, my life as a web designer. I have been designing websites for 10 years now. Iíve had some very exciting and controversial websites, and I detail them in the book. The book also includes some of my favorite celebrity interviews from Thabiz.com. I wanted a hard copy of these interviews and being the literary person that I am a book made the most sense to me. My previous fiction novels include Be my Sorority Sister-Under Pressure and Sparkledoll Always Into Something 2004 Edition. I am also the author of the 2005 non-fiction book The Unplanned Pregnancy Book for Teens and College Students. I just found out that the book may be included in a feature story that a national teen magazine is working on so Iím excited about that.
How do you juggle your non-fiction writing with your fiction writing?
Itís really hard. One genre always suffers when it comes to promotion but Iím getting a little better. For the Unplanned Pregnancy Book for Teens and College Students I am launching the ďPregnancy Free Summer Pledge.Ē It is a pledge that teens and their parents can download from the website and sign. Itís a pledge that teens will make it through the long summer break without getting pregnant. Sparkledoll.com is a non-fiction book but it has some short stories, excerpts from my other books and articles so itís a rather unique book to promote. I had the most fun promoting Be My Sorority Sister-Under Pressure because it was a book that so many people wanted to read. At the same time I discovered that it was a very niche book. When I would do mall signings in certain areas I would almost sell no books at all. I would sell ďSparkledoll Always Into SomethingĒ but very few copies of the sorority book. People that werenít interested in college life or the Greek system really had no desire in that book at times. I had a book signing this past February where I sold a ton of pregnancy books and Sparkledoll always Into Something and 3 sorority books. So it just a part of knowing your audience. I think I have a little something for everyone.
As for the writing, The Unplanned Pregnancy Book for Teens and College Students required a lot of research and hard work. Sparkledoll.com the book was a lot of fun to write. I was giving readers myself. The book includes journal entries, pictures from my personal collection and short stories and articles that I had only shared with my friends and family for the most part. Some of the personal essays I had never shared with anyone before. So it was a real eye opening book. I think I have never been more proud of anything that I have written in my entire life. I wrote the book, designed the cover, typeset the book, it really was a labor of love and it all came together so quickly. As for juggling the writing, I just write whatever I am in the mood for
Are your characters based on people you know?
In the book Be My Sorority Sister-Under Pressure, none of the characters were based on people I know with the exception of the character Cassidy, she was modeled after a real person. Physically in my head she resembled my old suitemate in college. She was very tall, beautiful, graceful-and Greek. She never left for class without her sorority shoulder bag. So in my head when I thought about Cassidy, I envisioned my old suitemate. She looked more like a model than a science/technology major. The characters from my first fiction novel Sparkledoll Always Into Something were most definitely inspired by real life people. Itís not like I made a character after a certain person that I knew, but when I was writing a character I visually had a person I knew in real life in mind.
Do you listen to music when you write? If so, what CDs would you recommend to readers?
You know I canít remember if I listen to music when I write. I listen to music when I exercise. I usually write at night and my kids are sleep. So sometimes I will put on my headphones and listen to music so I wontí wake them up. I really like the Pet Shop Boys. Not there stuff from the 80ís as much as their post 1993-2002 stuff. So I will listen to the Pet Shop Boys a lot. Those are some of my quirky favorites. As for CDís I would recommend to other people in the last few months I reviewed Commonís CD ďBE,Ē Jaguar Wrights ďDivorcing Neo to Marry SoulĒ and Raheem Devaughnís ďThe Love Experience.Ē I would recommend all of those.
Who are some of your favorite rappers/singers?
Rappers. I have always liked DJ Quik, NWA, Souls of Mischief, Digital Underground and Mystic. Currently I enjoy Kanye West, Jay Z, Common, T.I. and Double H. My favorite singers are Aaliyah, Destinyís Child, Kelis, R. Kelly, Nivea, and Ciara. My favorite groups are The Cure, The Pet Shop Boys, No Doubt, TLC, Culture Club, and INXS.
What's one thing that your fans probably don't know about you and you're willing to reveal?
HummÖthatís a hard one. Iím hooked up myspace.com. Itís crazy. You try to add friends and let people add you. Itís nuts. Whatís weird is I even ran into people on there who had read my books. I thought to myself, ďGee I thought no one even knew who I was.Ē Other than that people probably donít know that Degrassi Junior High and Degrassi Junior High are my ALL TIME favorite television shows. I watch them on DVD all the time and I was really happy when I got to interview several of the cast members a few weeks ago. The other thing people probably donít know is about 75% of the time I really look like a bum. I have two kids under five, Iím busy all the time I have all of this make-up and accessories I barely get to use. So yeah, I look a wreck most the time but when I dress up I make up for it.
What advice would you give aspiring writers?
Just keep writing. I know that sounds clichť but I donít have a big time publishing deal. I donít have an agent. I donít have a publicist. Iíve done most everything on my own and with the support of readers, the Lord and other authors. I donít even know if I would want a big deal. Of course I would like the money but I really enjoy having the creative control. I doubt any publisher in the U.S. would have let me put Sparkledoll.com out the way it is. Itís like I got to do something my way. You also have to be really dedicated. Iím on the computer a lot and to my husband who is not a big computer person it might seem like Iím ďplaying,Ē but even when I am not writing Iím networking, thinking of ideas, coming up with plans and so forth. I wouldnít mind getting a nice publishing deal or an agent, but I just havenít been ďdiscoveredĒ yet and Iím not actively pursuing it, you know sending out queries and stuff. Itís frustrating. I have had at least a half a dozen agents show serious interest in me but nothing ever materialized. So my advice would be just start getting your work out there whether you use a print on demand publisher or print up your own books . This is just my advice. I have a friend who spent 18 months sending out queries until she found an agent and got a book deal but I just donít have that kind of patience. I want my stuff out and I want it out now!
What can readers expect from you in the future?
My readers should check out my website
Thabiz.com often. I update it more than my other websites. I really enjoy interviewing people, itís a lot of fun. Iím sure I will release more books in the future but I have active titles I plan to promote for the next year or so.
How can readers learn more about your books and get in contact with you?
Readers can visit my website
dorriewilliamswheeler.com. They are both the same site but Tee C. Royal from RAWSISTAZ told me itís best that authors have websites with their real name so the longer domain points to my Sparkledoll site.
I can be reached at:
PO Box 56173
Virginia Beach, VA 23456