The Truth About Sista Brianna
by Shelia Bell
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Smart, sassy, and single middle school teacher, Brianna Madison, hides behind the mask of her disability. Bound by a wheelchair and held hostage by her emotions, Brianna’s self-esteem is shot, and her belief in love is non-existent. Will she ever stop running from herself and from love? Is love the cure-all or will her web of lies and secrets destroy any chance Brianna has to heal from her past and claim what the future has for her?
History teacher Trey Hollister’s first year at Augustine Prep is already off to a good start when he enters the prestigious halls of the private academy. Handsome, and newly divorced, Trey is not looking for a relationship. Fresh memories of how painful heartbreak can be keeps him grounded. Things change quickly when he sets eyes on his co-worker, Brianna. But Brianna’s tough shell is almost more than he cares to handle. Will he keep pursuing Brianna or give in to the growing demands of an ex-wife who wants him back.
Shelia E. Bell (formerly Shelia E. Lipsey) is an award-winning, national bestselling author with 20+ books published in christian fiction, women’s fiction, nonfiction, and young adult genres. Her books have garnered numerous awards and accolades, including 2017 Christian Literary Readers’ Choice Award, 2015 Rosa Parks Award, 2014 Christian Literary Award, AAMBC Nate Holmes Honorary Award, Kindle Award, OOSA Book of the Year, numerous SORMAG awards and more.
Shelia began her publishing career in 1999. Since then, she has set the literary industry ablaze with her dynamic, true to life stories that she calls “perfect stories about imperfect people like you…and me.”
Shelia is passionate about helping others and encourages and promotes people to ‘live their dreams now.’ In 2012, she founded a non profit organization “Black Writers And Book Clubs (BWABC) Literacy Association” with a mission to promote literacy one community at a time. Shelia is also a well-respected freelance book editor.
A much sought after inspirational speaker, Shelia travels near and far sharing her inspirational messages of how to overcome the adversities of life. Having had polio since the age of two, she accepts no excuses and is determined not to let her physical imperfections keep her from her life’s purposes.
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What are you passionate about these days?
I’m passionate about animal rights, about saving the lives of animals, and continuing my vegan journey of ten plus years. This is my tiny contribution to saving them and saving our lives at the same time.
What do you do to unwind and relax?
To unwind and relax I like kicking back, getting up in my bed, and surfing channels for the next best reality show! I watch a little Netflix, do a little reading and of course spend precious time with my grandkids. With the isolation due to COVID-19, of course I have to talk to them via Facetime or Duo. I miss them.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
I believe I considered myself a writer before I even wrote a book. I wrote poems and as time passed I realized I had a story to tell. Now 25 books later, here I am!
Do you have a favorite movie?
My favorite movies are The Other Sister, City of Angels, You’ve Got Mail, Love and Basketball, Best Man and Best Man Holiday
Which of your novels can you imagine made into a movie?
I can see every last one of my novels turned into film whether it be in the form of a movie on the big screen, a TV series or a Netflix movie. They all are great stories that I believe viewers would enjoy.
What inspired you to write this book?
This latest book release is part of standalone books I call “Shorts by Shelia.” These books are meant to be quick, entertaining, reads for readers on the go. I have other Shorts by Shelia stories such as “Forever Ain’t Enough” and “Cross Road”. I plan to release more of these Shorts by Shelia later this year.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I’m working on more books that I call “Shorts by Shelia.” These are smaller books fewer than 125 pages that are meant to give readers a short, entertaining read while they’re sitting in a doctor’s appointment, standing in a long line, or just taking a lunch break.
Do your characters seem to hijack the story or do you feel like you have the reigns of the story?
I would say my characters hijack the story. For me, this is a good thing. It pulls me totally outside of ME and allows my characters free rein to act, do, and speak as they so choose. I don’t like holding the reins because it might restrict what the characters have to say and it would put more of ME into the story when it’s not about me. I’m just the messenger.
How long have you been writing?
I have been writing since I was a preteen. I wrote poetry, speeches, loved writing essays and now that has evolved into me being a published author
What kind of research do you do before you begin writing a book?
I do most of my research during writing. I research whatever I need to research to enhance the story and make my book as realistic and believable as possible.
Do you see writing as a career?
Yes, writing is already my lifelong career–and editing.
What do you think about the current publishing market?
I think the current publishing market is oversaturated with authors or those who say they’re authors but put out less than tasteful, high quality work. As an editor, I know the importance of a well edited story. It saddens me that so many people believe in slapping words on paper, putting a cover on it, and publishing it. On the other hand, the publishing market has given an open forum to any and everyone who has a story to share. No more pleading, begging, praying and hoping for that big publishing contract.
Do you read yourself and if so what is your favorite genre?
I read but not as much as I’d like to. As an editor I read a lot of manuscripts so hardly ever do I read for pleasure anymore. My time is so busy with editing and writing, making it more difficult. I like nonfiction, suspense and general fiction.
Do you write one book at a time or do you have several going at a time?
I usually write one book at a time. I put my all into that one book before moving to the next. It works better that way for me.
Pen or type writer or computer?
Definitely typewriter/computer. I can’t see myself writing in longhand.
Advice you would give new authors?
I cannot emphasize enough to new authors: Please take your time to produce a quality story that has been professionally EDITED.