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Interview with romance author A.M Gilliam

In the literary world, where everybody is following the traditional route of publishing, here is a novelist who has opted to self-publish her brand-new novel. A.M Gilliam has captivated her readers with her unique style of writing. Her power to portray human emotions and tendencies and transform them into romantic sagas have made her the queen of romance novels. She currently lives in Richmond, Virginia. She is the author of two books,“Sweet Serenity” published in 2017 and  ”Redemption” in 2020.


MALAVIKA: Before we talk about writing and romance , let’s get to know you better. While browsing about you online, I came across your profiles on amazon and goodreads. Can you tell us a bit about A.M Gilliam that is not given in your bio on your social media platforms?

GILLIAM: Yes. I’m a mother, a writer, an entrepreneur and I also work as a Medical Accountant full-time.

MALAVIKA: Great! For me, I started writing out of the blue. So what motivated you to put pen to paper? When did you first realize that you wanted to be a writer?

GILLIAM: I was around the age of 11 or 12 when my love for writing emerged. I used to write down my dreams and create stories out of them. I used to have a book where I would write in. Up until my dad found it. LOL, Needless to say I stopped writing for a while after that. 🙂

MALAVIKA: I’m so glad to know that you didn’t give up your passion. Did you ever consider writing under a pen name?

GILLIAM: I never really cared if people knew it was me writing my stories. The people I mostly cared about were my parents. They can’t read them, but everyone else knowing isn’t a big deal to me.

MALAVIKA: That’s so sweet. I like to write in the morning when I can concentrate better. How is it for you? Do you have a strict writing schedule or do you have to be in the mood for writing?  Tell us about your writing routine.

GILLIAM: Well I really don’t have a writing routine. I mostly just sit down and start typing.

MALAVIKA: Tell us about your favorite: book, movie and TV show. Who is your favorite author and singer?

GILLIAM: I am a huge romance reader, I read just about anything romance related. My favorite movie would have to be ‘Brown Sugar’. It’s an urban love story, with Sanaa Lathan and Tay Diggs. Tv show is Grey’s Anatomy. Love, Love, LOVE that show. 🙂 My favorite author is Melody Grace and favorite singer is Jhene Aiko.

MALAVIKA: As the readers know you a lot closer now, let us talk about romance.“You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams” writes the american author, Dr. Seuss. What’s the most fun about writing romance?

GILLIAM: The love story. You can literally make it anything and everything you want. Everyone, even characters in a book, deserve to have the perfect love story. 

MALAVIKA: Sounds magical and dreamy. The love story is a major part, but what do you think is the single most important element in a romance story?

GILLIAM: Chemistry. The character must have chemistry in order of the story to come out right. Without the element, the story could be boring and unrealistic

MALAVIKA: So, what brings out the good chemistry between the main characters? Tell us your opinion.

GILLIAM: The conversation between the main characters needs to flow. With just the right amount of humor and flirting. Chemistry is different when trying to reflect it on paper.

MALAVIKA: When I write certain articles, I read and gather as much as information and views regarding my topic. It really helps me with my work. What kind of research do you find yourself doing for your stories?

GILLIAM: Most of the research I do is regarding descriptions. Like if I picture something in my head about the house one of the characters live in, but I don’t know the word for the wood, or accents etc. I’ll research to find it. things like that. I rarely have to do a lot of research unless I’m hitting on a topic that is real. i.e mental illness.  

MALAVIKA: Wow, You are so good at creating stories. I can relate as I live in my head most of the time. As a romance author, how do you balance the storyline with the sensual element?

GILLIAM: I have some sexual content in my books. I don’t necessarily believe a romance book for adults, can be romantic without the underlining sexuality in it. I try to show the chemistry from the beginning. Then, if I feel the plot allows for some adult content, I’ll add a little spice to it. 

MALAVIKA: Ooooh…Hot and Steamy. So “Sweet Serenity” is your debut novel. What was the most  challenging scene to write?

GILLIAM: The ending was the hardest part for me. Because I had so many ideas on how I wanted to end it. It took me a while to decide which ending I would go with. 

MALAVIKA: I get you. It’s really difficult to make a choice when you have so many good ideas. So, how do you define your female characters? Do you incorporate feminism into your stories?

GILLIAM: Definitely as individuals. Yes they are women but that’s not the only thing that defines them. I try to give each and everyone of them an identity outside of that. I wouldn’t say I put a lot of feminism in my stories. It would have to fit the story and what I want the woman to portray.

MALAVIKA: Good answer. Also, you are required to capture and display the emotions of your male characters. What’s the most difficult thing about writing characters from the opposite sex? 

GILLIAM: For me it’s not knowing how men think. I can research and research, but making sure the male voice that I write, reflects male tendencies, is the hardest part. 

MALAVIKA: Hmm….A different perspective but keeping it real. You self-published your new novel, ‘Redemption’ recently. How did the process of getting self-published go?

 GILLIAM: It was tiring, but I think it is way better for me than traditional publishing.

 MALAVIKA: That’s interesting. Have you ever written any other genres besides romance? Are you planning to try a different genre in the future?

 GILLIAM:  I’ve only published romance as of now. But my new project is a paranormal romance series, so I’m venturing out on this one. 

MALAVIKA: That’s exciting and all the very best for your new project. One question, If you could tell your younger writing-self anything, what would it be? 

 GILLIAM: Honestly, I would tell myself not to traditionally publish. I know that’s a shock but I would definitely tell myself that. 

MALAVIKA: Right. This will definitely help fellow authors to self-publish. Do you believe in writer’s block?

GILLIAM: Do I believe in it? No. I think that sometimes our minds are too busy, and that causes us to go blank when we need to write. But believing in something like that only perpetuates it.

 MALAVIKA: I agree. It’s our own mind playing tricks with us. Now, we know more about you as a writer. What else do you like to do? What are your other activities?

 GILLIAM: I own an Event Planning and Interior Decorating business and I like to spend time with my family.

 MALAVIKA: Really nice. You are an entrepreneur too. It’s always good to be multi-tasking. I feel, every job, every industry, every sector is composed of obstacles. Is there any struggle in the writing world as a female author?

 GILLIAM: I think it’s some struggles. Especially from other women authors and readers. Women tend to be catty by natural, and authors are no different. Lol

MALAVIKA: Haha. One last thing, what advice do you have for aspiring romance authors?

GILLIAM: I would like them to keep going. Life is too short and too precious to let anything get in the way of your dreams. You might not be able to publish your work right then, but keep writing, and never give up. Take steps toward your goal. No matter how small.


It was such a pleasure to chat with you. Thank you for sharing your time with us.


Find out more about A.M Gilliam by following her on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. If you have any comments at all, please let me know. I would love to hear from you.

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COVID-19:Our Doom Or A Revelation

The whole world is in shock of the current pandemic COVID-19 which is spreading like a global wildfire. This is the first time; some generations are witnessing such an outbreak. I have experienced some natural calamities or epidemics in my country/state, but nothing of this sort with heavy death toll.

Is this pandemic here to teach a lesson to the mankind?

Don’t you think, we humans, have been greedy and ruthless for so long? We have literally taken a toll on our home planet that now, our lives are at stake. Mankind has assumed to be the super power of everything that we forgot how vulnerable we still are. We boast about the advances in our technology while we still haven’t been able to harness the superior energy that governs the whole universe. Some may call this pandemic as the wrath of God. Some may object the existence of God. But whatever it is, I believe in the presence of a vital force that balances our whole ecosystem. It’s the bitter fact that, we humans, have brought an imbalance to our ecosystem. A major part of the population is getting wiped out and our knowledge, technological and medical advances and everything stand helpless in front of this disease.

Let’s take a look back at the history.

Even though, corona virus outbreak is one of a kind, history takes us back to many such epidemics that took a heavy toll. Dating back to the 541 AD, The Plague of Justinian which affected the Eastern Roman Empire, estimated deaths of 50 million. Then came the Black Death or the Bubonic Plague (also known as The Great Plague) in the 1300s with a death toll of 200 million people in Asia and Europe. In the 1520s, the small pox brought out a devastating pandemic in Central America and Mexico killing about 56 million people. The Yellow Fever Epidemic in the late 1800s had a death toll of 100-150K. From 1918 to 1920, the Spanish Flu or the Influenza Pandemic, known as the Mother of pandemics, which wiped out a quarter of the population had a death toll of about 50 million. From 1981, the HIV/AIDS is still causing about 35 million deaths. In 2002-2004, the global SARS outbreak killed about 700 people. Between 2009 and 2010, the swine flu or the 2009 flu epidemic which was a global influenza pandemic, caused a death toll of about 200K. In 2014-2016, the Ebola Virus outbreak in the Western African region estimated 11.3K deaths. In 2015, the MERS outbreak brought about 800 deaths. At present, the novel corona virus outbreak has estimated 74,816 number of deaths. (as of April 7)

From these data, it is quite sure that these pandemics or epidemics were constrained to a certain portion of the world. But taking COVID-19 into consideration, it seems to have affected every continent in the whole world with an exception to Antarctica, till now.

It’s so easy to just estimate the number of deaths. But when it’s our loved ones, we start thinking!

How the coronavirus infects the human body?

It is said that the SARS-CoV-2 was transmitted from animals to human beings. For a virus to enter into the human body, it infects the human cells and uses it to make multiple copies of the virus. The cell finally breaks, releasing the virus which go on to infect other human cells. The corona virus has a special spike protein or S protein which grants its entry into human hosts. When the virus attacks, our immune system fights against it, producing fever as an immune response. The immune system may overreact in critical situations leading to the attack on lung cells. In such cases, the individual feels difficulty in breathing. This may lead to acute respiratory distress syndrome which can affect the function of other internal organs. If the individual’s immune system is not able to fight off the virus, it may spread to other parts of the body. Then fatal damages to the organs may result and eventually, it would not be possible to keep the individual alive.

Prophecies regarding the pandemic

It may seem a bit strange to discuss some eerie prophecies or predictions at such a tragic time. But discarding the fictional elements aside, can we search for some truth in these prophecies?

In her book, End of Days: Predictions and Prophecies About the End of the World, published in 2008, the author Sylvia Browne predicted the outbreak of a disease in the year 2020. Sylvia Celeste Brown was an American writer and a renowned psychic. The excerpt reads, “In around 2020 a severe pneumonia-like illness will spread throughout the globe, attacking the lungs and the bronchial tubes and resisting all known treatments. Almost more baffling than the illness itself will be the fact that it will suddenly vanish as quickly as it arrived, attack again 10 years later, and then disappear completely.”

Well, the fact is that such a pandemic occurred in coinciding with her predictions. I’m not saying these are true, but there is a hope that this disease will vanish soon.

Another theory that got widely circulated in the internet was the so-called cryptic message in a novel named, The Eyes of Darkness, written by Dean Koontz in 1981. “They call the stuff, Wuhan 400 because it was developed at their RDNA labs outside of the city of Wuhan and it was the four-hundredth viable strain of man-made microorganisms created at that research center”, the book reads.

Even though the book is a fictional novel, its reference of a virus named Wuhan-400 developed as a bio-weapon is something that gives me chills as COVID-19 outbreak originated from the district of Wuhan. Dean Koontz didn’t predict the outbreak, but some of his references happened to be coinciding with the facts, not all.

Stay home, Save lives

The first and the foremost thing that we can do is to stay in our own homes. We have homes. That makes us the privileged part of the society. You know why? Because there are many people who don’t have even a shelter to ensure their safety. In such a situation, how can they live in home quarantines as we do? We can help those people by staying in our own homes, thereby breaking the chain of infections and saving many lives.

My heart goes out to the doctors, nurses, police force and numerous other people who risk their lives to save ours. It’s our responsibility to help them save lives by taking the necessary precautions.

What quarantine days taught me?

I came to know about the word ‘quarantine’ only after the emergence of this pandemic. It seems, we are not the first people to use this word as it has been used widely in other epidemic days throughout the history. The word quarantine has its origin in Venetian language from ‘quarantena’ or ‘quarantina’ which means “40 days”.  In the earlier times, forty-days isolation period was observed by ships and people to prevent the spread of diseases and to contain the epidemics. Now quarantine means, “a state, period, or place of isolation in which people or animals that have arrived from elsewhere or been exposed to infectious or contagious disease are placed”.

I am in home quarantine. At first, the quarantine days were exciting for me. I was enthusiastic and energetic. I had numerous things planned for me to execute. Then it started becoming dreadful. I’m inside a house where there are people, but I stopped talking to them. I felt sort of having nothing to do for the rest of my life in spite of having lot of things to do. That’s when I realised that people are much more productive when they are under pressure or when there is a deadline. Now, we are living as if there is no end to this pandemic any soon. We tend to establish a mindset to not do anything which makes us lazy. Eventually our powerless minds take control of our body and our productivity decreases. This is dangerous just like the pandemic itself.

I started taking control of my mind and decided to engage in constructive activities. I started realizing the importance of mingling with my family. The major realization was that this was the first time our whole family is together. The people who are rejoiced more than me because of this union is none other than my grandparents. It’s been many years since we all have been staying at home for this long duration. It’s fun only when the whole family is cooking, eating, watching a movie, cracking jokes together. Just imagine all the things we are missing out because of our busy lives.

Impact of the pandemic on environment.

Many countries like India, China, France, Italy, New Zealand, Poland, and the UK have implemented massive restrictions to fight against the Covid-19 outbreak. India has implemented a ‘lockdown’ for 21 days till April 14 which resulted in controlling the spread of the virus to a greater extent. Even though the disease was a disaster, it brought in climate benefits and changes in the environment. Our Mother Earth is finally breathing! Our planet had been suffocating for decades because of our actions.Now, clean air to breathe, clear water in the water bodies, less vehicles on the roads and a better environment to live.

Let every country implement this practice of shutdown or lockdown, for at least a day, frequently, even after this pandemic is over. This can eventually save our economy and ensure our survival. Less people outside = Less pollution

I won’t ever say that this pandemic was needed. But it really brought back the kindness, helpfulness and unity to humanity which were long forgotten in our hurry-burry lives. The only sad part is that we had to gain this understanding by sacrificing our fellow humans. Coronavirus is not a solution to save our planet. It’s a reminder for us to not take everything as granted. And in no way this pandemic is our doom. It’s a revelation to open our eyes for a better future. I am sure we will make it through this together.

The next evolutionary step for humankind is to move from man to kind.

UNKNOWN

If you have any comments at all, please let me know. I would love to hear from you!

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MY STORY!

When I look back at life, I can picture myself as a shy and less confident girl; who got herself embarrassed in front of the whole school assembly; who trembled with fear in front of a crowd; who always hid behind her barriers waiting for the odds. But I drove myself forward to come out of my shriveled self. I did create a brand-new person. Sometimes I wonder how I managed to achieve all these wonderful things. Maybe it’s because of my thirst for achieving more.  I am never fully satisfied with the outcomes. I want to attain near perfection in every bit of me. Continue Reading….

What’s your story? Share it so that it can be an inspiration and motivation for everybody.

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DIY SIMPLE ‘N’ TRENDY BOOKSHELF

It was vacation time and I was literally having a great deal of free time. Books are the love of my life and I always kept mine in my grandpa’s library.  I have always wanted a bookshelf to keep my personal collection of books. I said to grandpa, “Let’s make a bookshelf; a trendy and simple one”. He stared at my face for some time and called me crazy. (well, can’t blame him though). Then I irritated the hell out of him and he finally agreed. But on one condition:  Low budget. Well, it turned out to be very minimal and simple. That’s how I got my own small bookshelf.

DIY is something that fascinates us. Doing It Yourself gives the extra satisfaction and a proud moment to look upon.

Items that you require:

  • Pieces of wood x 2 ( I used two pieces, You can make yours with 2 or more)
  • Paint – white & black ( you are free to choose any colour of your taste)
  • Rope – as per your requirement ( Plastic ropes are easy to paint). If you can get painted ropes, that would do just fine.
  • Nails/ Holders x 2

How to create the Book-Shelf?

We went to the backyard and found a long piece of wood ( It was perfectly cut into thin planks already). We cut it into two pieces of equal length according to the wall, where I intended to keep the bookshelf. Then polished the planks using sandpaper. You can do other ways to make the surface smooth. That would give it a good finish.  Then drilled the wood to make two small holes at either edge of the planks. The holes must be of equal size and must be equidistant from each other. A single piece of wood will contain 4 holes in total and painted the wood white. Then took some ropes and painted it black. ( I used plastic ropes as they are easy to paint). Insert the rope through the holes and tie a knot to hold the planks in desired positions. In a similar manner, connect the two wood pieces through the rope. Hammer long nails or holders onto the wall in order to hang the wood planks.  Make a loop or a twist at the end of the ropes on each side and hang it on the nails/holders.  Arrange some of your favourite books and get it started.

The advantage of this bookshelf is that you don’t have to fit book-clamps to keep the books from falling off the open end. The two lines of rope form a barrier and you can place the books leaning on it.  Tadaaa….Your self-made stylish bookshelf is all set.

P.S you can always modify things. Don’t hesitate to be innovative.

Here are some images to help you :

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The completed book-shelf

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Have you made a bookshelf? Tell me your ideas!!!

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Depression: The Monster Among Us

“I am depressed”. “Are you in depression?” Depression! Depression! We have been hearing this word a lot more recently. It’s a mental state which is very difficult to explain. The person undergoes a series of mood swings, feeling very low about themselves and finally they cannot find a purpose in living this life.

Now this is like a silent wildfire. It has evolved to be the new cancer…… READ FULL ARTICLE. CLICK HERE.

Have you ever tackled depression in your life? Share your inspiring story. It will be of a great help to others.

 

 


Continue reading “Depression: The Monster Among Us”

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LOUVRE ABUDHABI: A Visit To The Cradle Of History.

More than 200 years after the opening of the Louvre Museum in Paris, a new Louvre has been opened in Abu Dhabi. Situated at Abu Dhabi – the capital of United Arab Emirates(U.A.E), the Louvre Abu Dhabi was a stunning sight to gaze at….. To read the full article, CLICK HERE.

 

Have you visited Louvre? What is your favorite travel destination?

 

 

 

Continue reading “LOUVRE ABUDHABI: A Visit To The Cradle Of History.”

QUEEN OF CARDS: POEM

I wish I were the bling of perfection,
Not a broken spade, hiding in the shades,
Waging war with incompetent cards.

I wish I could send hope,
To me and the deck of cards.
But all I ever do is scribble in my heart.

I wish I had the club of kings,
To tell me I need me more.
But I count my own sins and
Pin them along with the damned egos.

I wish I were told, jokers do cry,
That I was not alone, sigh
But they do smile with all the palor,
While I drown in my forlorn parlour.

I wish I knew, how to be a diamond,
Flaunting the lavish motifs and brilliance,
Winning hearts not fighting losing battles.
Instead, I sell my soul in pieces,
Blinded by the sparkly species.

I wish I believed, I held all the aces,
Even in my breath and in all the races.
That I was the player, the ideal one.
But gave up the card to my demons,
Who put me on a leash to fetch the lemons.

I wish I could tell myself,
How much I deserve a suit,
Of laughter, joy and love.
But never can I fathom my true worth,
Consumed by unwanted gulit, henceforth.

I wish I could weave sagas of future,
To know what I crave and be destiny’s watcher.
I cannot but loop in the melancholic tales,
Like one of those rusty cassette trails.

Perfection is what I seek,
To be in luck for every single tuck.
But you must speak,
And tell me kindly with regards,
How do I convince myself
That I’m the Queen of Cards.

Garden of Salvation: Poem

As I lay down with the evening roses,
Bitter memories make even thorns banal.
Some pricked me pretty deep,
Reckoned it to be petty tricks.
Wounds afresh, never healed,
Eons seems to be recalled.
Scarlett honey flowing flawlessly,
Is it the eternal ecstasy or misery?
I’m ready to bathe in my blood,
The nectar of my unfruitful deeds.

As I look around with hopeful eyes,
White lillies wave with the welcoming face,
Candor blended in their milky drapes
Sending even treacherous souls to a phase.
Lillies asked me whilst dangling in the breeze,
Is your heart pure or tainted?
Do you deserve to be sainted?

As I bit my bloody lips in shame,
English lavenders responded without any haze,
Ravishing blue blooms in lavish display.
“Spare your soul from the battle of dismay.
Truth lies at the bottom of your heart
Not even the wise men can fathom.
Neither fool nor stupid, you are,
For we all search for fool’s gold in dire,
Fall and reiterate, but don’t lose heart,
Find the right font for once and for all.”

As I was about to voice the truth,
Cherry blossoms chuckled, said, “Don’t heed”,
Light pink clouds sliding away to recede.
Truth is best unknown,
Only the worthy can be known.

As I brace myself for my demise,
With worries but no despise.
Last moments make you feel alive,
Lively enough to crave for life.
Ha! Yet again, it’s the circle of life.

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CRYPTED (poem)

Sprinted into the vault,

To hide away from the fault.

Are you a coward?

My courage devoured.

I neither see me nor you,

For my self is in blue.

Why are you timid?

My heart still throbs,

My wounds not healed.

The pain so fresh.

The flames still burn.

My life turned upside down.

Inept to accept the reality,

I fight the truth.

Halt the war within me,

I plead with guilt.

Closed my eyes.

Escape into oblivion,

I ordered the convoluted mind.

‘’Be brave my precious.

Break away from the clutches.

Forbid the delusions.’’

Whispers reverberated.

‘’Come with me

And face your fears.

Your heart is audacious.

You soul is dauntless.

Perceive the unseen.

Utter the candor.

Confront your conscience.’’

I opened my eyes.

‘’No man can free thee but thyself’’

I unlocked the doors of bliss.

I shall be freed from the abyss.

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