Aray Brown is a new independent author/poet. Her first book “Expressions OF Me” was officially released on October 2013.
Ever since she was little she always wanted to be a writer. She began writing at an early age, her short stories consisted of cartoon characters such as She-Ra and He-Man. Later on she decided to delve into something more real and personal. Despite the trials and tribulations she endured in her life, she wrote her first novel “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore”, a tell all book centered around the life and times she spent with her grandmother while her mother was in prison. It was never published. She then went on writing more unpublished novels, honing her craft so to speak. She didn’t dabble into poetry until later. It all started with a pen and paper then escalated to her very own YouTube channel (1,551 views and counting). Then finally self publishing her first poetry book. If it wasn’t for a certain r&b artist she wouldn’t have the courage to showcase her poetry. She always wanted to do it but she hated her voice at that time. After watching his videos off and on, she figured if he can do it then so can she. After that, a star was born. Writing has always been her passion and will continue to be, until her last breath. She is currently working on her second book, her first novel, entitled, Blood Is Thicker Than Water.
Your first book: Expressions of Me was released in October 2013. Tell us a little about it.
It’s a collection of poems that I have written throughout my life. It’s about love. About fear. About heartache and hope. Some of them speak to the people and deal with real issues that plague our society (like aids, education, domestic abuse, etc.)
For me it’s like why not poetry. It has become a vital part of my life. To put my thoughts and feelings down on paper, it allows me to express myself in such a way that I’m not able to verbally. At the end of the day it’s therapeutic. It’s a gift that I don’t take for granted.
I just spent some time watching your spoken word performances on youtube. It’s very inspirational. For those readers out there that might not be familiar with spoken word poetry, can you explain it a bit for us?
Spoken Word is poetry that is written but performed for an audience. It is more aggressive and “in your face” than traditional forms of poetry. Even though I have showcased my poems on youtube, I have yet to grace a stage. My time will come though. Just hope I don’t get stage fright.
What impact does your spoken word have on your written poetry?
Like every poet, when I recite my poems I try to pour my heart and soul into it. Especially if it pertains to me in anyway. So to answer to your question, a huge impact.
What I really like about your poetry is that it has ups and downs, just like real life. Do you draw your inspiration from your own life? If so, how?
Inspiration comes from everywhere. But my own life experiences have played a part. I haven’t had that much life experience(I’m a hermit) but the things I’ve dealt with firsthand are reflected in my poems. We’ve all experienced first love, unrequited love, heartache and getting over the loss of a loved one and being stuck with nowhere to go. The best thing about being a writer is that you can write through your pain. All of them have a powerful message and they reflect me in some way.
Poetry often comes from the poet’s own conflicts. What conflicts have you encountered in your life that lends itself to your poetry?
The stresses of everyday life. The trials of tribulations of not only what we women go through but what we people deal with as well.
This blog is about the struggles and triumphs of being an “Indie”. What motivated you to do Independent Publishing, rather than seeking a traditional publisher?
I just decided to do it. I had always planned on going the traditional route, but for some reason it didn’t work out as planned. And although I think there are more advantages to Traditional more than the Independent, I do like the full creative control aspect of it. I have say over the whole process and it’s a good feeling. I wanted to get my book out there and I wanted to make a name for myself. Independent Publishing was the best move for me.
I know that promotion has been the hardest thing for me, as an Indie Author. One thing that you do (that I’m not brave enough to do yet), is use YouTube as a platform. What tips do you have for someone who is shy or a little insecure but wants to make Youtube videos? How did you overcome these things and decide to put yourself out there on YouTube?
I was shy and insecure. I’m still shy. Before youtube, I would showcase my poems on my blog. And of course tweeted it and shared it with as many people as I could. But I wanted to do more. I knew there was a much broader audience out there and I wanted to reach it. But I had one setback. I hated my voice. At that time I was an admirer of this guy who had this amazing voice. Needless to say, after watching his videos, he gave me the courage to do it. He was my inspiration, in more ways than one. The only tip I would have would be to just do it. Find your inner strength. If God gave you a gift you have to share it with the world or else what good is it?
Your poem; Epiphany III ends with the lines: “You only get one shot to live this life. Live it to the fullest, give it all you got”. How do you do this in your own life?
I try to live my life by that mantra but I sometimes I fall short. I just try to do the best I can do. Spend my time doing what I love, spending it with the people I love and doing God’s will. Epiphany III has to be one of my favorites. It depicts apart of my life I wasn’t proud of that time.
Finally, what’s next? Do you plan on releasing more books of poetry or are you working on a different type of work?
I’m currently working on a mystery/suspense novel. It’s about a woman who tracks down her mother’s killer, killing off people one by one, while losing herself in the process. There certainly will be more poetry books in the future for sure. After all I’m poet. I can’t deny that part of me. But for now, I’m leading towards my first love. I have a lot of up and coming projects coming so stay tuned
Where can my readers connect with you?
Barnes and Noble: http://bit.ly/1ckMyQc