Amaleka McCall Brathwaite
Children: 3, 4 to 16
Born and raised in Brooklyn, New York, Amaleka McCall grew up fast watching the harsh streets destroy many of her family members and friends. She planned to become a criminal defense attorney, but in her sophomore year of college she became pregnant with her first child. Working a number of jobs and struggling as a single mother, Amaleka went on to earn her degree in Criminal Justice and Masters in Public Administration. Aptly dubbed the "intelligent hoodlum" by family and friends, Amaleka was always able to use a mixture of real life experience, imagination and education to create wonderful stories.
Amaleka moved to the D.C. metro area and went to work for the United States government. It was then that she decided to take her journals and her imagination and do something constructive with them. The result was the birth of her first novel A Twisted Tale of Karma (re-released as Myra, 2009.) With a love for thrillers and firsthand knowledge of government operations, politics, the criminal justice system, and the streets, she completed her subsequent urban mystery/crime thriller novels, Hush, Price of Fame, Hard Candy and Hard Candy Part 2.
Amaleka currently resides in Northern Virginia with her soul mate Ed and their three children. Amaleka loves spending quality time with her family, writing, watching movies, and reading books. She is hard at work on her upcoming novel Friend or Foe: Book 1 of the Brice Simpson Hood Mystery series.
BEHIND THE BOOKS
How long have you been writing? I have really been writing all of my life. I laugh to this day at a journal my mother saved from when I was about six. There were about fifteen stories in it, all fiction, but I had obviously tried to pass off as reality. I began writing novels in 2004, when my second child was two months old. She was such a horrible baby, so much so, I started suffering from insomnia. One of those nights I started pecking away at my computer and the character Myra came to life. Honestly, I started off writing my life story and although I went through some things, it didn't make for very good fiction. I continued and soon the character was alive in my head. Before I knew it A Twisted Tale of Karma was born. My story of how I started writing isn't that spectacular. Just a bad case of insomnia and bam!
What is a typical day in your life like? I guess my days are not normal in a "normal" sense, but nothing to write about either. I am at my desk at 6 a.m. before most people scratch their left butt cheek in bed. I call home to wake my kids up and I'm usually yelling on the phone with them for about an hour. LOL. I work my "regular" job, get home, work my "wife" and "mother" job-which consists of cooking, yelling, cleaning, yelling, doing homework or projects, a bit more yelling, and when all of those priorities are out of the way I make sure I write at least 2,000 words in whatever book or project I am working on. On Fridays, I work from home so most of my day is spent writing, if I don't get caught up in my On Demand or TiVo'd shows. There again, just the normal life. People often ask how I manage it all. I am not really sure, but it just happens. I have a pretty happy life in spite of it all.
How supportive is your family when it comes to a deadline? My husband is my ROCK in all things. He has always been supportive. My kids know when I slip into my ratty red robe and I am gulping down large cups of Dunkin Donuts coffee that I am writing for a deadline. They stay away! LOL. My youngest daughter made a sign for my office “Mommy Is in Crazy Mode” and in fine print she wrote “book deadline.” LOL! I will keep that forever. They know when it is all said and done they will reap the benefits. They are seriously spoiled. Especially my baby…he is the only boy!
What do you wish to accomplish with each book? Well, it's hard to say because usually the characters take on a life of their own. I always want my readers to say that the characters were so well developed that the reader understood the characters motivation and actions. I want readers to continue turning the pages. Most of all, I want readers to want to read my next book. I don't write to spread moral messages or be a role model, but if I do accomplish that by accident I think that is a plus as well.
What female authors have influenced you? I love so many authors it is not even funny. I am an AVID reader. If I don’t read I absolutely lose my fever to write. I have female authors from all different genres who inspire me. The top of my list is ALICE WALKER. She is my absolute FAVORITE author in the entire world. If I ever got to meet her I’d faint and die before the handshake. I also really like Tracy Brown, Bernice McFadden, Delores Phillips, Jodi Picoult (favorite too), Lisa Gardner…oh boy the list goes on!
Stay tuned next week as we highlight another incredible woman!