CHECK OUT INTERVIEW WITH PHOTOGRAPHER RAVIJ CHOPRA

23244230_10214391336960110_2049650186973036479_n (2)Celonarants: How would you describe your own personal journey into literature and being a great author with a fashion sense?

Irwin: First of all, thank you for calling me a great author with fashion sense! I do love fashion and I refer to it quite a bit in my debut novel, A Dress the Color of the Sky. My personal writing journey has been a bittersweet one. Early on, I received a verbal offer for the purchase of the film rights to my manuscript with a deposit of money as a commitment to the project. That offer put pressure on me to release my book faster than I had anticipated and published indie rather than waiting to get picked up by an agent who might find me a big publishing deal. The marketing has been very time consuming and it has been difficult to manage my writing and the marketing of the book. I have been thrilled by how well received my novel has been. MY book has won seven book awards and received rave reviews on Amazon and Goodreads. My book has helped many readers come to peace with their past traumatic experiences and given them hope that healing is possible.

Celonarants: As a professional writer, have you taken some time out to look back at the journey so far? And if so, what have you learnt about yourself and give us an insight to your transformation as a writer?

Irwin: I have spent time reflecting on my writing journey. There have been moments when my trust was shattered, and times when I have a great deal of hope. Prior to publishing Dress, I hired a coach to help me polish my manuscript and my writing coach in turn tried to steal my story. At the same time, readers have written the most beautiful reviews, taken magnificent photos of my book, and even though the film deal fell through, I did get some money for it so I guess that was a plus. The whole film deal caused me a great deal of anxiety because she had promised me a time-frame to have the contract signed which never happened. The producer just stopped returning my emails and phone calls. It was quite frankly, brutal do deal with from an emotional stand point. The high point for me was the moment I learned that I had won my first three literary awards. The Feathered Quill book awards gave me three awards because they felt that my book was so outstanding. I haven’t been that elated in a long, long time! I also learned that I don’t give up easily and that I have a very strong will. Many people would have given up by now but I just keep going even when I’m knocked down.

As far as my transformation as a writer, my second novel is a far more complex story structure which I feel I am capable of taking on now that I have a lot more experience than when I was writing Dress. I also have a bit more confidence after winning seven book awards and getting such outstanding reviews.

Celonarants: How would you define success beyond material wealth and expensive designer cloths, bags, living in choice locations?

Irwin: I would define success when a person is proud of their work and find it to be fulfilling. The added bonus is to actually earn a living doing what you love. I’m not earning a living as a writer yet but I hope to some day.

Celonarants: Give us your own personal definition of “the dissident” and would you say you love the government presiding over you? Would you say the style of governance influence/affect your decision as a pro writer and entrepreneur?

Irwin: My definition of “dissident” is someone who apposes government, or oppressive regimes. I love being American and the freedom that comes with living in my country. There are parts of the way my government is run that I agree with and parts that I don’t. To say I love the government presiding over me would be a stretch. I love being an American. I appreciate that we get to elect and vote for government officials and have personal freedom. I do believe that because we have freedom of speech, I am not fearful of being persecuted for the things that I write.

Celonarants: There have been a continual upward *trajectory within the literary scene in the African continent; a thriving emergence in the African art ad film as-well. what role would you like to play in this new picture celona’s blog has chosen to pitch you in? away from the cliche hollywood?

Irwin: I am thrilled to hear that there have been upward movement in the literary scene on the African continent. I believe all people should have voices and embracing those voices in every medium possible, one of which is the written word. I am hugely honored to have been asked to participate in your blog and to discuss my work. The role I would like to play is to give writers hope that it is never too late to start writing. I began my writing career very late in life. The only thing that stops us from chasing our dreams is fear. We all have a story to tell, you just have to take the time to write ti down. The first draft doesn’t have to be perfect it just has to be. The other message I hope to convey is that we all carry with us traumatic experiences from our pasts. There is a journey to heal and it is possible to move past these traumatic experiences and find peace with what happened. My novel is about the resilience of the human spirit and the human condition that we all want to be seen, heard, and loved. As humans, we are stronger than we believe. Another message is that I am available to help other writers and to guide them through how I came about writing and publishing my debut novel. All you have to do is ask.

Celonarants: With the way the media outside the state has painted the Trump administration as “sadistic and not inclusive”. would you at any point choose to give your voice, via your art in support of the Trump administration or against it?

Irwin: Regarding using my art to give my voice regarding political stands, I have and I do. I recently wrote an article about the aftermath of sexual assault. My book aligns with the MeToo Movement, and I have addressed the issue of date rape, addiction and recovery in my novel. All subjects that are difficult to discuss. I am not one to voice my political opinions on social media. We have heated discussions in my home but I feel there is a time and a place for those types of talks. I’m not saying I wouldn’t use my writing voice to express my political opinions but at this point, I have chosen not to.

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COVER PACK OF JENNIFER IRWIN BOOK

Celonarants: What do you like best about the story-line/mantra of this campaign and tell us how your concepts and craft can influence this community positively?

Irwin:  I will answer how my craft can influence your community positively. I have written a story about healing from sexual assault and childhood trauma, about the process of healing from such traumas, and what it looks like to be inside of an addiction treatment facility. The other side of my story is that I am a victim of sexual assault and have had many readers reach out to me to let me know that my book has given them hope. I am available to my readers and answer every single private message. I like to encourage people to chase their dreams and to follow their hearts. I will continue to address uncomfortable and difficult subjects in my novels regardless of how they may come across to some readers. I’m not out to please people, I’m here to tell a story my way.

Celonarants: How do you relate to the journey of the average writer/entrepreneur character #TheDissident team spotted in your push ad strive to the top?

Irwin: I am the average writer. I highly relate to being average but I strive to be better all the time and I’m not afraid to promote my work. If the dissident team is fighting for something they strongly believe in then they should continue to try to influence change. We can all create a better world and frankly my main concern right now is planet earth and minimizing my carbon footprint.

Celonarants: Share with us photos that proves an ordinary author could have a great fashion sense?

Irwin:

 

Celonarants: What would you say is special to you about having been chosen as one of the face of this new campaign within the celona’s blogosphere?

Irwin: I am the average writer. I highly relate to being average but I strive to be better all the time and I’m not afraid to promote my work. If the dissident team is fighting for something they strongly believe in then they should continue to try to influence change. We can all create a better world and frankly my main concern right now is planet earth and minimizing my carbon footprint.

Celonarants: How do you personally relate to #TheDissident’s “DON’T STOP. DON’T SETTLE. DON’T GIVE UP” Mantra?

Irwin: I highly relate to the mantra, don’t stop, don’t settle, don’t give up and personally live that mantra on a daily basis.

Celonarants: Say something about the President of your the country you come from? Honest Truths please.

Irwin: I am not a fan of President Trump. I do not agree with most of his policies, the way he is running our government, and changing many of our relationships overseas. As a person, I think he is a liar, a narcissist, and a sex offender. He was not my choice for president but he was elected. I have to honor that he is running my country, I don’t have to like him but I respect his position.

COMPILED AND EDITED BY; Charles Okpere.  charlesbarca2009@yahoo.com

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