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Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Our Conversation with Bestselling author Maria Dowd

She is definitely someone who is building a multi-faceted brand in the worlds of business and publishing. Maria Dowd is living her dreams and helping others to do the same through the life that she has chosen for herself. Her latest accomplishment, the Journey series, is one that people of all races and ages will be able to appreciate. We caught up with her as she began to reflect on the year that was 2007.

Here is our conversation.

Thank you Maria for talking with Conversations. You have had a whirlwind 2007. Can you tell us what has been the highlight for you?
Completing Journey Into My Brother’s Soul.
Heightened commitment to living a more bliss-filled, extraordinary life.
Witnessing my daughters growth, happiness and success.
Commitment to being a more empowered woman, wife, entrepreneur.

Like many creative individuals we have talked with this year, you are a wife, mother and accomplished businesswoman. How do you balance such a hectic schedule without losing your joy?
I wake up every morning inspired and moved to take extraordinary action ----- to touch and enroll someone is a new, enlightened way. I balance my well-being by reminding myself of my core values --- 1. My Health/Vitality, 2 My Family, 3. My Freedom, 4) My Commitment to Community Empowerment, and asking myself daily --- what 3 extraordinary actions will I take today to bring me closer to my goals and commitments?

Let's take our readers back to your writing and your confidence with words. When did you find your voice as far as knowing what you wanted to do and going after it?
I first became aware of my “voice” was after writing an essay in college and receiving affirmation/praise…and an “A” from my professor. And, I simply described my favorite pair of trouser pants (this was in 1978). But the praise didn’t sink in until I received more affirmation/praise 20 or so year’s later about my talent. In the meantime, I wrote creatively because “who else was going to write my brochures, announcements, ads, etc?” I first started writing for pure enjoyment when I started writing my novel. Sill unfinished, but…that’s another story. Today, I know my words inspire and move people. For me, it’s taken the affirmation from others to truly embrace this talent of mine.

Support is always something that can make or break a person. Did you get the support from your close inner circle when you embarked on your writing career?
Yes and no. My college experience didn’t make cause me to explore writing more deeply. During most of my years of producing African American Women on Tour and raising children, I was too deeply entrenched in my “survival” state, that it never dawned on me, until I started my writing for my first self-published anthology. It wasn’t until 1999, that I actually say, “Okay, I’ve got skills.” It was around that time that I started writing my novel. However, I’m not been committed enough to complete it.

The "Journey" series is something that touches everyone and thanks to aggressive marketing, the books can be found everywhere from bookstores to Wal-Mart. What was the inspiration behind it?
The first self-published version was inspired by the stories that I’d heard during my AAWOT days…amazing stories from the women who attended. Why they were inspired/driven to attend, what they got when they got there, and what a difference AAWOT made on their lives. AAWOT literally saved a lot of lives, literally. That was my initial inspiration. Then sometime that I interpreted as “dark” happened between myself (as publisher) and her (as assistant editor) that I allowed to take me out of writing emotionally. When that dust settled, however still in my “survival” state, I need a source of income, and had this self-published version that was merely gathering dust on the shelve. Using that as my marketing tool, I called BET Books’ publisher. I knew her personally, and she said “yes” to a 3 book contract, hence Journey to Empowerment, Journey to a Blissful Life and Journey Into My Brother’s Soul…all three are collections of inspirational essays and poetry.

Did the series take on a life of its own, or did it develop the way you thought it would?
Good question. I’d say that it was a combination of both. Yes, Spirit was present. Yes, my actions made it happen.

And the latest installment, JOURNEY INTO MY BROTHER'S SOUL, how did you gather your contributers for the project?
I have this way of BEING virtually…I simply put it out there into the Universe, using the world wide web as my tool, and everything happens the way it’s destined to. The brothers came forth. It took a bit more work that the “sisters” books, likely because my email list is female-weighted. But, the brothers came forth and shared their stuff with tremendous love and openness.

One of the many things that really impresses me about you, Maria, is how active you are in promoting your projects. So many feel as though once they have released a new book that their work is done. Why have you felt it is so important to remain in touch with each aspect of the marketing?
I must be honest. While I use the internet, I’ve only done a fraction of what’s possible, because I’ve not position my books as my core business. So, to the contrary, I’ve truly not been in touch with each aspect of the marketing. There’s ample room for growth for me here.

With 2007 behind us, what can our readers expect from you in the new year?
I had a revelation regarding my writing just yesterday. I’m going to simply direct listeners to my website to take my survey, and you’ll see what I’m up to in 2008. www.mariadowdinspires.com.

Do you have any advice from those out there who have ideas for businesses or projects but haven't acted on it?
Plenty. However, we first have to understand where we are, and sometimes it takes coaching and seminars, and books to help us get there. Over the past 2 years, and especially in 2007, I invested in a lot of life coaching and seminars. Landmark Forum was one of the most important investments I’ve ever made in terms of understand ME and how I tick, what my blind spots have been. What lies I’ve been telling myself, and how I’ve been all up in my own way. My advice is to receiving coaching/get greater insight on getting the hell out of our own way, and accepting that we are whole, perfect and complete and can have extraordinary lives, do what brings us complete joy and have everything that matters most to us.

Thank you for you time, Maria. How can our readers learn more about you and the work you are doing?
www.mariadowdinspires.com 619-229-7766 maria@mariadowdinspires.com

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