Name: Vanna B.
Birth date: July 24th
Relationship status: Married
Parent: I’m the proud mommy of a four-year-old boy, and I have a baby girl due in June.
You know there’s nothing I love more than a hard-working, multi-talented, ambitious woman. As of lately I’ve been on my “girl-power” tip a little more than usual and so I wanted to highlight someone whom I think has done an amazing job of building her career and balancing her family. I watched her accept an award for her work at the Philly Hip Hop Awards and continue to grind ever since. Loves, say hello to Vanna B….
SS: Who is Vanna B.? Tell our readers a little about yourself.
VB: Vanna B. is a creator, a dreamer, a nerd, a super-mom, a renaissance woman, and lover of life; a rebel with a cause, here to entertain and inspire, one word at a time! I’m a native of Philadelphia and I write fiction novels.
SS: You rock many hats! You’re a local-award winning author, rapper, model, journalist and most importantly, a mommy! How do you manage to juggle it all?
VB: Once I became an author I no longer desired to devote much time to music and modeling. I found publishing my own novels so rewarding that I just wanted to put my all into it. So now I am able to devote my time primarily to my two favorite things in the world: my family and my writing.
SS: Are you a full-time author/entrepreneur or do you also have a 9-5?
VB: I’m full-time. I am blessed to be able to stay home with my little guy and work on my publishing career from home.
SS: That’s wonderful! Now, you’re a fellow TU and SCT Alum [TYEEWWW!]! How did your love of writing develop?
VB: I’ve always loved to read and write! I would write stories, poems and books when I was a child. My first two books were Ms. Cluck, which was about a superhero chicken, and another book in remembrance of my pet hermit crab that died.
SS: Aw, I’m sorry about your crab–but I’m glad that you used it to fuel your passion! Lol. So what was your experience at TU like and how has it impacted your quality of life?
VB: TU was great. I developed so much as a writer while attending and was able to get a well-rounded education. I can definitely attribute my great editing skills to TU, as those grammar lessons and AP style were drilled into our heads. Temple has a very close-knit community. I’m glad I attended. I might not be the writer I am today had I not.
VB: The concept for Fancy came to me one night while I was lying in bed. It’s not based on my life, but it is very real and relatable to a lot of people. Almost everyone can say they know at least one “Fancy.” I fashioned the premise of the book and character Fancy around the concept of a woman trying to depict herself as someone she’s not. Every day she wears a facade to mask the real her and readers see two totally different and contrasting images of her; she maintains a very glamorous image in public, but behind closed doors we get to see exactly who she really is.
SS: Oooolll spicy! And yes, very true. How did you go about getting your book edited, published and distributed?
VB: While writing Fancy I did a lot of research to prepare for the publishing process and weighed the pros and cons of self-publishing as opposed to submitting my manuscript and trying to get a deal with a major publisher. I found that the latter could be a very long and grueling process, and since I was eager to get my books into readers’ hands, I decided self-publishing would be the best avenue for me. So I started my company, Hope Street Publishing, and after editing the book many times myself I hired another editor to go over it, then I published it and started to reach out to stores, vendors and readers to get it into as many hands as possible.
SS: I love your entrepreneurial spirit! Given that you’re now on your second book, are there any lessons that you’ve learned that you wish you would have known when you first started out?
VB: I’ve learned and am still learning a lot about marketing, promoting and sales. I quickly learned the importance of getting out and having face-to-face interaction with readers. I’m also continually growing as a writer.
VB: I’m currently working on a paranormal erotica short for an anthology. When I learned of the opportunity I knew it would be both fun and challenging at the same time, since I’d never written anything like that before. But I’m loving it. I’m enjoying pushing my creative limits and seeing just what I’m capable of. I’m certainly looking forward to delving into different genres with my own full-length novels as well.
SS: Oh wow, paranormal erotica?! I can’t wait to read this. With all that you’ve accomplished…when did you realize that you were living your dreams—that all of your hard work was beginning to pay off?
VB: I think it was when I started to get the feedback from readers. The affirmation that others also enjoyed what I was creating was amazing. It felt great to know that I could make a living doing something that I love and that it was actually benefiting people as well!
SS: I think that’s one of the best feelings in the world. Looking back, what person or thing [characteristic, belief, etc.] contributed most to your current success?
VB: I owe a lot to my husband for always supporting my endeavors. I doubt I would have been able to leave the workforce to pursue my dream if it weren’t for him. He’s been there every step of the way encouraging me and helping me in any way he’s able.
VB: Always do it for the love! And by that I mean do what you do because it brings joy to yourself and others. When it starts to become more about the money and less about the people and your own personal happiness, that’s when it becomes a chore. At that point your drive as well as the quality of your product will start to slack. I feel if you’re truly enjoying what you do and are enriching the lives of others, you’ve already won.
Well damn it, I’m a winner!
And Vanna and I would like for you to be as well, sooooo…..
Stay updated on Vanna’s journey and order your copies of Fancy and Fancy 2: