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Interview with Epiphany Z. Crush

She is the author of 6 published books. Writing is her passion, and she has been doing this since she was in elementary school. She is a mother of five children, and she enjoys teaching too.

Q.1 Tell us something about yourself not many people know?
I am ambidextrous.

Q.2 Do you have any upcoming books?
Yes, Conversations in the Midnight Hour: Scriptures of Wisdom and Consolation.

Q.3 When did you decide to write Highway to Heaven?
I actually wrote Highway to Heaven in high school. It was for an assignment in a creative writing class. It was only a short story back then. In 2018, I read it to my 4th-grade class, and they loved it! They kept talking about the characters, discussing who they could relate to most. It was my fourth-grade class that inspired me to add more to that story. I made some changes, like I changed the setting from New York to Tennessee, and I added more to the story. In my original one of the main characters died, but I decided to keep that person alive when I edited it. Now Highway to Heaven is a novel!

Q.4 How do you come up with the name of your books?
It depends. Sometimes I don’t come up with a title until after I have written a couple of pages. Sometimes a theme pops up in my head, and I find a way to make it catchy. Then I start writing.

Q.5 If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
There are many things I would tell my younger self, but if I could choose one thing, it would be: Love yourself!

Q.6 How do you select the name of your characters?
Names just pop up as I write. I don’t really think about the name unless the name has some type of significance to the character’s role.

Q.7 How many books have you written? Which one is your favorite?
I have written many books - more than I have published. I have published six, though. My favorite book would be a tie between Wake-up Call and Highway to Heaven.

Q.8 How long does it take you to write a book?
It depends. Sometimes it takes a few months. It took me one year to write Conversations in the Midnight Hour. There’s another book I’m working on, and it has taken me almost two years, but that is mainly because it has not been my primary focus.

Q.9 What were your feelings when your novel was accepted/when you first saw the cover of the finished product?
I am a self-published author. When I see my book cover, it makes my book feel more real. It’s a great feeling.

Q.10 Where do you hope to take your writing in the future?
I don’t know. I just hope my writing will take me to true fans and to the people who need to read what my books have to say. I hope my writing will lead me to the people who will be truly touched by my books - so touched that they will write great reviews and recommend my books to others. I hope my books will be physically in stores like Target, Barnes & Noble, and Walmart. I also hope that some of my books will make it to Netflix movies or to movie theaters.

Q.11 Do you have any unique and quirky writing habits?
I have to have a certain environment. Road trips, being outdoors like at a park, and hotel stays often get me in the mood to write. I also create playlists for some of my books, and it helps me to play those songs as I write.

Q.12 Do you believe in writer’s block? If yes, how do you deal with it?
I do believe in writer’s block. Strangely, I don’t ever get writer’s block when I’m writing a story. It happens when I write poetry. I just take a break. I will do something else or work on a story, and later the words will come to me.

Q.13 What was one of the most surprising things you learned while writing your book?
I am still surprised that I actually wrote a novel! I learned that the sky is the limit, and I can do anything I put my mind to doing.

Q.14 What is your favorite book from other authors and why?
Two books that I love by other authors: Southern Highway Gospel Companion by Richard Holeman and The Devil Goes to Church Too by Monica Walters. As an author, it is very hard to find the time to read others’ books, so when I find a book that I cannot put down, that says a lot! In both books I mentioned above, I could not stop reading. Great authors!

Q.15 How do your family/friends feel about your book or writing venture in general?
I have been sharing bits and pieces of Conversations in the Midnight Hour, and he likes it. My children do too. I loved to hear my mom’s excitement and opinion about Highway to Heaven’s characters and issues. My kids are always willing to listen to my stories as I write them. I think people like my books, and Wake-up Call is one of their favorites because it is a good, quick novelette.

Q.16 How do you develop your plots and characters? Do you use any set formula?
I don’t really have a formula. I usually keep a notebook where I jot down characters’ names and descriptions. I do like a timeline of events that will take place. Other times I just write, and it all comes together on its own.

Q.17 What advice do you have for aspiring authors?
Don’t overthink! I spent too many years waiting for the perfect time to get my books published. The perfect time never came. One day I realized that I just had to seize the moment.

Q.18 Imagine a future where you no longer write. What would you do?
If I could no longer write, I would teach full-time and also do professional gift-wrapping, but it’s hard for me to imagine a future with me not writing.

Q.19 Who designed your book covers?
My daughter designed my childrens’ book covers. Amy Queau designed my adult/YA book covers.

Q.20 Share the experience of your journey so far?
I am overjoyed! Being a self-published author is very challenging because I have to balance time between writing, promoting, and operating my online bookstore (Epiphany’s Sky and Design Bookstore). It’s all up to me to put the word out there about my books, but it is one of the most rewarding things ever…to go online and read my book reviews, to look at my own books when I visit my local library, and to know that my books inspired others…even if it was just one person. It’s the best feeling in the world.

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