by The People’s Minister of Information JR
Kendra Willis is a Bay Area woman I have known for my whole life. This young family woman is a motivational speaker, an author of two books, a business owner, a wife and mother. Growing up, she was always an avid reader; now she is a celebrated writer of fiction, with her new book, “No Faith,” set to come out this May. Check her out in her own words …
M.O.I. JR: Can you tell the people what you talk about when you do motivational speeches across the state?
Kendra: When I go out and speak in and around the tri-state area, I mainly try to focus on empowering our women and youth. My goal is to let minorities know that there are plenty of opportunities out there for us, and that we have to just basically seize the moment and take advantage of the opportunities as they come along.
M.O.I. JR: What kind of response do you get?
Kendra: I spend a lot of time speaking to teens and pre-teens, women’s groups, incarcerated women and church organizations, and the feedback is always great. I always leave feeling as if people believe more in themselves when they know that others believe in them. I truly believe in the power of self-love. When people really love themselves, then I feel that they will go the extra mile to take care of themselves, be it on a personal, spiritual or educational level.
M.O.I. JR: Why are these skills important for people to learn?
Kendra: I really feel like many African Americans in general – and particularly our youth – do not have a love of self, and because they don’t love who they are, they become destructive. When people love themselves, they start to actually realize how important they are to their communities, to their families, and then they start to realize that they should also love and respect their brothers and sisters. I want us to go back to being our brothers’ keepers.
M.O.I. JR: Can you tell people about your work as an author?
Kendra: I’ve just recently finished work on my second book, titled “No Faith.” The book is a fictional story about the trials and tribulations of a first lady in a prosperous and well-to-do African American mega-church. I feel like people don’t really focus on the first lady of the church. Usually the focus is on pastors of churches when our stories are told, but nobody really ever focuses on the first lady and what she must endure to keep her family, both natural and spiritual, intact, and that is what my story focuses on.
M.O.I. JR: When will your new book drop?
M.O.I. JR: What is your creative process like when you write a book?
Kendra: When I write a book, I just sit back and try to let the characters tell the story. My goal is to figure out who my characters are, and I really want to allow their stories to unfold. I just sit at the computer and allow the characters to do what they do.
I never do a complete outline of the story, because I never know where the story will take me. I just write, and allow the twists and turns to come naturally. In this book, I was always shocked at how the plots and story line continued to develop.
M.O.I. JR: What kind of advice would you give to people interested in writing a book?
Kendra: When it comes to writing a book, or writing in general, I would tell people to stay focused, write every day, and really develop your skill and talent. Take writing courses, go to workshops and partner with other successful writers and allow them to read and critique your work. But the most important thing I would tell a writer, is to just do it. Believe in yourself and never give up. People really need to know that nothing is impossible, just ask Obama!
M.O.I. JR: How do people keep up with you?
Kendra: People can follow me via my web site at www.kendralwillis.com, via twitter @kendralwillis, and on Facebook at Kendra L Willis. You can also book me to speak at engagements through any of these mediums.
It’s been nice talking to you, JR. You are truly the journalist of the Bay!
The People’s Minister of Information JR is associate editor of the Bay View, author of “Block Reportin’” and filmmaker of “Operation Small Axe” and “Block Reportin’ 101,” available, along with many more interviews, at www.blockreportradio.com. He also hosts two weekly shows on KPFA 94.1 FM and kpfa.org: The Morning Mix every Wednesday, 8-9 a.m., and The Block Report every other Friday night-Saturday morning, midnight-2 a.m. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.