November/December 2023 Authors
A d a e z e O k o l i
Fashion Model, Author, Editor
Hello Adaeze! We are excited to have you as our LDL Magazine cover!For readers who may not have read your feature in our 2022 issues, what inspired you to start your author journey?
Hey there LDL Family! I’m glad to be back. Thank you for inviting me to be a part of such an amazing and uplifting magazine. What inspired me to become an author was the freedom of expression. I always loved writing stories when I was younger, but once I turned twelve, I used writing as a way to express myself. If it weren’t for school teachers (specifically, my 5th grade teacher) and mom, then I never would have tried to become published. I’m always grateful to them, as well as my publisher Champagnie at TOV Publishing. She allowed my story to have a platform. I can’t wait to announce the second book I have coming up.
What was the most recent book you read?
My most recent read is Everything Sad is Untrue. I definitely suggest giving this book a read!
You have raving reviews on Amazon for your book The Love of Peter Jones. Can you provide us with a brief synopsis of the book?
Thank you so much for the kind words! Of course, I can. The passing of Peter’s mom has started a domino effect, making things go from bad to worse in a matter of months. Peter and his father have a strained relationship that has become worse as his mother's illness progressed. In the midst of all this chaos, Peter meets Trinity King, a girl he wants to trust, but doesn't know if he should. A turn of events causes Peter to be on the streets. No shelter, no money, and no food. Every move Peter makes can either have a positive or negative impact on his life, he doesn't know who he should or shouldn't trust. Peter Jones is losing his once stable life. Can he survive all these tragedies that are coming at him fast, or will Peter give up the fight and let this cruel game of life consume him? Join along on this gut-wrenching tale of a boy trying to find himself, while losing everything he loves all at once.
Holiday and New Year's season is here. Can you provide three must-have books that our readers should buy?
The top three must have books a reader should buy are: Third Girl from the Left, A Monster Calls, and The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly.
If you could add three items as stocking stuffers, then what would it be?
That’s such a good question. I would say tea, snacks, and fuzzy socks.
How would you describe your modeling style?
If I had to choose how to describe my modeling style, then I would say it’s a cross between classic, contemporary, with a twist. I truly admire the models from the 90’s era. They were elegant and posed effortlessly. Some of the most simplistic poses are the best. I like to take a bit from that era, as well as sprinkle a bit of my own personal flare.
"I truly admire the models from the 90’s era. They were elegant and posed effortlessly. Some of the most simplistic poses are the best. I like to take a bit from that era, as well as sprinkle a bit of my own personal flare".
What is the most memorable modeling moment that you have?
My most memorable modeling moment that I’ve had so far is with my amazing friend who is like a sister. Her name is Liz Anderson and she’s incredibly talented. We worked together recently at the OKC Art Museum, and even had permission to use Kehinde Wiley’s art in our photos. This shoot was featured in Harper’s Bazaar China.
Are there any challenges you've had to overcome as an author and model?
I’ve had plenty of challenges as an author and model. I struggle with severe depression, and this can hinder me from being able to write. When these depressive episodes hit, they can last months, and even up to a year. I struggle with self-doubt as well. When you mix these two things together, it can get hard to keep writing. These challenges can also affect my modeling. More than anything I would say my height has been a challenge as a model. When I first started, everyone loved my look, but the only issue was my height. I’m 5’6 instead of the typical 5’8. I didn’t let that get the best of me though. Now I’m a signed model and have been published in Harper's Bazaar!
What are some words of advice that you can give to future models who want to be featured in mainstream magazines?
I know it sounds cliche, but if you have the determination and will to keep going, you can do it. Your success may take longer than someone else, and that’s okay. Remember to stay on your path and focus on your journey. No matter how many no’s you get, keep going. You only need that one yes. If you feel you’ll never get that yes, then maybe it’s time to create that space for yourself. Sometimes you have to be your own advocate, your own agent, and that’s okay! Most importantly, never stop networking, never stop making new connections. The internet will be your number one tool to success, utilize it. You’ve got this.
"I know it sounds cliche, but if you have the determination and will to keep going, you can do it. Your success may take longer than someone else, and that’s okay. Remember to stay on your path and focus on your journey. No matter how many no’s you get, keep going. You only need that one yes".
How can authors overcome writer's block?
The number one way for me to overcome writer's block is by decompressing. Take a nice warm bath or shower, make your favorite tea, and read a good book. If you’re not in the mood to read, then turn on a tv show. Sometimes I find that the source of my writer’s block is me being burned out. Sometimes you just need to hit the reset button on yourself, relax, and then try again.
Outside of your business, what are some other hobbies that you enjoy?
I absolutely love going on long drives, just to see where I end up. Traveling nourishes my soul, even if it’s just a short day trip. I love discovering new music, gaming, and petting cows whenever I get the chance. If you haven’t pet a cow before, then do it. They are like giant dogs.
Clothing Boutique: Moshito Bandito
Venue & Photography Studio: The Tipping Pointe
T i a r a J . B r o w n
Young Adult & Fantasy Author
What inspired you to start your author journey?
I have always been a storyteller. I remember the first story that I wrote when I was either 6 or 7 years old about a little girl shrinking to the size of a bee and sneaking into a beehive. To cut me to teenage me, writing the precursor to my current novel, The Tales of Alexandria Stecklar: The Locket. Back then it was called, The War Between Psychics and Sorcerers, and it was my entire trilogy condensed into one book. I typed it, printed it, and placed it in a binder.
Cut to the adult me, one of my best friends reached out to me and asked, “Hey, what happened to that book you wrote when we were in school?”
I opened the binder and re-read the story. At that moment as I sat there on my living room floor, I knew that I had to rewrite it as an adult. However, this time, I wanted to officially turn it into a physical book with a cover and everything that you could hold in your hands. Hence, my author journey began! Ha ha!
Why did you decide to focus on young adult novels and the fantasy genre?
Both young adult and fantasy novels are my favorite types of novels to read. I have been reading young adult and fantasy books ever since I was pre-teen, thus it is the genre that my imagination naturally gravitates to write. I love the enemies to lovers trope and the discovery of a new world and/or new love. There is a beautiful innocence in a lot of characters in young adult novels, and as the reader or writer, we witness how these characters are sometimes tragically ripped away from that innocence. I think the symbolism of that can sometimes be true to real life, which makes it so captivating. It’s not as dramatic as fighting a dragon or being in an elf war. But writing about hardships that we can all relate to when we were young, and adding that magical or fantastical twist to it makes an incredible story that the reader cannot put down, and an enthralled story that I cannot help, but to write.
Can you provide us with a brief synopsis of your fantasy novel, The Tales of Alexandria Stecklar: The Locket!?
The Tales of Alexandria Stecklar: The Locket is about a telekinetic, 15-year old girl named Alexandria (Alex) who lives underground with her family during a time of on again/off again war between her kind, other psychics and magical sorcerers. One day, Alex is separated from her family above ground and thrusted into the Land of the Sorcerers. She must make it home safely, lest she be captured, or killed or worse!
Will Alex return, safely? Or will someone else get to her first?
It is a fantastical story filled with magic, adventure, family bonds, and a twist that changes everything!
Are there any authors who have inspired you?
Yes! I am inspired by three authors!
First, J.K. Rowlings had inspired me as a kid, reading the Harry Potter novels and she still inspires me now, because of the world that she created in Harry Potter. There is so much symbolism and depth to her characters, the story, and the world building of the franchise that she created.
Also, there is a lot to learn from her in the art of writing. One of the challenges in writing fantasy is not info dumping, which is hard because you have to explain the rules of the world and the magic system without boring the reader. Harry Potter is mostly set at Hogwarts, a school where she can info dump, but make it come across as natural because it is a school setting. Genius!
Second is William Shakespeare. Macbeth is one of my favorite plays and Shakespeare really nailed the descent into madness with Lady Macbeth and writing captivating people in all his works. Not to mention, his skill at word play. There is a reason why we still use his phrases in pop-culture today. “Double double toil and trouble” - Macbeth. “A rose by any other name” - Romeo and Juliet. And a reason why we still make movies inspired by Shakespeare like She’s the Man (Twelfth Night) and 10 Things I Hate About You (The Taming of the Shrew).
Third is Charles Dickens. A Tale of Two Cities is a phenomenal story filled with love and tragedy. It is set during the French Revolution (a very crazy and volatile time in history). Already a suspenseful backdrop and then you add on complex characters, unrequited love but sacrifice so your unrequited love can be happy, and an amazing villain reveal/plot twist. It has everything. All in the dangerous midst of chaos, looming death, and hope!
There is so much to learn from all three of these writers. They inspire me so much on world-building, characterizations, and the overall art of storytelling.
If you could choose three holiday items to set the mood for a cozy reading spot, then what would you choose?
I would have to choose a fully decorated and lit Christmas tree, a gingerbread scented candle, and a Christmas Hallmark Movie playing in the background. Preferably, a movie with a prince or a king as the main love interest and either muted or the volume is really low, so I can still read.
Tell us more about your blog. What are some topics that you write about on your blog?
My blog has a little bit of everything. Some of them were announcements of my book updates or releases. Also, I have a blog post of a sneak peak of the Prologue and Chapter 1 of my book. Others are reviews or recommendations for certain animes or cartoons that I watch or have watched like, My Happy Marriage or The Dragon Prince. And some are of the funny quirks of life, like Looking Younger than Your Age or Awkward Moments as an Adult. I have one unique blog post that is a short story of a soldier in war in the form of a diary entry, called Haunted as well.
Are there any challenges you've had to overcome as an author?
One of the biggest challenges that I have had to overcome is time management. Writing a book, on average, takes a very long time especially if you are doing it, while working full-time. When I was writing my first book, that was me. I had a full time job in the audiobook industry. I would come home drained and sometimes not wanting to write anything. I had to force myself to write at times.
Then you add on researching and marketing for your book, having a social life and doing other activities, and of course family and friends. It was very hard to find that balance. I am not working full-time right now but sometimes it is still hard to find that balance. However, it is possible. You have to organize your time management. I list out everything that I want to accomplish each day and analyze how much time each task will take and act accordingly.
Another challenge that I had to overcome is patience. Being an author is also being a small business owner and it takes time for any business to get off of the ground. A lot more time than a lot of us would like. You spend so much time writing the book and it also takes time for it to pick traction amongst readers. I have asked myself and God, “What am I doing wrong?”
But the answer is that it all just takes time. I have had to change my mindset. You celebrate the little wins along the way. They still mean that you are going in the right direction. It’s not a sprint. It’s a marathon. But, it's a marathon that is well worth it!
"I have had to change my mindset. You celebrate the little wins along the way. They still mean that you are going in the right direction. It’s not a sprint. It’s a marathon. But, it's a marathon that is well worth it!"
What are some words of advice that you can give to future authors who want to publish a book?
Definitely, to have patience! Also, to not forget to live life. When you are a writer, so much of your writing is inspired by a mix of your past experiences, your own personal philosophies, and the relationships that you have and the people that you meet regardless of the genre that you write in. Thus, you become a better writer, when you diversify your experiences and talk to many different and interesting types of people. You never want to keep yourself in a box, because your writing will reflect that.
Try new things! Talk to people that you don’t know! Try to develop an understanding of people of different backgrounds and different walks of life.
And most importantly, never stop asking, “Why?” “Why did this happen?” “Why would this person(s) do this?” “Why would I do this?” - You never know when that “why” will turn into a great story!
Outside of your business, what are some other hobbies that you enjoy?
Other than writing books, I am also a dancer. I have been swing dancing on and off for over 10 years. Two years ago, I learned the tango. I have never competed in a competition. However, I have done two showcases; one in swing dancing and the other in the tango. Now, I’m learning ballet. I adore ballet. It is great exercise, and it makes me feel very graceful and elegant.
Also, I love to hike. I have gone on hiking trips to places like Hocking Hills, Ohio. I am a baker. The sweet tooth is real! And, I am a huge history nerd. History was one of my favorite subjects in school. I still love reading and learning about it, today.
Photographer: Haley Isaacs