Another Column at MyShelf.Com

Beneath the Covers,Past
A Romance Column
By Carol Ann Culbert Johnson

Mary Muhammad

Carol: Give a short bio about yourself.

Mary: I was born the last of twelve in Berrien Center, Michigan. Raised on a fruit farm until I was seven; then moved to Benton Harbor, Michigan. I now reside in the Greater West Michigan area.

Carol: Tell us about your motivation to write.

Mary: My motivation to write is simply being able to voice and educate people of important issues and to express what’s within my heart through my poetry.


Carol: Explain your journey to publication. What was your reaction and how has it changed your life?

Mary: My journey to publication was a long one. I never wanted to publish any of my work. But after years of encouragement and just doing it, it has made a huge difference. I was over whelmed with the acceptance of my work through Publish America. Since the calm I began to see just how much I can help through my writings and look for many ways to reach out to others with it.


Carol: Describe your current book.

Mary: “Echoes of an Era” is poetry I started as a teen. Although many of the poems were written prior to my submitting them. It’s expressing poverty, death, love, spirituality, fantasy, addiction, and love from a child’s eyes.


Carol: List your other books, and describe them.

Mary: “The Story Box” A Collection of Short Stories; is short stories I compiled in one book for children. It’s all about adventure and learning life lessons. It’s a little mystery as well. “Hugs and Kisses” is a book on sexual child abuse. I went there because; It’s seems to be a never ending issue plaguing our children, and I have great hopes that this book will help to educate parents as well as be an aide for counselors, to help children be comfortable enough to open up and speak about it.


Carol: Who is your one favorite author?

Mary: Like countless of others Maya Angelo as well as Laurence Dunbar.


Carol: What is your advice to aspiring writers?

Mary: I titled my first book “Echoes of an Era” because the sayings of my mom; rings through to me this day. So I would tell aspiring authors to reach inside and listen to their echoes.


Carol: What is your genre of writing?

Mary: It varies from poetry to children to mysteries.


Carol: Where do you want to take your writing in the future?

Mary: I will continue with my poetry, and I’d love to know that the writings in my books will really help change and/or save a life.


Carol: What are your favorite writing websites if any?

Mary: I really don’t have one, but I’ve seen some great authors’ websites and there’s so much to be read out there. So much talent to be discovered.


Carol: Do you like writing short stories, novels, poems or novella? Which is your favorite and why?

Mary: Of course my favorite is poetry, because it lets me vent, it lets me unlock all that’s deep within me.


Carol: Are you in any book clubs?

Mary: No. Although I do plan to join Oprahs.


Carol: What is your opinion of your current publisher and would you recommend them to others?

Mary: I would recommend Publish America to anyone who wants to get published and not have to pay for it. They have given me the opportunity to be heard; to reach an audience I may never have had a chance too.


Carol: Would you self-publish and why or why not?

Mary: I have self published. In fact “The Story Box” and “Hugs and Kisses” are self published works through Lulu Publishing. I did this because I wanted “Hugs and Kisses” as well as “The Story Box” to go out as soon as possible.


Carol: What do you think of the black writers today?

Mary: The black writers today are just awesome. I mean they have a voice you wouldn’t believe. There’s so much more they are facing and to read their thoughts and experiences are incredible.


Carol: What family member, if any, supports your writing?

Mary: My family in general supports my writings. One of my brothers quoted a poem to me when I was in my early teens and to this day I have it.


Carol: Have you done any book signings? If so, what was the result?

Mary: I’m getting ready for my first book signing now. I’m really excited about it.


Carol: What are your marketing tools for your books?

Mary: I have used all kinds of things for marketing my work. Printed articles with the books photo, I have made my own business cards that I hand out at every chance. I send out pamphlets to family and friends with the cover and an excerpt from the book with a review included. I’ve had the book title printed on my pants and shirt, many things I’m doing to get it out there.


Carol: Give us your website and email address where we can purchase and check out your work.

Mary: My websites are and


Carol: Did you attend writing classes, and if so, what is your opinion on writing seminars, degrees, and workshops?

Mary: No I never did.


Carol: How are your other hobbies?

Mary: My other hobbies are fishing and tennis. I get to do them from time to time.


Carol: What is your favorite voice to write in and why?

Mary: The voice I write in and enjoy the most is free style. I can be me and express as I feel it.


Carol: Do you want to write full-time or is this just a hobby for you?

Mary: I would love to write full time. It’s my passion and to make it my career would be a blessing granted.


Carol: In reviews of your books/short stories, etc., is the feedback positive or negative?

Mary: I’m pleased to say I’ve had great reviews for my writings.


Carol: Do you have an editor?

Mary: No I don’t.


Carol: Do you have an agent?

Mary: No I don’t.


Carol: Of all your books/short stories, what is your favorite and why?

Mary: “Echoes of an Era” is my favorite because it’s my first published writing and it came from a special place.


Carol: Where can your books/short stories be purchase?

Mary: They all can be purchased through my website as well as online at, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Walden Books and


Carol: What is the message you want to send out with your books?

Mary: Support, love and inspiration.


Carol: Is non-fiction and historical something you want to write in the future?

Mary: I’m not really sure, but I don’t mind really stepping in and see how it goes.


Carol: Is science-fiction, romance, or mystery a genre you’d like to pursue?

Mary: I think mystery interest me more.


Carol: What kinds of books do you like to read?

Mary: Poetry, self help and drama.


Carol: What is your full-time job?

Mary: Being a mom.


Carol: If God gave you three wishes what would they be and why?

Mary: To continue to give useful knowledge. To be able to save even one child through my work. To be granted life in paradise. I think they speak for themselves.


Carol: Tell us about your upcoming books and events.

Mary: I’m trying my hand at a romance. It’s about two close friends on their way to collage and they meet the loves of their lives, but not without difficulty of course.

2008 Past Columns

Mary Muhammad



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