VBD Magazine is always on the lookout for purpose-driven difference makers. Meet Sharon Blount, award-winning author and Founder of Building Relationships Around Books (BRAB), who has successfully created a platform to share her love of reading.
After overcoming her early diagnosis of dyslexia, Sharon approaches challenges with the mindset that nothing can be resolved without faith and action. Like many authors, she is juggling work and family life while churning out stories for her readers. Sharon loves writing romance that delivers poignant truths yet provides a touch of humor. Her debut book, Espresso Served with Love, won two awards—New Author and The Donna Hill Breakout Author award.
Powerful in purpose, Sharon continues to bring her “A” game to her commitments. Read on to learn about BRAB and get actionable tips for building a successful book club. After all, if you want to know something, just ask an expert.
VBD: Why did you start the BRAB and what services do you offer?
SHARON: I started BRAB because I found myself reading a ton of African American books and having nobody to discuss these stories with. I had a physical book club, but once I had my son, it became difficult to maintain so I took it online. Also, I saw that African American authors were not getting the publicity they deserved. I wanted to let everyone know that black men and women can write and that they deserve recognition. My book club offers author spotlight/takeovers and helps to promote an author. Most of all, BRAB is a great place to enjoy yourself and build relationships.
How has your mission for BRAB evolved?
SHARON: When I first started BRAB, I just wanted to have book chats. Over the years, I have added an event called “A Reading Warriors Retreat.” During the retreat, I have given away a ton of school supplies and paid tuition for a few people. Also, I have started The Reading Warriors Choice Awards program. I am truly living a dream that I never thought possible.
VBD: How has the pandemic changed the way you live and operate BRAB?
SHARON: I make sure I enjoy myself at all times. I try not to let the small things bother me. The pandemic gave me time to heal and deal with old wounds. BRAB has been around sixteen years and I used to operate it like a 9-5 job. This meant I rarely took breaks. Now things are much different. I am making sure I take breaks. Also, I make sure my wonderful administrators get breaks to enjoy life outside of social media.
VBD: What are three tips for building a successful book club?
SHARON: Consistency, rules, and the love of books. If you don't have these things, you will burn out fast. Remember to enjoy it. We can get so caught up with maintaining the group that we can forget it is for the love of books, which is why we started in the first place.
VBD: What helps you to keep going when things are tough?
SHARON: God, praying, and my son; therapy as well. Those are the things that get me through everything.
VBD: What is your most memorable accomplishment to date?
SHARON: My most memorable accomplishment is having my son, Andrew. Nothing will ever top that to me.
VBD: As a promoter of authors, what is it like being an author?
Sharon: It has been great. I love being a reader, but I also enjoy being an author. Everything inspires me to write. I could be watching a television show and a character's name is beautiful, so I write it in my phone or journal. I love watching people help me as well. To be honest, being nominated for an award for my first book has been wonderful to me. It meant someone loved my books enough to tell others. I just want to keep putting out quality work that makes my readers happy.
VBD: What’s next for you?
SHARON: I will continue to run BRAB and will host another event in 2022. Last August, I released another romance novel, Mocha Kisses. I am currently working on a Christmas story and writing my first women’s fiction. I am excited about the future, because I now know there isn’t anything stopping me but myself. I wouldn't know that if I didn't have God in my life and heart at all times.
Book Link: Amazon
Click and Visit https://www.coffeebratpublishing.com