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Who is Ophelia S. Lewis?


I had no idea, but wanted to find out more, so I asked her for an interview. I recently became a member of a closed writer’s group she established on social media. As any person would do, I wanted to learn more about the group's administrator; so I viewed her profile. As a person who loves to read, the more I examined about the Blogger, Project Manager, Self-Published Author and Founder of a publishing company, the more I was inclined to ask her some questions about her life’s work. As a result, I asked her for an interview and she graciously accepted.


You can listen to the digital audio here!



Stafford:

Greetings Ms. Lewis! Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule to carry out this interview. I noticed you have authored a variety of books. What motivates you to write and how do you come up with a subject for which to write?

Ophelia S. Lewis:

Life inspires me. There’s always a story when life unfolds, because no matter where it unfolds, it renders spiritual realities. Because writing is like breathing to me, I take notes; whether it’s people, nature, event… anything. Though I write mostly fiction, everyone can relate to the subject matter, regardless of the setting.

Stafford:

Do you consider yourself an Artisans Introvert, requiring quiet times alone to express your thoughts and creativity onto paper? I personally value such times and find them priceless. Is this part of your personality trait? If so, how do you balance it with social time?

Ophelia S. Lewis:

Most writers are, and I did not understand that until I started writing. Growing up, I’ve always been a loner and never cared to belong. I am quiet by nature, and that’s because I’m painfully shy. I guess I do all of my ‘talking’ on paper. I almost never socialize (which is something I’ve been working on); unless it’s for a cause, like attending an author’s book signing, or a fundraising for an organization. I’m never comfortable giving live interviews, so I rarely do.

Stafford:

Thanks for the response. Many of the World’s Greats are/were Introverts. Writing a book is one thing, and a great accomplishment I must add. So I am sure there is an inner sense of accomplishment when it is completed. But writers want people to read and I would think want their books to be purchased. I will focus on the purchasing aspect later; but with all the extra social media activities (Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, and Twitter), smart phones usages, reality shows, gaming, etc., do you think it is difficult today for the average person to read a book since all forms of entities are bidding for their attention?

Ophelia S. Lewis:

The average person, yes; but a book lover, no. As a writer, I hope to write what people find interesting, build a readership and hope to expand that number, and that’s where social media plays a very important part. It enables an author to connect with people internationaly . You connect with a lot more readers, or potential readers, than waiting until you have an opportunity at a book signing. Goodreads.com is an excellent example.

People have more options these days, on how to use their time. Readers are smart, so the quality of your work counts. Those who like reading, will find the time to do just that. I’ve met people, especially book lovers, who would rather have a physical copy in their hand than an eBook. They want to hear the turning of pages, smell the paper, etc. And for those who don’t have the time to hold a book , there’s audio book. Digital media is as revolutionary for the reader, as it is for the writer.

Stafford:

You and I both share the same home land , Liberia. You wrote a book “My Dear Liberia (Recollections)” which “shine a light on a part of Liberia’s history, when people cherished the ordinariness of everyday life”. You have a new book coming out next month (November 2015) called “Liberia UnScrabbled- a game book”. Do you feel a specific purpose to focus on the Liberian people giving recent events in that country?

Ophelia S. Lewis:

I don’t find it odd to have two homes, which I cherish dearly, the United States and Liberia, in no particular order. I have spent the latter part of my teenage years, and all of my adult life in the US; but as a descendent of Liberia settlers, I am drawn into Liberia with a sense of pride deep rooted in my heart. That’s where my roots are and the main reason I use my work to link my two worlds. In fact, 90% of my writing is about Liberia, fictitious, or otherwise. I like to show what makes Liberia unique and I find it refreshing to see that nowadays, many Liberian literary works are no longer just political . People will see that in my new book, Liberia UnScrabbled (a game book), the puzzles in it cover our history, culture, pop culture, everyday life, governance, rivers, mountains, even what Liberia has contributed to the world. We are unique.

Stafford:

Thanks, Liberia does have a unique history especially one that is linked to the U.S. I look forward to "Liberia Unscrabbled". The book seems to cover a lot of topics and in fun way at that. In your spare time you do cross stitching as a hobby and some proceeds go towards non-profit organizations. You also have a creative way of donating to foundations such as the Books for kid’s campaign. What kind of Intrinsic Value do you get from working with these organizations?

Ophelia S. Lewis:

You do feel better when you give, rather than receive… my parents were good role models at that; giving back. You don’t have to be a Bill Gates or Oprah to give, what is in your hand is sufficient; time, talent, mentoring, anything. What I gain from the pieces I make doing cross stitching is a clear mind. It is mental therapy for me; the piece wows the buyer and the proceeds help to forward a cause. It’s a win-win-win for everyone. I believe in ‘service beyond self’, a core value my parents taught us. Practice that, and you’ll be a happier person. No matter how insignificant it might seem, you’ve made a positive difference.

Stafford:

Well thanks for the words or wisdom and kudos for giving credit to your parents. I strongly feel there is a special blessing that is bestowed on those who speak well of their parents, especially if they were good role models. On the topic of Role Models, did you have any mentors to guide you as a writer/author?

Ophelia S. Lewis:

I’ve met a few Liberian writers who were encouraging. One person stands out though, Dr. Patricia Wesley. I consider her a role model, someone I truly admire. From the moment we met, she was encouraging and supportive. As far as a mentor, my brother, Aaron Lewis, is my mentor. Although he is a musician who writes and produces music, he’s my mentor.

Stafford:

Well Ms . Lewis, thank you very much for this interview. It was great getting to speak with you as well. I wish you much success with you new book "Liberia Unscrabbled: A Game Book". I will provide the audience the link to access the book and your website. I look forward to getting my copy. Before we end, do you have any last words to share with aspiring writers?

Ophelia S. Lewis:

Thank you, Mr. Zeon, for giving me this opportunity to share my work with your audience; I am indeed humbled. And to those writers, especially the aspiring writer, I believe what we do is out of passion. Let nothing discourage you because our words often outlast us, a good reason to write responsibly. Keep writing, that’s the only way to get better.


Stafford:

****Ophelia S. Lewis new book "Liberia Unscrabbled - A Game Book" can be ordered on Amazon at the following link: www.amazon.com_Ophelia_S_Lewis You can visit her website at: www.ophelialewis.com ****