252Buzzworthy - Whitney Grady - Author

(Photo by Artiisan Photography)

Whitney has been in love with words her whole life.

The Kinston author has written two young adult novels published by Amazing Things Press, with a third one on the way. "I Am Currency" and "Pass of the Crow" are set in a world where books are kept under lock and key and a teen with a photographic memory is running for his life. "I Am Currency," the first book in the trilogy, was a finalist in The Next Generation Indie Book Awards.

"It wasn't 'luck' that I was published," she said. "'I Am Currency' wasn't my first book or my first attempt at being published. My publication came after a lifelong love and passion for writing which refined and improved for over 30-plus years, decades of research, an English degree, decades of trial and error with query letters, attendance of writer's retreats and workshops and conferences, membership into writing groups, critiques, rejections ... with a sprinkling of success here and there throughout it all."

A native of Virginia, Whitney earned a bachelor's degree in English from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master's degree in Education from East Carolina University.

"I often get asked for advice on becoming a writer," Whitney said. "My best advice is to research the market, attend as many writing worships/author groups/conferences as you can, and welcome critique!

"Then, start small like I did by getting published in local magazines and newspapers and build your portfolio by submitting pieces to be published in anthologies so that when you submit your manuscript you have a strong writing resume!

"I write because I love to write, I mean I can't not write; it's part of my makeup," she said.

"Writing, to me, is cathartic. Anyone who knows me well knows I write, and have been writing, since I was a little girl. So, why do I write? Simply because I love writing."

2 things that inspire me:

1. Honesty. The kind of words, written or spoken aloud, that are so raw and vulnerable they take your breath.

2. Nature. The crest of a wave off a sandy beach, the hum of cicadas, a full orange moon, the scent of a magnolia bloom.

5 novels everyone should read:

1. "Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen. (Romance, a strong heroine who is truly a woman before her time ... I admit Lizzy Bennett may have had a part in my daughter's naming).

2. "And Still I Rise" by Maya Angelou. (Powerful book of poetry with lines that strengthen and inspire.)

3. "Mutant Message Down Under" by Marlo Morgan. ( Super fiction to make you think and self reflect)

4. "Bossypants" by Tina Fey. (Laugh-out-loud funny and impressive story with a bonus letter to her daughter that is just plain awesome.)

5. "The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe" by C.S.Lewis. ( Everyone wants to be able to reach Narnia through a door in their home ... Classic fiction that opens doors to imaginations!)

2 things I love about eastern North Carolina:

1. We take care of each other. For babies, funerals, illness, celebrations, tragedies -- we show up, bring food, donate time and money and resources, drop to our knees and pray...and we don't stop until the job is done.

2. We've got it all: the beach, the food, the hospitality, the festivals, the farmers' markets, the parks, the sweet tea, the azaleas, the pick-your-own patches, the slow-down-stay-a-while-y'all attitude.