She was raised by her grandmother who taught her how to be strong. Without the knowledge and prayers of her grandmother, she would have never made it. Living life in Brothels learning how to hustle from her uncles gave her the wisdom to survive in the streets. The one thing she knew was how to hustle. Deciding to get out the business of pimps and prostitutes she traveled looking for love. True love is what she wanted, but never found. The only person she ever felt who loved her was her grandmother. Not receiving the love she wanted from her parents she turned to the streets and ended up gang banging, selling drugs, doing drugs, selling her soul and living a life of corruption. In and out of relationships, trying to find love, Tivona knew there was a better life out there for her. Livin the Fast Life was not something she wanted to do for the rest of her life; she knew she had to slow down and find out what her calling was.
Writing and keeping journals were her passion. Through her trials and tribulations she needed something to give her an out. She needed to be able to express herself without hurting the ones she loved. No matter what was going on in her life, her journals would be destroyed. Now, she realizes that words on paper have a powerful meaning. Still afraid of sharing her story, she continued writing in her journal.
In 2003, Tivona moved to Texas, hoping to make a better life for herself. Getting extremely sick and the doctors not sure what was wrong with her, Tivona became unable to work. Unsure about her next move, Tivona knew hustling was always something she had to fall back on. Now, she wants to hustle the right way. Not knowing where to begin, she heard a sermon from Joyce Meyer saying “if you can't get a job, create a job.” She knows now she has to create work for herself. Writing has always been her passion, and she knew it was time for her to tell her story.
In 2010, Tivona published her first novel, Livin' the Fast Life. Not sure where to begin, she took her book on the road, selling it out the trunk of her car. While, on the road, she got sicker. Blacking out, Tivona was rushed to the hospital where she discovered she had Lupus. But her courage, strength, and wisdom, would not allow her to stop living her dreams. She continues to pursue her dreams and encourages others to do the same. Writing is her life.
Tivona’s titles include: Livin' the Fast Life and The UnMarritable coming out Spring 2013
About “Livin the Fast Life”
Take a journey with Kenya Gardner as she lives the Fast Life.
Sex, Lies, Drugs, Seduction, Betrayal and love; Kenya finds herself in the center of the fast life. No matter what life throws at Kenya she stays true to her money.
Based on a true story, Livin the Fast Life will take you in a world only you can imagine. Will Kenya stay in the game, get out the game, or find the love she desperately wants? Find out in this raving novel.
DP: When did you first decide you wanted to become an author?
Tivona: I have always loved to write since I was a kid. I told myself I would be an author one day, but never pursued it. In 2009 I made up in my mind I would finally live my dream as an author.
DP: How did you decide on the idea for your first book?
Tivona: The idea of Livin' the Fast Life came from my life experiences.
DP: How long did it take you to write your first book?
Tivona: It took me one year to write my first book.
DP: Did you self-publish or are you signed to a publishing company?
Tivona: I am a self-published author.
DP: How did you decide on the cover for your most recent book?
Tivona: The first cover of Livin' the Fast Life was not what I wanted, but it was what I could afford at the time. It was the best cover the publishing company had to offer. The new cover for Livin' the Fast Life was what I imagined it to be. I knew it had to show the streets moving fast and money.
DP: Tell us about your writing style. Do you write on a schedule?
Tivona: I write from the heart. I don't have a particular style or schedule. Whatever my heart tells me to write about, that's what I write about. Being an independent author and having a life, it’s not always easy to write on a schedule. There are days I write all day and then there are times I only write for a couple of hours.
DP: What makes your writing unique?
Tivona: What makes my writing unique is that it is always real and heartfelt. I write fiction novels, but they are always based on real stories. I don't cuss a lot in my books and I find other ways to express myself without being tacky or vivid.
DP: As a writer, what motivates you?
Tivona: My nieces and nephews motivate me. Being able to show them that living their dreams is a reality, and they can do anything they set their minds to, motivates me to do more and be a better person for them.
DP: How do you balance your writing and various responsibilities that come along with being an independent author?
Tivona: It is definitely not an easy task. However, I stay true to myself and take one project at a time.
DP: When you’re not writing what are you doing?
Tivona: When I am not writing I am usually thinking about writing. There are days I have to take time to relax my body and do absolutely nothing. When writing is what you love it's hard not to do anything. I sleep, breathe, drink, eat, and talk about writing.
DP: What’s a typical day like for you?
Tivona: In the mornings I have a daily meeting with the Fast Life Management team. We go over everything we are working on and any new projects we have coming up. After the meeting, I work on interviews, marketing, networking, and learning other avenues to making each book a success. Once everything is complete, I write. I might get to watch some television, but it's not normally on the to do list.
DP: Tell us about your last book signing.
Tivona: The last book signing was very unorganized. When we arrived they didn't have anything set up for us, and they had not been advertising for us. No one knew we were coming. They had us on the books and had all the marketing materials. The good thing is hustling comes second nature to me. We regrouped, set up the table and went out to the streets and did our own promotion. Surprisinglg, Livin the Fast Life sold 20 books that day. Something so disastrous, turned out to be an alright day.
DP: Do you have contests or giveaways?
Tivona: I have contests and giveaways. Normally around the holidays or special occasions.
DP: Many independent authors find it hard to get readers to buy their books. How did you handle the challenges that come along with being a first-time author in a competitive and ever-changing market?
Tivona: It is hard to get readers to buy your book. However, I did my research, found out what other authors were doing and created my own niche. This market is always changing and you always have to stay current and up to date on the latest fads. Meanwhile, you have to stay true to yourself and your readers. Always ask yourself - if you saw your work on the shelf, would it catch your attention or is it something you would overlook? The key is always standing out amongst the crowd. My cover would never stand out amongst the great covers I have seen. I knew I had to change this and quickly, but until I could I realized I had to sell myself and people would buy my book.
DP: What did you do on your 2nd book that you did not do in your first one?
Tivona: I took my time with the cover, I made it more detailed, and I did not rush it. I used what I learned from other authors over the years to make my second novel even better.
DP: If you could give one piece of advice to an up and coming author, what would it be?
Tivona: No matter what challenges you face in this business, never give up on your dreams.
DP: Where can readers purchase a copy of your book?