What is your favorite quality about yourself?
I regard myself as compassionate always cheering others on to be the best they can.
What is your least favorite quality about yourself?
I am a work-a-holic which could be detrimental to my health at times.
What is your favorite quote, by whom, and why?
“Before a great vision can become reality, there may be difficulty. Before a person begins a great endeavor, they may encounter chaos. As a new plant breaks the ground with great difficulty, foreshadowing the huge trees, so must we sometimes push against difficulty in bringing forth our dream.”
“Out of Chaos, Brilliant Stars Are Born.” – I-Ching Hexagon #3
What are you most proud of accomplishing so far in your life?
The births of my two boys are the most of my accomplishment I can brag on. Both pregnancies were high risk and with my first boy, he had his umbilical cord wrapped around his neck suffocating! Not only that, they were 2 ½ and 1 when their dad and I got divorced. It was the most difficult time to go from someone who had a thriving business to nothing and having to fend for my boys in the mist of my depression. Thank heavens, our story have changed! They are now 23 and 20 college students. I am so proud of the young men they have become.
How has your upbringing influenced your writing?
I was born in Africa but have lived in the United States of America for over 30 years. A little over six years ago, my father called me up and told me it was time to return home. I’d literally grown up in the US and this was home to me. Though father lived in the US too, he felt it was time to give back to Africa.
This was an important trip for me as I’d not been back for over 23 years! The trip was equally important because one of my cousins was being crowned a king in one of the provinces and my father felt it was a great opportunity to reconnect with my roots.
The journey was exhilarating yet filled with anxiety as I did not know what I was going to encounter. I trusted my father, packed my bags and went back to West Africa with my family. It was the most incredible journey of my life… to witness a King’s coronation… no words could describe the feelings. What was more important was the surprise which awaited me! The community people rallied around me and reminded me of who I was… their princess who had been gone for long and was now back! I took the time to revisit my childhood boarding school and low and behold, all of my experiences at the school came rushing back.
The characters that readers will encounter in the Adventures of Jewel Cardwell are a culmination of my childhood friends as well as “the conjured friends in my head.” These characters have consistently plagued my dream and haunted my mind into bringing them alive. Every year I would return to Africa (with my American Friends) serving the children in the communities through my non-profit organization the Adassa Foundation, I am reminded of the colorful ambiance and the need to share this part of the world with book lovers.
While there have been some popular fantasy books like Harry Potter, Amanda Hockings Trylle series and Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series, with settings in Europe and America, there has not been one to present the other part of the world. The characters urge me to fill this gap!
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I began writing poetry my family just enjoyed reading. After few years and with people constantly telling me I was meant for this, I decided to take it seriously and began writing inspirational books for women. The Adventures of Jewel Cardwell: Hydra’s Nest is my very first Young Adult. I am so humbled by the experience and relishing every aspect of it.
When and why did you begin writing? How long have you been writing?
This question always cracks me up whenever I’m being asked. Let me share a story my parents shared with me over 14 years ago. I must have been around 2 years old when this incident happened. Mother always told me that at two while most kids were getting into various things, I had one … it was to write on any paper available at my disposal. My mum told me that it didn’t matter what type of paper it was, I would scribble things on it. At first, it was cute but when I started writing on important documents, they soon did not find it funny. At one point, for almost two weeks, my parents would put me in a room with old newspapers, gave me a marker and told me to go at it until I was tired. They felt that would help me to calm down a little where writing was concerned. They were wrong! If you asked my parents, they would tell when at the age of 2 was when I started writing something! As for me, I can recall back as far as 6 or 7 years old when I started writing poetry.
When did you first know you could be a writer?
Oh well, I will say when I was in elementary school writing poetry and short plays. I knew back then that I wanted to be a writer. My mom always commend me for making up stories and till today, she still tells me that she will one day see one of my books made into a movie. I say, from her mouth to the man above –). I can’t wait.
What inspires you to write and why?
I have many people who have inspired and pushed the gift in me out. My two sons are incredible. During the darkest time of our lives, we told stories to each other to make us feel good and overcome whatever hardship we were facing. I am so glad that both sons have also caught the writing bug and I am greatly looking forward to them publishing their books.
With respect to The Adventures of Jewel Cardwell: Hydra’s Nest, my sons were very helpful in painting vivid imagery of “the characters in my head.” Bola, my oldest son was inspired to travel across the ocean… and he made renditions of scenes directly from the book: www.worldoffumihancock.com. He alongside his younger brother composed and arranged the trailer songs.
As I began to paint this African adventure on paper, my sons then 17 and 15 (now 23 and 20), nudged me with their support and their instant enjoyment of the plot. Every time I would complete a chapter, they wanted more. They wanted to see what would happen to the characters. More importantly, they were intrigued by the description of the African setting, the culture of the people revealed through the different characters and the blended families relayed by the characters. Different characters elicited different emotions as they read alongside other young adults reviewing the story.
In addition, the African children I have met along my way, on my visits to Africa are great inspiration to me.
What genre are you most comfortable writing?
I enjoy inspirational writing for women. Because of all the life experiences I have encountered, they were easy to write. However, I have found out how much I love young adult novels with the publication of The Adventures of Jewel Cardwell: Hydra’s Nest. I see myself parking in this genre for a while. It is beautiful mapping out fantasy stories for my young adult readers as well as the older readers.
What inspired you to write your first book?
My African children inspired me to write this first Young Adult Fantasy Novel. They reminded me of my boarding school experiences and the various quirky characters I had on that girls’ school campus.
Who or what influenced your writing once you began?
My first visit back to Africa after years of absence…. As I walked down the st5reets, visions of my childhood experiences from my boarding school came rushing back.
Who or what influenced your writing over the years?
J.R.R. Tolken, author of The Hobbit, a prelude to the Lord of the Rings. I am enthralled by his description of events. No wonder the Lord of the Rings was a big hit!
What made you want to be a writer?
Nothing precisely. I just knew I loved to write since I was little.
What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?
Oh the re-writes & editing can be very tasking.
Did writing this book teach you anything and what was it?
Writing this book has taught me that for anyone to be a writer; you must first love the craft, not for money but just simply enjoy telling tales. It is ones love of writing that will ultimately push one up in times of challenges and frustrations.
Do you intend to make writing a career?
Yes… I love it. I can’t remember not doing this for a career.
Have you developed a specific writing style?
I love to write free prose first, void of syntax & semantics correction. Once I am done dumping all of my characters out of my head; then I am ready to do the tasking job of editing.
What is your greatest strength as a writer?
The ability to allow characters to form their paths; in a while in my head before expressing them on paper. Some of my reviewers have also commented that my writing allows them to truly find themselves in whatever setting I am describing. Such is the case of The Adventures of Jewel Cardwell: Hydra’s Nest.
Currently on Virtual Publicity Tour:
Young Adult Fantasy & Paranormal Author, Fumi Hancock Unveils “The Adventures of Jewel Cardwell: Hydra’s Nest”, set in a Unique & Thrilling Ambiance not Familiar to Many.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Fumi “Stephanie” Hancock is a walking example of how an ordinary person from a shackled life of broken promises and shattered dreams can live a fulfilled destiny. After twenty years of dropping her pen, she picks it right back up again by releasing The Grimmlyn Series: The Adventures of Jewell Cardwell, Hydra’s Nest.
Though having graduated with a postgraduate degree in communication arts, and undergraduate degrees in English studies and nursing, she ascribes her writing to her life experiences, which were many times challenging.
According to her, the protagonists and antagonists in her novels often come from the darkest moments of her life–a tribute to the fact that something good can come out of mysterious and difficult circumstances, if we choose to turn our challenges around. Age is merely a number where success is concerned.
She also pulls some of her characters from her travels around the world–in particular, exotic Africa–uniquely weaving her tales. Fumi loves to write for young adults, particularly urban fantasy, and paranormal nonfiction with a touch of romance. She aspires to one day write a mystery/detective novel for the adult audience. But for now, she is content with her young adult audience.
With her background in nursing, she gently nurses her unusual characters to life for her readers to enjoy.
Her second book in the Grimmlyn series: The Sorcerer’s Purgatory is scheduled to be released April 2013— Behind the scenes of this young adult fantasy novel is found at: www.worldoffumihancock.com
She lives in Tennessee with her husband, Dr. David Hancock, and her two grown sons, Bola and Demola Thompson. She cherishes her two stepdaughters, who reside in Michigan.
Grimmlyn Series: Book 1
When free-spirited and more than a little rebellious, seventeen-year-old Jewel Cardwell gained admission to Grayton Preparatory School, a prestigious, girls-only, top-notch private institution nestled in the South African farmlands of Limpopo, little did she know it would begin a trail of mysterious and unfamiliar events, changing her life forever! At Grayton prep, a battle line is drawn between ‘good and evil’ especially when there’s a full moon and dark forces swirl and turn up in the form of hideous monsters and frightening demons. With her school fre-nemies, rivalry and treachery become the order of the day and Jewel is forced to question everything she thought she knew as she struggles to stay alive in a dubious place riddled with demonic activity!
INTERVIEW: “Tea at Home” with Fumi
Q&A: Video Reel
Behind-the Scenes: Scenes from the Story
My Youtube Channel: http://www.youtube.com/user/TheFromscratchtv