Tivona 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 and learning how to hustle from her uncles gave her the wisdom to survive in the tough streets. The one thing Tivona 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 one's she loved. No matter what was going on in her life, her journals could not be destroyed. Now, she realizes the words on the 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 being unaware of what was wrong with her, Tivona became unable to work. Not knowing what she was going to do, Tivona knew hustling was always something she would have 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. Although she discovered she had Lupus, 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.
Her recent titles include: Livin' the Fast Life and The UnMarritable coming 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, Kenya will take you in a world of corruption. Will Kenya stay in the game, get out the game, or find the love she seeks? Find out in this raving novel as Kenya lives the fast life.
UBAWA: When did you first decide you wanted to become an author?
Tivona: Becoming an author has been a lifelong dream since childhood. In 2009, I decided to make it a reality.
UBAWA: How did you decide on the idea for your 1st book? 2nd book? 3rd book, etc?
Tivona: For Livin' the Fast Life, it is based on my life story. I knew the first book I wrote had to be about my life. The UnMarritable is the second part of the Fast Life Chronicles series. People wanted to know if Kenya found the love she was looking for. I had to give my readers what they were asking for.
UBAWA: How long did it take you to complete your first book? What was the process like?
Tivona: It took me one year to complete my first book. Starting the process was not easy. I had done my research, and tried to reach out to other authors, but couldn't get any real help. I didn't give up. I prayed and asked God to lead me in the right direction. I started working on my first novel and never looked back. Getting the book finished in six month time span, my computer broke down. I had to rewrite it. Once I went to save the book, using another computer, the computer functions stopped working. I then had to purchase a new computer and retype it all over again.
UBAWA: What’s so rewarding about writing books and being an author?
Tivona: It's rewarding to know my books touch people's lives. It's also good to be able to tell people I am an author and see the expression on their face. The most rewarding part is to know my nieces and nephews are proud of me for living my dreams. It gives them motivation, courage, and inspiration to live their dreams.
UBAWA: Was there ever a time you felt like giving up?
Tivona: There have been plenty of times I wanted to give up, but my motivation and determination would not allow me to give up. Being passionate about writing, giving up is not an option.
UBAWA: There’s more to being an author than writing a book. How do you manage to handle the business side of things?
Tivona: Every morning I have a meeting with the Fast Life family. We discuss the projects we are working on, the upcoming projects, and projects we need to do our research on. After meeting with them,I market, promote, and network. I do the majority of my writing in the evening.
UBAWA: Do you have an editor or do you edit your own books?
Tivona: I edit my own books.
UBAWA: Who does the cover art for your book(s)?
Tivona: Dan the camera man
UBAWA: Do you ever encounter writer’s block? How do you get past it?
Tivona: I haven’t encountered writer's block yet. I still have too much to say.
UBAWA: How often do you write?
Tivona: I write every day.
UBAWA: Tell us about your last book signing.
Tivona: The last book signing was extremely unorganized. When we arrived they did not have us set up. We had to pick the best spot in the store and set the table. We also noticed none of our marketing material was hanging in the store. They did have us on the book to show up, but none of their customers knew we were arriving. Instead of getting upset and leaving, we regrouped and went out and did our own promoting. Needless to say, we sold twenty books that day. We turned what could have been a disastrous day into a successful day.
UBAWA: Beside social media, what other methods are you using to get the word out about your book(s)?
Tivona: Book signings, Word of Mouth, Business Cards, Friends and Family, Beating the streets.
UBAWA: As a Woman of Color, what inspires you the most?
Tivona: My nieces and nephews inspire me the most.
UBAWA: Who is your biggest influence?
Tivona: Mya Angelou.
UBAWA: Have you ever done something in the past you regret? How did you get through it?
Tivona: My motto is; do nothing I might regret. Everything I have done in my life is a life experience. I don't regret any of it. In fact I am glad I did everything I did. It has made me the woman I am today. I might have hurt a lot of people along the way, but I had to live my life. The people I hurt, I apologized to. Not because I regret what I did to them, but because I didn't want their feelings to be hurt. I don't like to hurt people’s feeling, but I was not going to change who I was. My past has made me humble, patient, and understanding.
UBAWA: How do you get through the tough times in life when life throws what it throws at you?
Tivona: I pray and write a lot. It's the only thing that can take the stress away. It also gives me a clear mind to think rationally of my next move.
UBAWA: What is one goal you want to accomplish for yourself in 2013?
Tivona: Become a published Author instead of being a self-published Author.
UBAWA: What do you have planned next?
Tivona: Remake of Livin' the Fast Life, releasing The UnMarritable Spring 2013, and planning my book tour.
UBAWA: How can readers and others in the literary community reach you?
Tivona: Email address - firstname.lastname@example.org
Facebook- Tivona Elliott or Livin the Fast Life