She received her undergraduate degree from Alcorn State University in 2005 with a B.A. in Social Work. She has a M.S. in Counseling Studies from Capella University and a M.A. from South University in Professional Counseling in 2012. In 2012, she was inducted into The Who’s Who in Black Mississippi. LaDonna has two children Landon (4) and Lathan Cook (2).
She is currently working on her second book to be released mid 2013. This book will also be an eclectic look at creative expression in poetry. Her book can be found on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. She is looking in the future to continue writing about encouragement, relationships, and erotica books. She has also been a public and motivational speaker to the youth in Southwest Mississippi Legend’s Ball and at the Delaware Community Center. Her message to the world is that anyone can always change the situation they are in. She believes in being positive and fighting for what one would like to happen. She feels that becoming a writer and her love for words, are her greatest gift from God.
UBAWA: When did you first decide you wanted to become an author?
LaDonna: When I was about twelve, I starting writing down all my thoughts and feelings. I started to learn about poems and then it became my creative expression.
UBAWA: How did you decide on the idea for your 1st book? 2nd book? 3rd book, etc?
LaDonna: The title of my book is Expressions of the Mind, Body, & Soul. I thought of it as a holistic view point of all things experienced. You have to connect with all experiences with your Mind, Body and Soul. I already have the title of my second book and I chose it because of my journey and the growth in the process. I want to keep my eclectic view for the second book. In my third book, I want to focus on love and relationships.
UBAWA: How long did it take you to complete your first book? What was the process like?
LaDonna: I had been writing since 1998 and already had all of the materials and poems. It was a 3 month process with editing, and typing the manuscript. I was hands on with the picking of my book cover and overall design and look of the book. I liked the experience because I was well prepared.
UBAWA: What’s so rewarding about writing books and being an author?
LaDonna: The biggest thing for me was to receive my first author copy in hand. I was so proud that I was able to self-publish my own words. I had always dreamed as a young child to become an author and poet one day.
UBAWA: Was there ever a time you felt like giving up?
LaDonna: I had already waited for 13 years until 2012 to start the process. So once I started, it opened a whole new world for my creativity. I decided then there was no giving up now.
UBAWA: There’s more to being an author than writing a book. How do you manage to handle the business side of things?
LaDonna: I take it in strides; I handle all the business and research trying to discover the best paths to take. I learned how to network and connect with others in the author/poet circle.
UBAWA: Do you have an editor or do you edit your own books?
LaDonna: For my first book, I used the Xlibris’ editor services.
UBAWA: Who does the cover art for your book(s)?
LaDonna: I used Xlibris; they provided me with covers and I selected the best one that described my message.
UBAWA: Do you ever encounter writer’s block? How do you get past it?
LaDonna: I have never had writer's block as of yet and hope to never experience it.
UBAWA: How often do you write?
LaDonna: I usually write every day or every other day.
UBAWA: Tell us about your last book signing.
LaDonna: My first book signing was held in my hometown of Fayette, MS, at the county library. It was a great event where the community came out to support and get their autographed copies of my book.
UBAWA: Beside social media, what other methods are you using to get the word out about your book(s)?
LaDonna: I used my hometown newspaper, radio interviews, flyers, bookmarks, postcards, business card and other promotional items.
UBAWA: As a Woman of Color, what inspires you the most?
LaDonna: What inspires me the most, is being a positive role model for young women to look up to.
UBAWA: Who is your biggest influence?
LaDonna: My only influence would be God, who has blessed me with this gift. I have been inspired by writers such as Maya Angelou and Nikki Givonni, both whom I met.
UBAWA: Have you ever done something in the past you regret? How did you get through it?
LaDonna: Everyone has something in their life they have done they regret. I lost a binder full of poetry and it almost killed my determination. I got through by pushing myself to write more and learn to protect my poetry.
UBAWA: How do you get through the tough times in life when life throws what it throws at you?
LaDonna: I pray and work hard to bring about change. I use my resources and my support systems.
UBAWA: What is one goal you want to accomplish for yourself in 2013?
LaDonna: My goal for this year is to self-publish two books.
UBAWA: What do you have planned next?
LaDonna: I have a new poetry book coming soon.
UBAWA: How can readers and others in the literary community reach you?
LaDonna: I am on Twitter at LMB_poetry and Facebook www.facebook.com/LaDonnaMC. My website is www.ladonnamariebooks.com.