We had the good fortune of connecting with Sheena Binkley and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sheena, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
When I started my writing career, I also had a full-time job as a manager. Working 40+ hours at my job during the day and writing at night has been quite stressful at times, especially when I have a situation at my day job, which delayed time from writing. But as time went on, I have found ways to not only balance out my time between work and writing but also with other factors that have made a significant impact in my life. I know with having a lot of energy and putting a lot of effort into something that you love to do, the results will appear; that’s why no matter if I have to write late nights and early mornings, I find the time to do what I absolutely love.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
As a romance author, I have learned so much during my journey. I have always loved to write, but I never thought about making it a career until in 2013, when I published my first novel. It was a short story, titled, In Love With My Best Friend. I was just going to publish that one book and never release another story; but after writing that story, I had the desire to continue on and write more. In the beginning, the journey was pretty rough. I had less than stellar reviews for my first book, and after my second book, I wanted to end my writing career, but I had to realize it takes time and a whole lot of patience to be in this industry. Yes, some people experience success overnight, but if it’s something you really love, you have to fight to see the fruits of your labor; therefore, I kept fighting. My success came with my third book, which went to best-selling status under its category on Amazon, and was very much talked about on social media. I was truly thrilled and receive praise for not only that book, but for several other books that I’d released thereafter. I was considered one of the newest African-American romance authors on numerous blogs during the year my third story was published, which was. truly an honor for me. As I continued my journey, I have experienced more success, as well as set-backs, but as I’m progressing in my dream, I realized there is a lot more that I want to pursue. I’m not done with my journey, so I hope I can keep doing this for years to come.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’m pretty much a homebody, lol, so there are not too many places I would suggest. Even before the Coronavirus hit, I didn’t go out, but there are a few places I would mention to people who are looking for something to try: Crumbl Cookies: I love this place. They have different cookie flavors each week, so you won’t get the same cookie twice (unless you purchase multiple flavors. A co-worker told me about this place, so I love to visit when I get the chase. Dr. Gleem Car Wash: This place is sort of a hidden gem in the city as you can get a car wash, something to eat at their restaurant, and get your hair done at the hair salon. Everyone is always so speechless when they step inside, so it’s a different place to visit. The Stuffed Potato Factory: I love baked potatoes, so this place is amazing to me. You pretty much can get any type of baked potato. I always purchase “The Confused” and it’s always so good.
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There have been numerous factors that have helped pave the way for me during my writing career. I think it all started with my love for reading and the various books I have read while growing up. Books such as The Baby-Sitters’ Club and Sweet Valley High have helped me realized my love for young adult and new adult books and with the type of stories I wanted to write. Although romance is my main forte, I do love to write about coming of age stories and how a person can transform throughout a story. As for people, there are a lot of people that have supported me with my writing. One person, in particular, is my fiance, who has been my biggest supporter ever since my first book was released. Even during the times when I wanted to give up my career, he had pushed me to continue and to succeed. I thank him for always believing in me and helping make my dream come true. Another person that has helped me was my mom. She was the first person who believed in my dream and told me to go for it, even when I wasn’t sure if I could. Although she passed almost 10 years ago, I know she’s still cheering me on, telling me to keep striving for my dreams. To this day, I’ll always be grateful for her and the impact she has made in my life, from when I was a little girl, to even now.