Gledé Browne Kabongo writes gripping, unputdownable psychological thrillers—unflinching tales of deception, secrecy, danger and family. She is a National Indie Excellence Award Winner, and the author of The Fearless Series, Swan Deception, Conspiracy of Silence, and Mark of Deceit, a short story. Her love affair with books began as a young girl growing up in the Caribbean, where her town library overlooked the Atlantic Ocean. She was trading books and discussing them with neighbors before Book Clubs became popular.
Gledé holds a master’s degree in communications, and conducts workshops on writing and publishing. She dreams of winning an Academy Award for screenwriting one day. She lives outside Boston with her husband and two children.
What is hardest – getting published, writing or marketing?
Each presents its own challenges. I have a marketing background but that doesn’t mean it isn’t difficult. I have to sit down and really think about the marketing strategically and how I can achieve my goals but I do it in small steps. Writing is intense, and scary and frustrating, and can be all consuming but I like the madness. Getting published used to be tough and it still is depending on your goals (i.e. breaking into traditional publishing).
How do you come up with the names for your characters?
I have a lot of fun with naming characters. Sometimes they just come to me, other times it could be a name I see when the screen credits roll on a film. There are times when I have a memory from childhood and think about classmates I thought had cool first and last name combinations. There are a number of ways I come up with the names, even a Google search for baby names.
Do you find it hard to share your work?
It’s absolutely terrifying. I still find it difficult but I force myself to do it and draw inspiration from the readers who feel that my work touched them in some way.
Do you plan to publish more books?
Yes. I’ve wanted to do this since I was a kid and take it seriously. Every day I come up with new ideas for books so I’m looking forward to a long career.
What other jobs have you had in your life?
I’ve worked as a freelance newspaper reporter and a Legal Assistant for a Real Estate Law Firm. I also worked for four years as a producer of scientific conferences. I had the inside track on therapies to treat everything from cancer to Alzheimer’s in the research & development stage, years before they became viable drugs and had to go through FDA approval. At the time, I was in my early twenties and didn’t realize what a privilege it was to be in that space. That background helped me create Dr. Shelby Cooper, my protagonist in Swan Deception. She has a Ph.D. in Computational Biology and runs a Bioinformatics lab for a biotech company in Cambridge.
If you could study any subject in college, what would you pick?
I studied what I wanted to: communications/journalism/marketing. If I had to do it all over again, I would spend some time on creative writing and screenwriting.
Every writer has his or her own idea of what a successful career in writing is, what does success in writing look like to you?
Success to me is being able to touch people with my writing in a way that they remember years after reading the story because something about it spoke to them on a cellular level.
What do you consider the most challenging about writing a novel, or about writing in general?
When you’re serious and committed to the process and want to make a meaningful career from it, you’re always looking for ways to take the writing to another level. With every book, you open yourself up to learning and accept criticism in order to grow. The tough part is knowing the difference between valid criticism and feedback meant to challenge you, and elevate your writing, and feedback that’s essentially white noise meant to tear you down.
What made you want to be a writer?
I’ve always loved books and writing. I guess my desire to be a writer grew organically. When I was 9, my mother told me the story of the Dollanganger children from Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews. That book had such a profound impact on her. I just knew I wanted to be an author.
Do you intend to make writing a career?
Absolutely. I don’t want to be confined to writing only books either. I have my eyes on film and television.
When you are not writing, how do you like to relax?
I read. I have about 100 plus books on my Kindle waiting to be read, plus the ones I buy in the store. I’m also a huge music lover. It’s one of my favorite ways to relax.