Featured Interview With Aprel Phelps Downey
Tell us a little about yourself. Where were you raised? Where do you live now?
My hometown is Cape Coral, Florida. It is located in Southwest Florida and comprises of beautiful beaches, warm sunshine and easy access to other major parts of Florida including Tampa, Miami and Orlando. I lived in Florida from the age of five until shortly after my college graduation from the University of South Florida in Tampa. From there I moved to Illinois where my husband grew up. After spending seven years there, I now live in Tennessee with my husband and our daughter.
At what age did you realize your fascination with books? When did you start writing?
I became fascinated with books in elementary school, somewhere around 4th grade. One of my favorite school events was the Scholastic book fair that would set up in the library each year. Browsing the shelves of new books, finding that perfect one and diving into the endless world of imagination that could be found within its cover was heaven to me.
In 5th grade I entered an essay writing contest where the topic was what you wanted to be when you grew up. Through my contest entry I realized the power words had to express the thoughts and emotions in my head that I could not verbally express. It was through that realization that my love of writing began. Since then I have let my passion for writing be the driving force behind everything I set out to do in life.
Who are your favorite authors to read? What is your favorite genre to read. Who Inspires you in your writings?
As a child my favorite authors where Judy Blume and Beverly Cleary. I identified with Beverly Cleary’s character of Ramona because she often didn’t quite know where she belonged in life. When she tried to find her place at school or in the neighborhood, things always seemed to go wrong for her. I felt like this often as a child so in many ways Ramona was my best friend. I have taken much delight in being able to introduce my daughter to these classic books as well!
As an adult I enjoy John Grisham and Danielle Steel novels. These authors have written incredible books that provide a relaxing escape from life when needed. I am also a fan of Toni Morrison, having been introduced to her book ‘The Bluest Eye’ through a literature course I took my senior year of college. I instantly identified with young Pecola and her insecurities about her looks. Maya Angelou is an absolute favorite of mine! Anything she writes is inspirational and often motivated me to chase that dream that often times felt as if it was slipping away from me.
I draw inspiration for my writings through quotes, hearing stories of others who overcame challenges in life and from my own experience as a child abuse survivor.
Tell us a little about your latest book?
My latest book, ‘Mending the Broken Parts’, is an inspirational look at how to overcome the obstacles and challenges life throws your way and still find a way towards a happier, healthier life. I utilize personal experience as a child abuse survivor to illustrate how a painful past does not mean you can not move forward and let the healing begin. All you need to start fixing what feels broken and start living again is 20 seconds of courage. That’s it! With that simple 20 seconds you can make a small move that can change your life. It can put you on the path of recovery and pave the way to a much brighter future!
It took three months to put the book together. I relied upon journal entries I have kept through the years and an inspirational desire to show other abuse survivors how much better a post abuse world can be. Withing that three months I went through roughly four to five ‘drafts’ of my book. Each time I read through a draft, there was something that needed to be reworded or added to achieve a finished product I could be proud of.
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