Tuesday, 13 September 2016

On Writing Memoirs


Brenda Mohammed is a multi-genre author living in Trinidad and Tobago who has now written and published fourteen books. Five of her books are memoirs and so we asked Brenda to share what instigated her journey to write such personal stories and share them with the world.

"When I retired from the Bank at an early age, I was depressed. Everyone in my family noticed that in the weeks leading up to my retirement that my demeanour had changed. I had ceased to be jovial and fun loving. My husband and my sisters did their best to brighten up my days and I managed to force a smile or a giggle to appease them, but no one realized that I was feeling as if I had come to the end of my life.

I went through the motions at the grand retirement party, which the bank staff hosted at a popular restaurant in South Trinidad. Customers and staff were present. The ambience was enchanting, and the speeches were great. Superiors, colleagues, customers, and staff showered me with praises and gifts. Their words brought tears to my eyes. However, all I could think about was, ‘What lies ahead for me?’

Fortunately, for me, my husband had planned a trip for both of us to attend a friend’s wedding in Virginia in the USA. We left the morning after the retirement party. All during the flight, I kept remembering the words of the many who spoke at the party. It all seemed like a dream.

When we arrived in Virginia, I felt relaxed. Virginia is remarkably beautiful. We had so much fun over the next three weeks that I forgot all about the bank.

We returned home after a glorious vacation. I gave away all of my working clothes as I felt that I no longer needed them. I decided to dabble in art. Out of nowhere, my talent for art surfaced and I painted several pieces, which I framed and hung in my library.

I applied for other jobs and received positive responses from many firms. I accepted a job in an Insurance Company, and of course had to buy a new wardrobe of clothes. Since I did not have to work full time, I needed something else to keep me busy.

It was then that I decided to write 'My Life as a Banker: A Life worth Living.' The book has been very popular with fellow bankers in Trinidad. I revised the book in 2014, published it on Amazon and Create Space, and donated copies to the National Library of Trinidad and Tobago, and my Alma Mater St. Augustine Girls’ High School.

Later on, I was having so much fun as a retiree, that I wrote, 'Retirement is Fun: A New Chapter.' Notwithstanding my bout with Cancer in 2005 and a terrible car accident, while vacationing in Miami in 2011, retirement has indeed been fun.

My recovery from cancer inspired me to write another memoir, 'I am Cancer Free.'
I am Cancer free was a winner in McGrath House Indie Book Awards 2016.

My career in the Insurance Industry was also successful. I qualified each year for membership in The Million Dollar Round Table [The Premier Association for Financial Professionals], and this gave me many opportunities to travel to different parts of the United States to attend conferences.

My frequent travels worldwide prompted me to write another memoir, Travel Memoirs with Pictures.

I was later inspired to write yet another memoir – 'Your Time is Now : A Time to be Born and a Time to die.' I had a driving force within me to write this one. The book explains it all.

Yet another memoir is my father's memoirs- Memoirs of Dr. Andrew Moonir Khan - A Great Educator in Trinidad and Tobago. I wrote that book a number of years after the death of my father. He was an educator and his story is very motivational. I gathered information from notes and diaries he kept and I put the book together. Past and present Presidents of Trinidad and Tobago have requested copies for their libraries.

Both 'My Life as a Banker: A Life worth Living' and 'Retirement is Fun: A New Chapter' were nominated in the Category Bio/Memoirs for Metamorph Publishing Summer Indie Book Awards 2016. 'My Life as a Banker: A Life worth Living' placed second in that category.

I want to take this opportunity to thank all my Facebook friends, family, former banking colleagues, and friends in Author groups, who all voted for my books.
Books are available at Amazon, Barnes and Nobles, and Create Space.