Updated: Oct 20, 2020
LaWanda Lewis Burrell is a native of Greenville, Alabama but has lived in the Houston, Texas area for over 20 years. After graduating from Stillman College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Sociology, she took a leap of faith to relocate and pursue higher education in Houston and start a career in social services. However, her plans weren’t God’s plans, and a few months later she pursued full-time employment in human resources, gaining multiple leadership positions and becoming a Texas homeowner at the age of 24.
Many years later LaWanda met her husband and they have been happily married for 15 years and blessed with three beautiful children. Family time is very important to LaWanda as she enjoys traveling, biking, cooking, hiking, fishing, reading, family discussions, writing, boating, playing board games, and watching family movies.
LaWanda is very passionate about volunteering in the community. She is a board member and historical researcher for the African American Library at the Gregory School (friends group); member of her beloved Zeta Phi Beta Sorority, Inc., and Order of Eastern Star; historical researcher for the Harris County Remembrance Project and volunteer in the Greeter’s ministry at Lakewood Church under the direction of Pastor Joel Osteen.
What inspired you to write “Stand Up, Speak Up, Because Your Time’s Up”?
Journaling has always been something enjoyable to her. It is like being able to put emotions, experiences, and opinions into what she writes. Through her past educational studies, she believes that she has a strong connection with people, the mind, and human behavior which allows her to connect and relate to their situations when writing. LaWanda was inspired to write after accepting a position as an HR Director, but later noticed it was a toxic work environment. She got the courage to speak up for the unethical behaviors but was later harassed and terminated.
After praying in the closet, LaWanda reached for a box on the top shelf and out fell a journal that she had written 5 years prior. She immediately started to type her first draft of her book. LaWanda’s pain turned into her passion and God revealed her purpose!
How long did it take you to write the book?
Stand Up, Speak Up, Because Your Time’s Up has 268 pages and only took two weeks for her to write. Her determination to write her autobiography started on January 15, 2018, on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday as she mimicked his “I Have A Dream” speech while typing. As she was typing it was like super glue was on her fingertips, she couldn’t stop as the words poured out of her without hesitation. While writing her book she applied and interviewed for many positions in human resources while constantly receiving rejections. This was very frustrating and exhausting. After her book was complete, her challenge was letting go of the fear of rejection to submit the book to a publisher, which took her 9 months, after getting the courage and constant persuasion from her family. Many months later, she asked God to forgive the ones that mistreated her in the workplace and the next week she received her book contract a “YES” from Christian Faith Publishing!
What motivated you to become an indie author?
Her motivation to become an indie author was to encourage others to stand up and speak up for their beliefs, even if they are standing alone. Stand Up, Speak Up, Because Your Time’s Up will motivate you to live a life of purpose, know your self-worth, be kind to one another, and learn to love and forgive. LaWanda is very thankful for her foundation of love, support, and guidance from her parents and older sister as she discusses relatable topics in her book like, childhood bullying, death of loved ones, racism and discrimination, faith, forgiveness and love, hardships, self-esteem and relationship issues, domestic violence, suicide, happiness, positive thinking, financial and reading literacy, health and safety, generational curses, and cherishing marriage and family. LaWanda loves to inspire others to be the best version of themselves. Her inspirational rollercoaster read of true stories is insightful, uplifting, engaging, and funny.
Stand Up, Speak Up, Because Your Time’s Up can be purchased at Walmart, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Books-A-Million, Apple iTunes, and Audible in audiobook, paperback, hardcover, and Kindle.
For Signed Copies, please visit www.sosweetauthor.com
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Instagram: @wandavision2020, @lawandalewisburrell