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Charron Monaye

Shronda Armstrong

Jul 15, 2023

On Writing the Story of Her Success

Congratulations on your feature with Geaux Queen Magazine! How does it feel to be recognized for your accomplishments and have your story shared with a wider audience?

“Michelle” is really on a huge adventure right now! It is truly surreal! I am honored that I was chosen to grace this amazing magazine's cover! I pray that my journey inspires someone to "bet' on themselves, stop playing small, and never give up. I am nothing more than a girl from Philly who knew it was more than poverty and ghettos. I desired everything I was told I could not get and went after what my ancestors were denied. I am you, and you are me! My accomplishments prove that my story is relatable, life-changing, and respected. I do not share my story or gifts for recognition but knowing that someone sees and appreciates them feels good.

And Michelle, my "twin, "lives better than most adults! That little girl keeps me on my toes, and I love writing about her adventures.

As a thought-provoking writer, playwright, and creator of "The Adventures of Michelle" children's book series, what inspired you to delve into the writing world, and how has your journey evolved over the years?

Writing is therapy for me. Being a person who is selective with communicating, I tend to hold things in, and this was my life as a kid. I have always felt that people could care less about you, your feelings, life struggles, or things that may affect you. Let's face it, who does not have something going on? So, I have always believed that people ask questions they don't want the answer to but ask out of generating conversation or to get in your business to either judge or gossip about you. Thus, I wrote to keep my name and their judgment out of their mouth.

I picked up my pen in the 3rd grade. My teacher, Dr. Ida D. Dark, taught me the power of words through poetry. She showed me how to write messages, stories, and feelings through the expression of stanzas. She said, "Words don't need to form a complete sentence to change lives or bring awareness." With that, I penned my first poem, "Alone," about homelessness in America. Once my teacher and parents read it, they encouraged me to send it to the Library of Congress, as they were hosting a poetry contest, which I did! Lo and behold, I won, and from that became a published author, received awards, and was allowed to perform at a UNCF Telethon. Since then, I evolved my writing by serving as a staff writer for CNN iReport and The Philadelphia Association of Paralegals. I am a contributing writer to twenty book compilations, authored twenty-five books, wrote lyrics for successful R&B singers, and produced five theatrical productions and one short film. I've come a long way since those stanzas!

You have received numerous honors and awards for your collective work. Could you share some of the most significant recognitions and how they have impacted your career and personal growth?

There are a few the Fellow of the Most Excellent Order of International Experts (FOIE)” in entrepreneurship in the United Nations. Then you have the Assembly Resolution from the New Jersey General Assembly, Citation from the 31st New Jersey Senate, and an Honorary Degree from the CICA International University & Seminary. As stated before, I do not serve and write for recognition, but these recognitions are special because my children witnessed me receive them. Having my children present was amazing for me, as I always want to prove that struggle is rewarded with success and legacy. My children have seen me cry, broke, hungry, and rejected, but they can never say they watched me quit. These accomplishments proved that hard work and perseverance would yield an earned return. My children know we make our legacy as anything given will come with a price more than what we can afford. They can tell you, “Mommy earned everything she has,” that is the foundation from which my legacy is born and the good soil my children can plant.

With over twenty-five books in six different genres, could you tell us about the diversity of your literary works and the messages or themes you strive to convey through your writing?

My continued message is, “If I can, you can.” I am committed to writing stories, whether non-fiction, children’s, devotional, or selfhelp. I am responsible for leading with inspiration, motivation, and lessons learned. Many people are out here, hurting, frustrated, confused, and looking for direction. Listen, life does not require a manual or a cheat sheet to make living more manageable. However, I feel that, as we go and grow through things, we should share tips, strategies, or present ideas and different perspectives to help others achieve with less stress. So, if you are interested in learning what I did to get out of debt, find your “why,” understand your purpose, and how I managed to sustain my business while being an employed federal employee and single mother, then any of my books will benefit you. Also, if you have children seeking education through fun, exploration, and representation, then “The Adventures of Michelle” children’s books are for them!

Pen Legacy Publishing, the groundbreaking literary company you founded, has provided a platform for aspiring writers to elevate their voices. Could you share the vision and mission behind Pen Legacy and how it has impacted the lives of authors and the literary world? Pen Legacy Publishing is one of the pillars of my company, Pen Legacy LLC.

Pen Legacy, LLC., is a literary conglomerate dedicated to helping aspiring writers share their stories by supplying a platform to elevate their unique voices. The vision behind this company is to “create impactful stories to uplift and inspire people while catalyzing critical conversations that will move them forward in life, love, and legacy.” and the mission is to “create meaningful stories that inspire, motivate, and uplift the culture so “herstory” will live on.” Since its inception in 2008, Pen Legacy has evolved into a publishing, scriptwriting, and ghostwriting division. As it relates to our publishing division, Pen Legacy Publishing was established in 2015 and has successfully published over one hundred books, with about 62% becoming Amazon Bestsellers generating corporate deals, speaking engagements, film deals, and academia placement. One thing that keeps it sought after and relevant is that my entire staff are also best-selling and award-winning authors, which provides clients with an informative and personalized experience that will produce a quality product and marketable book. Plus, it does not hurt that our clients keep 100% royalties and creative contro, thus giving the author full power to their process and own their masters!

I am proud to note that our company is behind the successful author careers of Ms. Evelyn Braxton (Braxton Family Values), Precious L. Williams, Esq. (Corporate Trainer with BMW, MasterCard, and Pitch Coach for the TV show, Shark Tank), Ty Johnston-Chavis (TV & Film Producer, TV Showrunner) and Debbie D. Douglas (Talent Recruiter for Paramount Network) to name a few. As the founder and owner of Pen Legacy and all its sub-divisions, I hope that people know that we are a literary company that understands the power of owning your voice, your rights, and your royalties. We make sure that your story is heard and globally available!

You have partnered with various individuals, organizations, and celebrities as a ghostwriter. Can you share some memorable experiences or collaborations that have left an impression on you and your craft?

Due to me serving as a "ghost" in these projects, I cannot give too much information, but I will say that learning about the life and lessons of so many people has been amazing. I am a person who loves to learn, especially from my elders, as their experience and wisdom are priceless. I have worked with people from all nationalities and walks of life, which allows me to become more open-minded and knowledgeable about diverse cultures, lifestyles, and traditions. However, ghostwriting is not for the faint-hearted, but I enjoy it. Working with so many people, celebrities, or noncelebrities, learning from them is the key for me. Sitting at the feet of some people I have written for is a truly unforgettable experience. It is unmatched by the history lessons, free coaching, and life advice. In addition to learning and being a student to the person, you get to know more about their story, journey, lessons, and wins. You can gain insight and gems that can be used in your life. However, ghostwriting can be challenging if you take on people's feelings and emotions or have difficulty digesting trauma or pain.

Depending on the story, it is your job to become that person. I often tell people, "Ghostwriting is like stepping out of your body and stepping in theirs so you can feel, understand, live, and sound like them for the story's sake." It is like the role and process of an actor. When they get a script, they leave their life and become who the character is, and that is ghostwriting. People know when I am ghostwriting because I am not myself. My energy is off, the conversation is different, and depending on how deep or dark the story is, I may fall into depression or become suicidal. Remember, you are embodying that person. Ghostwriting can be daunting, but the reward outweighs the pain.

Lastly, you have crafted a beautiful life story for yourself, and as the heroine, you are winning in this game of life. As a single mother to two sons, a trailblazer who has built a solid literary career, and a mentor in helping many writers put pen to paper and become best-selling authors, how have you opened the door to your success?

I have opened the door to my success by remaining consistent, persistent, available, and educated. Although we all define success differently and measure it according to our purpose or results, my grit and grind are how I “kicked the door” down for me. Remember, traditional publishers denied me multiple times, but I am still a successful and profitable author. Media and literary agents dismissed me, but I still get pressed and have book deals. I was looked over by organizations and speaking opportunities. Still, I am highly awarded, recognized, and have global exposure. Still, I appeared on digital billboards in multiple cities such as Atlanta, New Orleans, Houston, Vegas, California, Memphis, and Manhattan. I opened my door, sometimes by taking the window, back door, or even through the garage. If I want it, I am coming, and when I show up, you will adore me. Now that is not being cocky, but I come ready, knowledgeable, with numbers and a reason I am your new partner. I am committed to winning, alone and with others. In addition to that, I am fearless in doing it alone and building to create the blueprint. Some people quit when doors close! That is not me. Closed doors motivate me to create my own, especially if I want to avoid getting on ladders or crawling through spaces to bring in another way. What is for you is for you. We must be willing to “get it” or “create.” Either way, do not take NO for an answer.

Please tell us what we can expect next for Charron Monaye and the phenomenal Pen Legacy Publishing Company.

More collaborations, ghostwriting, and book publishing. Yes, besides my career as a writer, I am also a ghostwriter, book publisher, and scriptwriter, so if you need help penning your story, I can help you. The next book in The Adventure of Michelle series will be “Marquis Goes to The Supreme Court,” released this fall. Even though Michelle is not the lead in this story, she is still in it. She is comfortable with sharing her platform! In this book, Marquis and his friends will tour the Supreme Court and be educated on the role of the justices, the court’s history, and the celebration of the first African American Woman Justice, Mrs. Ketanji Brown Jackson. Also, Michelle will be back on her adventures as she travels to “homecoming” at an HBCU and visits Philadelphia. (c)--S. Armstrong. 2023

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