Interview with Swiyyah Woodard, Author of Don't Call Me Crazy! I'm Just in Love with God

Swiyyah Nadirah Woodard was selected as a Bay News 9 Everyday Hero, which was seen by two million viewers, for publishing a book and teaching the community about her own battle with mental illness. She was hospitalized six times and misdiagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia. Her first book, Don't Call Me Crazy! I'm Just in Love, became required and suggested reading in Reading, Writing, Abnormal Psychology, and General Psychology classes at a four year Institution. 

She was born in the housing projects of
Saint Petersburg, FL. Her father left when she was three so she was raised in a single parent home. At the age of five she was
molested by her eight year old brother. She later started school, she had slurred speech and didn't care to make friends so she was bullied by her peers. At the age of eight, she wanted to kill herself because a girl wanted to fight her. She looked into the medicine cabinet for medication. Thank God, she couldn't find any.

As a teenager she was physically abused by her step dad. The abuse was so severe, God blocked it from her memory. At the age of 20 the brother that molested her committed suicide, which was devastating to her and the entire family. Swiyyah has always viewed herself as normal. She never received any disciplinary problems in school, made good grades, and received her BA degree in Psychology from the
University of South Florida.

When the doctors misdiagnosed her with the most debilitating mental disorder known in mental health, paranoid schizophrenia, she denied it. She questioned their expertise. She refused to take medication. She was then hospitalized six times. Her family took a picture of her at her worst and that's when she knew she needed help. She has been taking medication now for ten years without a relapse.

She is now a published author and a National Inspirational Speaker. Her first book is entitled, “Don't Call Me Crazy! I'm just in Love,” and is inspired by her true story. 

She was raised Muslim and the revelations she received from God and placed in her books, didn't make any since until she meet her Christian husband 14 years after her first relapse. 

Please contact Swiyyah to book speaking engagements, life coaching, author and speaker coaching, radio and TV interviews, or to purchase her books at 727-495-3217,



About the Book:

Because of God, nothing will stop Anika from marrying the love of her life, not even paranoid schizophrenia. You don’t want to miss this spiritual journey filled with inspiration and power.
This book is insightful and perceptive. Inspired by a true story. Few people consider the God factor in mental health. Join Anika and journey with her as she receives revelations from God while on her walk to overcome mental illness and naiveness towards religion. Required reading for High schools and colleges.


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What’s inside the mind of a romance author?

I wanted to capture the feeling of being willing to wait an eternity to be with the love of your life. I wanted to express a love so strong that it can drive you crazy. Everyone has had that one true love that felt like a soul mate. I wanted to bring this out in my first two books. 

What is so great about being an author?

It’s great having an opportunity to touch a life, to have someone read your books and become greater than what they were. My books are fiction but I always include life and coping skills and goal development strategies, so readers can walk away with not only an unforgettable love story but also a story that will inspire them and teach them how to have everything they want in life.

When do you hate it?

I hate writers block. I get it with every book. I will come up with 14,000 words and then nothing and I will have to stop. For those books of mine that are inspired by a true story, I am always able to write more when I experience more. I hate that it took me ten years to get to where I wanted to be as an author. But I have realized that I was in the way of my own success. The advice that experts gave me in the pass to enact, I chose to ignore. I wanted to do things my way so it would be I that got the glory. I learned that I was my own worse enemy. Last year I made a pact with myself to get out of my own way and I’ve been seeing success ever since that declaration.

What is a regular writing day like for you?

When I am writing, I try to dedicate four hours a day. I write with mistakes first just to get my thoughts down on paper and then after I’m done, I edit my books over and over throughout the years.

How do you handle negative reviews?

I actually want to hear the truth.  I purposely asked for negative feedback from my first book, “Don’t Call Me Crazy!” so that I would know what the reader’s wanted. And this has helped me cater my books to the reader’s desires.

How do you handle positive reviews?

It’s nothing more exciting for an author than to get a positive review.  It let’s me know I’m on the right track. It’s a good feeling to know you took someone away from their everyday life and put them inside a story full of life. 

What is the usual response when you tell a new acquaintance that you’re an author?

They are always in shock. I only meet one other author before I finished writing my first book. People are always amazed that you can accomplish such a huge accomplishment.

What do you do on those days you don’t feel like writing? Do you force it or take a break?

I always take a break. I like to let the words come naturally. 

Any writing quirks?

When I write I have a general idea of the way the story will go but I never create an outline. Most of the time I have no idea what's coming next.  I get enjoyment in surprising myself with the actions of each character.

What would you do if people around you didn’t take your writing seriously or see it as a hobby?

People that are the closes to you will see you in a smaller light than people that don’t know you.  I have to put my energy in being the best author that I can be. Actions speak louder than words so eventually they will be able to see the fruit of my labor without me saying a word.

Some authors seem to have a love-hate relationship to writing. Can you relate?

Yes. I wish I could write constantly without writers block. I wish I wasn’t faced with stalling to release a book because I don't know if my audience will reject it or respect it.

Do you think success as an author must be linked to money?

Yes. It should be every author’s goal to become a best-selling author.  Our goal is for others to read our work through first purchasing our books. I would never advise an author to give away free copies of their book unless it’s for a book giveaway promotion as a way to spread the news about their books. Generally if people get your book for free they will not see the value in it and never read it, unless they have won it. I’ve been able to put on events and have sponsors buy books for the audience but I haven’t given physical copy’s away free except during a book giveaway promotion. 

What has writing taught you?

I have learned that God has been with me every step of the way, even when I didn’t know him. I was raised Muslim and when I wrote the first edit of, “Don’t Call Me Crazy,” 14 years ago I received many revelations from God and placed his wisdom throughout my book. At the time those revelations made little sense. Now 14 years later, becoming Christian and reading the bible, I see the same wisdom that I placed in my book is found in the bible.

Leave us with some words of wisdom.

As authors we start off with high expectations for our books and when we don’t see those expectations fulfilled right way we want to give up. We go into it thinking we know exactly what it takes to become a best seller. We think that all we need to do is write the book, send it to some agents or publishers, place it on amazon, and then we are done. After ten years of experience I’ve learned the biggest challenge I have had is getting away from my, “know it all,” attitude.  I’ve been able to step aside and allow experts to take my book to places that I just can’t. I’ve learned to research different ways to market a book. I meet Zane and she said her publishing company only markets three of their many books per year. It is up to us authors to do research to find out the best ways to promote our books. It’s up to us to further our writing expertise. It’s up to us to constantly develop ourselves in order to become better people. “You can’t change the world until you change yourself.” -Diddy


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