Mahogany Woodland is a young Prince George’s County native and a person of many talents.  She’s a teacher, has her postgraduate degree and now can add author to her list of titles.

Woodland’s first book, Freshman Honeys was recently released.  It is a book that, while fiction, definitely has some hints of things she and people closest to her have gone through.

“The book is about six females in their first year of college,” she said.  “It talks about the trials and tribulations they go through in finding themselves and finding God.

“A lot of stuff in my book I got from my undergrad experience and coming home to hang out with friends that attended Towson and Morgan State,” said Woodland.  “It’s about my life and my friends’ lives.  I just put a lot of drama in it and made it entertaining.” 

Woodland made a conscious effort to make sure the book would be written for a wide audience.  Therefore, it contains no cursing or graphic descriptions of sex or violence.

“It’s great for young ladies and a very mature crowd,” she said.  “I kept the book very clean.  It’s realistic to the point that it talks about people having sex but I don’t go into detail like a Zane book.”

Woodland began the novel on a whim.  She was wasting her summer away following her junior year of college when her mother suggested that she write a book. 

“That summer I wrote 50 pages and said, ‘Wow, I can really do this,’” she said.
She would soon find out that the process was not that easy.  It took her two years after the completion of the book to find a publisher and graphic designer to do the layout of the book.  

Woodland is used to working hard though.  Its part of what inspired her to write the book and its part of what inspired the content of the book.

Woodland grew up in Cheverly, Md., in a working-class neighborhood.  After graduating high school, she attended Rutgers University in New Jersey.  That’s when she got her first dose of the real world.

“It was definitely a culture shock going up to Rutgers because Rutgers isn‘t a historically Black college,” she said.  “Growing up in my part of P.G. County I wasn’t used to being around such a diverse group of people.”

After receiving her undergraduate degree from Rutgers in sports management, Woodland matriculated at George Washington University, where she received a master’s degree in tourism administration.

Woodland began to use her graduate degree in her job at Six Flags, but something was missing to her.  She felt her life had no purpose. That’s because during her undergraduate years, she underwent a life-altering experience—Woodland became a Christian.  Her new faith was something that would change her entire outlook on life and led her to make a career change.

“I was just seeking to have money, make money and do things just for me,” she said.  “Once I really started growing my relationship with God, that’s when I really wanted to start helping other people.”

Woodland said she believed her calling was to be an educator and that’s why she decided to get her certification.  She’s now a special education teacher at Andrew Jackson Academy in Forestville, Md.  It’s a position she feels goes beyond herself.
“I wanted a job that impacted lives,” she said.  “I got into the resident teacher program in P.G. County which is a program for career changers to get into teaching.”

Now that Woodland is teaching, she doesn’t plan to stop writing.  The sequel to Freshmen Honeys will be released this summer and she has two other books in the works as well. 

“I have so many book ideas in my head that now it’s just a matter of me getting them out,” she said.  “I just want to write as many books as I can.”

For more information on how to purchase “Freshman Honeys,” please visit www.mahoganywoodland.com.

 

George Barnette

Special to the AFRO