I’ve got a little down time before I hit the streets for a girlfriend’s birthday, so let’s get down to business and indulge in another installment of “Paying It Forward”, my posts where I return the favor to those who have been kind enough to lend their talents and skills to helping me in some way with THE GIRL.
This is my chance to finally say thank you to the fabulous Shonda Brock, who holds a special place in my heart. She is the first person who interviewed me about THE GIRL and my experiences as a writer and of equal import, Shonda is the inspiration for my “Paying It Forward” posts.
Shonda uses her blog, The Paranormal, to help promote other authors in a series of posts called “Paranormal Wednesday”, where she interviews them about their current work and experiences as a writer. I remember the first time I visited The Paranormal and being so impressed and moved by the fact that Shonda herself is trying to promote her own work and yet, still has time to help others. It’s such a great way to step outside the realm of constantly promoting yourself and your work and give back to your crew of supporters; I told myself right then and there that I wanted to do something similar.
And so “Paying It Forward” was born.
So let me stop blabbing about how great Shonda is and let you see for yourself.
When did you start writing? Did you always know you wanted to be a writer or did it come to you later in life? Have you reached a point with your writing where you actually call yourself a “writer”?
Deep Question Momma, I started writing in High School. I never thought I had a talent for it until my girlfriend drew my attention to it. She said I had interesting characters and unusual details. To me, it was my imagination running free. For years I kept a journal/diary and I would write down short stories or some intense moments I needed to clear from my mind.
I have one book published and I’m editing the second installment to Eternal Traces and I release blogs with the help of my social media representative, Christa, at webbella.com. I guess what I’m trying to say is I’m writing or editing every day, yet I struggle to call myself a writer. I probably need a therapist for that one.
What was your inspiration for Eternal Traces? For Meryt?
My inspiration for Eternal Traces? I’ve always had a special love for the paranormal. It’s been woven into my life. It’s reflected in the books and movies I’ve enjoyed over the years. At the time when I was writing Eternal Traces, I had a passion for Ancient Egypt and her queens, like Queen Nefertiti and Queen Hatshepsut. They had such a rich history that involved more than Nefertiti’s famous bust and Hatshepsut’s temple. I wanted to create a story that highlighted Egypt and Nubia.
In my mind the best fiction is always based in truth. So I mixed real history with fiction and added a touch of suspense, plus what’s a Paranormal Romance novel without a few sexy vampires. Voila, Eternal Traces was born.
Eternal Traces was originally designed for Queen Nefertiti as the main character, but I couldn’t bend the truth enough, so Meryt was created as the glue between the old and the new. I definitely wanted a modern day brown-skin female heroine.
[YEA! for the kick-ass, brown girls!]
Describe Meryt in six words.
Restless, Haunted, Short-tempered and Totally Driven
[She and Dev would be perfect friends!]
What’s next after Eternal Traces?
Two more installments!!!!
Writing is a very solitary process, but aspects of getting a book published involve others. Describe your support system – who has helped you along the way to getting Eternal Traces published?
My inspiration for Eternal Traces to be published came from my oldest son. He came to me several years ago wanting to self-publish a book he had written called Enhanced. I didn’t know much about the business of publishing or self-publishing, so I thought, “Why not pull my short stories together and learn the business with my son?”
It’s been tough, costly and extremely time consuming, but I love it. Every week I self-evaluate what I’ve done and what have I learned from the process. I think in the beginning I wanted more and I expected more! But I am reminded of an old parable, “Rome was not built in a day.” I’ve finished the parable with my own thoughts, “When it was complete and the last brick was laid in place, I’m confident that person didn’t know it was the last brick.”
That’s how I look at this process. It’s a constant building. It’s a building of my skills as a writer, it’s a building of a fan base, and it’s a building of my understanding the business of publishing, which is currently evolving and redefining itself as we speak.
My support system now contains Christa Wojciechowski at Webbella.com, an editor at Changeitupediting.com, two friends and my son, who I can bounce ideas around with.
What has been your experience as a woman of color writer? Discuss all aspects, from creating your characters, to connecting with other writers to marketing your work.
I too am a working mother of four. I have two large dogs and a busy husband. Somewhere between the hours of late and very early, I find the time to do what it takes to become an author.
I wish I had more experience to share with you. I am a woman of color who writes about strong women of color in the paranormal romance genre. I know that is my niche. I’ve sent in a few query letters. Most have been rejected while others have offered help if I spend more money with no guarantee of sales or marketing.
As a reader, I wanted to see more women of color in dominate roles, but I didn’t want the storyline to be based solely on color. I wanted it to be a true blend of today’s society.
I think I’m just touching the surface of that market while at the same time defining it. Plus, I still work full-time, so I haven’t had the opportunity to attend writer’s conventions. That is on my list to do this year. I hope by the end of the year, I will have more of a solid answer.
[I should have asked you about your day job! Of course, now I’m curious…what do you do?]
What is your favorite aspect of writing? Your least favorite?
My favorite part of writing is getting lost in the story. When I write, I’m living in the storyline. In the beginning as I outline the story and develop the characters, it’s me driving them to be involved. But mid-way into the story, when the characters are fully developed, I stand back and watch their personalities drive the story.
My least favorite part is editing. I guess it doesn’t help that I’m most creative when I’ve had a few glasses of wine, at least that’s what my husband says. Anyway, I’m terrible at grammar. As much as I love Eternal Traces, I should have held it back a little longer. Editing is what I spend most of my time doing.
Currently, I’m re-editing Eternal Traces and cleaning the sequel, Eternal Burns. I hope to have both of them out by March.
[I love editing! It’s my dad in me.]
When I came across your blog, I thought it was so interesting how willing you are to help other Indie writers. Your blog is actually what inspired me to do this Paying It Forward series. What made you decide to open your blog to other writers?
That’s the easiest question so far, I’m collecting information from fellow writers. I’m trying to learn the industry and stay inspired at the same time. I figured writers love to write so why not create a free platform for them to do just that and in the process learn from them.
Tell me about yourself: 5 favorite songs? 5 favorite movies? 5 favorite books? 5 favorite writers.
5 Favorite Songs (that’s tough because I LOVE Music!) Stevie Wonder “As”; Prince “The Ladder”; Miki Howard “Ain’t Nobody Like You”; Annie Lenox “Why”; the list can’t be complete without Michael Jackson and I can’t narrow it down to one; and Jill Scott “Blessed”
5 Favorite Movies “Color Purple”; “Interview with a Vampire”; “Silence of the Lambs”; “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation” Hmm….. and James Bond’s “Casino Royale”
[Interview…I’m a total sucker for Louis.]
5 Favorite Books (Another Tough One) I love magazines, but I do read novels, but picking my favorite? That’s a hard one. “Pet Cemetery”; “The Present”; “Needful Things”; “The Bible” and “Eternal Traces”
5 Favorite Writers: Stephen King, Edgar Allen Poe; James Baldwin; Anne Rice and Chloe Hart (she’s a new artist with a series of short stories on fays and vampires) Oh, and I must add Dan Brown.
Describe your perfect day
Wake up! Followed by 90 minutes of Yoga, writing all day and cooking dinner for family and friends while enjoying awesome wines and great conversations.
Jeans or a skirt? sneakers or heels? lipstick or lip gloss? Vodka or Tequila? Cook or bake? Pool or the beach?
My two favorite designers are Lulu-lemon and St. John’s. (I told you I needed a therapist. I go from expensive workout clothes to high-end dress wear.). I would go for the skirt over jeans. I prefer a sexy pair of strappy heels when I’m not wearing flip-flops. I like sheer lipstick. Definitely Vodka! I like both cooking and baking, but hands down, I’m known for my marinated meats. It’s so tender you don’t need a knife and it melts in your mouth. Definitely a beach baby!
Favorite vacation spot? Place to write? Place to escape?
Favorite vacation spot is Maui. I wish I could afford to live there. I need to sell about 10 million books for that dream to come true.
Favorite place to write is my office. My husband allowed me to decorate it, and it’s the only place in my house that feels solely mine.
My favorite place to escape is always close at hand. When I need a moment or two, I escape to my own imagination. It never fails to take me away, especially if I have a little vodka on board.
3 words to describe yourself.
The total sum of me is my Past, my Present and my Future. Om
Your best you?
The best me is found in my four children. Not when they are being lazy and asking me to buy them the world, but when they are being brave and willing to do things that I never thought about doing at their ages, like writing books, using computers as a daily part of their lives, teaching themselves musical instruments and writing songs.
Or when something happens at school and I ask “Who was it? Were they Black, White or Indian,” and they respond, “Does it matter?”
Or when my daughter says unsolicited, “I believe in God and I also know He comes in different forms to different people.”
My absolute moment of pure joy is when I see love in their eyes staring back at me. They see all of my flaws and they still love me! They are truly the best of me. And I must add, they have limitless energy. I think they stole that from me at birth because sometimes I barely have enough to get through the day.
Anything else you’d like to say?
Yes. Thank you for the opportunity to share myself and to also learn from you again. Please stay positive and live the best you and don’t forget… Stay Inspired.
[Thank you, lovely lady.]
If you’d like to learn more about Shonda and her series Eternal Traces or her work with The Paranormal Blog, follow these links: