Interviewed by Dana Rettig
They say that greatness lays within someone’s deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), an extremely long macromolecule that is the main component of chromosomes and the material that transfers genetic characteristics in all life forms. As the years progress, a person becomes blessed with enough talent to utilize their gift(s) for everyone to see in a positive light as well as encourage others to strive for the best. Author/poet/aspiring filmmaker is the perfect example of what persistence is. In 1990; her house caught on her fire, which destroyed the majority of her work, leaving her back to square one.
Despite her tragedy, Andrea Clinton began to seek out other ventures in life by holding a journalist/editor-in-chief position with The Scroll Newspaper. Some years later, another calamity had occurred: she was diagnosed with Lupus. Willing to surmount her condition, she began to write narratives relating to men and women’s perspectives and plights. Her first novel, Life knows no Bounds addresses that life is no one’s enemy; it doesn’t know any boundaries. More information on Andrea Clinton can be found at http://www.aroundthewaypublishing.com
UM: Tell Urbania Magazine about your book, “One Who Loves You More.” Which character(s) do you relate to the most in your book and what can the audience expect from reading your book?
AC: “One who loves you more” is a novel about a girl, Alisa, who follows in the footsteps of her mentors by making a profession out of using men for money, jewelry, credit cards; all the fine things a woman loves. She grows tired of hearing her mother fuss about her actions so she decides to get one man who can keep her in the way she’s become accustomed. Then, suddenly, she runs into Omar. Omar is an African American Muslim who’s lost his way; he’s a drug dealer. Having his own demons, he wants to go back to the peaceful life he once knew. But, life with a gold digger, Alisa, just won’t allow him to. With their lives colliding, readers experience a, “Clash of the Titans” type of around the way drama and action, not to mention all the skeletons that come falling out of many of the other character’s closets.
Regarding, which character I can relate to, Wow! Because I wanted to show real life character traits, I put a trait or three from myself into a few of the characters, anything from my views on, “The difference between a woman and a lady,” to “The demise and/or fall of those Muslims who fell between the cracks when there were divides among the Muslims in the 60′s and 70′s.” But, I’d have to say I probably relate more to Omar and the mothers, as although we are on the correct path now, we all have a story, and those two mothers have a story and a half.
What can the audience expect? Hmmm, a lot of DRAMA! He-he-heee, I packed the novel with drama and action and I spread them throughout the novel; Midwest Book Review and a few reviewers on Amazon acknowledged that. I also added a few surprises. I mainly write in realism and naturalism. Whereas realism is about real characters and real situations, which usually leave the characters with a decision to make, naturalism reveals enough about who the characters are, their history, environment and upbringing that you understand why they make the decisions they make. I love it, especially because we as a people are quick, “Oh that was a stupid decision,” or “thing to do” without ever even knowing what drives that person. So realism and naturalism provides me the room to spread the character’s story like a deck of cards, so the readers get the inside straight; the entire view of who the characters are and what drives these characters. Readers can expect to get a view inside of the character’s lives, experience the character’s decisions either pan out or blow up in everyone’s face, and many many issues that real people have that often times bring forth some exhilarating action and/or DRAMA.
UM: You have been writing poems and short stories based on young girls’ trials and tribulations in life for a long time. What encouraged you to put yourself in other young girls’ shoes as well as expanding your literature repertoire as the years progressed?
AC: I write for men, women and the youth. But, I guess for the youth because when we are young we don’t really know as much as we think we know. I been there; couldn’t’ tell me anything. But I don’t want to see anything happen to these young girls, teens and young women due to inexperience or someone not hitting on some issue they’re going through. We mature adults have to understand, it’s in a girl’s nature to behave as grown women, however, at those young ages, we’re not grown mature women. And the youth need guidance. They cannot be overlooked or overstepped because we’re too busy trying to make it happen or have issues that take up adult attention. If we get preoccupied, the youth will go astray. I pray the moral of the story in the books I write for the youth will be some sort of guide. I’m also going to get out and speak with the youth to encourage them to stay positive and strong.
UM: You have overcome many obstacles in life. Has there ever been a time when you wanted to say, ‘Forget it! Life is too complicated to move on’?
AC: Many. In fact, it’s the reason I’m just now publishing. I had heard so many horror stories about the book industry that I ran like a chicken for many years, sharing my stories in magazines and newspapers as well as with friends. Even when professors encouraged me to send my work out to authors I wouldn’t because it seemed too cut-throat and I wasn’t up for the task. After all the research I did and an agent who seemed rough around the edges, I just did away with the thought. But, when I was struck with lupus in 2003, I regretted having 10 or more year old stories that received rave reviews, but were all packed in trunks and storage boxes. It was too heavy on my mind as I lay sick that I never published, nor attempted to. All this, while laying and worrying about dying from lupus. So when I was well, a publicist I’d consulted with at that time said with having lupus and being fearful of not having the time to live to publish my finished books, I should self publish. Thus, the 1st book in the “Life Knows No Bounds series”
UM: What other projects are you working on besides writing?
AC: None, he-he-heeee. Seems everything I’m doing involves writing. I was just picked up by a producer so the book is being turned into a play, so I’m changing the book into play format for executive producers review; I’m adding some finishing touches to the next book, “A Blessing and a Curse”, completing a non-fiction book, “Shortcuts to Great Writing” which will help high school and college students write better essays. So, see, it’s all writing. I think it is truly my lot in life. Oh wait, I do have a non profit organization, “People Helping People, Inc.” and I counsel drug prevention & intervention, alcohol and tobacco use, and I also counsel the youth and help people in whatever way necessary to become self-sufficient and independent, which is our motto.
UM: Name three people who you believe inspire the community and beyond.
AC: Cornell West, Ph.d, because he’s attacking issues. He knows we sleep and he’s right there in the trenches with that gong in our ears saying, “Wake up! See what’s going on around you!? Look, it’s right there.” He’s really giving us the 411, and often times many others when he’s on shows like Bill Maher. Monique, because she is truly one of us and showed us when she was doing comedy shows, on Apollo, telling plus size ladies to love themselves and she even took it to a TV show and a movie. Then topped herself by winning an Oscar and topped that with a TV show where she’s putting the spotlight on others and helping them promote their projects. Monique is good people and we need that. Also, whether people realize it or not, I believe Russell Simmons inspires us. In the front of our mind we may not give it too much thought but, you see a man who came from the same neighborhood we everyday folk come from, where he made it from scratch and still moving ahead, it makes you want to get back up when you fall down; he delivers hope just by doing his own thing.
UM: What advice do you have for those who want to follow in your footsteps?
AC: I have so many things I dreamed about doing. So, I’d say pick something you want to do and stick with it, hahahahahaaaaa. I’m all over the place. I have so many interests, and honestly, lupus is the boogie man that scares me into thinking I’ve not a lot of time to accomplish them. As a kid I was afraid of the monster in the closet coming to get me and now, it’s lupus in my system I fear is going to get me, and that has me trying to beat the clock; beat my D-Day. Can be wearisome at times. So, I’d tell anyone, put your dreams in order and follow them in that order, putting your all into them. Don’t wait until something threatens you and don’t put them on hold for NOBODY! As the elders say, “You never know the day nor the hour.”
UM: Who are your muses to write literature based on life situations such as “Life knows no Bounds: One who loves you more?”
AC: My muses are, and I say it proudly, Richard Wright who made me want to tell my story; and my favorite, J. California Cooper who pushed me to complete my first short short story after I read family; Charles W. Chestnut who was the 1st African American realism writer in the 1800′s, he shed light on slavery from a different angle; and Charlotte Perkins Gilman who wrote, “The Yellow Wallpaper” after experiencing some mental health issues and felt the condition and the treatment of women needed to be exposed so male doctors at that time could stop treating women as if they were insignificant and limp. They make me not just want to write, but they make me want to blast off! in the literary world. They are my Duracell batteries; my muse’
UM: Where can people purchase your book, “Life knows no Bounds: One who loves you more?”
AC: You can buy it from http://www.amazon.com/shops/Cupcakestatus or my website www.AroundTheWayPub@aol.com, Barnes & Noble, and your local bookstores. Establishments buying more than one should contact me at: AroundTheWayPub@aol.com to receive bulk or wholesale discounts.
Thank you for the interview and your interest in “One Who Loves You More” which is the 1st novel in the “Life Knows No Bounds” series. The 2nd is coming in the fall 2011 titled, “A Blessing and a Curse” please check it out on the website, www.AroundTheWayPublishing.com
Interviewed by Dana Rettig
UM: Introduce yourself to the readers.
EW: I’m Eyone Williams, author/publisher/actor/recording artist. I’m the CEO of Fast Lane Entertainment. I was born and raised in Washington, D.C. I’m the author of Fast Lane (Fast Lane Entertainment), Hell Razor Honeys 1 and 2 (Cartel Publications), the Cross (DC Book diva Publications), and the forthcoming novel Lorton Legends (DC Book diva Publications).
UM: How long have you been an author? Describe your writing style.
EW: I’ve been an author since I was a child. However, I’ve been a published author since 2004. It was the year I had released my book, Fast Lane with Fast Lane Publications. My writing style is raw and real. I write about what I know and what I have seen over the years. I keep it as real as I can. That’s all I know how to do when I sit down to write. My plots surround what goes on in the real world.
UM: What is the theme/ inspiration behind Hell Razor Honeys? Which character(s) can you relate to the most?
EW: The inspiration for Hell Razor Honeys came from the streets of D.C. where girl crews get down and do things that most people only know dudes to do. Different girl crews were making the news paper for going hard in the streets. I came up with an idea to write a book about how the girl crews were carrying things as well as dictating their vicinities with their destructive, street smart antics. I also went to school with D.C.’s First and Kennedy Honeys who were always into something. Basically, all of this helped me come up with the idea for Hell Razor Honeys.
The character Tec in Hell Razor Honeys would be the character that I relate to the most. When I was young, I was wild. I did things I had no business doing as a teenager. My past helps me write real street fiction.
UM: Illustrate the experience of being a former writer for Don Diva Magazine turned entrepreneur of Fast Lane Entertainment. What prompted you to embark your own company?
EW: [Don Diva] is connected in the streets and in the prison system. I did 17 years in prison and during that time I grew as an author. While in prison, I met the owner of Don Diva Magazine, Kevin Chiles and I asked him about some D.C. street stories that only I could bring to life, in my opinion. Kev was down with it and so was my man, Seth Ferranti. He brought light to the Fray and Wayne Perry stories, which will always be legendary stories in D.C. and beyond. I’m still down with Don Diva. We have bonds that will last a lifetime.
As far as establishing Fast Lane Entertainment, it was second nature. In my mind, a man must always strive to have his own thing. I’m a go getter. The only way to be a real go getter is to go and do your thing. It’s a must to maintain your connections and to network at all times, but to be your own boss is priceless. A boss is what I’ve always strived to be, right or wrong.
UM: What makes you stand out from other authors?
EW: I’m all about what I set my mind to. I write street stories that a lot of other authors write but I write in a way that you can only see it or hear it if you are connected to what goes on in the streets. I write what I like or what I would want to read. I end my stories the way I feel they would end in real life. I also stay on the front line with my books and my business. Attaining this kind of knowledge will keep me around for a long time. Also, I understand how important it is to surround yourself with positive, supportive people. For instance, DC Book diva was one of the first people in my city who believed in me when I was released from prison.
She helped me get this movement in order. With all of that said, what makes me stand out is really who I have standing with me. In this game, I surround myself with those who stand for constant progress. Simple as that.
UM: What advice do you have for upcoming authors/ journalists?
EW: Grind, do your own thing and don’t let anybody tell you that you can’t do whatever you put your mind to. Also, study the game. Read, research and know what you are doing and getting yourself into. I hear people all the time talking about how somebody had treated them wrong on their contracts and stuff like that. However, you are the one that is supposed to read your contract. Be sharp and aggressive with you grind. Go hard or go home. Most of all follow your heart and dreams. Put time and energy into your work and it will all come together.
UM: Where can people receive more information about you?
EW: Check me out on Facebook under my name, Eyone Williams.
Interviewed by Dana Rettig
Being a teenager is not easy at all, but trying to seek your identity by being a part of a crew is more difficult than usual. In Ebony Joy Wilkins’ book, Sellout; the main character, Natasha Jennings does not fit in with the white kids in her suburban hometown. When Natasha runs into trouble with her mean, ill-willed peers; she runs and hides from them as if she’s running from the law. Not knowing that drama exists everywhere, she moves to one of the most merciless, hard-core cities in the United States of America- Harlem, New York. After facing some serious quandary with the kids at school, her grandmother, Tilly, suggests that she works with her at a crisis center for girls in the Bronx, so she can a get a feel of what the troubled, city slickers face on a daily basis.
Natasha is afraid to mingle with the girls at the crisis center, but soon begins to take tips from the troubled teens on survive anywhere in this world by learning that with a little courage, you can face anything predicament that may come your way.
UM: What motivated you to write Sellout? Which character(s) is/are similar to you when you were coming up?
EW: Sellout is loosely based on my own experience of transitioning as a teenager. I was once told in a writing workshop that you write best when you write about what you know. I can relate to elements of all of the characters in the book, but NaTasha’s character and her struggles, trying to fit into her world rather than leaving her stamp on it, are closest to my own. Reliving my own feelings through NaTasha’s eyes was an intense process for me. At times I found it hard to step far enough back from my experience to let NaTasha’s voice come forward. But it was important for her to carve her own paths and I tried to remove myself in order to let her do so. I was motivated to share Sellout because it’s comforting and inspiring for me to hear of others who share similar life experiences. I’m hoping this story will provide that comfort and inspiration for someone else.
UM: When you wrote the book, Sellout; what kind of feedback did you receive? Were the feedbacks positive, negative, or both?
EW: Writing Sellout took about two years to ‘complete’ and I received helpful critiques, and even a few rejections along the way from agents, but helpful responses from workshop partners, classmates, and other writers about how to improve the story. The overall message of the book remains, but the structure is quite different now from its original version. The feedback has been overwhelmingly positive and encouraging. NaTasha’s story is a unique one, but her character and circumstance anyone can relate to. I do realize that everything I put on the page will not resonate with every reader, but so far, the response for her story has been a positive one. The harsh critiques are welcomed so that I look at my work through different lenses. It helps to know how the story I intend to tell is resonating with my audience.
UM: In your hindsight, what kind of advice do you have for teenagers not to fall victim to peer pressure and other life situations?
EW: I wished I would have listened to those who told me that high school is not real life, and just the beginning! Teenage years are a time to explore, to search, to enjoy, and to make decisions that set you on the path to your future. I believe now I spent too much time trying to fit into a mold, that I sometimes feel like I missed the opportunity to shine during those years. I don’t live with many regrets, but in hindsight, I would have settled into ‘me’ a little earlier. Peer pressure is all around, sometimes into adulthood, but I think it’s important to remember that we all have different lives to lead. Don’t spend too much time deterring from your own path, because it may take a lifetime to find your way again.
UM: Your online bio states that you have traveled to London, Switzerland, and Africa. Describe those moments of traveling to different terrains and meeting new people. When you are traveling to different countries, do you become encouraged to write or do you become enthused to do something else?
EW: I’ve been blessed with the opportunity to travel around the world with my family and have also seen parts of Canada, South Africa, and United Arab Emirates (Dubai and Abu Dhabi), and every one of those trips changes me. Experiencing other cultures and traditions, meeting new people, listening to conversations in multi-languages, visiting schools abroad, and witnessing the day-to-day activities in another country are fascinating. Just recently, I met another teacher in Durban, South Africa who writes books for children as well. We talked about our students, our classrooms, our writing, and goals for the future – amazing to learn how different our worlds, but how similar our paths. Travel has been one of the most important parts of my education thus far. It inspires me to write, to volunteer, to share my photos, and to pass along new information that I learn. Although we travel far distances, learning can happen anywhere, even if you’re just experiencing a new part of your home city – Getting out of your comfort zone opens up new worlds, new opportunities, and new ideas.
UM: Describe the significance of the voices of AA/YA fiction as well as the diversity as a whole.
EW: There is significance in African American voices in literature, young adult voices in literature, and diversity in literature. Reading a variety of voices is a learning experience in itself. For so long many African American voices were absent from children’s literature. I believe there is a huge turn-around in the last decade to include more diversity in literature, and I’m glad to be a part of it. As many diverse readers as there are, the need and space for diverse voices in the stories that we read, write, and share is even greater. I’m a firm believer that every person has an interesting story to tell and readers respond to stories with characters present in the literature that are relatable and identifiable.
UM: What advice do you have for children as far as peer pressure is concerned?
EW: The advice I can give is to stay focused on who you are as a person because the peer pressure will come. Peer pressure is like exams in school – you know you will have to face them. You can prepare by deciding who to allow as an influence in your life and what you will allow to influence your life and sticking to those decisions no matter the situation. Of course, this sounds easier than it will be. But trust me it is a horrible feeling to look back on a situation wishing you had made different choices, so some of those choices you can control and prepare for now. One more piece of advice would be to not let someone else get in the way of your own destiny. Always be true to you!
UM: What are your present and future endeavors?
EW: I am working on a PhD in education at the University of Illinois Chicago. The focus of my research is African American children’s literature and creative writing. In addition to studying, I am writing another young adult novel and attempting a male point of view this time. The new story is centered on one group of friends, bullying from older kids, and surviving their final year of high school. So far I have enjoyed getting to know these new characters and the writing process. In the future I plan to revisit NaTasha (and the rest of the Sellout crew) to find out what is happening in their lives.
UM: How do you deal with the good and bad side of life’s situations and more?
EW: The only thing I can do is count my blessings and pray over my trials. My favorite Broadway show is In The Heights and the cast sings a song called, Patiencía y Fe (patience and faith), and I walk around humming that tune at times to remind myself that God is in control of my right now, my tomorrow, and my next week. When the bad comes, I take it, pray about it, and let it go. I’ve learned that the only things in life I can control are the words that come out of my mouth and how I react to what comes my way.
UM: Where can people reach you?
EW: I love getting emails from readers and I usually answer pretty quickly! Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or check my website at www.ebonyjoywilkins.com to follow my blog and find more info about Sellout and other writing news.
Recently in an article on www.Essence.com, Danielle Santiago spoke about her personal experience hustling in the drug game and eventually balancing a family life. Read the article here.
She goes more in depth about her novel, Allure of the Game in a video for the her publisher here.
Leave us your comments!
Introduce yourself to readers.
Hi Readers! I am Rekaya Gibson, Author of three fiction titles: “The Food Temptress” and the sequel, “The Food Enchantress”. The latest is “Mama Don’t Like Ugly” by NCM Publishing Company. I started my freelance writing career in 2005. Some of my magazine articles have appeared in Cabo Living Magazine, Lake of the Ozarks Second Home Living Magazine, and Relocating in Saint Louis Magazine. In my spare time, I am a freelance grant writer and consultant.
When I am not writing, I am dancing, eating, and/or promoting my work. I have lived in more than five U.S. cities and I am not in the military. Currently, I reside in Hampton, Virginia.
Tell us about your novel Mama Don’t Like Ugly?
“Mama Don’t Like Ugly” is a fiction story about Dana, a dark-skinned girl, growing up in a household with a mama who dislikes her because of her skin color. Her mama not only abuses and neglects her, but she constantly compares her to her light-skinned sister. In spite of her situation, she still loves her mama unconditionally.
You have written several titles, how would you describe your writing style?
I write – on the computer – when I have something to say. Then, I let it all out until I am done. This can mean five minutes or several hours. I am not good at writing during a slotted time; it is the rebel in me. However, sometimes I have to write on paper first to get the juices flowing.
What separates Mama Don’t Like Ugly from your other titles?
It has a good balance of drama, humor and suspense. Also, it will resuscitate nonfiction discussions about beauty and skin color. I am hoping folks will stop being in denial about their prejudices.
Who is your favorite character in the novel? Which character do you want readers to connect with the most and why?
My favorite character is Dana. I want readers to connect with her because she is intelligent and resilient. In spite of her situation, she still loves her mama unconditionally. Most importantly, her beauty radiates from the inside and she does not let her imperfections dictate her destiny.
You write about food and it is even the subject of two of your titles. Tell us about your relation to food and literature?
I cannot do one without the other. Plus, I love making people salivate while they read. I must admit, it excites me.
If you could meet any author over dinner, who would it be and why? What would you eat?
I would invite Jennifer Weiner. She is an amazing writer; I loved “Good in Bed.” In my opinion, she gave birth to “chick lit” and successfully introduced readers to a plus-size heroine. I would like to get some tips on writing and promoting. I am interested in getting to know her personally; she has a wonderful sense of humor. Lastly, I have to talk to her about stealing my leading lady, Raven Symone, for her upcoming TV show “The Great State of Georgia.” I want her to play Ambrosia in a movie or television series based on The Food Temptress.
We would have a three-course meal. First, I would serve homemade spinach artichoke dip with tortilla chips. I cannot forget the white zinfandel. Second, I like to keep it simple by having broiled lamb chops with homemade garlic mashed potatoes and sautéed summer vegetables. Third, I plan to whip up a chocolate mousse and serve it in a martini glass. As an added touch, I would insert a Pirouline and top it with a fresh raspberry.
You also write a column. Tell us about your writing column.
I write for the Hampton Food Examiner. It is an online site for locals living in Hampton, Virginia. I write about everything related to food. In addition, I started writing cookbook reviews for Cuisine Noir, a foodies and wine magazine for African Americans.
How will readers be able to connect with you and learn more about your titles for purchase?
Readers can connect with me by becoming a fan of Author Rekaya Gibson on Facebook and following me on Twitter. Also, they can find me on the Food Temptress Blog and my website. All my books are available at online retailers such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and Smashwords. In addition, folks can request them at their local bookstores and libraries.
Rekaya Gibson, Author and Hampton Food Examiner
Mama Don’t Like Ugly – (Order Today or Download on Kindle!)
The Food Temptress and the Sequel, The Food Enchantress
Introduce Yourself to Readers
My name is Ebonee Monique, author of Suicide Diaries, Walk a Mile and the 2011 release, Blitz. In a nutshell, I’m your everyday woman. I laugh, I cry, I live, I love & I’m blessed enough to put all of that into the format of books & stories. I’m a native Floridian and a graduate of the illustrious Florida A&M University and an avid hip-hop fan. Oh. I’m the coolest person I know, too! J
Tell us about your novel Blitz.
Mia Robinson has worked hard to obtain an affluent lifestyle. With plenty of money in the bank, an impressive network of tastemaker friends, a booming real-estate business and a loving man by her side she is assured that she and daughter Brandi will never lack the finer things in life. However, when Brandi’s long-lost father mysteriously returns in their lives, Mia must work overtime to make sure a buried secret doesn’t resurface.
While Mia struggles with the decision to give Charles a child, she learns that her soon-to-be fifteen year old daughter is pregnant. Soon people began to whisper, friends turn away and social circles become smaller. Will the bombardment of the unexpected demolish Mia’s dream life or will this rags-to-riches, self-made tycoon rise to the challenge and maintain control?
You have written several titles, how would you describe your writing style?
I write what I see in my life & what I hear about from the lives of my family & friends. People picking up my books won’t really see things too far-fetched; I think that’s the beauty of my writing. I’m not the next Terry. I’m not the next Kimberla. I’m not the next Sheneska. I’m the first Ebonee Monique. I value the thought of being able to be the voice of my generation. I’m not interested in making up outlandish stories but, rather, telling everyday stories that people can relate & learn from.
What separates Blitz from your other titles?
With Suicide Diaries, I was writing and grieving at the same time. I love Suicide Diaries, but it’s not one of my books that I can pick up at any time & read. I really have to prepare myself for that. Suicide Diaries deals SO much with the grief of losing a loved one to suicide (Note: Ebonee lost her first love to suicide in 2004), that it’s almost impossible not to go back to that dark place. It’s a great story that had to be told, though.
With Walk a Mile, it was just fun to tell the story of such a proud b*tch. The emotions tied to watching someone grow and learn that life isn’t fair but it’s also not on the hunt to bring you down, is apparent in this story. I’ve had people tell me they hated Sydnee (the main character) at the beginning but by the end of the book they understood her journey. That’s the point of books, to see the evolution of characters amidst turmoil.
Finally, Blitz really gave me an opportunity to delve into the life of a single-mother who has gone from abuse and poverty and risen to millionaire status, all while making sure that her daughter has everything she could ever ask for. The story is just as much about her journey as it is the blitzes that come along and threaten to tear down the ladder she’s on. I think, again, I’ve captured genuine emotions & situations and relayed them to the masses.
Who is you favorite character in the novel? Which character do you want readers to connect with the most and why?
Probably Charles (Mia’s long-time boyfriend) because I don’t think there is enough good black men showcased in books. Charles loved Mia and all of her baggage with no complaints or hesitation and that’s beyond commendable.
Who are some of you favorite authors and why?
Sheneska Jackson-she was actually the first author that I met (as a teenager) and helped me to see that it was believable that I could write for a living. I credit her with nurturing a seed within me.
BeBe Moore Campbell- I was immediately drawn to her style of writing because I could close my eyes and imagine myself right in the middle of one of her scenes. There was nothing outlandish about her writing…it just felt like one of my aunts or cousins were telling a really, really detailed story; I appreciated that about her. I also loved that by the end of a story you were ready to debate and talk about things.
Terry McMillan- What can I say? For many people, Terry brought African American fiction to the forefront of America with “Waiting to Exhale” and, for that, I have the utmost respect for her & her craft.
Pearl Cleage- Whew! Without a doubt, she is definitely one that made me appreciate the beauty of every-day life writing. So many times I think authors think they have to create these unbelievable storylines in order for readers to like them…Ms. Cleage proves otherwise. Sometimes you want to relate to what you’re reading.
You have an extensive experience in radio, has your experience helped marketing your books? If so how?
I think my experience in radio/marketing/PR/Promotions, etc. have helped me tremendously. I try to work on the gauge of “What would I find interesting as a Program Director/Editor” and I think that’s helped me. Also, I have an appreciation for how hard it is to create & wait. Much like singers, rappers, etc. the create & wait aspect is BRUTAL. You create your project & you wait for the feedback of the masses. It’s always nerve-wracking.
What are your hobbies?
Besides writing? I love online shopping!! A lot of my friends say they can’t do online shopping, but it’s the only way I like to shop. Put me in 50 dressing rooms in one day & I’ll be ready to flip on someone. I’d much rather shop with a glass of wine in one hand, credit card in the other. I figure, if it doesn’t fit I’ll just return & try again!
What is your opinion of literature in your city? Are there a lot of bookstores, readers and are they supportive of your work?
I’m a statewide rapper, but I think that Florida as a whole a pretty decent scope of writers. I think, at this point, there are a lot of budding writers on the brink of blowing & I can’t wait to cheer them on. I’m always supportive of other writers-regardless of where they’re from-because I think there’s enough fans, enough money, enough opportunities, etc. for everyone to get their shine on!
How will readers be able to connect with you and learn more about Blitz and your other titles for purchase?
Publisher site: www.peaceinthestormpublishing.com
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Peace In The Storm Publishing (June 1, 2011)
Mia Robinson has worked hard to obtain an affluent lifestyle. With plenty of money in the bank, an impressive network of tastemaker friends, a booming real-estate business and a loving man by her side she is assured that she and daughter Brandi will never lack the finer things in life. However, when Brandi’s long-lost father mysteriously returns in their lives, Mia must work overtime to make sure a buried secret doesn’t resurface. While Mia struggles with the decision to give Charles a child, she learns that her soon-to-be fifteen year old daughter is pregnant. Soon people began to whisper, friends turn away and social circles become smaller. Will the bombardment of the unexpected demolish Mia’s dream life or will this rags-to-riches, self-made tycoon rise to the challenge and maintain control?
To purchase a copy of Blitz please visit online www.amazon.com www.peaceinthestormpublishing.com Keep in touch with Ebonee Monique via Twitter @eboneemonique Follow her virtual book tour and get a chance to chat with her by visiting her website www.eboneemonique.com
UM: Introduce yourself and style of writing to readers.
IT: My name is Imani True and I’ve been writing my whole life, but I started writing Erotica a few years ago. “Strawberries, Stilettos, and Steam” is my first work of Erotica.
DS: My name is Dreama Skye. I’m an erotic poet/writer and mother of two. I’ve been writing some form of Erotica since high school.
UM: How did you meet and what inspired the title Strawberries, Stilettos, and Steam?
DS/IT: We met on a social networking site. We were working on different erotic projects. We liked each other’s work, and decided to mix our styles, do something different from the other Erotica that’s out there. The title came from a story we were trying to finish. We put these three sexy things together: Strawberries, a very erotic fruit; Stilettos because they’re sexy to men and women; Steam, as in hot enough to make your temperature rise. We thought the title and the visual was too hot to waste on a story, and that it might get lost inside of a book. So we used it for our book title.
UM: Explain which story you enjoyed writing the most and why?
DS/IT: Definitely Nika’s Birthday was the most fun to write! With this one, we were able to tell a really sexy story with humor, but also realism. We wanted to make it believable that a husband would allow such a thing to happen, and the ground rules that would have to be in place on order to pull it off. All of the characters are mature, responsible, and secure in their relationships. In the end, everyone has fun, and they all remain friends. It was so much fun writing this, and we came up with some of the funniest dialogue in this story. It was crazy!
UM: Describe the collaboration process.
DS/IT: One of us would start with an idea or concept. Then we developed characters, and worked on the plot in no particular order. When we started a story, we usually had a working title that changed by the time we were done. But the plot generally stayed the same from beginning to end. Then we did a line-by-line collaboration via Yahoo, Skype or text messages. We worked in chat for the actual dialogue between the characters. Finally, we went back-and-forth until we wrapped each story the way we wanted.
UM: What were the challenges /advantages of collaborating?
IT: For me, there were no challenges because we respected each other’s talents from day one. The main advantage of collaborating was that we brought two sets of experiences and different perspectives to each story, but we realized early in the project that things worked out really well when we blended them. Dreama’s poetry background gives her an unbelievable flair for flow, visual descriptions, and character development. My strong suit is character names, dialogue, and moving the story along. Our brainstorming sessions were amazing!
DS: For me, the advantage of collaborating was being able to bounce ideas off someone else. There were no challenges.
UM: With the onslaught of books available to the public, what can you do to get your books into the hands of readers?
DS/IT: So far, we’re working to get it out in as many places and as many formats as possible. This includes e-book and paperback. Our publisher has really been great about that. And we’re promoting everywhere. Once the readers get their hands on it, we think they’ll really enjoy our stories, which are different from what’s already out there in the genre of Erotica.
UM: What will readers enjoy most about Strawberries, Stilettos, and Steam?
DS/IT: We think our book will appeal to a wide audience. Different stories, characters, situations, and dilemmas. Our characters are people most can relate to. Also, the stories are read by a narrator. It’s something new that will not only entice, but intrigue and entertain. We hope it changes how people look at Erotica.
UM: Compare writing to your poetry, what are the similarities and differences?
IT: I haven’t written poetry in many years, but I’d love to get back to it. A good poem and a good story both make the reader visualize what you’re writing. Poetry is more personal, more emotional than writing fiction. When I was writing poems, it was very hard to remove myself from the writing, distance my emotions. That’s much easier to do with fiction.
DS: My poetry and my other writing are very different. I write my poems in a rhythmic pattern, and I really pour myself into them. My fictional writing is more fantasy, and I can be whoever I want to be. As for similarities, I can be as naughty as I want to be in both styles of writing.
UM: What is next and how can readers contact you?
IT: I am working on several projects. My next one is a novel entitled “A Little Sumthin’ Sumthin’,” but I also have the outline for a Crime Mystery/Forensic Thriller series with erotic twists. Plus, Dreama and I have a second collection of erotic stories on the backburner. I also have a story being published in “Between the Sheets” by Delphine Publications.
www.facebook.com “Author Imani True”
DS: I am currently working on a novel, a book of erotic poems, and another collaboration with Imani True. My story, The Closer, is in “Between the Sheets” which is being published by Delphine Publications later this month.
UM: Where can readers get this book?
DS/IT: Next month, the book will be available in bookstores nationwide. Until then, readers can find it in e-book on Amazon.com, Borders.com, BarnesandNoble.com, and Smashwords. For signed copies, they should go to and pre-order it directly from us through PayPal.
Nicola Mitchell is an author on a mission. After the debut of her first novel Over and Over Again, she learned more about the nuances of publishing and how to succeed in the industry. She followed up with her novel less shortly after. We got the chance to talk to Nicola Mitchell about her growth as an author /publisher and her second novel The Appetizer.
UM: Introduce yourself.
NM: My name is Ni’cola Mitchell and I am originally from Kingston, Jamaica. I am a single mother of two daughters Destani age 16 and Diamond age 11. I am currently in graduate school, pursuing a degree in Healthcare Management. I am also a head coach of a youth football league cheer team. I am the CEO of NCM Publishing and a member of the Literary Sistahs National Touring Group.
UM: Tell the audience about your new title The Appetizer.
NM: The Appetizer is a story centering my three main characters Nia, Yazmin, and Monae. They are three friends that live in Los Angeles, California. Nia, even though beautiful, has many self-esteem issues. She is poor trying to find a man that is typically in a relationship, because she believes that they can provide a better life for her three children.
Yazmin is pregnant with twin babies, and is engaged to Trey. She is caring and loving, and will do anything for anybody. She believes that she has the perfect life until one night she has a near death experience, which resulted in her finding out that Trey has been living a double life being married to Jill for the past ten years.
Monae is career minded and very focused. She is one of those people that we all know who can pass judgment on everyone around her, but never finds fault in her own self. While in the mist of setting a date for her own wedding, she finds out that her fiancé Malik has skeletons in his closet as well.
This book is a behind the scenes story of the mistress, and how one falls into this role. This book also will also shed light on how in some instances, the mistress doesn’t even have a clue that she is a mistress until it is too late.
UM: Describe how you came up with the title?
NM: I wanted to incorporate the true meaning of the word mistress. She is not the main course, but just as important. The title too the point, but at the same time still leaves you with mystery.
UM: Who is the audience for your book? What would you like the reader
to take away from your novel?
NM: Men and women are both the audience for this book. I want readers to find entertainment while learning life lessons at the same time. I want people to understand and see first hand that there are always two sides to every story. This story will hit home on so many levels because we all know one of the characters in this book.
UM: The Appetizer is your second book and an introduction to
publishing. What are a few misconceptions you had about the publishing industry before your debut book? Have any of the misconceptions changed?
NM: Over and Over Again was actually my introductory lesson in the publishing field. I learned a lot though from both of these projects. I knew that it was going to be a hard road, so I was actually prepared for the kinks that have been thrown at me. The only misconception that I had was that at some point it was going to get easier. I am faced with a different challenge everyday, but in essence I am always up to a good challenge as well.
UM: Multitasking (marketing, promotion, etc.) becomes apparent after
the debut book. Did your writing process change any?
NM: The only thing that changed about my writing process is the speed. In writing The Appetizer, it took me six months from start to finish; vs. Over and Over Again that took a year.
I try to start off every project in an outline form. I take the topic and use it as the foundation. Then I try to put in as many subtopics as possible. I do not write from beginning to end. I write whatever is in my heart.
UM: Have you learned something unique about your publishing journey or some advice you’d like to share?
NM: The only advice that I have is too never get comfortable. Stay hungry, focused, versatile, and grounded. Remember, whatever God has given you, he can easily take away.
UM: What upcoming projects or plans do you have that you’d like to share?
NM: My next novel is Twisted, and this is the direct sequel to Over and Over Again, and that is not due out in the fall. Candy my villainess in Over and Over Again, has gained her own story, entitled Candy, and it will be out in the end of the year. Also I will be included in several anthologies.
NCM Publishing is also going to be very busy with the releases of Mama Don’t Like Ugly, by Rekaya Gibson, and Strawberries, Stilettos, and Steam by Imani True and Dreama Skye.
UM: How can people contact you or learn about your latest news?
NM: Check out: