Thursday, April 28, 2016

Author Interview with Dionne Peart


LaToya: Hi Dionne, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Dionne:  Hi, LaToya. Thanks for having me. I’m an attorney, but started writing fiction about five years ago. I was born in England to Jamaican parents and grew up in Canada, so a lot of my writing is influenced by my heritage - most of my stories are set in the Caribbean or feature Caribbean characters.

LaToya: What are your ambitions for your writing career?
Dionne:  I really enjoy writing and would love to do it full-time. I have several novels in various stages of development and it would be great to have the opportunity to just focus on writing.

LaToya: Which writers inspire you?
Dionne: I’ve loved Toni Morrison since I discovered her books while in university. Right now I really like Marlon James, Edwidge Danticat, Junot Diaz, and Chimamanda Ngozie Adichie.

LaToya: What are you working on at the minute?
Dionne: I’m working on my third novel, which is based on a figure in Jamaican folklore. It takes place around the late 1950s and deals the tensions that ignite within a parish around some unexplained crimes and deep seated resentments.

LaToya: What genre are your books and why?
Dionne: I write contemporary fiction. I think it allows me a lot of flexibility to write the stories as I see them.

LaToya: In 10 words or less can you create a quote that describes you and your writing?
Dionne: My writing is a reflection of me and my culture.

LaToya: Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
Dionne: Great question. I think Anika Noni Rose or Naomi Harris would be great as Attorney Sydney Lincoln.

LaToya: When did you decide to become a writer?
Dionne: I really became serious about it around 2009. I’d finally gotten back into reading for pleasure and tried my hand at a couple of short stories before challenging myself to write a novel. It took a while to get to this point, but now I can’t imagine my life without writing.

LaToya: Do you write full-time or part-time?
Dionne: At the moment I write part-time, as I still practice law during the day.

LaToya: Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
Dionne:  I prefer to write in the morning before I get to work. Even on the weekends I still prefer to write in the mornings. I’m most productive at that time of day and I want to make sure that I get my writing time in before the day gets away from me.

LaToya: Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
Dionne:  It depends. Sometimes I aim for a word count and sometimes I focus on trying to complete a scene or two.

LaToya: Where do your ideas come from?
Dionne:  As a writer you become more observant of the world around you and a simple phrase in a conversation or a moment can spark an idea. Since many of my stories take place in the Caribbean, I like to take lots of pictures when I visit to see what captures my interest. I also like to learn about and visit different places. Sometimes just standing somewhere will be enough to bring a story to mind.

LaToya: Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you
Dionne:  For my first novel, Somerset Grove, I didn’t prepare an outline, but for Butterfly, I did use one. For this third novel, I wrote a very detailed outline, because I thought the story was more complicated, but I find myself straying from it as the story evolves.

LaToya: How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
Dionne: I think I’m willing to take more risks writing about subjects that might make others uncomfortable. I’m really enjoying the stories I’m writing and the process of writing has really become a part of my life.

LaToya: What is the hardest thing about writing?
Dionne: For me, it’s finding enough time to write. Even though I make time for it every day, I wish I could fully immerse myself into writing a story. I need a sabbatical!

LaToya: What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
Dionne:   This is my third attempt writing the novel I’m working on now. I lost the original manuscript when I had completed about 20,000 words. The second time I started it, I just didn’t like the way it was going. I’ve reworked it and I’m trying a different writing approach, so hopefully the third time is the charm.

LaToya: What is the easiest thing about writing?
Dionne:  Finding the motivation to do it. Even if I’m feeling stuck, it just makes me determined to figure it out and get past it.

LaToya: How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Dionne:  It’s all over the place. Somerset Grove took me over two and a half years to write. Butterfly only took me about 15 months. This third novel has been in development since 2013 and it’s still not ready yet!

LaToya: Where can you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
Dionne:  I can see myself writing full-time. I’m also a literacy advocate, so in addition I will be promoting literacy and writing in the Caribbean.

LaToya: What advice would you give to your younger self?
Dionne:  I’m a very cautious person, so I weigh out the pros and cons of everything. I would tell my younger self to worry less about the consequences and focus more on enjoying the moment.

LaToya: Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
Dionne:  Bob Marley. His music is timeless and he was so insightful about human nature, spirituality, and what really matters in life.

LaToya: If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
Dionne: That’s a tough one. I think Their Eyes Were Watching God. I’ve read it a couple of times and will probably read it again. It’s a story that endures and I like how the story follows the main character who develops from a teenager that accepts what happens to a woman that determines her own fate.

LaToya: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Dionne: Write every day. Read every day. Surround yourself with other writers and people who will encourage and motivate you.

Connect with Dionne:




Twitter: @deepeart

LinkedIn: Dionne Peart Hayes

Amazon Author Page: http://amzn.to/1Md2S0E





LaToya: Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.
Dionne: Thanks, LaToya!

Author Interview with Pat Simmons


LaToya: Hi Pat, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Pat: I’m multi-published with 30 Christian titles. I’m a two-time recipient of the Emma Rodgers Award for Best Inspirational Romance and have been a featured speaker and workshop presenter at various venues across the country.

As a self-proclaimed genealogy sleuth, I’m passionate about researching my ancestors and then casting them in starring roles in my novels. As a Christian, I describe the evidence of the gift of the Holy Ghost as an amazing, unforgettable, life-altering experience. God is the Author who advances my stories.

Currently, I oversee the media publicity for the annual RT Booklovers Conventions. I hold a bachelor’s of science in mass communications from Emerson College in Boston, Massachusetts.
Here’s the fun part about me. I’ve converted my sofa-strapped, sports fanatic husband into an amateur travel agent, untrained bodyguard, GPS-guided chauffeur, and administrative assistant who is constantly on probation. We have a son and a daughter.

LaToya: What are your ambitions for your writing career?
Pat: I want each book to be better than the last.

LaToya: Which writers inspire you?
Pat: For fiction, Brenda Jackson and Beverly Jenkins. These two women have worked hard to reach the success they have today. I’m proud to personally know them. Non-fiction, Isabel Wilkerson, the first African American woman to win a Pulitzer Prize.

LaToya: What are you working on at the minute?
Pat: JET The Back Story to Love Led By the Spirit. It’s an emotional short story.

LaToya: What genre are your books and why?
Pat: Christian romance, because Christ inspires me in this genre.

LaToya: In 10 words or less can you create a quote that describes you and your writing?
Pat:  Inspiring stories about redemption, love, hope and happy endings

LaToya: Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
Pat: I would like to see some fresh African American faces. There are so many talented actors/actresses that only need a break.

LaToya: When did you decide to become a writer?
Pat: Two answers. I gave it some thought when I worked in radio as talk host. I had the opportunity to interview some great authors like Brenda Jackson, Travis Hunter and the late Francis Ray. I also wanted to read romance stories that were about romance and not the sex. Since those stories were hard to find, I decided to write them myself, and I learned I wasn’t the only one looking for authentic Christian romance.

LaToya: Do you write full-time or part-time?
Pat: Full-time

LaToya: Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
Pat: I prefer to write in the morning and start by ten o’clock. Before I do anything else, I read and study my Bible, then I eat or go for a short walk with my husband. I try to answer emails and post an inspiration quote on FB. Once I’m writing, I try to stay off social media and not answer emails until I’ve finished a chapter or scene.

LaToya: Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
Pat: I’m a scene-by-scene writer. Sometimes, that could be five pages or two chapters. It depends on how draining the scene.

LaToya: Where do your ideas come from?
Pat: People, the news, conversations, anywhere

LaToya: Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
Pat: Because I have multiple releases throughout the year, I leaned on outlines more. I usually follow the outline until about chapter seven. By then, usually the story takes over.

LaToya: How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
Pat: I’ve learned the craft through content, copy, and line editors through my publishers and free-lance. Plus, proofreaders.

LaToya: What is the hardest thing about writing?
Pat: When the scenes and dialogues are flowing, but I can’t get to my laptop, either because I’m trying to sleep (for real), or I’m doing other things.

LaToya: What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
Pat: EVERY WOMAN NEEDS A PRAYING MAN was six weeks late because of my lazy writing. I had skipped crucial scenes in the story and didn’t realize it until my editor pointed it out. I can’t believe I have the couple getting married without officially going on a date. I rectified that!

LaToya: What is the easiest thing about writing?
Pat: Knowing I can inspire a reader’s relationship with the Lord and give readers a happy ending no matter how complex the story line.

LaToya: How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Pat: It depends on the deadline set by the publisher or me. Usually 3-4 months for a novel. Two months for a novella.

LaToya: Where can you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
Pat: Honest answer: wherever God leads me. That could mean I’m still writing, or He has touched me to do something different.

LaToya: What advice would you give to your younger self?
Pat: Don’t quit your day job, because it takes money to invest in yourself to be successful.

LaToya: Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
Pat: My second-great grandmother Charlotte Jamison Wilkerson. She was born into slavery, but died a free woman living in the background of a former slaveholder. I would love to hear her story.

LaToya: If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
Pat: I never thought about it.

LaToya: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Pat: read other authors’ work and learn from great and bad writing; attend workshops/conferences; and don’t release anything without professional editing. I have more writer tips on my website.

Connect with me:





Facebook:






Pinterest: pinterest.com/patsimmonsbooks/



Purchase Links for EVERY WOMAN NEEDS A PRAYING MAN:






Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Author Interview with W Parks Brigham


LaToya: Hi W Parks, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
W Parks:  Hello La Toya, thank you for inviting me.  I’m a retired educator of 35 plus years with two adult daughters.  I’m fortunate to come from a family of college graduates, so there was no doubt I too would get a college education. This was instilled in me and my six siblings while growing up. Naturally, it was passed on to my daughters and my brothers and sisters children. 

I live a simple and happy life in Houston Texas where I received my education in the neighborhood schools. As a matter of fact, I bought a house across the street from where I grew up. I watched this house as a teenager and now it’s all mine.  I still attend the church I grew in, Cloverland Church Of Christ where my brother is the minister. I’ve been an active member teaching Sunday school, Bible classes, mentoring and encouraging young sisters in fulfilling their Christian walk.

In my younger days sewing was my passion until I began to suffer from arthritis.  Due to my size, I began making my own clothes because I wanted to look like the other girls. Later, I designed my clothes so I wouldn’t look like everybody else.  I’ve also designed and made some of the most beautiful wedding and prom dresses.  I also made little girl dresses with matching socks and bows. Now I use my creativity with writing which has become my passion. I do enjoy old school ballads, old sitcoms, and working word search and Sudoku puzzles.

LaToya: What are your ambitions for your writing career?
W Parks:  My ambitions are simple and two-fold.  One, I would like to continue writing sweet romance for young to older adults.  Two, I would like to attract as many readers as I can who enjoy reading stories with just enough drama, suspense, twist and turns, tasteful intimate scenes, and of course romance. 

LaToya: Which writers inspire you?
W Parks: I am inspired by many seasoned writers whom I was blessed to meet, such as Francis Ray, Brenda Jackson, Eboni Snoe, Donna Hill, J California Cooper, just to name a few, as well as the young writers.  Their determination and enthusiasm has been my inspiration in itself and has kept me motivated.

LaToya: What are you working on at the minute?
W Parks: Really, at this very minute, I’m working on two stories. One is entitled A Second Chance featuring a couple in their mid-thirties and the second is called I’ve Been Here All Along, featuring a couple over 50 which will be the second book from my series The Golden Years.

LaToya: What genre are your books and why?
W Parks:  Because of the story elements in my books, they are a mixture of women fiction and contemporary Christian romance.  Why, first of all that’s what I like to read and second, my stories consist of couples with real life issues which includes just enough drama, suspense, twist and turns, tasteful intimate scenes, and of course romance to grasp and hold your interest.   

LaToya: In 10 words or less can you create a quote that describes you and your writing?
W Parks: Stories are sprinkled with just enough of my sweetness.
LaToya: Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
W Parks: IT’S NEVER TOO LATE FOR LOVE… I would like to see Debbie Morgan or Jennifer Lewis for Delana Crawford and Dennis Haysbert or Blair Underwood for Charles Johnson.

LaToya: When did you decide to become a writer?
W Parks: When I became tired of reading stories where the heroine was always a size eight or smaller. If I was tired surely there were others. Therefore, I decided to pen my first novel featuring a plus-size heroine and the rest is history.

LaToya: Do you write full-time or part-time?
W Parks: I write full-time.

LaToya: Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
W Parks: I like to write at night. It seems my creative juices flows better during that time. Of course since my retirement, if I have  

LaToya: Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
W Parks:  No, I do not put a limit or time frame on my writing.

LaToya: Where do your ideas come from?
W Parks: My ideas can come from anywhere, my vivid imagination, songs, real life issues, family, and friends.

LaToya: Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
W Parks:  I write with a plot or an idea in mine and sometimes both allowing the story to unfold with the characters having full reign at times.

LaToya: How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
W Parks: That’s a hard question.  I think I can safely say my creativity is still flowing with a fresh new twist here and there. So for the moment, I’m good.

LaToya: What is the hardest thing about writing?
W Parks: For me, it varies…it could be getting started with a snappy beginning, an unforgettable cute ending, and trying not to over do it with my details.

LaToya: What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
W Parks: My last book was very easy. I made up in my mine from the beginning it was going to be short and sweet.  

LaToya: What is the easiest thing about writing?
W Parks: Coming up with the idea, or plot, characters’ names, and the location and setting of the story.
LaToya: How long on average does it take you to write a book?
W Parks: It takes anywhere to three to six months. However, the story I’m working on now is taking longer than any of the others. While writing my current story I’ve had to stop and write notes on three others. I’m way over do!

LaToya: Where can you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
W Parks:  I would like to reword this question a bit and say I pray to God that I am still with the living. Next, I would like to see myself doing what I love and enjoying doing alone with giving a helping hand to other aspiring authors. Maybe have my own Blog page and on-line book club.

LaToya: What advice would you give to your younger self?
W Parks: Don’t stop writing! Figure out how you can write, teach, and take care of your girls.
LaToya: Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
W Parks:  I would love to meet The Obamas because I think they are a beautiful couple and wonderful role model for all families. They have me so proud.

LaToya: If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
W Parks: Waiting to Exhale, simply because of the money!

LaToya: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
W Parks: Read the genre you are interested in writing and start writing! During the process interact with groups and authors to guide you in the right direction for promoting your work. By all means, don’t get overly anxious and make common mistakes that most of us have done that could have been avoided.

Connect with W Parks  :


Facebook: Author W. Parks Brigham

Amazon Author Page: www.amazon.com./-/e/B00G4IPAMU

Purchase Links





Who Am I Suppose To Love http://amzn.com/B00Q7X23OU

Surviving The Storm http://amzn.com/B00W4QV9XK

Allanville Matchmakers Series



Book # 1 You Were Meant For Me… http://amzn.com/B00MCWKZEA

Book #2 You Belong To Me A novella http://amzn.com/B00Q7XXNMG

Book # 3 No Strings Attached… http://amzn.com/B00U0NZQDI

Book # 4 You’re The One For Me… http://amzn.com/B016APUOLS


Book # 5 We Belong Together…http://amzn.com/B0181L5PO0


It’s Never Too Late For Love… A novella from The Golden Years Series Book #1



Friday, April 22, 2016

Book Spotlight: Taffy by Suzette D. Harrison



First and foremost thank you, LaToya, for allowing me to share time with you and your blog audience!

Just to introduce myself, I’m a west coast native, born and raised. The middle of three daughters, I’m married (27 years this June!) to my handsome university professor husband. We’re the proud parents of two awesome teenagers who attend a performing arts school. Currently, I’m an elementary school librarian, and I operate a small home-based cupcake business. But let me tell you what I dream of being when I’m grown J: a full-time writer! I’m thanking God in advance for the day that that blessing becomes my life’s reality. In the meantime, I write at every opportunity.

I’ve been blessed to author three novels: Living on the Edge of Respectability, When Perfect Ain’t Possible, and Taffy. And with God’s grace, there’re more coming!

Let me admit up front that when writing my first two novels I was caught up in the day’s trends. Terry McMillan had cracked the literary scene wide open with Waiting to Exhale. Black women’s relationship books were it! So what did I write? Living on the Edge of Respectability: a Black women’s relationship novel. But I added a male main character just to give it a twist. I thank God for the blessing of my first two published books. But I’ve grown away from what I wrote then.

Admittedly, my heart started moving towards historical fiction after the 2002 release of “Living…” But I was a brand new author and my then publisher/editor felt it was best I stick with what I’d started, i.e. contemporary fiction. From a marketing, logistical standpoint that made sense. My audience was just developing and I couldn’t “flip flop” on them. However, that didn’t stop my heart from doing its own thing and moving towards the story that ultimately became Taffy.

So, let’s fast forward to February 2016. A story long held in my heart became reality: Taffy made her splash onto the literary scene! I can’t describe how monumental that was for me, particularly because Taffy is my first endeavor in self-publishing. (That right there is a whole other conversation. Just know self-publishing is no joke!).

Lord, what can I say about Taffy? She’s everything! Including my most challenging writing experience to date. Taffy pushed me in more ways than I can name. It wasn’t until after Taffy’s release that I realized the process of writing her story was so intense and complex because it was bone-deep. Since that February publication, I’ve discovered that Taffy mirrors family history previously unknown to me in absolutely invaluable ways. Characters, professions, etc., from Taffy actually existed in my family! There’s a line in Taffy that says, “Blood has memory.” Taffy is a testament to that. Somewhere in my veins Taffy was brewing, waiting for me to grow as a woman and a writer before revealing the fullness of her treasure chest to me.

Yes, I’ll continue writing contemporary stories. But I’ve discovered a new author-self in writing historical romance. 

What do I do when I’m not writing? I love, love, love to read! Primarily, I read works by African-American authors. My favorite genres by African-American authors are: contemporary, romance, mystery/suspense, historical, and Christian fiction. My favorite authors are Dianne McKinney-Whetstone, Bernice McFadden, J.D. Mason, Claudia Mair Burney, and Andrea Smith (The Sisterhood of Blackberry Corner). I pay homage to Dr. Maya Angelou, Gloria Naylor, Alice Walker, Alex Haley, Langston Hughes, and Toni Morrison. All-time favorite books: Sugar (Bernice McFadden), Standing at the Scratch Line (Guy Johnson), and The Sisterhood of Blackberry Corner (Andrea Smith). Favorite jaw-dropper: Perfect Peace (Daniel Black). Most disturbing: The Boy in the Striped Pajamas (John Boye) and Billy (Albert French). Zaniest fav: 32 Candles (Ernessa T. Carter). Favorite series: The No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency (Alexander McCall Smith). And, yes, I’m old school: I don’t use an eReader. I like holding a book and turning paper pages.

That’s me in a nutshell. If I’m not writing, I’m reading. If I’m not reading, I’m baking and loving my family. Life is busy, but sweet. Now enjoy a taste of Taffy

Taffy by Suzette D. Harrison


Welcome to the sleepy, all-Black southern town of Bledsoe, where Colored residents proudly declare “ain’t nothing white here ‘cept milk and teeth.” It’s 1935. A press-and-curl costs a quarter. Records play on phonographs. And a telephone is a luxury.

Meet twenty-three-year-old Taffy Bledsoe Freeman. She doesn’t need her gift of second sight to know her “mockery of a marriage” to a man twice her age is far from good. After a seven-year exile Up North, Taffy travels down-home to the small town bearing her family’s name, plotting her escape from a marriage not worth the price of a press-and-curl. She only needs to retrieve the son her husband banished to her parents’ care, before boarding a train headed for the Windy City filled with liberty and opportunity. Instead, Taffy stumbles into Roam Ellis: the man Taffy meant to marry.

Twenty-six-year-old Roam Ellis is a “broad-shouldered, hard-bodied” Pullman porter riding the rails coast-to-coast, outrunning the bitter heartbreak Taffy left behind. Now, after a seven-year absence, Roam is face-to-face with his first love. Anger ignites. Old wounds are exposed. But when pain subsides, passion rises, thrusting Taffy and Roam into a hurricane of buried secrets and lies. Reminiscent of the works of Bernice McFadden, Bertice Berry, and Andrea Smith (The Sisterhood of Blackberry Corner) this Historical Romance is bathed in southern lore and sweeping imagery. Lyrical and powerful, Taffy is a story of restoration and redemption that you won’t soon forget.

Available at: Amazon, Kindle, Kobo, and Nook

Thanks again for sharing your time with me. I pray you enjoy Taffy!

Blessings,

Suzette

Let’s Stay Together. Connect with me…






Thursday, April 21, 2016

Author Interview with Michelle Mitchell


LaToya: Hi Michelle, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Michelle:  Thank you for the opportunity. I’m originally from Kennesaw, Georgia and I’m one of three girls. I’m PK, or preacher’s kid. When I was younger, I was dead set on being a singer or a backup dancer for Janet Jackson. I use to write a lot of songs, and I wanted to get those songs on the radio. I still do hope to accomplish that goal one day. My first job out of college was working for a weekly publication based out of Atlanta, from there I merged into human resources.

LaToya: What are your ambitions for your writing career?
Michelle:  I hope to one day make writing a full-time job. Its work, but I love it more than anything I’ve ever done. I have always been a creative type, and there’s something relaxing about putting your fingers on that keyboard and creating. I also hope to write a song and actually get it on the radio. That’s still on my bucket list.

LaToya: Which writers inspire you?
Michelle: There are so many! I’ll start with talking about the books that took me from teen fiction to adult fiction, which were Omar Tyree’s Flyy Girl and The Coldest Winter Ever by Sistah Souljah. Then I fell in love with Kimberla Lawson Roby, Jacquelin Thomas, Victoria Christopher Murray, Eric Jerome Dickey, Reshonda Tate Billingsley, I could go on. There are so many out there and I love their style of writing for different reasons. Each of them created a story that made me stare at the back cover after I had finished and just think, wow that was great and I had to run and go tell someone about it.

LaToya: What are you working on at the minute?
Michelle: I’m working on my second manuscript, which will take a look into a character from by debut novel, Truth Is. The character’s name is Simeon, and she made it very clear that she wants to tell her story on her own terms. So that’s the current project that I’m trying to focus on, and also continuing to work on promotions for The Ex Chronicles anthology, which was published under Brown Girls Books. The anthology was a blessing for me, and with that opportunity I’m now able to say I have one published book. And of course, I’m working on creating promotions for my upcoming debut Truth Is…



LaToya: What genre are your books and why?
Michelle: I would be in the contemporary fiction genre. To me contemporary fiction books are relatable and could happen in real life. I wouldn’t consider myself to be Christian fiction, but as a Christian, my books will definitely have inspirational moments and are definitely considered clean reads.

LaToya: In 10 words or less can you create a quote that describes you and your writing?
Michelle: Hmm, that’s tricky but I’ll go with “I create the characters that you love and hate.”

LaToya: Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
Michelle: Oh this is fun. Okay, so I would want Nicole Beharie (Sleepy Hollow) as Ansley, Tika Sumpter (The Haves and The Have Nots) as Simeon, and Robert Christopher Riley (Hit The Floor) as Davis.

LaToya: When did you decide to become a writer?
Michelle: As a kid, I was always writing songs, poems, and even did a little short story which was actually in the library at that elementary school. I wonder do they still have it that would be interesting to get to read that. It wasn’t until I finished the manuscript for Truth Is, and wrote THE END, that I really felt like wow…this could really be something.

LaToya: Do you write full-time or part-time?
Michelle: I have a full-time job and a part-time job, and write in the evenings and on weekends, when I’m not working. It’s tough to find the balance but I have to try if I want my dreams to come to fruition.

LaToya: Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
Michelle:  I like writing when inspiration strikes. It’s hard to just sit down and get into a groove, but when an idea hits me, I’ll take my phone and record myself talking out what’s going on or a scene. Lately evenings are when I write, but it seems like the “ah-ha” moments happen when I’m at work and I have to just jot down notes for later.

LaToya: Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
Michelle:  I don’t. I just write until I start feeling like I’m forcing the words, and that’s when I tell myself to stop. At that point the characters are really telling the story and I’m trying to force it, so I take a break or stop until it’s time to start back.

LaToya: Where do your ideas come from?
Michelle:  Everything, everywhere, and everyone. I get inspired from people watching. Watching the news. Listening to a song, there’s inspiration in everything.

LaToya: Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
Michelle:  My preference is just to see where the idea takes me and follow it until it’s complete. If it dead ends, it because clear very quickly that I need to move on from an idea.

LaToya: How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
Michelle: I’ve gone from writing stories in lyrics to lines in a manuscript. For me, writing a song always came pretty easy with or without a beat to inspire me. Writing lyrics was a different type of freestyle, but with this, there is a need to have more detail to really bring the reader into the story. With a song, it can be the way the words are sang that draws a person in or even if it’s a song with silly lyrics, but an amazing beat. With a story, it’s all about the words and I’m learning so much our publishers on how to become a better storyteller.

LaToya: What is the hardest thing about writing?
Michelle : The writing part. Trying to carve out time to write and writing when I feel inspired. For me, just writing because I need to versus feeling inspired, can be tricky. When something hits me creatively, I get into a groove instantly. But when I just try to open up my laptop and work on one project, I end up all over the place and starting new projects and I’m not focusing on one.

LaToya: What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
Michelle:   I guess what’s tricky is that Truth Is… has not been released yet and I’m anxious to see the response from readers. I’ve heard you shouldn’t read reviews or put a lot of weight on that, but as a new author I want that feedback. Truth Is… will be my first self-published manuscript, and I guess right now I’m just in a holding pattern because I keep changing the plot in this next manuscript. For now, I will just continue to work on it and push towards The End.

LaToya: What is the easiest thing about writing?
Michelle:  My mind is constantly coming up with storylines, so it’s a constant brainstorming session because you can be inspired by anything, everyone, and wherever you go. Not that every idea will become a story, but it’s fun to get that character speaking to you and trying to present their situation and basically sell me on bringing their world to life.

LaToya: How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Michelle:  The first one, took me like a year and a half to finish writing. I was in school at the time, so I was writing in between papers and working full-time. My currently working on another manuscript, I’m curious to see how long it will take me to finish that one up. I don’t want to rush it though. I want it to be a story that people will love and share.

LaToya: Where can you see yourself in 5 years’ time?
Michelle:  I hope to be an author who has put out quality work and built a following. There are so many authors out there and I pray that I will still be writing, but be a stronger and more developed writer. I don’t want to be stagnate, I want to constantly improve. I want to have some mystery novels under my belt, and I’ll still be a dreamer and wanting more for myself.

LaToya: What advice would you give to your younger self?
Michelle:  Mistakes create detours in life, but those detours off lessons and opportunities to discover more about yourself. While the detour may seem inconvenient and cause frustrations at the time, the beauty is when you come out where you wanted to be. Ride it out, and don’t be scared to ask for directions if you feel lost.

LaToya: Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
Michelle:  I would love to meet Faith Evans. When I hear her sing, especially the rare occasion where she sings a gospel song, her voice just gives me chills. She’s led an interesting life and I’m sure even more so for the things she’s experienced that we don’t get to see. I believe she has a story that will be inspiring to hear.

LaToya: If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
Michelle: I would love to say that I wrote Flyy Girl by Omar Tyree. It was the first story that I read that introduced me to stories that had characters that looked like me. Prior to that, I was still reading R.L. Stine mysteries and stuff like Sweet Valley High. Not that anything is wrong with those books but once I read Flyy Girl, I wanted more and then I read Coldest Winter Ever and it just went from there. I guess that would be the second book I would say, if I have could choose two.

LaToya: What advice would you give to aspiring writers?
Michelle: God’s delay is not a denial. If you want something, then go after it and continue to knock on doors and push through them. Never give up. Instead find other avenues to reach your dreams.



Connect with Michelle:


Facebook: @AuthorMichelleMitchell

Twitter: @expbutterflies



Instagram: @AuthorMichelleMitchell
 


Monday, April 18, 2016

Book Spotlight: Butterfly by Dionne Peart



Book Blurb:

Sydney Lincoln’s future was mapped out for her even before she left the womb. Swept along by the ambitions of her traditional Caribbean parents, Sydney ends up with a legal career she never planned to have. The thought of one more deathbed deposition spurs her to make a change from her small Washington, D.C. law firm to a position with the U.S. Attorney’s Office. Change brings challenge for Sydney who must also confront the realities of her friendship with Loren, a successful interior designer whose carefree lifestyle leads Sydney to question who she really is. An ordinary day turns into a nightmare for Sydney when she is thrown into a situation that threatens to derail her career. Forced to confront the truth, Sydney must choose between loyalty and self – a decision that could change her life forever.

Excerpt

The motion for summary judgment still lay in a pile on the floor where it had landed after Paul stormed out of the room. Jay’s chest was heaving and I could tell his eyes were tearing up, but he looked determined not to cry. I didn’t know what to say to him. I couldn’t believe that Paul had actually just thrown the motion at Jay and hit him in the stomach with it. I felt the sting of the assault too, but I’d told Jay not to present it to Paul yet. Jay had brushed off my concern, rationalizing that he could flesh out the arguments more during the prep meeting. He was wrong. Paul flew into one of his trademark tirades, only this one was worse.
I examined my freshly manicured nails and scratched at my cuticles. My plans to go out weren’t looking too good now. The motion would have to be redrafted and more case law research would need to be done, which meant it would be another late night. I probably wouldn’t even be able to go home and feed my cat at a decent hour, never mind getting dinner for myself. This was not the way I wanted to start my week.
I got out of my chair and bent down to pick up the motion papers.
“Leave it.” Jay’s voice sounded defeated and defiant all at once.
I looked at him, then down at my hand, unsure of what to do. “I can start outlining the first draft of edits and have it to you maybe by 8:30 tonight?”
“I said leave it. It’s fine.” Jay didn’t look at me. He stared out the window at the twilight settling in over the city.
“Okay. You wanna just start in the morning? I could be here by 7:30. We could have something better by lunchtime tomorrow. We’ll have the rest of the day to file it anyway.”
Jay was silent for a moment as if he was pondering the idea. He finally looked over at me and shook his head. “No. Just go home. Don’t worry about it.”

I couldn’t read the look on his face, but I was concerned. Jay never just shut down, and this wasn’t the first time that Paul had yelled at him, but it was the first time Paul actually threw something at him. Paul Montello had a reputation for blowing his fuse. During my first week at Montello & Osborne, Paul stopped right in the middle of deposing a witness and invited opposing counsel to step outside and “go off the record” if he had a problem. I’d been shocked, but Jay barely looked up from his computer when I went to his office to tell him about it. “You’ll get used to it,” Jay had said. He’d put up with it for nine years waiting to become a partner in that firm. I told myself I could do it too, all the while eyeing that bottle of Maalox sitting on Jay’s desk. Now, I wasn’t so sure.

Connect with Author Dionne Peart


Born in England to Jamaican parents, Dionne grew up in Canada and later moved to the U.S. where she now practices law. The Jamaica Observer recognized her work as “part of an emerging genre of writing by Jamaicans in this society,” and BET.com featured her debut novel, Somerset Grove on their “You Gotta Have it” list for January 2015. Her work has also been featured in Akashic Books' Duppy Thursday series. Dionne is a literacy advocate for the Read Across Jamaica Foundation. Butterfly is her second novel.

I love reading international fiction – books that explore another time, place, or culture –so I also write about characters or settings that do just that. My stories mainly feature the Caribbean or the Caribbean experience. Growing up in Canada, I didn’t get to read stories about characters that looked like or had similar experiences as me, and as Toni Morrison said, “If there's a book you really want to read, but it hasn't been written yet, then you must write it.”

Connect with Author Dionne Peart



Twitter: @deepeart

Instagram: Dee_peart



Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/XfZf5s