Let’s start with the basics: when did you first know you were an author?
I’ve known I was a writer since eighth grade, when I wrote my first poem for history class and loved it. I started writing poetry regularly, then started sending them to my uncle in New York who was a professor and a poet. He would critique them and send them back.
I knew I was an author when I was serious enough to change the direction of my education to major in creative writing, which led to the publication of my first poem.
How many books have you published?
Two. I’ve self-published a short story collection, as my thesis and my first novel was published this past August by Brown Girls Books. Preceding them both, was The Dating Game anthology, also published by Brown Girls, in which my first published short story was included.
Are there any that did not get published?
I have one manuscript that wasn’t accepted but I take that as a detour, not a dead-end.
Are you still going to make that happen?
I’ll submit it again, eventually, when it’s revised to my satisfaction.
Written any really bad stories that we will never see?
I wrote an experimental story, in which all the characters were birds. I won’t say it’s bad, just maybe it would be better as an animated movie instead of a novel. That’s my story and I ‘m sticking to it. LOL.
What do you have currently out now?
My first novel, Sometimes Love, was released in August.
What keeps you motivated to write the next story?
I’m intrigued by women: the ways we love, reinvent ourselves, survive, nurture, create a home. I like telling our stories.
Short fiction. I have a few stories in progress that I’d like to be finished by the end of the year. Two are romance and one is women’s fiction. I think lines are often blurred between genres.
What can we, as your support group, do to help you?
I’m terrible with promoting myself. It’s the one thing I didn’t prepare for when pursuing a writing career. It would be great if you all just help spread the word, when new releases drop, and/or an event is scheduled.
What is the wildest thing a fan has said to you?
A fan? What’s that? LOL. But seriously, a reader once told me she didn’t like my characters, but she loved the book.
How important are reviews to you?
I appreciate reviews because they let me know there’s an interest in my work. I still haven’t grasped how the whole thing works with how they affect a novel’s listing, which might be a good thing. If I knew more, I would probably be more intimidated by the absence of reviews.
Ever receive any hurtful reviews? Elaborate?
I received a very lengthy, critical review of my thesis, in which the reviewer alluded to the underdevelopment of my characters. I don’t think my work should be above reproach, but I took umbrage because I had taken great care in developing the characters, as much as I could for short fiction.
Are you planning any independent reader events for yourself?
I have a couple of private engagements I’ve been promoting as LitSalons, where I’m invited to attend an intimate gathering and discuss my book and the themes, along with the music that helped inspire my writing.
Tell us one thing you’d like us to remember about you?
Remember that I didn’t let a late-life reinvention keep me from fulfilling my dream to write. And I told stories that made readers want to keep turning the pages.
Any authors you recommend?
I love African authors, like Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Teju Cole, and A. Igoni Barrett; Caribbean authors, like Colin Channer, and Marlon James. I’ve also been reading Nia Forrester lately, as well as Angelia Vernon Menchan. My tastes are all over the place.
Who inspires or motivates you?
My family mostly. They are artists, writers, and musicians. I’m inspired by their relentless drive to express themselves creatively, and how commercial success is never the driving force. If/when it comes, it’s the result of creating the art.
Any last thoughts?
I appreciate the opportunity to write and have people genuinely interested in reading what I create. Thank you for the platform to make myself known.