Monthly Archives: April 2006
You may not know her, but her name is Bryn Colvin, “author of assorted strange fiction.” In case you’re wondering what that means, why don’t we hear (figuratively speaking) from an author who’s written several books and the release of On Borrowed Wings.
Charles: Bryn, please tell us where you’re from and when did you decide you wanted to be a writer?
Bryn: I live in the UK, not far from Birmingham, although I grew up in the Cotswolds, a very beautiful part of the country. I’m one of those people who has always written. I was exposed to good books from an early age, and I think that helped. My father wrote quite a few stories while I was growing up, and my gran is an excellent story teller, so that’s always been a part of my life. I wrote my first serious attempt at a novel at nineteen (an unmitigated disaster!) and have been trying to better it ever since. I’ve been writing seriously and getting paid for it for about three years now.
Charles: What do you mean when you say you’re an author of assorted strange fiction?
Bryn: Assorted for several reasons – firstly because I don’t stick to one genre, or even within genres terrible well. I like crossovers, non-genre, anything that doesn’t fit too neatly into little boxes. Secondly the forms vary – I write novels, novellas, poetry, essays and short plays, fantasy, science fiction, erotica, vaguely literary stuff, gothic, horror – quite a hodgepodge. As for the strange bit – I’m not very conventional and that comes out all over the place in my work. I try to get off the beaten track, to create unusual characters and situations. I tend to find either people are uncomfortable with my work (I’m proud to say I’ve been described as ‘repellant’ by one reviewer who likes more conventional romance!) or they really go for it. I really don’t like the kinds of books where you can read the first page and figure out where the whole thing is going, so I try to create surprises and take my readers to unexpected places.
Charles:: What was the inspiration behind On Borrowed Wings?
Bryn: Several things – a holiday in North Wales, with all that mountainous landscape and complex mix of myth and history set me thinking. A very good friend gifted me with the inspiration for the heroine – Cariad. Much of the plot owes its origins to the Mabinogian, most specifically the stories revolving around Blodeuwedd, Llew Llaw Gyffes, Gronw Pebyr and Gwydion. While I’ve gone for a more Viking style setting rather than Welsh, I’ve kept most of the key plot points. I wondered how those myths would look from the female perspective. I could spend pages explaining where this went and why, but that might well get tedious for people who don’t know the original stories. I’ve always been obsessed with Blodeuwedd – a woman made out of flowers and given in marriage to a man she does not love. When she betrays him and causes her lover to murder her husband, she is punished by being transformed into an owl. Cariad, my heroine, isn’t quite so mythical a figure, but she faces being forced into an unwanted relationship, and many of the plot elements are closely paralleled, but not all. I don’t want to give away any spoilers though.
Charles: On your website, I notice you have more works in ‘the pipeline’. Could you take a moment and tell us briefly about each one?
Bryn: Now I have to remember what’s ‘in the Pipeline’! I’ve just finished a new shapeshifter novel called ‘Hunting the Egret’ – set on the banks of the river Severn. Verity is an otter shapeshifter and the grand daughter of a witch. She’s a loner and a misfit. Gareth is a submissive male with a lot of problems. Two vulnerable, damaged people who don’t really know how to trust struggle with their mutual attraction, ghosts, near death, poverty and strange visions. This is an erotic novel, some romance elements, some dark fantasy and rather a lot of the landscape I grew up in.
I’m working on some fiction for a comic company called ‘Copper Age’. ‘Hoody Girl’ is another shape shifter story – this time crow people. I’ve written about six installments and I still don’t know how to describe it. I think it’s got something of a dark fairy tale feel to it. Isolde is sent to the city to find Marco the Assassin and bring him back to her mother Leonora, but Marco’s heart belongs to Mercedes, the magpie queen, and she won’t relinquish him easily. I’m also contributing to the story line ‘Fast Food at the center of the world’, where I’m writing the poetry of the two poet characters, and I have a girl called Jana, who has a strange magical knack with doors.
“Love Spells for dreamers” is an anthology of short stories full of magic, paganism, and other strange interventions. These are stories about love, as opposed to conventional romances. Due out at Chippewa sometime soon.
“Strange Fruit” should be out in the summer – fantasy erotica, it explores a clash of cultures as a group of humans move into a forest, and find themselves in conflict with its very strange, tree-born inhabitants. Gods and monsters, more shapeshifting (I do write books without shapeshifting sometimes!) passion, magic – it was lots of fun to write, and is sort of a prequel to ‘Illyan Daughter’ – already out at Venus Press.
“Tara’s Honour” is due out at Whiskey Creek Press in the autumn, and shares the same forest setting as ‘Strange Fruit’. This one is fantasy, no smut. Tara returns home from several years traveling to find she’s been accused of killing her uncle. She has a few days either to prove her innocence, or to convince enough people she couldn’t have done it that they will give their word for her. Her beloved mentor Emyr seems to be helping her, but what is he hiding? Tara soon finds the most likely suspects are her own family, and that the truth must inevitably shatter them, whatever form it takes.
I’ve got a couple of stories waiting with Extasy books ‘Lady of the Lake’ and ‘Girl Wanted’. I still have no idea when those might be coming out.
So that’s the main projects at the moment. I’m toying with other things, and waiting to sort out details on others – like my collection of tree poems.
Charles: I also notice you have a poetry collection in the pipeline as well. What type of poems do you like to write and why? Do you find it hard to keep a ‘prose’ state of mind as well as a ‘poetic’ state of mind?
Bryn: I try and write as broadly as I can with the poetry. I often end up writing pagan material, because I use that in other areas of my life. I like poems with narrative elements, but I also like the more impressionist stuff. My tastes are quite broad, from Shakespeare to EE Cummings and I think this shows in my work. I’ve just written a huge number of poems about the natural world – mostly trees, but I haven’t sorted out a home for that yet. I also write erotic poetry and have a few up at sensualvenus.com I find it fairly easy moving between poetry and prose, I tend to pick the form that seems most suited to the ideas I want to convey and usually when I consider an idea, its obvious what I ought to do with it. My prose work is often somewhat flowery, my poetry can be narrative, so the boundaries between the two aren’t always well defined.
Charles: From out of all your great works of literature, which book stand out in your mind and why?
Bryn: If you’re asking me to pick one of my books, I’d struggle. I love all of them for different reasons, they all have different strengths and weaknesses. I’m still striving after the perfect book. I haven’t written it yet. I suspect I’ll be forever grasping after something I can’t quite write.
If you’re asking me to pick from the great works of literature in my life, I’d have an even harder call to make. ‘The Crying of Lot 49’ had huge impact on me, but I can’t for the life of me remember the author’s name. ‘Girl with a Pearl Earing’. Anything by Phillip K Dick or Michael Ondaatje, or Robert Holdstock… how long have you got?
Charles: Are you currently involved in other projects at this time?
Bryn: Next Saturday (6th May) I’ll be at Avebury Stone circle with my mumming side (traditional style theatre) putting on my version of ‘Gawain and the Green Knight’ in which I play a white hart and get to ponce about in a hard hat with antlers on it. That should be fun.
As I mentioned before, I’m involved with a comics company called ‘Copper Age’ – http://www.copperage-phantomegg.com I’m working on a few stories with them, it’s a very exciting project. I do a bit of reviewing – mostly for the folk mag – an online folk journal. I run a folk club, which is a good laugh and brings me into contact with numerous talented, unconventional people. I work as a volunteer for the Pagan Federation, again interesting stuff and unusual individuals. I play and sing as well, so I’m quite busy one way and another.
Charles: Going over your bio, I see as a teen you were in a band. What was that experience like? Is that something you would still do today had you not started writing?
Bryn: Being in a band was brilliant. We gigged a fair bit locally. There were a few bands at my school, we would take it in turns to hire a hall, gather some other musicians and put on concerts. Those were good days and I remember them fondly. Back then I drummed, and we mostly played classic rock. I still play, but mostly it’s the violin and folk music now. I’ve taken up singing too. I can’t imagine life without music, it’s as important to me as the writing really. I have to have both. As I don’t drive and have a small child, I’m not realistically going to be a professional musician, but I love playing gigs, the buzz of connecting with an audience. Being a writer tends to be solitary, lonesome work, but music allows me to interact with people and get out of the house. I’ve recently written an m/m erotic story about a couple of guys in a band, which draws heavily on my own experiences (although obviously only some of them, having never been a gay guy). ‘All the right Notes’ is due out at Loveyoudivine.com soon, and probably should have been mentioned in the ‘in the pipeline’ list. Never mind.
Charles: Where can interested readers find out more about you and your books? How can they reach you?
Bryn: My homepage is http://bryncolvin.mysite.wanadoo-members.co.uk and has links for my books, and information about what I‘m up to. There’s an invitation on my page which I will happily extend here – anyone who would like to read a sample of my work, just drop me an email – firstname.lastname@example.org and I’ll send you a story. If you tell me what sort of thing you like, I’ll try and find a decent match. I won’t then spam you, worry not! All other issues aside, I’m just not that organized. For the really keen, I also have an egroup -http://groups.yahoo.com/group/brynsbookgroup I interview an author every week, I’m currently serializing one of my unpublished books, there’s excerpts from my work and other people’s, contests, giveaways and other goodies.
Charles: Bryn, is there anything you like to say in closing?
Bryn: Thanks for letting me ramble on about my work, I hope its been of some interest. I find it tricky to describe myself succinctly – know I don’t have mass market appeal and I don’t fit neatly into any of the genre categories. My belief is that I’d rather have a couple of people read my work and really get something out of it, than sell hundreds or thousands of books to people who forget the story in a week. Although selling hundreds of thousands of books certainly has its appeal!
Charles: Hey Bryn, this has been a pleasure. Thanks for stopping by and I wish you all the best!
Where’s your Roux in the gumbo? If you’re not from the South, then chances are you’re not aware of the special ingredient that makes Gumbo even better. To tell us what exactly is a ‘roux;, is author Kim Robinson from Texas!
Charles: Hey Kim, thanks for the interview! Please tell us something about yourself.
Kim: I am a wife and mother living in a suburb of Dallas Texas. I was born and raised in Compton California. I believe that my writing will help others know that they can change their lives as I did. For years I had no relationship with religion. Now I can’t say God enough, and I speak at churches helping people realize that any abuse they have suffered, they survived. I also love to cook and sew, I am always watching movies or listening to audio books, I don’t get a chance to read as much as I used to since my book came out.
Charles: You have a great background story relating to The Roux In The Gumbo. Could you please share with our readers how the book began?
Kim: : I was bedridden during the end of my pregnancy with my second son and my grandmother came from California to help me out. One day we were watching Oprah talk about her life and she said “Shoot somebody needs to write my story, I had more stuff happen to me than she did.”
She started telling old stories, you know the kind you have heard a few times growing up, and since the computer was set right next to the pull-out couch in the den where I spent my days, I said, ” lets do it.” I bet everybody in the family would like to read it. When she went back home I bought her a tape recorder so that when she thought of something she could tape it and send it to me. Every few months I sent her tickets and she would come and stay for awhile. My grandmother suffered a stroke during spinal cancer surgery and went into a coma. I printed out what I had and went to California, I would sit by her bed reading and the family asked me what I was reading and when I told them they said they wanted to read it, my mother made some copies and gave them out. One day while I was reading to my grandmother she said my name, though still in a coma. Everyone said that I had to finish the book. She died a few days later. When I went back home my family members would call me and give me their memories and send tapes which I added to the book. My grandmother’s sister and I would talk over the phone and I sent her a ticket to come but sadly she got sick and died before she could, but I did get everything she wanted in. My mother came and started reading and giving me her memories and here you have it. The title is because everyone who has someone who influenced their lives just as the Roux base or gravy in Gumbo influences every spoonful.
Charles: What is the Roux In The Gumbo about?
Kim: It is my great grandmother and grandmothers life story starting in Lake Charles Louisiana in the 1800’s A European takes in a runaway slave; Gizelle, she gives her papers to travel around the country, she hangs out with the town doctor and the Indians and after slavery becomes the town midwife and unofficial doctor.
My great-grandmother; Annie seeks her out for an abortion which is impossible because she is too far along. Gizelle takes her in and mentors her and soon she is the town doctor. She also cooks for the town judge who after he finds out that his wife hoodooed him will not eat anything prepared by anyone but Annie She also had a speakeasy during prohibition…
The book takes your through their trials and test during reconstruction era Louisiana to 1997 Los Angeles.
Charles: While I was reading through the pages of the Roux In The Gumbo, I see there are life stories of Gizelle, Oren, Anna Lee to name a few. Which story stands in your mind? What is your favorite tale?
Kim: How my grandmother and grandfather were wed at the end on Annie’s shotgun.
Charles: Kim, in the beginning of the book, there’s a recipe ‘My Family’s Gumbo’, besides exposing us to a great dish, what was the reason you started off with that?
Kim: I grew up in the back of my grandmother’s restaurant and my favorite dish was her gumbo that she had to make in four big army pots every other day because so many people came from far and wide for it. They said it had healing it. I felt like that was the best thing I could share with my readers.
Charles: I see you posted your family tree on the back of Roux In The Gumbo. What’s been the reaction from your family?
Kim: I put the family tree because spanning two hundred years has so many people that I didn’t want anyone to get confused. My family feels that I am helping my ancestors to live on. I plan to do some sequels featuring my parents and some of my uncles and aunts.
Charles: Have you inspired any future writers in the family as a result of your book?
Kim: No they all just think I should write there stories for them, I do have an uncle writing his brothers story. When he is done he will send it to me and I am going to help him. He is in the penitentiary
Charles: You have a Yahoo group online called Kim’s Crew. Can you tell us what made you start up the group and what’s the purpose of it?
Kim: I am on a lot of yahoo groups and they were either all black or all white so I wanted to bring them together. I started a marketing group and we put together multiauthor book signings.
Charles: I understand you’re working on another book, this time something to do with your past. If you don’t mind, please tell the readers what is it and why?
Kim: It is called Street life to Housewife, I was a call girl and madam for eleven years. I sold and used drugs and did not have a relationship with god It will take you through my entire life and how I got to where I am now, helping youth and speaking at churches.
Charles: Where can readers pick up a copy of The Roux In The Gumbo?
Kim : They can purchased autographed copies from me buy going to my website www.kim-robinson.com
Charles: Where can they contact you?
Kim : kim@kim-robinson and I have a schedule of events if they want to meet me in person
Charles: What would you like to tell the readers about your book?
Kim : I hope that it inspires you to research you own families and please let me know what you think about it
Charles: Kim, you have the final say. What would you like to share with new and aspiring authors out there?
Kim : Grow a very thick skin and don’t let anything stop you.
Charles: Hey Kim, good to finally do the interview with you. I can see big things happening for you!
Kim: thank you for the opportunity.
I would suggest The Roux In The Gumbo to anyone interested in family and the ties that bond one together!
I’m proud to introduce a new author on the literary scene. She is a fiction writer straight outta Compton (ouch!) out with her first book, The Mayor’s Wife Wore Sapphires. The author of the novel (who will be present in booth # 530 at the L.A. Times Festival of Books this coming weekend @ UCLA -2000 Plus booth) does know what the heroine has gone through for she too, was known as The Mayor’s Wife. Here is Martha Tucker!
Charles: Martha, please tell us something about yourself.
Martha: I’m the seventh child of eight children. Grew up in Gary, Indiana, attended Gary public schools. That place was my little heaven, back then. My father died when I was six months old and I have a younger sister by my mother’s next husband. I knew nothing much about the world out there, but at four years old, I said, “I wanna go to college.” I would be only two of seven children that attended college. I attended Fisk University, Married a Meharry Medical student, and he brought me to Los Angeles, where he started his practice. I’ve lived my whole adult life in LA. I graduated from California State University Los Angeles in education, and taught Elementary Education in the Los Angeles School District. Then I studied the Maria Montessoria method of teaching inner city children and established the Montessori De Compton School. Always, though, I loved writing. I wrote–not very well, I’m sure. My first stories appeared at age four, and I was sending them out to magazines by age eleven.
Charles: What persuaded you to start writing? Was it something you’ve always wanted to do or was it a hobby that eventually grew to a career?
Martha: I have always been a writer. I had to write like I had to breathe. I think that happened was because my brothers and sisters were already grown and out of the house. So, I imagined me up some friends.
Charles: Since you’re the wife of a former mayor, I’m sure it wasn’t hard to come up with a novel like The Mayor’s Wife Wore Sapphires, correct?
Martha: No, you’re a bit off on that one, Charles. It was the hardest of all things. Mainly, I had such a huge well of content that was unwieldy and without focus. I wasn’t sure of what I wanted to say. Talk about hard? I tried to find the statement, the premise for ten years. Then it took me five of those years to write it, having thrown out 17 drafts. Finally, after my husband passed, I looked back on the 12 years he served as Mayor Of Compton, and decided what was the most important thing I could say about those years. What would be the best form to prove what I would say. I recalled a lot of contention and division in that Black neighborhood, and thus its atmosphere. Then and only then, could I write that story. I can only hope that I’ve written something all city leadership and employees can grow by, become better by, consider, do better by communities with.
Charles: Please tell our readers about the background of The Mayor’s Wife Wore Sapphires? Did the novel have to go through any changes before it went to print?
Martha: Yes, even after I finished the story, I had a good editor, then a mystery edit, and there were so many snags, I was almost a year behind the planned schedule. But with the feedback I’ve gotten, it was worth the close scrutiny and time.
Charles: How about the novel itself? Please tell us about the plot and main character, Indigo Tate. Who is she?
Martha: Indigo Tate is a young mayor’s wife who is a social climber and wants to live what she went to school for, got her degrees for, but the love of her life turned out to be the mayor of an inner. To her chagrin, she decides to live there, and decides to save her social face by bringing in a lot of cultural things. Her husband get the World Hub project funded, which promises to raise the educational and economic level of the city. When he finds a million dollar discrepancy in the construction budget, and demands accounting, he is assassinated. Indigo’s growth arc is radical. She has to shed her frivolous ways and become a Coretta King. Ultimately, she is thrust into the belly of inner-city politics with gangs and a flood of drugs that ride in town on every motor and bicycle. She has to save her life, children, and a city undivided with the only weapon she owns–her woman’s intuition.
Charles: Was the setting and time The Mayor’s Wife Wore Sapphires took place helpful in writing the novel?
Martha: You know, I believe that was one of elements that kept me going. I wanted to capture the early 80’s. It was the “Best of times and the worst of time.” African Americans were coming into the power of political leadership, first generation affluence– when families could shop till they dropped and send their children to Princeton, Yale and Harvard. They moved to the Hills and melded into White society, without a thought of repercussions. They were plotting to burst through the glass ceiling of corporate America.
Things were going to get better, much better because politics shape everything, from the cradle to the grave–the loans banks give, the interest rates one pays in the inner cities, government money for schools, incentives for high rated teachers to teach in the inner cities, the grocery stores that can afford to come into the inner-city, construction, streets…. Middle class Blacks had hopes that integration, Affirmative Action and Fair Housing would make them equal. They left the cities too, much to their own devices.
Yes, I would like for some student to read my book fifty years from now and say, “Wow, that’s what Black thought and did then. Oh, that was their problem? Well, we sure fixed that. Or things haven’t changed much. Or, I see. she clearly defined the problems under all of that glitter. So we can use that and fix our problems. Let’s set a campaign to fight division and unify and make things better.”
Yes, I loved writing from that era, not too far in the past that we can’t relate, nor too close that we can’t see relevance of the action today.
Charles: In Chapter Three, there is a quote from Mel, Indigo’s husband and the Mayor when he tells her “Politics in an addiction” Why do you think that is?
Martha: Actually, Indigo says that. She tries to get him to move, even though he has given her a mansion there in the city. But she says there is a whole world out there that she’s worked to be a part of…He says “…If the project dies, you’re going to live to see a generation so lost–.” (It did spill over with the ’92 riots–and even today.)
She’s so frustrated. He’s a big time lawyer, a respected member of a larger society and they can afford to move. But Mel refuses. Then she takes a nip of her Courvoisier and wails: “Politics is an addiction. The red poppy that clouds judgment. The power of pure opium. It grab and hold and facinates. It’s the cheer of the crowd at a football game, the accolades of strangers….feeds from the smile of the multitude. …An addiction from which you can never escape.”
Charles: Here’s a question for you: Is Indigo Tate Martha Tucker or is based on someone else?
Martha: She is based on strong women I’ve met. Flawed, but brilliant and effective. What would this one do if she were in this situation, what would that one think. What would so and so do…mix them up and make a character. That is how Indigo became such a very complex and incredible character. I think she will be a name and a presence for a long time. I think of her as the Black Scarlet O’Hara. An Eve in All About Eve. She’s Celie in the Color Purple. “You never gonna do no good till you do right by me.” I think she’s Jackie Kennedy, and Dorothy Dandridge. She’s even demure, but devilish like Daisy in The Great Gatsby, I think she’s Maya Angelou in I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings. I even feel a bit of Virginia Wolf, with her penchant for Courvoisier and champagne. I see in her Seabiscuit…the least likely to succeed. But she’s also a little Lady McBeth, always plotting and scheming…Sister Carrie, lonesome and lost in Chicago. But longing to know what the night lights are about. I think Indigo is awesome. She has survival instincts. I’ve never climbed a fence, stuck a bobbed-wire prong in my flesh, saw the blood running down and rolled on the ground and kept running. But I know a friend who did. Indigo is some of all of that. I love to read of heroines who become a part of my life. I love those bad-good girls who grow up to have good sense.
Charles: Where can the readers pick up a copy of the book and how can they contact you?
Martha: The Mayor’s Wife Wore Sapphires will be on Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble in mid May. Meanwhile, it is available on my website: http://www.marthatucker.com/
anyone buying from this interview will get an autographed copy and 20% off. All they have to do is put CC at the end of Urban Classic Books–CC.
Charles: In closing, what would you like to say to all the aspiring and beginning authors out there?
Martha: Aspiring writers can come over to my site and join the Best Seller Circle. I’m going to be teaching how to do everything it took me ten hard years to learn:
How to write sure and fast.
How get off the “Chittling Circuit” in six months or less.
How to use all bestseller elements like a pro.
How to guarantee that readers will finish reading your book.
How to open and close a chapter so the reader is hooked from the first line.
How to never get lost in the middle.
How to make every chapter move your story forward,
How to write big.
How to market your name to fame when haven’t got a dime.
The teachings are free.
Order your copy of The Mayor’s Wife Wore Sapphires: marthatucker.com
Charles: Hey Martha, it’s been fun! I can’t wait to pick up my copy from you!
Martha: Thanks, Charles for the interview. I’m really proud of what you’re doing to expose other authors. You know I owe you one!
Ladies and gentlemen, if you’re looking for a cool political thriller, then please pick up your copy of The Mayor’s Wife Wore Sapphires!
There are all types of genres in literature. Some are written for the general public while others deal with a specific audience. Christian literature is such a genre. Maurice Gray is the head of Write The Vision, Inc. and the author of a novel, To Whom Much Is Given. He’s also the co-author of another book entitled I Really Didn’t Mean To Get HIV. We’ll now hear more from this amazing talent:
Maurice, how are you doing sir? Thank you for the interview.
Charles: Please share with the readers a little about yourself. When did you start writing?
Maurice: I’ve always been a writer by nature- as far back as fourth grade, I remember writing comic book stories with my best friend and I was that weird kid who actually enjoyed writing book reports :-). I started formally writing right out of college in 1990 when I got the idea for a short story that just wouldn’t let me go until I worked on it. That short story eventually turned into my first novel, To Whom Much Is Given. From there I was off to the races where writing is concerned, and I haven’t looked back.
Charles: Please briefly give us the plot for To Whom Much Is Given.
Maurice: Max and Donna, my main characters, are blessed with spiritual gifts from God, particularly the gift of prophecy. Like Joseph and others in the Bible, God sends them dreams and visions, and where they’d prefer to ignore them and just live their lives, they respond to His call. Their dreams bring them together, and once they meet, they discover that each of them has had half of a dream. When they put those halves together, they learn of a deadly plot by another character who will stop at nothing to get what she wants. They find themselves juggling their relationships with their best friends, their new relationship and the call to step into the middle of a dangerous situation with no guarantees that they will survive the experience.
Charles: Are the characters in To Whom Much Is Given based on anyone you know? You don’t have to be specific. 🙂
Maurice: There is a little of me in each of my characters, but beyond that, I take characteristics from at least a dozen different people I know to create a character. In Donna’s case, I named her that because at the time I started writing the book, I knew at least 12 Donnas. I gave her a physical appearance combining features of all of them, and chose a last name different from all of them just so none of them would think I copied her directly into a book 🙂
Charles: Would you say the theme of your book is that faith, when we fully believe in it’s power, can be a powerful weapon to use? Not as man himself uses guns or knives, but a power of a spiritual nature?
Maurice: Most definitely. The power of faith is stronger than any gun or knife, and more effective in accomplishing one’s goals. I actually have a scene in the book where Max and Donna find themselves in a potentially deadly situation and their only way out is to trust God to get them out of it. I chose the title “To Whom Much Is Given” from Luke 12:48, which says in part, “- -to whom much is given, much is required.” God has blessed Max and Donna with gifts, and His requirement is that they trust Him enough to use them in His service. Their faith is central to the theme of this book.
Charles: I want to ask you about your second book who you co-authored with Livingston N. Lee, Jr, I Really Didn’t Mean To Get HIV. How did you two meet to work on this project?
Maurice: We attend the same church. While I was about to release To Whom, he went to our pastor to discuss a problem he was having. He felt led to write a book about his experiences, but he didn’t have the skills to do it. Our pastor introduced him to me, we talked about what he wanted to do and I felt that this book needed to be written, and that I needed to help him write it.
Charles: What has been the reaction of those who have read the book? Have you met with any criticism from the church over I Really Didn’t Mean To Get HIV?
Maurice: The reaction has been overwhelmingly positive. Bro. Livingston (as everyone calls him) speaks at various churches and schools and such about his transformation from heroin addict to born again Christian and then being diagnosed first with HIV and then with AIDS. He takes the book with him when he goes out, and people buy it for their friends and family, and we get lots of feedback from people telling us how much his testimony blessed them.
Charles: Are you still in contact with Mr. Lee? Is he planning to write another book about this much needed topic?
Maurice: He has asked me to help him write another book. Right now he’s recovering from a car accident, but as he regains his health, I’m sure we will collaborate on a second HIV related book.
Charles: Maurice, I’m sure the readers would love to hear about Write The Vision, Inc. Why do you feel there is a need for Christian Literature? What do you think the future holds for a genre like this?
Maurice: I formed Write The Vision so I’d have a vehicle to launch my book. I never intended to publish other authors, but clearly God had other plans :-). I am a firm believer in the need for Christian literature of all kinds, for believers and nonbelievers alike. I’ve met many readers who are happy to get books without profanity or graphic sex they can give their children or read for themselves that reflect their own beliefs. Right now, Christian Fiction (along with urban fiction and erotica) is one of the fastest growing genres out there. I’m glad- I’d be writing this anyway, and it’s nice to know there’s a market for what I love to write. My next novel, All Things Work Together (the sequel to To Whom Much Is Given), will be released soon, and I’m already getting good feedback from readers waiting to see it.
Charles; What is your goal for Write The Vision, Inc? Do you hope to expand beyond literature or are you focus on publishing books right now?
Maurice: For now Write The Vision will stick with publishing books alone, but I can’t say that will always be the case. Given the opportunity, I’d love to get into audiobooks, and maybe Christian films as well.
Charles: How can interested readers obtain a copy of not only your books, but other authors from Write The Vision, Inc? How can you be reached personally?
Maurice: Anyone interested in learning more about Write The Vision can check out my web site, http://www.writethevision.biz/. You can order any WTV books directly from the site or from amazon.com or any bookstore. If they don’t carry my books in a particular store, they can be ordered. My e-mail address is http://www.blogger.com/ym/Compose?Toemail@example.com– I enjoy hearing from readers and others interested in Write The Vision.
Charles: In closing, what advice you have for new and beginning authors? Is there anything else you like to say? The floor is yours.
Maurice: I’d advise any new author to take time out to learn all you can about the craft of writing, and then learn the business side as well. Self-publishing through Write The Vision forced me to learn how the business end works, and whether I continue to publish through Write The Vision or if I one day go with a different established publisher, the lessons I’ve learned about the publishing industry will stay with me. I also urge new and beginning writers to write every day. It’s like anything else- you get better by practicing.
Maurice, thank you for your time in sharing with us your blessings of literature. I hope for the best for you and the authors of Write The Vision, Inc.
Oftentimes, there is a controversial subject too painful for most families to open up to. We may know a person who has been either sexually abused or one who performed the evil act. Linda Wattley is an author who has written about it in her novel called Daddy’s Girl. We’ll learn from Linda why she decided to craft not one novel dealing with the issue she writes about, but a trilogy. Plus, the strong reactions from the book in Linda’s own words.
Charles: Linda, who are you and when did you begin writing and why?
Linda: I am widowed with two wonderful adult sons, Robert, Jr. and Marcus. I am from Akron, Ohio. After being a philosophical/religious columnist for over twelve years, I knew one day I would become an author. I actually began writing when I had finished reading a book by Dr. Phil called “Self Matters” back in 2005. The psychological unfolding of my mind revealed my primitive soul dating back to my childhood. Unable to reach Dr. Phil, I prayed for help in understanding my mental and emotional despair. The next thing I knew, I was writing a trilogy pertaining to the survival of a child seeking God to understand why I was molested since the age of five.
Charles: What is the plot of your novel, Daddy’s Girl?
Linda: The plot is about a girl at the age of five growing up in a family where the mother vanishes leaving her to be a caregiver and a companion to her father. She survives her lack of knowledge by being conscious of her grandmother who shares spiritual understandings with her. As the plot thickens, the males involved throughout the story learn of the realty of molestation. Their reactions reveal the devastating impact molestation has on people knowing victims and the victims’ realities are well understood as they share it with their loved ones. It ends with the readers being free to see themselves on the inside, especially if they did not get it before reading my book.
Charles: You mention “this book has come into this world under great adversity” on your website, lindawattley.com. What do you mean by that statement? Have you run into a lot of difficulty publishing the book?
Linda: This journey has been very difficult from the standpoint that truth is a hard thing for this world to accept. I love the reality of God. I was not a person who dealt with the evil forces in life. Instead, I would rather focus on the good. When I began writing about molestation, I experienced some unseen forces coming against me as I continued to complete this project. Strange things would happen like for no unseen reason, information would disappear, extra difficult times at work, people would say and do terrible things, difficulty came with this calling and it was very obvious to me.
Charles: Why do you think the reaction against your book is as strong as it is? Do you have supporters who back you on it?
Linda: I understand very well the strong reactions against my book because I understand Jesus’ presence in the world. Truth has a way of forcing people to shift gears that they do not care to shift. My writing deals with the soul of a person. People were not ready for the truths Jesus delivered so they killed him. It is human nature to rebuke spiritual maturity. I hold a truth that can change the world. My supporters are small but strong. My mother backs me one hundred percent and my sons as well. My publicist, Belinda Williams, of Literary Lifestyles, LLC, took me in after my previous publisher single-handedly misled me to believe all was well. I have a lot of male support; Barry McLeod, author of “Heart Inside My Rib”, George W. Cook, III of “Let’s Talk Honestly”, Tony Kay and Z Man with “Artistfirst Radio” and Stu Taylor of Radio America are just some of the males who are very supportive in my endeavors.
Charles: On your website, you have sections of ‘Purpose, My Testimony’. Why do you think it was so important to discuss this subject in print?
Linda: It was important for me to let it be known I am not writing just for entertainment. I have a calling on my life to assist in the healing of the abused victims in this world, especially the sexually abused. I want people to know writers are not just writing for the heck of it. Many of us are driven to do the will of God. Also, it is important that readers know I had a journey in life that consisted of struggles and through it all, love of God and humanity still reigns in my heart.
Charles: Linda, if you don’t mind me asking, have you known someone personally who was molested? If so, how did you feel about that? Was that the turning point for you writing Daddy’s Girl?
Linda: Yes, I know someone very dear to me. There are many people in my life that I know who had this experience including myself. I was molested by my father. The thing that compelled me to write about molestation is the revelation knowledge God gave to me when I finally understood what had happened to me. Molestation is such a soulful altering experience that it is important that molested victims know, you are not the person God created you to be but you can be that person once you understand God.
Charles: Please tell us more about the next two books, “Deeper Than Love” and “This Thing Called Love”
Linda: “Deeper Than Love” takes the little girl who was growing up in “Daddy’s Girl” on a journey to understand God and love. It deals with sexuality, sensuality and spirituality. It prepares the characters to choose who he or she will become. “This Thing Called Love” reveal the children as adults as they parent their own children. It also reveals a strong realization of God and how perceptions of God are revealed by individuals. The molester reveals a heart that makes you wonder how you really should feel about him.
Charles: What do you hope to accomplish from your trilogy?
Linda: What would you like the reader to gain from them? What I hope to accomplish from my trilogy is a re-establishment of a foundation in the hearts of readers to know it is alright to love and be a light in this world. My trilogy reveals a self-help book, “Mixed Signal Syndrome which is also near being available for readers that assists in re-establishing a foundation of self-empowerment and healing for tired and hurt souls. My bottom line message to the world is: How can this be a safe country when our children are not safe? We have to get back to connecting to one another if we want to diffuse abuse.
Charles:Please tell us where readers can pick up Daddy’s Girl and your future works.
Linda: Angel Press Publishing is welcoming my work and it is available in all stores and on line at http://www.angelpresspublishing.com/ and http://www.angelpresspublishing.com/.
Charles: Linda, is there anything you like to say in closing? The floor is yours!
Linda: Yes, thank you. I did a radio show revealing the message God has for the world pertaining to universal abuse. I ask each person to consider listening to this message and know individually we can diffuse the forces behind sexual abuse. http://www.artistfirst.com/archive.htm. Once at this site please scroll down to LINDA D. WATTLEY and hear the message that can change lives. I live and breathe to assist in the healing of the brokenhearted and the misled people of the world. It is so important to me that people know: There is a truth that will set you free. You don’t have to live your whole life hoping for love and knowing God for yourself. It can really happen. Death is not the only way to God. Peace of mind is our heritage as His children. First you must know; knowledge makes a difference. “Daddy’s Girl” is the beginning of your journey back to self-love and truth. I also have an inspirational site readers may visit at http://www.lindawattley26.com/. There you can get a peep at “Mixed Signal Syndrome”. Enjoy.
Charles: Linda, let me say that the mark of a great author is to not only write about subjects that entertain us, but topics that make us think and you’ve certainly done that. Best wishes to you in your future endeavors!
Linda: Thank you for such a wonderful opportunity to share my heartfelt desire to touch the hearts of humanity. I pray and wish you the best as you help others to help others.
If you want to know how molestation can affect not one, but many lives, then Daddy’s Girl is a book you must pick up!
Stop me if you’ve heard this before:
“Ladies, your man is no good and I’m going to tell you all about it!”
Sound familiar huh?
With hundreds of books detailing every low-down, dirty trick of what a man is up to when it comes to fooling around on his lady, what would make Nelson Brown, the author of How To Know When Your Man Is Up To No Good come out with a book that millions of ladies have already heard or seen before?
Let Nelson Brown tell you in his own words as we put him N Focus!
Charles: Nelson, tell us something about yourself, who are you and what you’re all about?
Nelson: First let me say, I really appreciate you giving me this opportunity to share my book with your audience. I’m certain they will take something positive away from my book that they can apply to their lives.
Well, I’m originally from Cleveland Ohio. As an only child, growing up in the hood is never an easy thing. Especially when you come from a broken home. But as a kid, you don’t really pay attention to all the negative situations that are around you. The hood is home, so you just accept it as normal and do your thang. So without really knowing myself, I did my thing until I turned 18 then I got away. I joined the Air Force and spent the next 11 years traveling around the world.
People always criticized me for not doing the other 9 years to retire and get that early money, but I never really felt the military. For me it was just a job. I always knew there was more for me to do with my life. While I was in, I did manage to get some college under me, then when I got out I continued at Cleveland State while working. I later landed a job with a local radio station selling commercials and writing ads. That’s where I discovered I could write some. Writing commercials was just telling stories. Then I discovered I could write some poetry as well. Later I packed my bags, and drove to Los Angeles for a different life.
Fast forward to 2006 and I can share with you that I have grown into early wisdom. After two failed marriages, (one my fault, the other not) I’m about adding value to anyone’s life I come in contact with. That’s really what it’s all about.
Charles: What made you start this career of being a writer? Past experience?
Nelson: Like I said, getting into radio is where my writing began, then I discovered I could write poetry. I guess spending a significant amount of time by myself led me to more self discovery. Solitude has a way of allowing one to really think about life, and one’s place in life. More importantly, during that time I was also discovering what God could do for my life. And God wanted me to write. I kid you not! I wrote my first poem while taking a shower. A voice told me to write, and I did. I got out the shower and started writing a poem called “Someone’s Watching.” That was my first poem! Then it all started flowing out of me.
Charles: What was the inspiration for How To Know When Your Man Is Up To No Good?
Nelson: People I knew inspired me. Some guys I knew who had girlfriends and wives would always tell me about the other women in their lives. They had good women too! And then I thought of all the wrong I did in my first marriage. All the lies I told just so I could spend time with other women. And the guys I knew were doing the same thing. I also began to hear other women I knew tell me horror stories of what men in their lives had done to them. Then I began to think of all the men in my own family who just did their women wrong. It dawned on me that these men weren’t bad men. They weren’t pimps, or gigolos trying to use women either. They were just ordinary men who just weren’t completely satisfied with the women in their life. They didn’t want to lose them, but wanted to have a little something on the side.
I said to myself, “This could be a great book!”
Charles: From our past discussions, it seems you have some serious chapters in your book. Can you tell us what they are and give a brief description of them?
Nelson: Not only do I share what men do, I also share what type of men to beware of right from the beginning. There are men that women should completely avoid. One is the man who stays with his mama. But with this man, it really does depend on if he stays with his mama, or his mama stays with him. There is a big difference. If his mama stays with him, then this is a good man. If he takes care of his mama, he will take care of his woman. But if he stays with his mama, then that could be potential trouble for the woman. He will more than likely leave his mama’s home for the woman’s home. Then she will become like his mama, taking care of him. A woman has to look a lot deeper into that scenario before she gets closer to that man.
The others will have to be read in the book Charles!
Charles: Since the book at this time hasn’t been released, what type of reaction do you expect from the ladies? How about the men? Are you going to claim citizenship in another country after the book comes out? LOL
Nelson: I’m telling you Charles, every time I just share the title of the book to women, I get a huge laugh and smile. They all tell me that they want a copy of that one when it hits the shelves. Men give me a completely different reaction. The first thing off of most of their lips is, “Man, why you giving away the secrets?” Then some of them have told me that they will get the book so they can keep their game tight. I love the reactions I get. One time I told a couple about the book, and the woman just turned her lip and looked at her man. He just gave one of those stupid looking smiles then put his head down. I’m telling ya, if looks could kill.
Charles: What do you hope to gain from writing such a book like this?
Nelson: Honestly, it’s not about me at all! It’s really more about what my book can do to help others. Financially, I’m hoping that my book will be able to help some of my family. I’m also hoping that this book can be shared so that women can learn to be more patient in their relationship search. Because the truth is, a man who is up to no good will reveal his real self in time. The woman just needs to be more patient before she gives herself to him to prevent the pain. I’m also wanting this book to be shared with teenagers. That’s where it all begins anyway. This book is about much more than men and their “no good” characteristics. It’s also about self discovery, self respect, self discipline, and self love.
Charles: What else can we expect from Nelson Brown next? A follow up, maybe?
Nelson:Man, I have a whole plan. I want to do like a Tyler Perry thing, but a little different. I plan to have seminars on this issue. It could really be fun. I also want to do a play, then maybe a screenplay. I’ve already begun writing the screenplay. It would be very funny too.
I recorded a CD a few years ago with Motherlove that combines very romantic poetry and smooth jazz. It could tie in very well to this book. It’s available at http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/nelsonbrown.
I’m in the process of writing 3 other books as well. One is a children’s story. The other two are about relationships between men and their boys, and men and their daughters. After that, who knows!
I also would like the reader’s to have my email address. I want to start some kind of advice column for women in bad relationships but who may want some “real” down home advice on what to do. It’s firstname.lastname@example.org
Charles: Now that you’re a ‘new’ author, what advice can you give to those thinking about entering the writing business?
Nelson: Keep writing! I don’t care if it’s only for 20 minutes a day. Just keep writing. Don’t worry about not having it all together. You have to get it out your head and onto some paper. Simply put, I use the 5 BP’s for my motivation. Be passionate. Be persistent. Be patient. Be prayerful. Be prepared.
Charles: Where can readers find your book? Do you have a website or in the process of getting one?
Nelson: Initially my book will be available at barnesandnoble.com, amazon.com, and authorhouse.com. As well as other retail outlets. I will have a website http://www.nelsondbrown.com will be online sometimes in May of 2006. I’m lining up some book signings as well. I’ll keep you posted on those.
Charles: Nelson, in closing what would you like to tell the people reading this? What should they come away with?
Nelson: I just have to be real here. There are women who are in poisonous relationships but won’t get away for whatever reason. But I want women who feel they are stuck to realize they still have life to give to those who will appreciate them. I want them to see themselves like a ten karat diamond.
My book doesn’t ignore the spiritual. I talk about spirituality in my last section for a reason. We all need to understand and recognize the strength of a strong spiritual connection within relationships. If we all start to truly understand that power, we all will have better, more fulfilling relationships for our lives, and for our children’s lives. And that is for real!
Charles: Nelson my man, it’s been a pleasure! Thanks for your time and much success to you my brotha!
Nelson:Thank you my brotha! Nufsaid!
In recent times, the subject of a lack of eligible Black men for Black women is a controversial subject in social circles of color. Due to the disproportionate amount of Blacks (and Latinos) in jail as opposed to the total makeup of the population, the rise of interracial marriages, and on some part, the unfortunate reality more Black women have higher paying jobs than their male counterparts, the frustration from Black women to find a suitable mate is evident. To that end, author Chandra Adams from Vallejo, California wrote a book examining this very issue centering around three women of color, from different walks of life willing and determined to get what they want – at all costs.
For the first interview, we’ll learn more about Chandra, how her literary journey began and take a closer look at Shades of Retribution, which is “entertaining, thought provoking, and sexy. It has a little something for everyone – and still manages to be just downright fun.” We’re now with Chandra Adams, the author of Shades of Retribution!
Charles: Chandra, welcome to Authors N Focus. Tell us a little about yourself. When and why did you start writing?
Chandra: Hi Charles, first of all I really want to thank you so much for inviting me to be your first guest on Authors N Focus! I really started writing in college. At one point I had decided that I wanted a minor in African-American Studies, and as a result I took classes that required quite a bit of writing. I didn’t complete the coursework for the minor, but I developed a passion for expressing myself with the written word and was fortunate enough to be exposed to some of the best African-American literature ever written.
Charles: What was the inspiration behind Shades of Retribution?
Chandra: I grew up in Berkeley which is an incredibly diverse city, especially with Oakland as our neighboring city, which is regarded as the most diverse city in the country. Many of the black males in my community seemed to be a lot more open to dating and marrying outside of their race than many of the black females I knew, and this seemed to be a recurring topic among my circle of friends over the years. We talked about it in high school, and when I noticed that it was something we were still talking about over a decade later, I thought it would be worthwhile to examine some of the themes surrounding this subject matter. I actually became less concerned about why black men were more flexible with regard to race in their relationships and more interested in why black women tend to be more conservative in that arena.
Charles: I see the action in Shades takes place in a college town, Berkeley. Why did you choose that location for the book?
Chandra: First of all, I loved growing up in Berkeley! There’s no place like it. Since I also spent my undergraduate years at Cal Berkeley, much of the scenery, and many of the places and experiences I had there helped provide the backdrop for the story. Secondly, Berkeley is the birthplace of many political and social movements of our time, and it seemed fitting to build the story in such a historically rich and colorful geographic location.
Charles: Tell us about the characters in Shades. Who are they and what roles do they play in the novel?
Chandra: The three main characters, Meena, Basilah and Kenya, are three women who interact in some very interesting ways. Meena, the protagonist, is a young woman trying to do it all — school, community work, house manager for her dormitory. She manages to get involved with a scheme that Basilah cooks up under the guise of rebuilding the black community. Kenya decides she wants in on the action and that’s when the games begin.
Charles: In the beginning of the interview, I borrowed the quote from your press release that Shades “is entertaining, thought provoking, and sexy. It has a little something for everyone – and still manages to be just downright fun.” What do you think the reading audience will take away from the novel?
Chandra: I like this question a lot, because I discovered that I’ve managed to ruffle quite a few feathers with the interracial themes in the book, and some missed what I viewed as the bigger picture. I wanted very much to illustrate for my readers just exactly how some women choose to relate to each other and how we relate to men in relationships, and how often our problems really begin within ourselves.
Charles: Chandra, outside of writing this book, I understand you’re involved in other projects. Would you mind sharing them with us?
Chandra: I started a podcast and internet talk show called “Mixed Matters” which launched February 2006. Every other week I interview authors about themselves and their books. Listeners can download the podcasts from iTunes, or visit the website at http://www.NorthBayMediaReview.com to listen in. I also work with Lillian Cauldwell on her internet radio show/podcast at http://www.internetvoicesradio.com , where I just began hosting The Chandra Adams Show.
Charles: Since your novel’s been out for about two years now, What have you experienced as a new author?
Chandra: You know, Charles, I feel like I have grown in so many ways that I would not have if I had not become an author. I am normally the quiet type you would find standing in the corner at a party. I have found though, that if you want to get noticed, you have to make some noise! Surrounding myself with supportive friends, avoiding negative people and staying organized are just a few things that have helped me to succeed so far.
Charles: Are you currently working on another book or are you focused on what you’re doing right now?
Chandra: I am currently working on a new book, although I have to admit that my foray into the world of talk show hosting has temporarily taken a front seat. I love learning about other authors and I enjoy doing what I can to help them gain exposure, it has become extremely rewarding.
Charles: What advice do you have for someone just starting out as an author?
Chandra: Be true to yourself. Ask for help when you need it. Trust your own instincts. Hire a professional editor. Learn the difference between someone who is offering constructive criticism and someone with a hidden agenda, it can save you a lot of grief.
Charles: Is there anything else you would like to say in closing?
Chandra: I just want to thank you again Charles for this opportunity. I know Authors N Focus will be a huge success!
Chandra, thanks for stopping by.
Ladies and gentlemen, please check out Chandra’s website at http://www.adrolitepress.com and http://northbaymediareview.com and if you’re interested in what you just read, please purchase a copy of Shades of Retribution. Be the first to read the novel before it becomes a movie!
Here are some interview links so you know who I am:
I sent this to everyone on my mailing list but feel free to check them out!
I just wanted to pass along that I’m a featured author on The Rock magazine for the week and I have an interview on that site. If you’re interested, you can look it up at http://www.rockpublications.com/the.authors.c.chatmon.html
If I also haven’t told you before, I’m also listed at
New author interviews on Monday, April 24th! See you then!
My name is Charles L. Chatmon, author of ‘The Depths of My Soul’ and ‘The Voices of South Central’. Years ago, I was lost, trying to find a publisher for my work. It took me three years but I finally found one and my writing career was just getting started. My first year as a new author was tough. No one knew who I was, I had to make a name for myself by attending local book festivals, networking with other authors who either had their first book out, in the process of having one come out, or they were already established offering advice for a young writer like me to succeed. I’ve always said that when and if I get into a position where I would build a name for myself, I’ll do what I can to help other new and beginning writers along the way.
This is why I created N Focus, a nice spot for you folks online to read about the works of these remarkable people who decided to go for a dream and achieved it. This blog will feature authors you’ve never heard of, and some you haven’t seen in a long time. You’ll also find out what is going on with me and the writers group I’m a part of. So sit back, relax in your cube or home on your PC and enjoy the online interviews of the next generation of authors, writers and poets.