Monthly Archives: December 2010
Quite often here at Authors N Focus, we run into friends and associates who planned to write a book, but for some reason, never get around to it. Therefore it is with extreme pleasure I bring on a talented artists who has attended many book festivals in the Los Angeles community now spreading her wings with the release of her debut title, ‘Black Love: Challenging the Status Quo’. Here is Shay Fresh.
Authors N Focus: Hello Shay, thanks for taking part in the interview. First, what can you tell us about Black Love, your first book?
Shay: Thank you Charles! Black Love: Challenging the Status Quo examines the intersection of love and the various dynamics within the Black community, and to encourage harmonious interfacing between Black men, women and children.
ANF:Does your book address any of the standard issues between men and women? How does it differ from all of the relationship titles on the market?
Shay: The book will address some standard issues within the context of the “man/woman” dynamic, but it differs because this is not an “advice” or “how to” book, but it deals with a holistic context on the ideas of love and the entire community from a creative expression angle and from an African/Black view.
ANF: I have to admit; reading your press release there’s a reference to food preparation which begs me to ask this question, what part does a healthy lifestyle play in maintaining or building healthy relationships?
Shay: The body is interconnected to the mind and soul, and we must take care of our physical bodies with healthy food, so that we are operate on a higher level of existence. We also have to be very conscious of the ENERGY we put into our foods when we prepare our meals. Angry heart, angry food – happy heart, happy food! This is why “Soul Food” is such a celebrated culinary staple within our culture, because of the “love and creative energy” that is involved…even though the ingredients were detrimental to our health.
ANF: I understand Black Love will also display your fabulous poems as well. What poems should our reading audience expect to find in the book?
Shay: The poems cover a variety of topics including motherhood, money, love between a man and a woman, being happy with one’s career life, and many other topics we deal with as a community. A lot of these poems were collected over a period of time, so you will experience my growth during the journey of creating within the poetry paradigm.
ANF:What reaction would you like Black Love to have? What lessons do you feel our reading audience will learn from the book?
Shay: I would love for people to feel stimulated to re-connect to their power of independent thought, or encourage them on the path of independent thought. The reader will learn the creative aspect of embodying the various principles found in the Kwanzaa celebration, especially the principle of “Kuumba” which means “To do always as much as we can, in the way we can, in order to leave our community more beautiful and beneficial than we inherited it.”
ANF: Shay, I’ve known you for a while and you have interests outside of writing. Please share with us what they are.
Shay:I really enjoy and love art, so my interests include portrait photography, graphic design, fine art, and theatre. Motherhood definitely has my greatest interest!
ANF: How important is literacy in the community to you?
Shay:There was a period in time that it was unlawful for a Black person to learn how to read. Illiteracy limits a person from extending their talents to higher levels and disables a huge opportunity to receive quality information and knowledge to could positively enhance their life. “Underserved” communities suffer from this plague, and it’s important that literacy is enforced, so that the members of the community can search and find information that could transform their lives, and their community.
ANF:As a new author, what are your expectations for future books? Will they continue to center around romance, social consciousness, health, or anything else you have in mind?
Shay: I expect my future works to continue on the path of stimulate social consciousness and to enhance the quality of life of the reader through examining various mediums of creative expression.
ANF: Shay, where can our readers find you online and offline?
ANF:Do you have anything left to share with our new and aspiring authors reading this? What would be the one piece of advice you can leave them with?
Shay:When entering the realm of becoming a published author, you must love more than just “writing”; you must also love the “business” of writing as well.
ANF: Shay, it’s a pleasure taking time to interview you and I can’t wait to find out what “Black Love” is all about. Thanks once again.
Shay: And thank you for providing an outlet for local authors to share their work with the community!
Imani True and Dreama Skye are two new authors on the literary scene with a book that’s considered hot and steamy. Their erotic novel, “Strawberries Stilettos and Steam” has caught the attention of many and the two ladies are certainly on their way upwards as a solid team of erotic literature writers. Authors N Focus is glad to speak with one of the co-authors of “Strawberries Stilettos and Steam”, Ms. Imani True.
Authors N Focus: Imani, thank you for your time. Please share with our reading audience what (or who) convinced you to produce a novel, especially an erotic novel?
Imani: I have always written stories, having done my first one at the age of six. Over my life, I’ve managed to have scraps and notes on every topic. After taking time off to raise a family, I decided to pull out those scraps and see what I had. When I read them, my creativity just opened up! Dreama helped convince me that we should write this book because we both wanted to put some different Erotica out there-maybe attract new readers, and give the experienced readers something fresh to add to their collection.
ANF: How did you meet Dreama and why did you two decide to write “Strawberries Stilettos and Steam” together as opposed to writing your own books?
Imani: I was actually writing my own book, and fell into a long stint of writer’s block. I put the novel aside, but continued writing my stories. I posted them on a few social networking sites where I met Dreama, who was writing amazing erotic poetry at the same time. We tried writing something together, and realized that our styles, our talents, merged very well. My novel was on the backburner by then anyway, so we decided to collaborate this book, which was done via text, instant messaging, chats group, e-mails, and phone, since we live in different states.
ANF: I’m sure our audience would like to know the stories inside the book. Please tell us why they will leave them “intrigued, enticed and definitely turned on?”
Imani: I think readers will find at least one story they can totally relate to. They will recognize the characters (with different names, of course), and put themselves in some of the very unique, very erotic situations we put them in. Our characters are regular men and women who live out their fantasies. Not everyone is in a position to do that, but our stories will at least give them a peek at some things they mave have never thought about. Or maybe they have. Even so, they’ll live through the eyes of Nikas who receives the best birthday gift ever; they’ll think about ditching their GPS for paper road maps; they’ll feel the love between Jamaica and Shante; they’ll fist-bump Jamal, who gets worked over while logged on; and they will definitely envy Darius, who’s been fantasizing about his best friend’s very sexy, recently-divorced mother. And trust me, that’s JUST the beginning!
ANF: Who are the main characters of each tale? Our main characters range from married couples, long term boyfriends/girlfriends, best friends from college, people who met on the internet, and total strangers. Why are they relevant to each story?
Imani: They’re relevant because they’re regular, normal adults who simply explore their feelings and desires. We get to know their lives, their personalities, why they’re in the situation they are in, and how they react to it. There’s love, humor, fun in this book. And some of the dialogue…well, it’s real talk!
ANF: What do you think the audience will come away with after reading your book?
Imani: I think our audience will feel like our characters are people they know. They will also realize that we all have fantasies; some live them out, some deny them, and some live through others who are bold enough to experience their fantasies firsthand.
ANF: Imani, you’re a native New Yorker, but you’ve been in Las Vegas for quite awhile. What differences have you found in the attitudes between East and West coast book buyers and readers?
Imani: So far, I haven’t seen much difference in East and West coast readers/book buyers. I think all readers enjoy good writing, writing that puts them into the work being read. What people choose to read is a personal choice, but most readers are open-minded, visual people who can appreciate works in every genre, even if it’s not their favorite genre. Readers love to read something they wouldn’t normally read and be entertained. They love writers who “take them there,” and they’ll support you if they like your work.
ANF: In your bio, it mentions you’re working on other projects, including a future novel with Ms. Skye. Would you like to share with our audience what they are?
Imani: Dreama and I are already working on a sequel to “Strawberries.” No title yet. As for me, I’m working on a novel entitled “A Little Sumthin’ Sumthin'” about a woman starting her life over after divorce. I also have a four-part crime series in progress-my background is in Forensic Science/Criminalistics. I can’t wait to do that one because I spent years in school and at various jobs perfecting those skills. I am anxious to share them with readers as the backdrop of 4 great stories.
ANF: Is it difficult collaborating with another author or does it make the storytelling process easier?
Imani: Not at all. It was very easy working with Dreama because she is so visual. And as a poet, she has a way with words, and really understands how they should flow to paint a picture. We worked very well together, and it shows. One reader even said “the book reads like it was written by one person.” We hoped it would read that way, but didn’t really plan it. We just put our heart and soul into the writing and let our characters guide us. They told their stories; we just wrote them down.
ANF: Where can our reading audience find you and Dreama? Website, snail mail, etc.?
Imani: Our book is available on Amazon, Borders, Barnes and Nobel, as well as all the other online sellers. We are getting it in more stores daily, and will be out touring soon. Our website is www.trueskyemedia.com and we’re both on Twitter (Imani True/Dreama Skye1); Facebook (DreamaSkye/Imani True). We each have our own blogs (skyeserotichaven.blogspot.com
ANF: Any closing thoughts or advice to new or aspiring authors reading this interview right now?
Imani: I would tell them to keep writing through the droughts, and NEVER throw anything! Also, be prepared when your opportunity comes because it may come out of the blue. And finally, believe in your work, write from your heart, and just do it!
Imani: Thank you, Charles, for this opportunity to your readers to our work.