Do you remember the first story you ever read, and the impact it had on you?
Yes. I was about seven years old and had gone to the local public library with my step-mom one Saturday. I was looking for a children's book; one about African American children. But I couldn't find one. I asked the librarian where they kept those books. She apologized because there were not any at the library. The next Saturday I went in she handed me a torn and battered children's picture book about a little South African girl named Nomusa. I read that story until the pages fell apart.
When did you first start writing?
I first started writing when I was very young. My first books were just pictures. I would draw pictures and then tell the story. When I learned how to write I wrote little stories on any kind of paper I was able to get my hands on. But I seriously began to write when I was in high school. I would write love letters for my classmates and sell them. I also wrote love stories.
What's the story behind your latest book?
Through the Fire started off as an autobiography. I then made the decision to change it to fiction much later. But, it is a story about overcoming the limitations that are put on our lives when we are young children. What will we grow up to be if our lives are not picture perfect? What dreams will we have? And how will we obtain those dreams and make them reality?
What motivated you to become an indie author?
I tried to get my first book published the traditional way. I tried to get an agent. After getting three-hundred rejection letters, I decided there had to be another way, a better way. That's when I decided to become an indie author.
What is the greatest joy of writing for you?
Being able to write has truly been a healing experience for me. I can change the outcome of any situation that I have faced in my life and make it what I would like for it to be. I can be transported to another time and place. I can't imagine doing anything else.
What are you working on next?
I'm actually trying my hand at suspense. When I was growing up in the south there was a man that was released from prison for a horrendous crime of passion and returned to the area. For the entire year that he was there people were petrified of his presence. He was a menace to society. He was fearless and just pure evil. So, I am incorporating him into this story line. It is really exciting to write suspense.
Who are your favorite authors?
I love Maya Angelou, J. California Cooper, Vincent Alexandria, Treasure Blue, Bebe Moore Campbell, Victoria Christopher Murray and Zora Neale Hurston.
When you're not writing, how do you spend your time?
I am a professional storyteller. I share life lessons, folktales and oral histories through re-enactments.
What is your writing process?
I write something everyday. I sleep with a notepad either in the bed or on the night stand. When I am really working on something, I just start writing and don't stop until I am done. If I get hung up on something, I just put it down and come back to it later. But, once I get started on something, I like to finish it within a few months.
How do you approach cover design?
I have really gotten serious about the importance of how covers should tell the story for you, they should be able to catch the attention of the fan because that tells the story before they even open the book. I have an idea about what I want the cover to look like, and then I convey that to cover designer.
What is your e-reading device of choice?
I like Nook.
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