Monday 28 May 2012


When did you first consider yourself as a "writer"?
Good question.  I don’t really consider myself a “writer” even now which is strange since Jessamine will be my fourth book.  I think when I can make a living from writing then, maybe, I’ll consider myself a writer – when I’m able to pay bills with the proceeds of my writing.

What is the name of your latest book, and if you had to summarise it in less than 20 words what would you say?
Jessamine is my latest novel.  It’s a story about two women who must bridge the century between them to save the Caribbean island they love.

How long does it usually take you to write a book, from the original idea to finishing writing it?
That depends on the book but about six to nine months is about the norm for me.  I do a lot of pre-writing first though and tons of research as well so the total amount of time I spend on the book can actually be more than a year.  I’m hoping to get quicker at it, though.

What can we expect from you in the future? ie More books of the same genre? Books of a different genre?
Different genres, definitely.  I’ve finished a manuscript, The Water of Sunlight, about a woman’s descent into drug addiction and how she pulls herself out of it which I plan to self-publish later this year and I’d also like to get into horror or paranormals because those are some of my favourite books.

What genre would you place your books into?
I think this is why both Jessamine and The Water of Sunlight were a hard sell to publishers.  Publishers told my then agent that they weren’t really one thing or the other – neither fish, fowl nor red herring.  Jessamine isn’t strictly African-American fiction because the other main protagonist is a white woman.  It’s not a historical since half the action takes place in contemporary times.  There are romantic and Gothic elements but it’s not a romance and not a Gothic novel.  The Water of Sunlight is quite gritty so it’s not exactly women’s fiction.  It’s more literary than urban fiction.  And so on…it’s a challenge for marketing but I’m writing the kinds of books I’d like to read.

Where do you get your book plot ideas from?What/Who is your inspiration?
I read a lot – both fiction and non-fiction so a lot of inspiration comes from what I read.  I also love to travel and I find that to be very inspiring.  I actually got the germ of the idea for Jessamine when I was on the beautiful island of St. Lucia.

Do you have anybody read your books and give you reviews before you officially release them?ie. Your partner, children, friends, reviewers you know?
I’m a member of Critique Circle (and Critters, though I’m not on there much) and I’ve been lucky to have some great people take a look at it there and give me their suggestions.  I also have a few friends that I might give a manuscript to.

Do you gift books to readers to do reviews?
Yes.  The more reviews, the better.

Do you read all the reviews of your book/books?
Yes!  I want to see what people are saying about my writing – what worked for them, what didn’t.

How do you come up with characters names and place names in your books?
Sometimes I use the names of my friends or I might open an old phonebook and see what I can find.  Place names can be more challenging but for those I’ll look around for similar places and see what kinds of names might inspire mine.  Real places share names, for example, there are several places in the Americas that were named after places in Europe, so if I’m having difficulty coming up with a completely new name I just go to my world map.

Have you ever suffered from a "writer's block"? What did you do to get past the "block"?
There are some days when I really don’t feel like writing or where it feels like I’m trying to pull those words out but they’ve got concrete feet.  On those days I might turn to something else – catch up on Facebook, do some tweeting, update my Goodreads account or, if it’s a particular scene that’s giving me trouble, I’ll just move on to other scenes and get those down.  I can always come back and fix whatever I need to so I don’t let slow writing or skipped scenes bother me.

What is your favourite book and Why? Have you read it more than once?
I have lots of favourite books – no one favourite!  I love The Lord of the Rings and have read that twice.  I also love to laugh and have read books like My Family and Other Animals, All Creatures Great and Wonderful (love Siegfred!), and Three Men on a Boat about three or four times and find them hilarious each time.  Oddly , I haven’t really found any more contemporary authors who are as funny.  These are some of my favourite authors Edwidge Danticat, Stephen King, Walter Mosley, Sara Paretsky, Cherry Adair, Alice Walker, Sue Grafton, Jamaica Kincaid, Ian Rankin. 

Do you think books transfer to movies well? Which is you favourite/worst book to movie transfer?
I loved Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings which is one of my favourite books and I thought The Color Purple and White Oleander were good adaptations  Off the top of my head, I can’t think of any book to movie transfers I didn’t like but I would say that I found the (Swedish) movie version of The Girl With the Dragon Tattoos better than the book.

What are you currently reading? Are you enjoying it? What format is it?(ebook, hardback or paperback)
Right now I’m reading two books, one, the non-fiction Poisoned Wells by Nicholas Shaxson which is a fascinating investigation of the association between corruption and oil wealth in Africa.  He’s basically making the case that, in the absence of good governance structures, the wealth the discovery of oil has brought remains in the hands of a few.  Leaders have no need to court the voters by providing good infrastructure, proper medical care, etc. since they’re either not elected or cheat at elections by buying votes with the monies they’ve gotten from oil.  The other is lighter reading - Bangkok Bob and The Missing Mormon by Stephen Leather which is a mystery set in Thailand, a country I know little about so it’s quite interesting.

Did you read a lot at school and write lots of stories or is being a writer something newer in your life?
A friend I recently reconnected with on Facebook said she had wondered if I became a writer because she’d never seen a girl who was always reading like me.  I’ve always loved reading and entering other worlds – whether it was that of the Famous Five, the Chalet girls, Nancy Drew or in some other great book.  Back then I didn’t write that much but I did keep a detailed journal so I suppose that was good practice!

What do you think about book trailers?
I love movies and I love book trailers.  I did one for Jessamine and I liked it but then there were some other things I thought needed to be said so I did another, longer one.  I’m no Peter Jackson but I love them both and I’ve gotten good comments about them so that’s great.  They can be seen on my You Tube channel.

What piece of advice would you give to a new writer?
A few pieces, actually.  Read, read, read.  Writers should read as much as they can and as widely as they can and should pay attention to what their favourite authors are doing in terms of building tension, creating sympathetic characters, creating villains, etc.  Also, get critiques from other writers.  Join a writer’s group near you or join any of the great ones on the Internet.  Writers can give you insights that your brother, your friend or your aunt might not.  Support other writers.  If a writer tweets about a new book out, retweet it.  Offer to host writers on your blog.  What goes around, comes around so make sure you’re sending positivity around.  Don’t spam people.  If you’re posting your new publications up on my Facebook wall but you’re never “liked” any of my posts or commented on them, I’ll probably delete you from my wall.  If somebody has expressed interest in your writing it’s alright to send them a message when you have a new release but not every time you get a glowing review.  Get busy on social media before you have a book out and interact with people on an on-going basis.  Also, don’t spend all of your time on promotion as it can get exhausting.  Write your next book.  Writers write.

Where can readers follow you?

Your Blog details?

Your Facebook page?

Your Goodreads author page?

No comments:

Post a Comment