My passion for writing inspired me. For as long as I can remember, I enjoyed putting my thoughts on paper and creating stories. My first book was born out of a strong desire to have others read my stories and discover a new voice that I prayed they would enjoy and so far I've received lots of love from readers.
Who or what has influenced your writing?
In some ways, jazz has influenced my writing. I was raised in a household that always had jazz playing in the background; Sarah Vaughn, Miles Davis, and Herbie Hancock are just a few of the artists I can recall listening to. My father wanted to be a musician but never pursued it. I didn't want to let my dream pass me by as the years did the way my father had. Jazz has a way of provoking a certain mood in me that makes me think about life and its' many consequences. Even today, I write as I listen to some of my favorite contemporary jazz artist such as Mike Phillips, Wayman Tisdale and Boney James just to name a few.
How has your environment/upbringing influenced your writing?
I am an artist who has always been influenced by observing human behavior. I study people and listen to conversations of total strangers and usually that's all I need to begin the process of creating ideas for a story. Often, I may have a story start with a character relocating to a new city whether it's permanently as Winona did in If It Ain't One Thing or just for the summer as my character Alexis did in my novella, Strapped that I wrote for the urban erotic anthology, These Are My Confessions. I do this because I've lived in five States over the past eight years.
What books have most influenced your life?
The Bible is the one book that has most influenced my life even though it is a book that I have yet to finish in its' entirety, but have as one of my 2007 goals. Other books that have influenced my life are Eyes on the Prize. Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston, Mama by Terry McMillan just to name a few. I love going into book stores and looking at new releases; I could spend the entire day there. So, another way for me to answer this question is to say that books written by or about black people in general have influenced my life because although, I read books written by authors of all races, there's nothing quite like reading a book that is written with characters and experiences that I can relate to.
What book are you reading now?
I am reading Don't Make a Black Woman Take Off Her Earrings: Madea's Uninhibited Commentaries on Love and Life by Tyler Perry. Madea can be my therapist any day of the week. The advice she gives is the best I've ever heard...straight and to the point...I know she's only a character but I still love her.
What advice would you give to writers just starting out?
Be original and honest in your writing. Don't try to imitate. Even though it may seem as though there are a lot of books in the marketplace that are similar, when you're a new writer and you come up with something fresh you'll peak the interest of a literary agent...and once you do that you're one step closer to your goal of becoming published if that is your goal.
If you could leave your readers with one legacy, what would you want it to be?
I want to be thought of as a writer who created memorable and heartfelt stories with characters who are so genuine that readers fall in love with them.
What are you working on now?
I'm always working on a few things so that I can keep working. I have just completed STRAPPED a novella for These Are My Confessions, that will be released in June 2007. My next novel with NAL is the one I'm writing now. It's titled Sweet Georgia Brown and should be released some time in late 2007 or early 2008. This book is a total departure from my other two; If It Ain't One Thing and the sequel It's Like That, and features an entirely new cast of characters and is written in third person. And then, I have a synopsis for the next book that I want to write that I would love to share with my editor (hint) but all things come in due time. Just know that my mind is always churning with story ideas.