Q&A

How did you feel about writing as a child?

I enjoyed it though I don’t think I was a very competent writer. Unfortunately I haven’t kept most of my early writings. I did start keeping a diary when I was about 13 writing in it almost every day until I left high school. Before my Dad gave me the diary, I used to draw comic book stories and spend hours drawing the same character over and over again. It was a real labor of love.

You mention your grandmother telling you stories as a young girl. What role did that play in your writing?

My grandmother Theresa was a great story teller, even when she was retelling an event in her life. Listening to her was warm, comforting funny and I know that as I write I feel closer to her in some ways.

So how do you compare the experiences of writing both books?

I must say writing That Which Has Horns was very natural to me. I was writing about my own culture my home in which I had grown up.  Writing Show me the Sun was a little more challenging in that I had only been in the U.S for 5 years when I began writing it. More time was spent in research and people watching in order to be authentic. I had to interview a lot of people including watching documentaries like Black In America,  in my research.

Did you write your two concurrently?

No I didn’t write them at the same time, they are five years apart. I wrote "That Which Has Horns" first. This was my first attempt at a novel after having spent several years in the short story genre. I moved to the U.S.A. before getting it published so I figured I would have better luck with publishers if my novel was based in the U.S. So they accepted Show Me The Sun which is based in Detroit and  "That Which Has Horns" was accepted next.

 

What inspired each book? Are there any people you drew from?

In my first book I can’t remember of a single event that inspired me but I knew I wanted to write a love story first, then bring up all the other issues that naturally affect people. It turned out to be a complicated love story and almost anybody you met has had a complicated love story in their lifetime. In my second book I knew I wanted to talk about a couple things; self-esteem, media's influence on that and standards of beauty, and how all that can affect the choices we make.

How do you balance writing, a full time career and a family.

I am a Teacher by profession.  Each day is different and is an opportunity to be creative. Writing and teaching are both my passions. Only some aspects are like a job but the time spent with my students or the time spent on the computer writing are not like work. Balancing them is not that easy. That’s why I took a long time to complete my books.

What’s your next project?

I have two I am ready to talk about but the third one is a secret and in a few months I’ll be unveiling that one. The next book is Chasing the Wind which is now in the revision stage. I’m excited about this one. The other project is the short story anthology. I have about 12 published short stories and I want to put them together for a book. Hopefully that will be ready by the end of the year.

Besides writing what else do you enjoy?

Reading is my other main interest. I enjoy walks on cool days, playing tennis and having a good conversation with interesting people. I love being with family.

 

Is there anything you wish you had done in your life?

I wished I had played the piano. When I was in High school I tried but not everybody who wanted to play the piano got the chance to have lessons. Later my Dad bought a guitar and I tried to learn to play it but after about three years of lessons I realized that it just wasn’t my gift. It was too hard for me though I loved it.

Was it a challenge to come up with such creative endings in your books?

It wasn’t easy to think of the endings. Many readers are asking for a Show Me The Sun sequel. It took me time to create an ending that would leave room for speculation. For That Which has Horns, I struggled to invent a dramatic ending. Most readers are loving it.

What do you enjoy the most about writing

The best thing for me is the creative process. I enjoy coming up with characters, building their personalities and emotions. Coming up with different scenes and conversations is challenging but when one works and sounds natural it gives me great pleasure. You just know when a particular scene works well and it's great when that happens.

What's the most difficult aspect of being an author

The whole writing process is difficult but for me I think it's the business side. I'm learning about marketing, building a brand and doing interviews. I've always been private and shy about public events but I've had to come out of my shell and be more comfortable with different scenarios .