Yves Brown McClain: Literary Fierceness

Archive for the ‘Writing’ Category

Let the transition begin…

Posted by Dahlia on November 21, 2011

FALL TREE © Richard Mcguirk | Dreamstime.com

My last post was about how I was at a point in my writing where I needed to get a clear direction. I haven’t euthanized my WIP, by the way. There are elements to the story that I wish to keep, and I do believe the story is still entertaining, but I may have to gut it (again) so that it becomes the story it was meant to be.

As far as blogging goes, I’ve decided to launch a new blog, with a new URL. This is for a few reasons: Instead of revamping this blog, I created a new URL under my name because it is keeping with the branding that I’m trying to build. Who’s going to buy a book by ybmauthoress? Exactly.

The new blog will allow me to be a bit more personal, but be in line with the common themes I’ve picked up on in my writing and will also (hopefully) do the things I wanted my writing to do. You can find it under www.yvesbrownmcclain.wordpress.com. There are some things I’ve written here that will fit in well with the new blog, so you may see a few older posts on the new blog. I hope you all head over there and check it out.  If you like what’s there, please follow it and leave lots of comments!

As for Literary Fierceness, as of right now, I’m not shutting it down. But the posts here will be more sporadic. Thank you all so much for the support you’ve shown me for the past ten months. It truly has been a learning experience.

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Posted in Announcements, Writing | Tagged: , , | 3 Comments »

RIP, Wild Oats?

Posted by Dahlia on November 19, 2011

CEMETERY © D2xed | Dreamstime.com

So, I know I’ve been MIA for a while. (I see your eyes rolling and I hear you sarcastically mutter, “A while? You’ve been off the grid for about three months!”) Allow me to take a few moments to explain.

I’ve been having moments of personal reflection lately. And during this period, I wasn’t able to blog like I should. I felt that my direction was wrong, so I stopped rather than continue down the wrong path. In regards to my writing aspirations, I knew the talent was there, I tried to stay on top of industry knowledge, I set up my blog and social media accounts to build this platform. I even have a novel and novella under my belt. But it felt all my effort was for naught because every step forward I took, I got knocked back several. My novel’s release had been pushed back an embarrassing number of times. So, I took my issues to God and waited for an answer.

After some time, this is what was revealed to me about the novel:

“Be original. This story’s been told already.”

And I’m like, “Okay, but I’ve been working on this story for years! I’ve invested time and money on this novel. I have a cover for crying out loud. Do I just toss out all those years of work and go back to the drawing board?”

Again, “Be original.”

So, I thought about it further and I had to admit that my novel was feeling like a combo of a few of favorite TV shows: “Sex and the city”, “Girlfriends”, and “Single Ladies”.  I had identified chick-lit as the genre and my writing steered in that direction. So, if chick-lit isn’t my thing and all the themes that lie therein, then what should I be writing?

“Who said you had to be in a box? Be original.”

So what does it mean for the story “I” had deemed to be my breakout? I really don’t know. It hasn’t been revealed yet. But I recognize that “I” was trying to force it through.

As I continued to meditate, I realized that my proudest and most humbling moments are when something I’ve written has encouraged, motivated, empowered, or inspired someone. Perhaps with my novel, I have focused too much on the (mis)adventures of my MC, the jokes, the shoes, the drinking, and yes, the sex, instead of what the core of what the story was about. What initially motivated me to even write the story to begin with.  Healing a broken heart. Or, how do you mend a broken heart? (I know, that’s Al Green)

So, I find myself at an impasse. I can put this story in a vault, never to be seen or heard from again. Or just set it aside for awhile as I have a few other ideas that could not only entertain, but also do those aforementioned things and return to the story once it has been revealed how it shall be told. Or do I wait?

Decisions, decisions…but I think that just may have been my problem all this time. I felt the need to hurry and make a choice. So this time I won’t force it. I will be patient.

Posted in Books, Encouragement & Motivation, Purpose, Wild Oats, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Writer Wednesday: Teasers – To Post or not to Post?

Posted by Dahlia on August 31, 2011

I once lurked around a discussion board about writing and publishing. One poster mentioned posting an excerpt to a story she was working on. To say the discussion went bananas after she wrote it is an understatement, they went ape —-. So many of the writers said they would NEVER post a WIP (work-in-progress) on their blog or website because once it goes live, it’s published.  Once published, you’ll have a hard time snagging an agent. I felt so bad for the poster who made that statement. Poor thing, they had ripped her a virtual new one.

Last month, I bought a copy of We Are Not Alone The Writer’s Guide to Social Media by Kristen Lamb. The topic of posting WIP excerpts comes up in her book. She makes a compelling argument why it’s generally a bad idea to include WIP excerpts as one, some, or all of your blog posts if you’re not yet published. I’ll briefly touch on a few of them. (*start plug* if you want all the reasons and details, I recommend purchasing her book, it’s a really good read *end plug*)

  1. Difficulty getting an agent if you post too much
  2. The feedback may not be honest enough
  3. The feedback may be TOO honest or just flat out mean-spirited
  4. Frustrating the reader who wants to buy the book only to find it isn’t available yet

However, there have got to be exceptions to the rule (isn’t there always?). I managed to find a few. Established authors can get away with it. I recently read a few not-yet-published teasers on the Facebook page of an accomplished, published, and bestselling author.  Considering she has an agent, a book deal, six best-sellers, and a loyal fan following, I’m sure these teasers won’t hurt her a bit. They’ll only make her fans beg her to publish them not now, but RAHT now. Even if she doesn’t publish them right away, her fans will wait. I’m sure it helps that they’ve got six books to choose from to pass the time while they’re waiting.

The second exception is the self-published/independent author. This person has complete control of his/her work from the roota to the toota. He or she is his/her own agent/publisher/marketer/PR person. Sylvia Hubbard would be my example of Exception #2. Not only does she offer a few of her novels for free, she also does what is called a Live Story in Progress (LSIP), where she posts pieces of her story on her blog as she writes them. This method has been met with success. Her fans can’t wait for the next installment and are more than willing to buy the completed version once she formally publishes (I am one of the fans eagerly awaiting her most recent LSIP to be published). However, Sylvia has her own publishing imprint.

I would have to agree with the posters who slammed that poor lady on that discussion board and Kristen to an extent. If you don’t have an agent and/or not published, it probably isn’t wise to post teasers to your book. You never know what might change in your story (the title, the characters, maybe even a huge chunk of plot). It may seem innocent enough to give potential readers a taste, but in reality it can be a setup to fail and a setback for you. However, if you meet one of those two exceptions, then you may be safe to tease away.

Writers – Have you ever posted an excerpt from your WIP on your site/blog? How was it received? Do you think teasers for unpublished pieces are helpful or harmful?

Readers – If you read an excerpt on a writer’s site, do you expect for it to be published (as in the next few months). How would you feel if it’s a long way from being published? Do you still support the writer or do you feel you’ll get tired of waiting after awhile? Of course, this is assuming you liked what you read. 😉

Posted in Marketing & Promoting, Publishing, Writer Wednesday, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments »

Writer Wednesday: Killing Your Story Softly #2

Posted by Dahlia on August 24, 2011

Killing your story softly 

I’ve been a writer for as long as I can remember. However, I’m a reader first. I love reading books as much I enjoy writing them. I have found from both the reader’s and writer’s perspective that there are things an author can do to a book that could place it in urgent care, ICU, or just flat out kill it altogether. Based on feedback from both writers and readers the Killing Your Story Softly (KYSS) Series was born.  So, you ready? LEGGO!

 ***

KYSS #2: Cause of story death was determined to be lack of edit

Here is a re-enactment of a conversation an anonymous writer had with her friend who is also a writer. Writer A wrote a story, Writer B was acting as a critique partner. The dialogue isn’t word for word, but you’ll get the point.

–START SCENE–

Writer A: I think I’m ready to get this thing published.

Writer B: You’re ready. It’s a great story.

Writer A: Thanks. I think between your comments and my red sharpie, I’m as ready as I’m gonna be.

Writer B: Trust me on this. Don’t do it. You could shoot yourself in the foot if you don’t have it edited. I’ll give you my editor’s number. She’ll catch things that we missed.

–END SCENE–

Okay, I’ll admit that writer A was me. (Gasp!) If you go through previous posts, you’ll find how much I believe in NEVER editing your own work. So, why was I now taking this hypocritical stand?

Well, the piece I put together was short. Coming in at under 24K, I felt the word count was low enough that between me and my sharpie, the critique of Writer B, and my endearing Beta Babies that were doing a test read, I could circumvent the professional substantive edit.

Second, I was anxious. I really wanted to give “the people” (the millions of imaginary fans I’d envisioned downloading my novella in droves) something to read. Put a little literary gem into the universe while I completed revisions on my full-length novel and put THAT one through the professional edit.

Writer B was having NONE of that. Despite it’s length, it needed an edit. If not for typos and grammar, at least for structure and flow. Without proper editing, I was taking a huge chance that the gem I was putting out would turn out to be a cubic zirconia, not a diamond.

I once read an book by an author whose work I really like. But, the story wasn’t edited very well. She grossly misspelled a well known fashion label. I was able to move past it because the story was good but it was almost like that movie Showgirls where Jessi (I know that’s her Saved By The Bell character name) called the dress she was wearing “Ver-sayse”. Epic fail. The typos I remember about as much as the plot itself. Thing is, not every reader is as forgiving as me. For some, this can be considered a critical error. Critical story errors can turn people off and not only will they never read another book of yours, they’ll tell their friends.

Am I suggesting you run every piece by a professional editor? Not really. If you’re posting a flash-fiction piece, a poem you came up with at 3am, or a writing exercise on your blog or website just for fun or to give your readership a “lil’ something something”, just as long as you pull out your sharpie, read it aloud, and hit spellcheck, you can get away with it. Besides, at the frequency blogs are updated, there’s not a lot of time for it. And most of us don’t even have the resources.

BUT for work you want to publish AND/OR sell, skipping this step could be a shot to the foot or worse. Now will that editor catch it ALL? No. I’ve put the novel I’ve been working on through a professional edit before and she caught the vast majority of my mistakes. But, she missed a couple of tiny things, like a comma here and there. Stuff like that won’t kill you as it didn’t interrupt the flow of the book. However, cracks in story development, plot holes, typos, and tense-jumping might pronounce your work DOA.

So, I’ve been in touch with a few potential editors to go through my novella. So, while I’m not able to cross that published bridge yet, it’ll be worth it to wait because I really want this story to be known for its plot and characters, NOT for that major story flaw halfway through it or the little annoying things like redundant words or not being descriptive enough. Oh, and to Writer B? Thanks again. You saved my writing aspirations from potential death or brain damage from lack of edit.

***

Now it’s your turn. My beloved readers, what things have you come across in books that have made you scratch your head or just throw the book in the garbage? For my writer peeps, what pitfalls are you avoiding so that your work will be its best effort possible? I’d like to know. Perhaps your story pet peeve will make the “KYSS of death” list. Happy writing and happy reading 🙂

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This book would make a great movie…

Posted by Dahlia on August 5, 2011

Taking a popular book and turning it into a movie or tv show happens all the time, sometimes with great success, sometimes not. I can mention the obvious Twilight and Harry Potter series. Then there’s I Am Number Four, The Nanny Diaries, Rizolli & Isles, Lipstick Jungle, Sex & The City (a good example of book to TV show to Movie ) – It even happens to books written by African-Americans and/or featuring predominantly African-American characters. Precious, How Stella Got Her Groove Back, Waiting to Exhale made it to the big screen. Disappearing Acts was on HBO. Zane’s The Sex Chronicles got a series on Cinemax. Steve Harvey’s book Act Like A Lady, Think Like A Man is filming as we speak. Helena Andrews, who penned Bitch is The New Black just got a movie deal for her book optioned by none other than the super-fab Shonda Rhimes. And yes, the screenplay will be written by Helena.
I don’t know of a writer who doesn’t play Fantasy Casting Director with their books, wondering if their novel, memoir, or self-help book has what it takes to grace either the silver or small screen. We’ve imagined who would play who in the movie version of our book. What can I say, writers dream big. I’d like to suggest a few books, both fiction and non-fiction that would make good movies or TV series.
Flyy Girl — Talk about 80s nostalgia! It’s hard to come by a black woman who didn’t love Omar Tyree’s coming of age novel about a girl in the hip-hop era. Even he knows it should be a movie; the follow up to Flyy Girl, For the Love of Money is about Flyy Girl becoming a movie.
The Strawberry Letter: Real Talk, Real Advice, Because Bitterness Isn’t Sexy — I envision Shirley Strawberry’s compilation of letters from people seeking relationship advice that have become very popular on The Steve Harvey Morning Show becoming somewhat of an ensemble movie, like Valentine’s Day or He’s Just Not That Into You (also started as a book) where the characters don’t all interact with each other, but they’re all connected. I can only imagine the drama, comedy, and hijinks a well-written screenplay played awesome actors could create.
Your Degrees Won’t Keep You Warm at Night: The Very Smart Brothas Guide to Dating, Mating, and Fighting Crime — Written by Damon Young and Panama Jackson, the title alone to this dating and relationship book has me envisioning movie trailers and promo posters. Again, another ensemble cast is in order.
Scenes From a Sistah, Getting to The Good Part, Tastes Like Chicken — this series of books by Lolita Files featuring best friends Misty Fine and Reesy Snowden can easily be the replacement to the void left behind by Girlfriends.(see Gotta Have Girlfriends). However, this show would need to make its home on either HBO or Showtime. Network TV and basic cable won’t do this show justice.
Casting The First Stone — Love, Honor, and Betray — Kimberla Lawson Roby’s eight-book (to date) series of stories centered around Rev. Curtis Black could be the perfect hour-long drama series. Lies, greed, sex, scandals, cheating, gossip, power struggles, scheming, money, love, and church. Whoo! I’d tune in every week. Hey, Brothers and Sisters just got cancelled…10pm every Sunday is appropriate AND perfect.
Those are just my thoughts, and I know there are more out there that I haven’t thought of. So, now it’s your turn. What book do you see making an excellent movie or tv show? If you think a book is better suited for television, what station would you put it on and why?

Posted in Books, Marketing & Promoting, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Writer Wednesday: Killing your story softly #1

Posted by Dahlia on August 3, 2011

I’ve been a writer for as long as I can remember. However, I’m a reader first. I love reading books as much I enjoy writing them. I have found from both the reader’s and writer’s perspective that there are things an author can do to a book that could place it in urgent care, ICU, or just flat out kill it altogether. Based on feedback from both writers and readers the Killing Your Story Softly (KYSS) Series was born. So, you ready? LEGGO!
***
KYSS #1: The Half-A** Committment
Say you smash your toe into the wall, burn your hand on the stove, break your acrylic fingernail right across the nailbed. If you’re like me with a bit of a cussing spirit (maybe a lot), what’s your reaction? I’ll tell you what it ain’t… “Oh, S!”
I once read a book where boyfriend and girlfriend are having a heated argument. Girlfriend finally has enough of boyfriend’s mess and says…”F*** you!”
Seriously?
No, for real…where’s the rest of the word?
I kid you not, that’s really how it was written.
So, what the f*** is up with censoring the words? It’s a novel, not a live performance on CBS. The FCC isn’t going to come after you for spelling the whole word out. I was really bothered by that. It wasn’t a serious enough blow for me to put the book down, but I proceeded reading with caution.
My thing is if you’re not going to commit fully to whatever you’re putting in the story, be it strong language, action sequences, steamy sex scenes, whatever, then just don’t put it in. This is where the come correct or not at all rule comes into play. There are workarounds and alternatives if you’re not comfortable. However, censoring the word in print isn’t one of them because people who use profanity don’t talk and think in asterisks. I consider this a dialogue fail in the story. The author “bleeping” out the f-bomb wasn’t necessary. There had to be another way to effectively show how fed up the female character was.
Now maybe it’s just my cussing spirit, but if one of my characters is going to say it, you best believe you’re going to get all four letters on the page. Or all five, eight or maybe even all 12 letters if the scene calls for it and it’s in the character’s nature. Now, this doesn’t mean every three words should be a s, d, or f. Not every character likes to get his/her cuss on. Too much strong language can kill a story, too. Perhaps it’s taboo for the genre. (Now we know there are five-year-olds out there that can cuss you under the table and probably chew so much Dial they burp, hiccup, and fart soap bubbles, but those words shouldn’t be in a picture book…sorry.) The writer has to determine the appropriateness of strong language as it pertains to the story and to the character(s). If it is appropriate, go on and let him say it. All of it. Don’t hold back. Commit.
***
Now it’s your turn. My beloved readers, what things have you come across in books that have made you scratch your head or just throw the book in the garbage? For my writer peeps, what pitfalls are you avoiding so that your work will be its best effort possible? I’d like to know. Perhaps your story pet peeve will make the “KYSS of death” list. Happy writing and happy reading 🙂

Posted in Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments »

Change the Game

Posted by Dahlia on July 28, 2011

Lately, I have been thinking of ways to expand my platform to get more readers. Like I mentioned before, I love the writers who follow me. Great relationships have been formed because of it, and while I know writers read, I really wanted to reach out to that reader that I’m writing for. And the majority of my posts haven’t been for the reader.

I subscribe to Kristen Lamb’s blog and get her updates in my email. For those who don’t know who this fabulous lady is, she is considered a social media expert. She has written a book titled We Are Not Alone: The Writer’s Guide to Social Media and it’s all about platform building to attract a following of you guessed it, readers. Not even halfway (I was at about 22%) through her book, I saw that my strategy was wrong and I needed an overhaul of my blog. Simply put, with the imminent publication of my novella with a full novel to follow, I’ve got to change my game. However, I don’t want to lose the writers that have hopped on this journey with me. Supporting each other is
still important to me. At the same time, books generally don’t sell themselves,
especially if you’re going the independent route like I am. So, I’ve got to
reach my target audience and change the way I’ve been approaching social
networking.

So, here are the changes that I’m going to incorporate. **drumroll, please and thank you**

1. Blog title change

You may have already noticed this. I feel the new title is more inclusive of
not only this writing process but the content relevant to my genre and my style
of writing.

2. More frequent updates

No, I’m not going back to daily. I’m a writer who blogs, not a blogger who writes. I am pushing for three days a week. I want to dedicate my Wednesdays to my writer followers that have been hanging out with me since February. And since I like alliteration like that, Writer Wednesday is for you! Smooches!  :X

3. More reader friendly content

I write fiction. Specifically women’s fiction. Even more specifically chick-lit (and the occasional drama). My characters are predominantly African-American. So, my niche is African-American Chick Lit. So, I need to talk about things related to what someone reading African-American Chick Lit would read in a book: relationships (not just the romantic ones but the ones between parents and children, siblings, etc.), love, friendships, fashion, socializing, and maybe a little bit of drinking. Also included in this would be interviews from authors similar to me, book reviews of books in the same genre, etc.

4. A slight Twitter change

My original twitter handle was already ok. It was @ycbmcclain, but I felt
it was better to use my full professional name. It’s a part of branding. Unfortunately
@yvesbrownmcclain was too long, so I settled for @yvesbmcclain

I would HIGHLY recommend Kristen’s book to any writer trying to navigate the internet and all these social networking sites to engage readers. It can get overwhelming and time-consuming. The tips just make good common sense and can help you from spamming away your network. This is only the beginning of the revamp of my platform and I am very excited. You can get either the print or the electronic version. It’s so worth the investment in yourself, your brand, and your product.

Posted in Announcements, Marketing & Promoting, Publishing, Purpose, Writing | Tagged: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments »

Relax, Relate, Release…

Posted by Dahlia on July 27, 2011

I completed my novella’s draft about a few weeks ago (I’ve got an excerpt available here). I was a little tapped out creatively to jump right in and start revisions on it, so I decided to return to my other WIP that I’d placed on hold to write the novella.

However, I wasn’t able to flip out of one story into the other for a few days. My novella had taken on a more dramatic tone, whereas my novel is a bit more lighthearted. Two things helped me transition: One was an enlightening conversation about fear and vulnerability with a fellow writer friend. (I won’t name names 🙂 ). This conversation helped me see that I must see my novel through to the end, despite the internal and external obstacles. Second, I read the work of one of my favorite authors, Lolita Files. And I laughed. A lot. I won’t get into too many details, but I’ll never see a thunderstorm the same way again.

Then I went back to my WIP. I began to have an experience similar to Beyonce’s after she wrapped up Dreamgirls and started work on her second album, B-Day. She said in an interview that she’d been confined to her Dena character for so long that when she got into the studio, she was able to release and all this creativity just came out. I
had taken about a month to craft this novella that’s a bit out of the box for me because of the drama involved in it. I tend to like my writing lighthearted and fun. But, I needed to do something different because I was getting stagnant with the WIP. (When you’ve been working on it as long as I have, it can get that way sometimes). So, I took the challenge of being a drama writer and immersed myself in it completely. So, it was safe to say that when I finally got back to my WIP, I needed to release. And I did. Suddenly, I had all these ideas and ways to fill in the blanks of the chapters I needed to add and make adjustments to existing chapters. And for me, I found them to be not only lighthearted and fun, but funny. (I’ll find out soon if others agree with me on the funny stuff) I’d been through too much pretend drama in the past month. I
needed a good laugh.

So, you may not need to go as far as I did and write a completely different story to get a break from your current project. It just so happened that I had the idea and decided to run with it. Fortunately, it helped me return to my WIP with a fresh set of eyes and a bunch of ideas while at the same time, I was able to stretch out of my chick-lit comfort zone and dabble in drama for a bit. So, what do you do to release when you find that your WIP is getting a little stagnant?

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A Conversation with…Hannah D. Spivey (part two)

Posted by Dahlia on July 20, 2011

Last week was part one of my talk with Hannah D. Spivey, author of Ebony The Beloved. It’s very fitting that our conversation concludes today, as July 20 is the official release date of her novel. Again,  I enjoyed talking with Hannah, I’m very excited about her book, and I’m sure she will continue to do well on her future projects. Enjoy!

*****

YBM: If you could meet or work with any author, alive or dead, who would it be?

HDS: I’d love meet and work with Kimberla Lawson Roby, Toni Morrison, and Mary Monroe. I think they’re awesome wordsmiths. They’re irreplaceable.

YBM: I ♥ Kimberla Lawson Roby. She’s definitely in my top ten…From the reader’s perspective, what can they expect?

HDS: My readers can expect the unexpected. You name it: Shock, humor, sadness, everything! (LOL)

YBM: When a reader sees your name, what is it that you want them to say about your work?

HDS: I want them to say that I’m a good story teller, and I’m very descriptive, and detailed.

YBM: Any advice for aspiring writers ?

HDS: Know your target audience, never edit your own book–

YBM: Amen to that! Any more tips?

HDS: Join social media sites and writing groups, write for other people, think out of the box, and never ever give up.

YBM: Any future projects?

HDS: I have twenty more novels and a screen play in the works. 🙂

YBM: LOL, you sound like me. I’ve got at least that many projects planned for down the road…where can we find your books?

HDS: You can find my short story e-books on www.Lulu.com. The names of them are: My Sherry Amor, Lloyd Tube, and Payback is an S.O.B. My novel, Ebony the Beloved will be available on Amazon and BN.com this month.

YBM Now for five random questions, just because I can get a little random…the first one is If you could be on a reality show, what would it be?

HDS: My reality show would be called, “The Literary Adventures of Hannah D. Spivey”

YBM: If your main character, Ebony, could be on a reality show, what would it be?

HDS: “Ebony Butterfly”

YBM:  If you could coin a term for yourself as a writer, what would your title be?

HDS: I would use my twitter name as my title: Boss Lady Writer.

YBM: What makes you smile?

HDS: Chocolate and the R & B singer Lloyd! Girl, that man is too hot to trot! LOL

YBM: Lastly, what makes you go WTF?

HDS: Face tattoos and all sorts of dumb down ratchetness.

YBM: I’m with you on the face tattoos. That’s just craziness. Any last words?

HDS:  Follow me on Twitter @Bossladywriter

Posted in Author Interview, Marketing & Promoting, Stories, Writing | Tagged: , , , | 4 Comments »

A Conversation with…Hannah D. Spivey

Posted by Dahlia on July 13, 2011

My husband and I love to entertain. We’ll fire up the grill or the deep fryer, have some friends over and crank up Pandora (or Music Choice). Everybody has a good time, the laughs are plenty, and the conversation even better. The best conversations always take place at our kitchen table, usually over a few drinks and a plate of food. When I decided to expand my blog to include author interviews, it was my hope to make my guest feel at home and really just have a conversation with him or her, as if we’re hanging out in the kitchen.

For this post, I got to talk with Hannah D. Spivey. Hannah is the author of Ebony the Beloved. She holds an Associate’s Degree in Business Administration and is currently working on her second novel, The Bold and Ugly Truth. She’s a huge fan of the R&B singer Lloyd and she’s a natural hair stan (that’s a fanatic for anyone not familiar with Eminem). She resides in Ft. Lauderdale, FL with her parents and sister. I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to chat with her and really pick her brain about her novel, her inspiration, and really what makes her tick. My talk with her was actually pretty lengthy, so I broke it into two parts. Part two will be posted next week. Enjoy!

*****

YBM: Tell me about yourself. Where are you from? Family? College? Where do you live now? When did you start writing?

HDS: I’m the author of Ebony the Beloved, I’m a natural hair zealot, and I live with my parents, unfortunately (LOL). I have an Associate’s Degree in Business Administration and I began writing professionally on Oct, 2009.

YBM: I had to go back to my parent’s house for a while, too. It can be a challenge once you get to a certain age, especially if you’ve already been out on your own. Anyhow, did you have any formal writing training such as classes or workshops? Or are you basically self-taught?

HDS: I just read books and articles by other authors. This has helped me in many ways.

YBM: So, what inspired you to become a writer?

HDS: My imagination and eccentricity has inspired me to write. I have a way with words and I mostly express myself through the stories I write.

YBM: Tell me about your novel, Ebony the Beloved. Is it your first?

HDS: Yes, Ebony the Beloved is my first novel. Ebony has been condemned and rejected by her parents and peers all of her life. Like many other black girls who grew up weary to face life, she struggles with the adversities of being impoverished and accepted for who is she is. After being mentally, emotionally, and sexually abused Ebony still struggles to fight her way to the top, never fully realizing her worth is until she finds love and acceptance from one of the faculty members at her school. From that point on, things began to blossom for her until she meets a smooth operator named Desmond Waltz. Desmond is a world renowned entertainer who takes a sudden romantic interest in Ebony. His hidden sadistic and sexually devious desires for her erupt into rage, abuse, and imprisonment. Not only is Ebony’s world turned upside down yet again as she deals with Desmond’s desire to see her suffer under his thumb, but she is also subjected to his domineering mother, who hates her and abuses her every time she gets leaving Ebony beaten and bloody and begging for the pain to stop.

YBM: I got a chance to read the excerpt on your blog, youcametothewriteplace. I could definitely feel Ebony’s pain in that brief passage and I was hooked. When will I be able to read the rest?

HDS: The e-book version should be available on July 20th or sooner.

YBM: So, there will there be a print format as well?

HDS: Yes, my books will be available in print and e-book format. I should be receiving some of copies of my book, which I’m very excited about. But people can still order my books through my website (Which I’ll announce on Twitter soon)

YBM: What is your strength as a writer?

HDS: I’m good at telling wild stories and my vocabulary is out of his world. LOL

YBM: How did you find your publisher? How long did you query before you connected with them?

HDS: I found my publisher via Facebook on June 2010. Before I found her, I queried lit agents and independent publishers for the first six months of the year. It didn’t work out but I struck gold when I met my publisher.

YBM: What about writing challenges you most?

HDS: Coming up with the conclusion of the story is my biggest challenge.

YBM: Talk to me about your marketing. What avenues are you using to build your fan base? What has been working for you?

HDS: I have a publicist and marketing planner. I write for a magazine called www.ontherisemagazine.com. It’s owned by Attica Lundy. I write for her in exchange for her representation. Writing for On the Rise has a lot of perks such as networking and building your credibility as a writer. I met my Marketing Planner on Facebook too and she’s phenomenal. I also tweet about my book, which has helped. I also love to think out of the box.

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Come back next week for Part Two of A Conversation with…Hannah D. Spivey

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