2. Tell us your latest news? I just won the 2012 Best Fiction award from the African American Literary Awards Show.
3. When and why did you begin writing? I wrote my first novel in 1995 because I always felt as though there was something else I should be doing career wise and also because I had been told as early as elementary school from teachers that I should consider a career in writing.
4. When did you first consider yourself a writer? When I self-published my first novel in 1996.
5. What inspired you to write your first book? I wanted to do something I enjoyed and something that felt natural to me.
6. Do you have a specific writing style? I write about real-life issues in a fictional format.
7. How did you come up with the title? For THE REVEREND’S WIFE, since the book was mainly centered on Curtis’s wife, Charlotte, I thought maybe this particular title might be appropriate.
8. Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp? Forgiveness and redemption and how so many of us need to work a lot harder on forgiving others.
9. How much of the book is realistic? The entire novel. I don’t write about anyone’s exact story, but I do write about situations that can and do happen.
10. Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life? Experiences are based on situations I know and have heard about. Of my 17 novels, there is only one that I based almost completely on my own life and that was IT’S A THIN LINE.
11. What books have most influenced your life most? The Bible because there are so many scriptures that have helped me improve on my life and those that have encouraged me to always treat people the way I want to be treated, just like my mom always told me.
12. If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor? I wasn’t blessed to have a mentor in the beginning, but once I met E. Lynn Harris he became the most supportive author, and he gave me lots of great advice.
13. What book are you reading now? KEEPING SECRETS & TELLING LIES by Trice Hickman
14. What are your current projects? I’m releasing three titles in 2013, THE PERFECT MARRIAGE (January 8), A HOUSE DIVIDED — a Reverend Curtis Black story (May 7), and A CHRISTMAS PRAYER (October).
15. Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members? My readers! They have supported me from day one, and they are the reason I am blessed to have a writing career.
16. Do you see writing as a career? Yes, definitely.
17. If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book? No, it would remain the same.
18. Do you recall how your interest in writing originated? I’d always been told by teachers in elementary, jr. high and high school and then by professors in college that I should be a writer, so when I sat down and thought about making a career change, I decided to give writing a try.
19. Can you share a little of your current work with us? THE REVEREND’S WIFE is the 9th title in my Reverend Curtis Black Series, and Curtis has decided that enough is enough (based on Charlotte’s recent infidelity) and that he wants a divorce. However, Charlotte does everything she can to try to save her marriage.
20. Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing? The most challenging thing is trying to write a book that everyone will enjoy. As a writer, you know you can’t make everyone happy, but it is still something I hope and pray for with every book.
21. Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work? My favorite book is YOUR BLUES AIN’T LIKE MINE by Bebe Moore Campbell. This is still the one book that even when I had to put it down the first night to go to sleep, I thought about it all day the next day at work and couldn’t wait to get back home to it.
22. Do you travel much promoting your book(s)? Yes, I travel on a national tour for each new release, and I do other speaking engagements and other events throughout the year.
23. Who designed the covers? My publisher has an art department that handles all my book designs.
24. What was the hardest part of writing your book? The hardest part is trying to live up to my last title, and also hoping it will be satisfying to readers.
25. Do you have any advice for other writers? Write straight from your heart and find your own personal voice. Read and study the craft of writing, and also read everything you can about the business of publishing. Writing your book is one part of what you’ll need to do to become a published author, but ultimately, it will be the relationships you build with readers, one reader at a time, that will make all the difference. Also, learn everything you can about promoting and marketing your work.
26. Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers? Believe in God, believe in yourself, and believe in whatever you are trying to accomplish—always believe in that order