You have 25 words or less to make us pant for your latest novel: SOMETHING HE CAN FEEL! Go!
Mangus Baskerville has it bad . . . caught between the agony and the ecstasy. The agony being his wife’s fist. The ecstasy being his wife’s vagina. Bad.
What was the initial spark that brought SOMETHING HE CAN FEEL into being?
A couple of years ago I heard that Jason Kidd accused his wife of physical abuse, and within days, there was a news story here in Atlanta about another woman who was accused of the same thing. A friend of mine referred to that woman as a husband beater and that’s when the light bulb went off. From that moment on, I had to write about it. Actually, the original title was Husband Beater, but my agent talked me out of it – I’m so glad she did.
How was your experience in writing the main character, Marina, a feisty, hot-blooded, hot-headed, and abusive woman?
Marina Maxwell has definite opinions about how Mangus should handle situations, mainly when it comes to other women, and she also has a problem with the fact that he is so kind. Marina is emotional and controlling, and she tends to strike out at Mangus very easily. I kept reminding myself that this story was not about how I would react, it was about staying true to Marina as a character, taking into account her entire life since birth. And I feel good about accomplishing that. It was indeed my most challenging work to date.
What's your favorite thing about SOMETHING HE CAN FEEL?
My favorite thing about SOMETHING HE CAN FEEL is that I had a chance to explore a flawed mother-daughter relationship. I, personally, had an extremely close relationship with my mother so this was an interesting experience to write about the deep level of tension between a mother and daughter. I enjoyed the opportunity very much.
What are three adjectives that best describe SOMETHING HE CAN FEEL?
Erotic, powerful, and emotional
What are three adjectives that best describe YOU?
Nurturing, passionate, and humble
At the end of the day, aside from being FULLY entertained, what do you hope readers will get out of SOMETHING HE CAN FEEL?
I hope that readers will take a moment to inhale the plight of the characters. There are a lot of women with anger issues who take things out on their men. Sometimes we laugh at the fact that a woman slaps a man. We say he must’ve deserved it. But when a man does the same thing, it’s suddenly not so funny. We as women need to find out why we choose to strike out and work on ourselves. I hope SOMETHING HE CAN FEEL reminds some women of themselves, or of someone they know, male or female.
How do you spend your time when you're not writing?
Once I complete a book I like to catch up on reading. What I love most though is spending time with family since chances are I’ve been glued to my computer. I like to go to the movies, shoot pool, go bowling, or travel. I enjoy cooking and decorating as well.
What three tracks would make it onto a soundtrack of your life, and why?
I like it slow – let’s see:
1) Hey Mama by Kanye West (my son dedicated Hey Mama to me for my birthday – the lyrics do sound like the type of mother I was when raising my kids)
2) Home by Stephanie Mills (this song makes me cry every time – life is so short)
3) Greatest Love of All and One Moment in Time, both by Whitney (these represent my journey in life as far as being a strong, determined woman, and as far as my deep level of love of self)
Do you have a standard process to your writing? Are you an outliner or a jump-right-in writer?
I did not outline with my first five books. I’d just go chapter-to-chapter, and not necessarily in order. But recently I sold titles based on outlines so I’d start out using that same outline when it was time to write the story, but I found that I deviate so much once I really get into the story that it doesn’t work as well for me. So, I’m going back to chapter-to-chapter. My process is that I write only dialogue first, and then narrative. I add action and dialogue tags, etc., later on. Of course, knowing the ending as soon as possible helps tremendously.
Word Association. What comes to mind when you see the following words:
MARISSA MONTEILH: Happy
SOMETHING HE CAN FEEL: Unconventional
What advice would you offer aspiring-to-be-published authors?
A) Write, write, and write some more until you finish your work. Don’t make excuses or tell someone what you’re “about” to do, yet never do it. Take the idea from your head to the computer – just get it down and then mold the story. B) Be open to constructive criticism. Have a thick-skin. This is a business where rejection is a constant part of the process. C) Do the research and don’t expect agent or publisher hook-ups. Study up on the business and on your craft. D) Make sure you read other author’s works. You’ll learn a lot about writing that way.
What is one big thing you've learned about the industry since you became published?
I’ve learned that as a writer, you have to love what you do to stay in the business, even if you don’t have a book deal. If you love it enough, you’ll self-publish and keep writing because it’s your passion. This is a business of numbers - units sold. Period. Talented or not, if your book is not selling, those offers could go away. You have to be creative, positive, resilient, and bitten!
Dream-on: You've just been told that someone wants to turn SOMETHING HE CAN FEEL into a movie. Who would play Marina and Mangus?
Ohh, what a fun thought:
Vivica Fox - Marina
Terrance Howard - Mangus
What projects are you currently working on?
Right now, I’m writing the script to bring MAY DECEMBER SOULS to the stage in 2010. I’m writing my 2009 follow-up story to HOT BOYZ, tentatively called HOT GIRLZ, and by the end of the year, I’ll complete my second novel under my pen name, Pynk, which comes out in October 2009. My first Pynk title, called EROTIC CITY, comes out in November 2008. Yes, this is my premiere venture into erotica! But my books have always been VERY steamy . . . even my newest release, SOMETHING HE CAN FEEL.