In 50 words or less, entice us to read LOVE LIKE HALLELUJAH.
Only fifty??? Okay! If you’ve ever wondered what goes on behind the scenes of first families and their faithful members, including those things some would rather not talk about…you’ll love this series. What happens when love feels more like hell than hallelujah? Turn the pages and find out…!
LOVE LIKE HALLELUJAH is the second book in your Hallelujah Love series – SEX IN THE SANCTUARY was the debut novel. Tell us how the idea for the series came about.
The idea literally dropped in my head one day. I’d just finished a project and asked Spirit what I should work on next. “Sex In The Sanctuary, and it’s a book” was the answer. (The ‘it’s a book’ clarification was because at this time I was writing stage plays. Sex In The Sanctuary was my first full-length adult novel.) The central storyline came the same way; I immediately knew it would be about two best friends who were experiencing two very different marriages, and things just unfolded from there. I always felt it would be a series. There were just too many characters and storylines to cram into one book.
One thing that I find different and that I love about your novel LOVE LIKE HALLELUJAH when compared to some other novels with Christian undertones is the realness of the characters and controversial elements depicted. What feedback have you received from readers in regards to your novels’ realism?
The feedback has been wonderful…most people absolutely LOVE its authentic quality and thank me for keeping it real! The few who have found it challenging often do so because they thought they were reading Christian fiction and were therefore surprised at the explicit language and sexual nature of some storylines. So I should make the disclaimer for those who might get it twisted…this is not Christian fiction! :) I must say too, however, that it is both spiritual and inspirational and I think skillfully combines sexuality and spirituality in a way that hasn’t been done before.
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Because your book(s) are “different” regarding how “earthly” they are despite their Christian undertones, how difficult was it for you to obtain an agent and a book deal for the Hallelujah Love series?
It was very easy for me to get a book deal and agent. But part of that may be because I’d already paid dues by independently publishing, marketing and selling out the first print run of Sex In The Sanctuary.
What’s your favorite thing about LOVE LIKE HALLELUJAH?
I love the cultural diversity, fast-paced plot and unpredictability of the storylines.
I read on your site that you are planning to develop a soundtrack and a screenplay for SEX IN THE SANCTUARY. How are those projects going?
My agent is actively pursing a movie deal for the Hallelujah Love series and this is going very well. We’re hoping to have at least a sneak peek at a soundtrack later this year…
Word Association. What comes to mind when you see the following words:
a. RELATIONSHIPS: blessings
b. WRITING: a gift
c. CHURCH: interesting
d. LOVE LIKE HALLELUJAH: thankful
e. LUTISHIA LOVELY: free
What advice would you offer aspiring-to-be-published authors?
I’d encourage them to create their best possible product. That means an excellent, well-developed storyline, interesting characters and something that makes their novel stand out from the rest. There are over 100,000 books published every year so the competition is fierce! And out of the thousands of manuscripts that come across agent/publisher desks, only 2% get accepted. Many of these decisions are made in the first few sentences of a query letter, or first few lines of a sample chapter. There’s no room for grammatical and spelling errors, etc. So in other words, you’ve got to come correct!
Lastly, don’t let rejections stop you from believing in your product. Publish it yourself if you have to, but get your story out!
What is one big thing you've learned about the industry since receiving your book deal?
That writing the book is only half the job; the other half is promoting, promoting, promoting! It doesn’t matter whether you’re with a major publisher or not, nobody is going to believe in and market your book like you do.
What projects are you currently working on?
Well, I just finished book three in the Hallelujah Love Series, A Preacher’s Passion. I think it’s the best one so far and comes out at the end of the year. I’m also really excited about my debut into the world of romance with Lies Lovers Tell that I also just finished and which is coming out in October. I’m writing these romance novels under a pseudonym, Zuri Day. After taking a mini-break, I’ll start book four in the Hallelujah Love series, Heaven Right Here, my second romance novel and am working with a friend on a non-fiction, self-help book about living one’s dreams. It’s called Untapped. So I am a writer-holic right now (or some might say a writing fool!) but it’s all to the good. I’m SO thankful to work full-time doing what I love.