In 50 words or less, make us want to read your debut novel FROM DUSK TO DAWN.
Their first meeting was as explosive as lightning on a hot summer night. Taliban wannabe? Bible-thumping crusader? Now those are fighting words! If Bilal and Ayo can’t manage a civil conversation, how in the world can they fall in love? And when it finally happens, can they overcome the greatest challenge of all?
THE CALL! Describe for us the moment you learned your book was going to be published by Parker Publishing.
The call was actually an email, and when I read it, no words could come out of my mouth. Think beached fish or seizure victim. I read it over and over again until I could quote each word verbatim. It’s still in my “keep as new” email folder.
How has your life changed since getting your book deal? Has it changed?
I’m still getting used to the fact that I’m the author of a published novel. And the look on the faces of friends and family when I tell them I’ve written a book. Most of all, I consider the timing as divine order. My husband passed away in December. I knew I had to fill my days; a whole lot of idle time would not be a good thing. Instead, there are hardly enough hours to work on the promotion of From Dusk to Dawn. I’m blogging, trying to figure out what the heck to do with MySpace, planning for promotional items, doing podcasts and internet radio. For that “busyness”, I am so grateful.
It’s always important, in my opinion, for aspiring writers to learn of the “journey to publication” from published authors. Talk to us about your initial journey of writing FROM DUSK TO DAWN and finally having the book published. How long did it take you to get a book deal upon the book’s completion?
In another interview, I used the words “long and winding.” I started the story in a writing class. In the beginning, I was totally clueless. Why else would I pitch what was a total of three chapters to an agent? For more than two years, however, I was fortunate enough to write for the confessions magazines. Writing three or more stories a month was serious on-the–job training. Over time, my manuscript was rejected and revised, rejected and revised again. I kept at it until I finally I came up with the version that was accepted by Parker Publishing.
What’s your favorite thing about FROM DUSK TO DAWN?
Love in its many manifestations – not always perfect love, and sometimes misguided by fear, but love nonetheless. It’s love between a man and woman, and strong, unbreakable love between family members. It’s the lengths to which characters are willing to go and the sacrifices they’re willing to make, all in the name of love.
What are three adjectives that best describe YOU?
For that question, you’ll need enough words to play an all-night game of scrabble. It depends on the day you ask, and I say that will a big helping of laughter. But most of all, I would describe myself as loyal, low-key, and fun-loving. (Even if the last two appear contradictory)!
How do you spend your time when you’re not writing?
This whole writing thing began with reading, and I’m still an avid reader. For a long time, I’ve been involved in the history of both sides of my family, although genealogical research is at the bottom of the “to do” list for now. Recently I’ve discovered scrapbooking, and I’m afraid I’ll end up in some kind of support group for recovering paper addicts. I love boats and the water, and whenever I get an opportunity, I go sailing.
Niambi Davis: The Soundtrack. What three songs would make it onto a soundtrack of your life?
Only three? Well, I’d have to include “Dance, Dance, Dance” (Chic), Hero (Mariah Carey), and Hot Fun in the Summertime (Sly and the Family Stone.) Summer is my favorite time of year, and this song is a classic summer anthem.
Do you have a standard process to your writing? Are you an outliner or a jump-right-in writer?
Definitely jump right in. I have tried outlining, and it worked to a point, but in the very rough beginning, I have to write it in longhand and let the plot fall where it may. Only afterwards can I put some order to the story.
Word association: What comes to mind when you see the following words:
From Dusk to Dawn: Joy
Ayo & Bilal: Fear and Love
Niambi Davis: Gratitude and Peace
What advice would you offer aspiring-to-be published authors?
First and last - be patient, open to constructive criticism and persevere. Take any good opportunities – they’re often stepping stones to something greater.
What is one big thing you’ve learned about the industry since receiving your book deal?
I used to believe that the writer was involved in every step of the publication process, but I’ve found the exact opposite to be true.
Dream-on: FROM DUSK TO DAWN: THE MOVIE. Who would play Ayo and Bilal?
Keith Hamilton Cobb would have to play Bilal, especially if his skin was a darker brown. If you’ve seen the series Andromeda, the reason is obvious! For Ayo, Kimberly Elise would be my choice. She has the “look.”
What projects are you currently working on?
Next up is a historical – I’ve finally let go of the research phase – it’s easy to get lost in that part of the process. It’s the story of a young black woman in 18th century England who finds love halfway around the world. In her words, she’s had a taste of love and of freedom, and she’ll risk everything to get it back. Then there’s the story of a woman accused of burning down her own home. She flees to the British Virgin Islands where she owns a beautiful 50-foot catamaran, but she’s still got to make a living. She works as a luxury charter captain while trying to find out who framed her and why. A character from Dusk to Dawn plays a major role in this one.
Hey, Shon: Thanks so much for the interview, and for those long ago days when you allowed me to introduce Ayo:)
Wonderful interview...go Shonie...go Niambi!
Instead, there are hardly enough hours to work on the promotion of From Dusk to Dawn. I’m blogging, trying to figure out what the heck to do with MySpace, planning for promotional items, doing podcasts and internet radio. For that “busyness”, I am so grateful.
Lawd...I hear and feel ya sis...promotion along can be a full time job!
Oh yes and I can see Keith Hamilton as Bilah and hmmm is Elise old enough to be Ayo...oh and music...what music helped you to writing From Dusk to Dawn...what's on the soundtrack. ;)
is Elise old enough to be Ayo...oh and music...what music helped you to writing From Dusk to Dawn...what's on the soundtrack. ;)
She's not qute old enough, but she has the "look", and Hollywood can work wonders (lol) As far as the music, it was a collaborative effort between me and the characters:) I stuck in some of my favorites, but chose others that spoke to the moment - Celibacy Blues by Jill Scott is first on the CD; then there's a little jazz, some r&b, some blues, salsa and of course Phil Collins - who else can sing our theme "Against All Odds?"
Great interview Shon. Niambi I look forward to reading your work.
Thanks, JC - and when you put yours out there, I'll be among the first cheering you on!
Great interview. Welcome to the literary world.
Hi Barbara: Thanks so much for the welcome:)
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