Tuesday, January 8, 2008
Frederick Smith in the house!
1. So you just published your second book. Congratulations! Tell us a little about the book, and
what's similar or different from your first...
Thanks. Right Side of the Wrong Bed is a novel about relationships, specifically a romantic relationship between opposites. The main characters, Kenny and Jeremy, are different in many ways -- age, education, experience, ethnicity, outlook on life -- but somehow manage to find each other interesting enough to try and make it work. I think it's a fun, funny, and thoughtful look at contemporary romance. I think anyone who's been in one of those "so good, yet so bad" relationships can relate to Right Side. Lots of fun supporting characters who have their opinions on whether Kenny and Jeremy are good or bad for each other. And I have lots of strong women characters in the new book who were fun to write and create.
Both my books are set in L.A. Right Side focuses on two main characters. Down For Whatever focuses on a foursome of friends who are looking for love in all the wrong places. Both books are stand-alone books, though I'm considering bringing back a few characters in future projects.
2. You must be able to stay awake 24-hours a day, since you've written a couple books, work full time, travel across country, and still maintain good relationships with those around you. Help us understand how you manage to have it all and do it all... what keeps you going?
I feel like I never sleep... for real! I have my alarm set for 4:30 am, and I try to write for a couple hours in the morning before leaving for my day job. Fortunately, I have a really great work team that supports my writing career, and I get to take off time for travel and book work. I can come in on weekends and have a quiet space to write if I want. I can be a pretty fast and productive writer when I'm focused on a project. When I'm not focused, I get sidetracked by things like email, reading blogs, responding to readers' notes, watching television, etc... After work, I go to the gym and then write until bedtime, which is usually 11:30 pm.
3. Can you talk a little about your writing techniques? When you sit down to write, where are you? What are you doing? Anything on in the background or outside your window? Do you set page goals?
I usually write in my bedroom, since I start writing in the wee hours of the morning or late at night. I have no rituals, per se, but I have to turn off the internet if I am to be productive that writing session. For me, I try to complete a scene... or at least get the scene going in the right direction so that when I start writing again, there's some direction. Some days I'm fast and turn out a lot of pages. Some days I'm slow. I would encourage new writers to finish their draft, then go back and edit. I wasted many a good writing session editing stuff I'd already written. So I usually just go forward because I know I'll have time to revise and edit once the novel draft is done.
4. So you're at the forefront of current black gay literature. How does that feel? How do readers feel you've represented the community or their lives? Is that how you want your work to be categorized?
I don't know about forefront, because there are so many great writers doing their thing for black gay literature. And there are great people who paved the way for people like me -- James Baldwin, E. Lynn Harris, James Earl Hardy, etc... I'm fortunate that I was able to be picked up by a mainstream publisher, and I wish more people in my genre were in the traditionally published route. It's coming, I'm sure.
Readers have responded very positively to my novels. With Right Side of the Wrong Bed, I have gotten tremendous love from the guys under 25 in big cities, who say that I've represented their generation very well with the Jeremy character -- the lingo, language, and urban edge. That's a surprise to me, because everyone writes off young people as non-readers. So that's exciting to hear their responses. Overall, people are positive.
Sometimes, I get questions about having characters from various cultural backgrounds interacting with each other. I think that's because people don't realize that in L.A., where my books are set, our reality is seeing so many people from various ethnicities in the same circles at work, in love, or at the club. Once I explain that, then people understand. Overall, I feel like I write work that anyone can relate to.
5. OK. So I'm going to ask you for a few of your favorites. Tell me your first response... so we can get to know you...
Favorite musician: i like Whitney Houston and Diana Ross
Favorite food: soul food, thai food, and seafood
Favorite political cause: access to higher education; cultural awareness and cultural empowerment
Favorite shallow pasttime: america's next top model, music videos, surfing the net
Favorite vacation spot: i enjoy disneyland or disney world... even as an adult
Favorite book: anything by Eric Jerome Dickey, Terry McMillan, Alisa Valdes-Rodrigues, or E. Lynn Harris
6. Any final words or thoughts you want to share?
I love hearing from readers, writers, and supporters. I really enjoy getting out to book clubs and book festivals, so if you're looking for someone cute, fun, smart, and exciting to be on a panel... lol. But seriously, feel free to check out my website or MySpace for updated events and book signings. I'll be doing some events in your area soon, so keep in touch.
Posted by Fiona Zedde at 12:34 PM