Tell us about your novel, IF YOU LOVE ME, COME.
IF YOU LOVE ME, COME is the story of four women, who find their way through a maze of love and betrayal and faith and redemption. Miz Too-Sweet, their guide, is a mysterious matriarch who, unbeknownst to them, listens to the wind and brings a quiet peace to every situation. In her own way, each woman learns that if you love another, life dictates that you come when Love calls. Will Free find it in her heart to salvage the love that she and Junior Thomas once shared? Will Sharmayne experience the lesbian love for which she longs? Will Rhonda’s love save a student heading for jail? And is Pinky doomed to spend her days in the Techwood Projects, pining for a love she can call her own?
When you’re not writing, what do you do for fun?
When I’m not writing, I love to exercise, discover new ways of caring for and styling my kinky curls, experimenting with make-up techniques, snapping selfies, reading, experimenting with new recipes, taking long walks in nature and spending quality time with family and friends. In addition, I love viewing and posting Vlogs to YouTube, dreaming about the exotic locales I intend to visit and admiring couples in loving relationships.
Who or what influenced IF YOU LOVE ME, COME? How did the novel come to life?
The idea for the novel stemmed from something that happened to one of my knee-baby sister’s close girlfriends. She birthed a child, left it with my sister and walked away. I couldn’t imagine a mother doing that, under any circumstance, thus the proverbial thought: What if a character experienced that? I wondered how the mother and child would be impacted by the whole affair, and with that question leading the way, I set out to write the story. The other cast of characters stepped in with their own stories: Free refusing to be controlled by a lover; Sharmayne pushing her way out of the proverbial closet and embracing her first relationship with a woman lover; Rhonda understanding the weight of loving one of her students as if he were her own son; and Pinky refusing to believe that she is doomed to be loved and left. I was influenced by my own life in the telling of Free, Sharmayne, and Rhonda’s stories. As for Pinky, I have known many women who were loved and left and/or who walked away from abusive relationships with their children in tow.
What cultural value do you see in writing IF YOU LOVE ME, COME?
IF YOU LOVE ME, COME is a manual on love and the blessing it is to make the decision to love oneself and others under the worst of circumstances, in trying times. The characters are dynamic, each experiencing change from within, change that impacts them in a profound way by the novel’s end. They cannot remain as they were in the beginning of the story, for when Love touches their lives, they are forever changed. This novel portrays life in the Atlanta projects as well as life in its surrounding suburbs. It embraces straight and lesbian characters. The National Black Arts Festival is a significant backdrop in the novel, and the main characters meet to enjoy the beauty and power of reading in book club meetings. A child is killed in an unfortunate occurrence; however, the sadness births a coming together for the characters in the story’s final chapter.
What’s next? Tell us about your work-in-progress.
My work-in-progress is a novel tentatively entitled, NOT WITHOUT PASSION. It is the story of what happens when a woman leaves her old life behind at a time when people are baffled why she would do such a thing, considering they view her as leading a charmed existence, just to walk towards living her dreams. But Moon Renfro is her own woman. She knows she could’ve opted to remain in her high-powered position in a top Atlanta law firm and take babysteps towards the life she wants to live. Yet Moon has never lived by anyone’s rules outside of her own. Her passion must never be compromised but the day comes when Moon realizes that she’s been settling and she stages her own rebirth. What follows will determine if Moon has the mettle to forge through the unknown and the unexpected to make her dreams come true.
Click on the link below to purchase IF YOU LOVE ME, COME, and click on the open book to read Chapter 5 of NOT WITHOUT PASSION. Happy Reading!
The LEZ TALK BOOKS BLOG TOUR is a collaborative effort by black lesbian writers of fiction and nonfiction works. These writers will also be featured on LEZ TALK BOOKS RADIO. Visit facebook.com/leztalkbooksradio for details on upcoming shows.