When and why did you begin writing?
I began writing when I was a child. My third-grade class performed a play for one of the younger classes and I decided that I could write a play, too. After that, I kept writing plays. I ventured into poetry around the fourth grade when I wanted to enter the school talent show but wasn’t talented in singing or dancing. I told the teacher that I wanted to recite a poem and she put me on the spot and asked me to recite it right then and there. I came up with something off the top of my head, and I’ve been writing ever since.
Why did you choose to write in your particular field or genre?
I’m not sure I fit into any particular genre completely. It’s a little romance, a little inspiration, occasionally some supernatural mixed in. There’s almost always a moral to my stories. I write whatever comes to mind, so my books are a mixed bag, much like the music I enjoy. I think the way I tell stories are what grab people more than the genre of my stories.
What are some day jobs you have held?
Very interesting question! I say that because I have some interesting answers. I’ve been a cashier, grocery bagger, sales representative, field inspector, mystery shopper, tax professional, merchandiser and probably a couple of other things that I can’t remember at the moment.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
Real life struggles have given me many stories to create. I have a more colored perspective of the world now than I did when I made my first attempt at writing a novel four years ago. Also, in my literary journey I’ve been able to tap into artistic talents that I didn’t think I had, like photography and design. I designed my own book covers (which may not be that impressive to some, but I proud of myself), and I find myself taking pictures of random items trying to develop my eye for great angles and shots.
What are some ways in which you promote your work?
I’m constantly looking for ways to spread the word about my work. I’m on Twitter throughout the day. I participate in several Facebook and Google Plus groups. I also contribute to sites like Niume and Scriggler where writers have an opportunity to connect with one another and the platforms themselves promote your work on Twitter and Facebook. I really try to develop relationships with other writers, so I’ll visit other blogs, leave comments and share posts on my social media accounts. Just by sharing other writers’ work I’ve made a few really great online friends who’ll sometimes share my work, as well.
How do you feel about indie/alternative vs. conventional publishing?
I believe authors should do whatever works best for them. Over the years I’ve looked into submitting to traditional publishers, but the entrepreneur in me wanted to have as much control over everything and the artist in me wants to maintain as much creative control. Either way, it’s a great deal of work, but the indie route—or in my case the completely indie route—involves so much more work and even finances. It really depends. I don’t have my current release listed on any of the major retailers like Amazon or Kobo, and I don’t plan to list my future releases there either. I’ve gone completely off the beaten path, which means that it’ll be a lot more difficult for me to reach readers, but I’m up for a challenge. I probably won’t see as much volume this route as I would if I were published with a traditional publisher, but I am alright with that.
Can you share with readers a little bit about your latest book?
I’d love to! All of my writing contains a little bit of me in some way, and my book Reflection in the Music is no different. Each of the characters has something that directly mirrors my life in some fashion. The main characters, Melissa, Sherri, Jane and Pea are all connected to one another either by blood or friendship. Jane is Sherri’s mother and these two women have a strained relationship mostly due to Jane’s past decisions, many of them involving Sherri’s father. The fact that they are so much alike is another source of tension for the two. Jane’s a free-spirited musician who just couldn’t get it together, which molded Sherri into the outspoken firecracker that she is. Melissa struggles with her romantic and career choices out of fear of failure. She’s a talented singer, but she feels that neither her talent nor her beauty matches that of her friend Sherri or her Sherri’s mother Jane. Pea aka Sweet Pea aka Patricia is a budding chef in love with Omar, yet she won’t allow herself to submit to that love because of her past transgressions. Before she decides to finally let go of her past, tragedy strikes her and causes her to reevaluate her life. In this novella, I really try to capture the soundtrack of the lives of these women and how each is able to express herself through her chosen medium; the music of their lives. Not only how a song can evoke a memory, but how so much can be said and communicated when notes are in perfect harmony.
What made you decide to sit down and actually start writing this book?
I started writing this book in 2012. It was more of a fictionalized memoir at first, but it was so close to home and I had no idea where I was actually going with the story. No direction and being distracted by everyday life led me to stopping and starting several times. I wrote up to about 25,000 words before I scrapped the story completely. Then I came across an author named Chris Ringo, who was very encouraging and helpful and had this work ethic that I could only admire. He inspired me in so many ways that I decided to give blogging another go and before I knew it I was working on my book. He suddenly passed away recently and while I had already made great progress in completing my book, his death lit a fire in me to finish.
What do you like to read in your free time?
That depends on my mood. I read urban fiction and erotica if I want something that’s going to take me out of my own world and I don’t want to think too hard, just enjoy a good read. I’ll read Christian fiction and inspirational sometimes. I mostly enjoy contemporary fiction. I’m always up for a good Stephen King book.
If there was one thing you could do to change the world, what would it be?
I would stop people from being so hateful towards one another. It may sound cliché, but I feel that there isn’t enough love in the world.
How can you learn more about LeTara?