She stopped by today to talk about her writing journey and her fantastic new book, The Grim. Take it away, Raynetta ...
What will readers like about your book?
What I think readers will love about The Grim is the intimate dynamic the main character, Jaycee, shares with each character in the story. And because Jaycee is so spontaneous, it gives the novel an unpredictability that makes for an enjoyable thrill ride.
How long does it take you to write your first draft?I think that depends on the story. It took me years to get a full first draft of The Grim, but with other novels, and obviously short stories, I can bang out a first draft in a few months. This one took me longer I suppose because it was therapeutic in a way; there’s evidence of so many of my own struggles, past and present, in Jaycee.
Why did you publish on Kindle and other eReaders?Technology is the future. It permeates every aspect of our lives, to the point of making all other mediums extinct. E-books are the technological future of leisure and academic reading; they are cheaper and lighter. Owning a Nook myself, it’s simply easier to carry my Nook on the road with me than several paperbacks, although I still love the sound of cracking open a brand new hardback.
Can you please tell us a little-known fact about yourself?Hmm…well, I didn’t always want to be an author. Initially, I wanted to be a lounge singer and wrote all my own songs. It wasn’t until I co-published a prose collection [in 2005] that I realized I touched people more intimately as a writer.
What is your favorite book? Why is it a favorite?Gosh, I have so many! If I had to pick just one, I would say Alice Walker’s The Color Purple. No matter the walk of life or prior experience, everyone can relate to someone in that story. Struggle and perseverance—and love, true love—are personified so brilliantly that no matter how many times you read the book or watch the movie, it tugs on your heart strings. That’s powerful.
Why did you self-publish?Well, this is a tough industry to break into and the likelihood of snagging an agent and a major publisher who love your work as much as you do shrinks daily. I had something to say, and the only way I was going to get that message out there was to put it there myself—in my own way, with my own words, and my own creative rights and control. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
What genre do you write in the most, and what is it about the genre that attracts you?
I’ve been told recently that my work is considered “contemporary fiction”. I like that term because it implies I can write anything, that I don’t fit into just one category. I enjoy the freedom that comes with writing whatever story that moves me, be it romance, parody, or psycho thriller.
Have you seen a change in the independent publishing community?Absolutely! There’s a camaraderie out here now that wasn’t before. Each indie writer/blogger/publisher is truly interested in seeing all others succeed, and there are whole agencies, like the Independent Author Network, set up just for that purpose. We are the majority, but looked upon by the industry as the minority, and by supporting one another, we help each other gain success on our own terms. It’s a great feeling knowing there’s that mutual support out there.
Do you have any advice for someone who would like to be an Indie author or publisher?Perseverance is a must. You’re going to hear “no” a lot, and the investment it takes to do it yourself can sometimes be extensive. But if you research the resources available to you, there’s very little you can’t do yourself, even for free in many instances, if you just keep at it.
What authors most inspire you?I am a big fan of Maya Angelou; she’s a wealth of wisdom and knowledge, and her words permeate your soul, make you want to be a better person. I also love Khaled Hosseini [author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns] because he depicts a world that is arguably worse than any you know, and through his characters’ struggles, teaches his readers tenacity and courage in the face of extreme hardship. That’s inspiring.
Where can readers reach you?