Tuesday, May 25, 2010
Authors On The Rise is happy to bring you an Interview with Dangerous Lee.
Dangerous Lee is the author of Keep Your Panties Up And Your Skirt Down.
Dee Dee: Give the readers a brief bio on you the person and your book.
Dangerous Lee: Dangerous Lee is a certified Community Health Advocate and HIV Testing Counselor at Wellness AIDS Services, Inc. of Flint, Michigan. She lives in Burton, Michigan with her daughter.
African Americans have the highest HIV infection rates in the United States. African Americans only make up 12% of the population, but almost half of the new HIV cases are African Americans. These numbers are very disproportionate and because HIV is such a taboo subject in the African American community many people are not getting the message.
International AIDS Activist, Hydeia Broadbent, shared her thoughts after reading “The Safe Sex Kit”; “I think it will help more people think about HIV/AIDS and STDs in their sexual relationships and also think about practicing safer sexual activities.”
HIV education and prevention is not only Dangerous Lee’s job, it is also her passion. Keep Your Panties Up and Your Skirt Down combines her passion for HIV prevention with her passion for the written word. Dangerous Lee is also an actress, internet radio personality, painter, and an activist for child sex abuse.
Keep Your Panties Up and Your Skirt Down was released March 15, 2010 and can be purchased at www.pantiesupskirtdown.com
Dee Dee: When did you decide you wanted to be a writer?
DangerousLee: When I was a child.
Dee Dee: How did you come up with the ideal for your book, and what convinced you to write it?
DangerousLee: People, especially Black America needs to be educated on how HIV is and is not spread.
Dee Dee: Does your book have any important themes or lessons you wanted to convey?
DangerousLee: HIV education.
Dee Dee: How did you come up with the title for your book?
DangerousLee: The title is something my grandmother used to say to me all the time. I didn't fully appreciate the advice then, but if you're not going to practice safe sex then you need to, Keep Your Panties Up and Your Skirt Down.
Dee Dee: Was there anything about the book industry that shocked you before or after you released your book? If so, please share.
DangerousLee: I am not shocked, but it is disheartening that there is so much self publishing discrimination.
Dee Dee: What do you hope people will take away after finishing your book?
DangerousLee: They should have a better idea of how to have safer sex.
Dee Dee: Who is the target audience for your book?
DangerousLee: Anyone having unprotected sex.
Dee Dee: Do you have any causes you believe in or fight for?
DangerousLee: HIV Awareness and Child Sexual Abuse.
Dee Dee: What do you like to do when you are not writing?
DangerousLee: I enjoy painting, reading and acting.
Dee Dee: Finish this sentence: From first impression, people may think I'm.... but I'm really...
DangerousLee: mean, silly.
Dee Dee: Where do you see yourself and your writing career in five years?
DangerousLee: I hope I am picked up by a major publishing house, but if not, I'll still be self publishing myself.
Dee Dee: How can readers contact you and find out more about your work?
DangerousLee's ten favorite things:
Chips - Bar B Q Lays
Chocolate bar - Snicker with almonds
Hot drink - Cocoa
Athlete - None
Reality or talk show - VH-1 Reality
Shopping center - I shop from catalogs and online
CD - Lady GaGa The Fame Monster
Radio station - None
Day of the week - Friday
Jewelry - Hoop earrings
Authors On The Rise is delighted to bring you an interview from author Urenna Sander.
Urenna is the author of, True Season Of Love. She is currently hard at work on her next novel,"But For Those Who Love."
Dee Dee: Please give the readers a brief Bio on you the person and tell us about yourself.
Urenna:I live in Pennsylvania with my family. I am employed as an administrative assistant for a renowned physician. I attended Temple University, majoring in Social Administration. My major should have been English. My writing life began early: love notes, which I never sent, at the tender age of eleven, hidden under the carpet, until discovered by my father, and then poetry writing at the age of twelve. My short story writing began in the late eighties. I have written three books and published one. Currently, I am in the midst of revising my third book, “But for Those Who Love.” “True Season of Love” is my first published book.
Dee Dee: What pushed you to write your book?
Urenna: This book was propelled out of deep, indescribable feelings for another.
Dee Dee: How did you come up with the characters in your book?
Urenna: “True Season of Love” is my second novel. My first unpublished book involved an epic on Olivia and Connie’s cousin, Dr. Djoser Simon, his wife, Eve, and her mother, Karoline. This too is a great love story, but it has to be condensed.
After my first unpublished book, I decided to branch off from Djoser and start a book on his first cousins, Olivia and Connie Moreno.
Dee Dee: Were the characters and writing the story easy for you, or did you have to outline and do research?
Urenna: No, I had no difficulty with Olivia and Connie; writing their story was uncomplicated. The sixties were an exciting time, and a coming-of-age for my two characters. I wanted them to do more than grow up, attend college, get married, buy a house, and have 2.5 kids. I wanted them to have interesting jobs and adventures abroad.
I researched travel, movies, music, clothing designers, clothing styles, etc. When you are writing about a certain era, research is important. It makes the story more credible. Also current events are important. If your character is living abroad or in the States, what annual events take place? What is going on in the world around him/her? The death of Reverend Martin Luther King is mentioned in my novel, as well as that of one of Ptolemy’s countrymen, Greece’s former premier, Georges Papandreou. I also added discussions at a dinner party concerning student riots in France, as well as unrest in the States. I believe in researching, and since I’m a history buff, I enjoy this part of writing.
Unfortunately, I am considered a seat of your pants writer and not organized to do outlines. I have tried to outline and will type short notes. I usually type notes on my lunch hour. I also keep a pen and pad handy on my night table and in my tote bag. Scenes come at weird hours of the day or night. Sometimes, it’s difficult falling asleep when scenes appear.
Dee Dee: How long did it take you to complete your book? Will there be a sequel. If so when do you plan to release it?
Urenna: I began writing “True Season of Love” in March 2007. I completed my first draft in November that year. I had some issues with the publishers, which I won’t discuss. But I will say I haven’t been happy with the results. But I completed my second draft in March 2008. The book was released in April 2009.
In my first draft, I had more pages on Connie than Olivia. I had to remove a lot of storyline with Connie. After all, this is Olivia’s story.
I feel like I am going backwards with storytelling. Connie’s story (“But for Those Who Love”) should have preceded Olivia’s. But Connie incubated from Olivia’s book. Connie’s saga begins during her life in college, in New York. Connie is such a strong character; I had to tell her story. You might say Connie is a prequel. Connie’s book will be released late this year or sometime next year.
Noémi, Olivia’s daughter, might be the next sequel. I’ve written brief notes on her. I would probably write about Ptolemy and Olivia’s adult children in another novel.
Dee Dee: After reading your book, what do you hope the reader will take away?
Urenna: I hope they will have the ability to love unconditionally without regard for ethnicity or religion. Also to forgive; become resolute and release themselves from their past, no matter how horrendous it might have been.
Dee Dee: If you could write a book together with any author, dead or alive, who would it be?
Urenna: Josephine Baker.
Dee Dee: If your book was made into a movie, what actors would you choose for the characters? Why?
Urenna: That is an interesting question. Gabrielle Union, Sanaa Latham, and Jennifer Hudson are my choices for Olivia. I think all three actresses have the depth and emotions to play Olivia. However, I believe Jennifer would be more powerful and define the role more than the other two actresses.
Connie: Ashley Madekwe or Zoë Saldana. Both are good actresses. Ashley’s carefree spirit might be great for Connie, but Zoë might do Connie’s role justice. Connie is aggressive, angry, and can be quite the witch.
Ptolemy: Eric Bana or James Franco. I like both actors. They both have the dark, Mediterranean look to portray Ptolemy.
Al: Morris Chestnut could definitely portray Al.
Eleni: Saffron Burrows has the intensity of emotions to play Eleni.
Dee Dee: Besides writing, what are some of your other talents and hobbies?
Urenna: I paint and do charcoal drawings, but this hobby has definitely taken a backseat. Chess and checkers are great games that I don’t have time for. Yet, I love to read, especially books involving research for my writing. But honestly, I write most of the time.
Dee Dee: What words of wisdom do you have for aspiring authors?
Urenna: Don’t change your story unless you are truly comfortable with the advice given by editors. It’s your baby; you know what’s best. Never abandon what you’ve begun. Write every day, whether it’s a paragraph or a page, keep writing. You are not obligated to complete it, but don’t desert what you love and what gives you pleasure. And do your research.
Dee Dee: What current projects are you working on? Will you be attending any events, book fairs or have any book signings?
Urenna: At this time, I am still working on Connie’s book, “But for Those Who Love.”
Dee Dee: Where can readers find more information on you and your work?
Urenna: My website: http://www.urennasander.com/ and Amazon.com
Urenna's ten favorite things:
Shoes: My comfortable Dansko clogs.
Season: I love the fall. It might sound corny, but there’s something mellow and comfy about the fall season for me.
Poet: Maya Angelou
Flower: Peonies, red or pink
Fruit: Mangoes and golden delicious apples
Day of the week: Wednesday
Friend/why? I first met my best friend when we were 15. When I look back, I laugh at how we competed in high school. She happened to be a better typist with fingers that raced across the keyboard. I was more proficient in shorthand than her. We went through the usual period of angst with teenage crushes and broken hearts. And during our twenties when we discovered true love, we shared our hopes, dreams, disappointment, and sorrow. We have known each other since childhood. She is more like family than a friend. Old friends are the salt of the earth.
Radio station: I seldom listen to the radio. I listen to great music and watch CNN, the History Channels, or PBS. And I love to watch Judge Judy, The Tudors, and Mad Men.
Blog: Tyler Perry
Play: A Raisin in The Sun
Monday, May 24, 2010
Authors On The Rise Is happy to bring you an interview from U.L Harper.
Harper is the author of, The Flesh Stature. His upcoming book, Once Human, Now Food is slated for release soon.
Dee Dee: Please give us a brief synopsis of your novel, The Flesh Statue.
U.L: Tired of watching his ailing grandfather wither away from Alzheimer's, 19 year old Langley Jackson moves from his middle class home and subsequently struggles to survive in downtown Long Beach. Here he finds himself part of a social movement bent on destruction and retribution. Through all of this, Langley must decide on trying to subsist in a complicated and unlawful new world of graffiti and poetry or endure in a disheartening old one outlined by the death of his mother and his sick grandfather.
Dee Dee: How did you come up with the title of your book?
U.L: The title of the book is based on a particular scene in the story. I know a lot of people don't like spoilers but here goes one for you anyway. A flesh statue is what the main character thinks his grandfather looks like when he finds him dead. It might sound sad because it kind of is. I focused on emotional content in this story, to a certain degree. I'm sure a lot of what I would say about this is a better answer for another question.
Dee Dee: Why was it imperative for you to write this novel? Did you have a message you wanted to convey?
U.L: There is a message in the story. However, I didn't write it to convey a message. I simply have my influences, inspirations. I wouldn't call the story imperative, though I would definitely say that when I wrote it no other story was going to be told by me at that time, not by me. There is person revolution going on in the novel that mirrored some things in my life. So I guess in a way I let go a bit, through The Flesh Statue. Imperative? I'll have to think about that one.
Dee Dee: With so many books/authors, what makes your book stand apart? How is your book different?
U.L: I could have a list for this one. Whereas I don't think there is anything so definitely unique about The Flesh Statue, I will say that there are some things that won't happen in any other book you read. For instance, the small town of San Pedro goes to the revolution for a week...and advertises for it on billboards. My good friend and main character Bert decides to stimulate his auto body repair business by destroying cars himself. Business gets so good that he hires someone to help him destroy vehicles. There are these type of things. That and the chapter titles. I loved coming up with the chapter titles.
Dee Dee: In one sentence, tell an avid reader why they should choose your book for their next selection.
U.L: This story is fun, absurd and an emotional and mental challenge. Don't miss out. Sorry. Two sentences.
Dee Dee: Describe how it felt to see your book in print for the first time.
U.L: At first when I first saw it I was amazed. I looked at all the words and the length and I smelled it... I was like, look at how all these words make sense together. Wow! I really couldn't believe it was done. Years of hard work. It came in the mail so I got to open that cool little box. Freakin wonderful. Can't actually articulate it properly. Not even really going to try.
Dee Dee: What has been the hardest obstacle you've faced regarding your book: writing the book, editing, promoting or other?
U.L: Editing was pretty tough and I still don't think I'm completely happy with it. Writing it was difficult and I do consider editing part of writing, so there's that. With that said, I think promoting has been the hardest because you can do a lot and do it the right way and still not be read. Too me it's not about making money. It's more about getting read and moving ideas along. But getting people to read your book is always a work in progress. Eventually you want someone to read it who hasn't seen you at a reading or read something from you at some point. You want it to snowball to a word of mouth thing. A challenge to say the least. Daunting is a word I might use to describe it. Does it matter how good your book is if nobody reads it? Just asking.
Dee Dee: Besides writing, what else does U.L like to do in his free time?
U.L: Of course I like reading. I watch plenty of movies. I don't do too much but I've been getting back in to sports. I'm a Dodgers fan.
Dee Dee: Where do you hope to be twenty years from now in your writing career?
U.L: I really just want to write books. To tell you honestly, it's all I really want to do. I simply don't care about a lot of other stuff.
Dee Dee: What upcoming projects are you working on?
U.L: Right now I'm working on a project called Once Human, Now Food. It's a character piece told through a few different character's perspectives and has an awkward twist at the end. It should be ready by Summer. We'll see what publishers think about it.
Dee Dee: How can readers contact you and order your book?
U.L: Just email me. email@example.com. The Flesh Statue is available wherever books are sold. It can be purchased off my website as well. Yes, stop by ulharper.com. Some of the poetry from the story is read aloud there. One is read by me, actually. Join the U.L. Harper fan club on facebook. Follow me on twitter, if you like that sort of thing.
U.L's Ten favorite things:
Ice Cream: It's all good
Cookie: Oatmeal Raisin
music genre: Jazz or noise rock Nothing on the radio
Place to relax: Home, in bed, on the couch
Sports: Baseball, Basketball
Time of day: About 2 a.m.