Wednesday, January 12, 2011
Authors On The Rise Interviews Valjeanne Jeffers.
AOTR is happy to bring you this Interview from author Valjeanne Jeffers. Please pick up one of her books and enjoy!
AOTR: Please tell us about yourself and your books.
Jeffers: I’m Valjeanne Jeffers and I’m a member of the Carolina African American Writers’ Collective (CAAWC) a mother, a grandmother and a teacher. I’m also the author of three science fiction novels: Immortal, Immortal II: The Time of Legend and my latest release: Immortal III: Stealer of Souls.
Immortal begins in the year 3075, on the planet Tundra: a world that has been at peace for 400 years – a world without poverty or racism. Yet Tundra is threatened by an ancient evil. Karla, a young Black woman, is a recovering addict working as a drug counselor. Intelligent and capable, she knows exactly where she’s going and what she wants. Until she closes her eyes at night…and enters a seductive and dangerous world. To save her planet Karla must find Joseph – the one man who can unravel the mystery of her dreams – and unleash the werewolf sleeping inside her.
An excerpt from Immortal 3: Stealer of Souls has been published in Genesis: An Anthology of Black Science Fiction and Pembroke Magazine Volume 39. I’ve also been published in Griots: A Sword and Soul Anthology, LuneWing, Specular Mythseed, Liberated Muse: How I Freed My Soul, The Ringing Ear, Revelry, PurpleMag numbers 7, 8 and 9, Drumvoices Revue and The Obamas: Portrait of America's New First Family.
AOTR: Why did you write your book, and what was the inspiration that made you complete it?
Jeffers: I’ve always loved to read and two of my favorite genres, since childhood, are Black literature and science fiction. I began my writing journey as a child reading the works of authors like Richard Wright and Zora Neal Houston; and writing my own poems and stories. As an adult, I was drawn into the worlds of Octavia Butler, Tananarive Due, Stephen King and so many others. I began to imagine characters and worlds in my mind. This was the birth of Immortal.
AOTR: Are there any important social issues your characters faced or discussed in your book?
Jeffers: When I first began writing Immortal, I didn’t start out with a conscious decision to write a novel that dealt with poverty, racism or war. But as my story evolved these issues and others like homelessness and unemployment just naturally became part of my journey. So yes, social issues are definitely dealt with in all three of my novels, as well personal struggles that my characters grapple with.
In my opinion there are no perfect women or men. We are all just people trying to live and cope with life and it’s ups and downs in the best way we know how. Diseases like alcoholism, drug addiction, sexual addiction are a part of real life too, and I incorporate them into lives of my characters.
AOTR: Who was your favorite character in your book? Why?
Jeffers: I would have to say one of my main characters: “Karla.” She has supernatural powers; she’s strong, intelligent, sexy, funny and she’ll fight to the death to protect those she loves. Karla was actually inspired by a young woman who befriended me when I was nine years old; a young woman who’d lost both her mother and one of her brothers; but she’d enrolled in college and was raising her two remaining brothers. For me, this character, in many ways is an archetype of so many strong, Black women I’ve met – including myself – who take all life throws at them but still “keep it pushing.”
AOTR: What do you hope a reader will take away after closing one of your books?
Jeffers: Love yourself. Whatever your dream is don’t give up. Moreover, we, as part of the human community can change our world, a little bit at a time. We can make our voices heard, if we stand together.
AOTR: With so many books in the market, what sets your books apart?
Jeffers: My novels are multi-ethnic and shape shifting, advanced technology, time travel and sorcery all co-exist within the Immortal series. Although all of my main characters have supernatural abilities they’re down to earth men and women, that are easy to know and love – I always manage to interweave their personal struggles into the plot. Against this backdrop are demonic threats to Tundra that continue to unfold with each novel, and that Karla, Joseph and others must battle to save their world.
AOTR: What projects are you working on now?
Jeffers: I’ve just finished a short story entitled the Switch, which I’ve submitted for publication. I’m also writing the sequel to Stealer of Souls.
AOTR: What keeps you typing and creating stories? Is there a person, place, or thing that inspires you to do what you do?
Jeffers: Writing is not something I do, it’s who I am. I love it – writing is as vital to me as my next breath. There are also places and times in my life that were and continue to be special. Love and the exploration of sexuality are contant sources of inspiration and imagination for me. I believe in love as both a shelter from the lifes storms and as source of strength and my characters mirror these feelings. The 1960s was time of unity and growth and this era often finds its way into my novels too, in one form or another.
AOTR: Finish this sentence. Twenty years from now I hope to have accomplished.... in my writing career.
Jeffers: Twenty years from now I hope to have accomplished writing fifteen more books, twenty more short stories and I will have become a best selling, world famous author in my writing career.
AOTR: How can readers contact you?
Valjeanne's ten favorite things
Season: Definitely Summer
Restaurant: First House Chinese Restaurant
Actor: Pam Grier
Food: Chinese Baked Seafood
Author: Octavia Butler
Social networking site: http://eroticpoetry.webs.com/
Time of day: Midnight[book:Immortal: Second Edition|6461150][bookcover:Immortal: Second Edition|6461150]