What was the inspiration for "After The Rain: A Poetry Collective?"
I’ve been writing poetry since I was a young child. Poetry is my first literary love. After years of writing poetry, and being active on the poetry circuit, my mentor at the time encouraged me to put a collection together in book format. I started with a chapbook, Poeticus Grandioso, but wanted to do something even greater. After the Rain: A Poetry Collective is a deeply personal collection that is divided into four sections. It focuses on love and heartbreak, sisterhood, the plight of black men in this society, and spirituality. This life is not always a pretty one, yet after the storms have passed, there is a sense of renewed hope. After the Rain is my way of acknowledging the storms, yet also saying that there is hope for a brighter tomorrow. This collection and title are extremely significant to me for those reasons. This collection of poetry is a labor of love that had been a long time in coming. I am most grateful to be able to share this work.
Do you ever do poetry readings or spoken word?
A number of years ago I was very active on the poetry circuit. Life changes and people evolve. Priorities change. For quite a few years I’ve done only a minimal number of events, and then they were more in the line of featured readings and one woman shows. I am slowly getting back into doing open mike events. I have missed the energy of that environment and connecting with like minds and creative individuals. However, even when I wasn’t active on the poetry circuit, I’ve remained a great supporter and lover of poetry and of poets brave enough to share their talents.
In your novels When A Man Loves a Woman 1 and 2 are Alicia and Avery composites of people you know or original characters?
For starters, each of the books in the When a Man Loves a Woman series is a stand-alone, full length book with its own theme and characters. In book one: When a Man Loves a Woman: A Season of Change, we are introduced to Avery and Alicia, a couple who appears to have it all. They are successful, attractive, wealthy, esteemed in the community and in their professions. It’s a life anyone would pay to have, however all is not as it appears to be. They have both come into the relationship with unresolved issues that are unbeknownst to the other. These issues come back to the surface, demanding to be dealt with. Book one is a very intense, emotional story that touches on deep issues and challenges stereotypes. Yet with all of my books, there is the thread of empowerment and healing that runs through the story. These characters are not based on anyone that I know specifically, yet the theme of the book is based on a number of situations I’ve seen. It’s definitely a story that needs to be told.
In book two: When a Man Loves a Woman 2: A Love Divine, we meet Jacquie and Michael. Jacquie is an almost 40 year old woman who is single and childless. She has spent her life in the church and tries her best to live the “Christian formula,” only to end up disappointed, frustrated and hopeless. She’s never been one to go against the grain, but continuing on in her current state has left her far from hopeful that anything will change. Then she meets Michael. He is everything she’s been waiting on, although he comes packaged completely opposite than what she’s been told she should look for. He’s not looking for a mate, she’s has no hope to find one, yet when they meet, it’s obvious to both of them that this is a very significant meeting. Book two is what I call a true love story. It’s the love between a parent and child, between siblings, between best friends, between a man and a woman, and ultimately the love a person has for oneself, since it takes self love to be willing to change what isn’t working to embrace the blessings that await us. Book two is a much softer story than book one, but just as relatable and heartfelt.
Book three, due to release in December 2016, When a Man Loves a Woman 3: Second Chances, introduces Jade and Lawrence. Jade, a secondary character in book two, has lived through hell….and survived. After literally being left for dead, she realizes this chance she’s being given for a new life is a gift not to be thrown away. She’s broken, bruised, bitter and in need of direction, as well as tender loving care. Lawrence, a secondary character from book one, doesn’t know why he’s drawn to her. On the surface it appears as if their lives are polar opposites, yet in each other is the healing balm they’ve both been missing for quite some time. Book three brings back a number of characters from the series and concludes in a very satisfying way.
Through this series, I wanted to explore different types of love relationships between a man and a woman. Sometimes that love is healthy and beautiful, sometimes destructive. Still there are times it’s platonic, familial, intimate. But in all cases a man who loves a woman brings something significant into her life and those angles deserved to be explored.
Are we going to see more from them in the future, and do you feel as though your characters have matured?
Over the course of the three part series, we definitely see a maturing of the characters. At this time, I have no intentions to write about these characters beyond these three books, however, when I first started writing, I didn’t intend to have a series at all. So, I’ll just keep myself open to the writing process and see if these characters reveal that there’s more to their story that must be revealed.
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