Author Q&A First Round – L. V. Lewis, author of “Fifty Shades of Jungle Fever”
1. Who’s your favorite author, and why?
I have many that I love, but if I had to choose a favorite from among them, it would be Walter Moseley. I fell in love with “Devil in a Blue Dress” from his Easy Rawlins Mystery series, which was adapted into a movie starring my Hollywood boyfriend, Denzel Washington as Easy, and my other Hollywood boyfriend, Don Cheadle as Mouse, because the writing was so crisp and his stories so colorful. Processing the stories Moseley writes about pre-civil rights era Los Angeles through my vivid imagination became like an addiction for me. I couldn’t get enough of this world he’d created and these wonderfully drawn characters, particularly the fact that they looked like me, and I could relate to situations they found themselves in.
2. If you could have a conversation with one of the characters in your most-recently released novel, which one would it be and why?
From my novel, Fifty Shades of Jungle Fever, I think I’d like to have a conversation with Tristan White (and maybe his Twin, too). Because the story is written from Keisha Beale’s point of view, I really didn’t get to delve and wallow around in Tristan’s psyche as much as I would have liked to. This character has deep-seated issues resulting from the death of his mother, which lends itself to his relationship choices as an adult. It would make for a fascinating case study that I would tackle in a heartbeat if given the chance.
3. Where do you get the ideas and inspiration for your characters’ personalities?
I get my ideas and inspiration for my characters’ personalities literally from all over the place. I’ve always been fascinated by people and what motivates them, what makes them uniquely the persons they are. I’ve also always been a dreamer. I like rolling what-if scenarios around in my head. I think most of my characters are amalgamations of several different people I’ve either met in real life, or had the opportunity to study from afar through second-hand accounts, research, and observation. I don’t do the elaborate character creation sheets that many authors employ, but I make myself draw them up completely in my head before I begin to write their stories. I’m an all-over-the place kind of writer who wishes she was more methodical and organized.
4. What is the best thing (in your opinion) about being a writer?
Creating something from nothing is the most satisfying thing for me about being a writer. I take the kernel of an idea and build on it until it becomes a full-blown story. There is nothing more fulfilling in my life at this time outside of enjoying my husband, family and friends. Writing is like that third thing in my life after my most important things. It is a passion that has taken hold after years of lying dormant and being drowned out by all the other noise in my life. It is perhaps the most exhilarating purpose for which I rise daily, and am most thankful for being able to do.
5. How did you find your agent/publisher?
I’ve known her since she was born, literally, because she’s ME! I am proudly self-published, and the only people I collaborate with are me, myself and I. Of course, I happily use the talent and resources of Amazon, CreateSpace, Dreamstime, and a whole host of other social media sites on the internet that I’ve brought together to make this happen. Don’t get it twisted, I would love to have an agent and publisher to take some of the pressure off me for having to be the end all and be all of my writing career, but until that happens, I will happily keep creative and professional control of my own writing career.
6. What’s the best piece of writing advice you’ve been given?
Write your draft, and get it as good as you can get it. Then walk away from it for a while and come back and edit it again. I had to employ this technique with my novel because I couldn’t afford to hire an editor, so I self-edited. Since it’s been on Amazon a while, I have finally had an editor look at it. I’m going to correct some of the glaring grammatical, punctuation, and plot continuity errors she’s finding and re-post a second edition some time in December. Now the trick is to take it down at the right time, because I don’t want to lose my place on the African American Top 100 List on Amazon. 😦
7. Biggest mistake you’ve made as an author?
The biggest mistake I’ve made as an author is trusting a virtual stranger who offered to pre-read for me who subsequently treated me as if I were Hitler re-incarnated for writing my current subject matter. In fact she told me that she would have thought I was a member of the KKK for writing what I’ve written. Believe me, it is not that serious. African Americans have been poking fun at their own stereotypes for centuries, and I’ve not had one African American reader approach me with as much indignation as their ethnic counterparts. Before the story was even published, I received eight “reviews” on good-reads labeling me as a racist, and a bevy of other unkind things.
I am not naïve enough to believe that everyone will love what I’ve written, but I caution readers to take in consideration the title of my book. Read the summary. If you don’t like parody, satire, or extreme ethnic humor, don’t read this book, even if it is free. But that is not all the book is about. It is a parody of that other famous book told from the POV of a young woman who grew up in the hood and is now trying to make her own way in the world. She just happens to take a detour when she meets a handsome, white dominant venture capitalist who finds her irresistible.
There are people out there who believe they have the right to vilify you for writing a fictional account of a controversial subject matter. This is censorship at its worse. Criticize me for my writing, the technical parts of it, not for my subject matter. Just because I choose to write about something, it doesn’t mean that I’ve lived it, or that it’s my true world view. It is called fiction for a reason.
Okay, I’m off my soapbox now 😉
Holiday themed questions:
8. What would the lead character of your latest novel want for Christmas?
Keisha Beale would want Tristan White as her real boyfriend for Christmas, not just her Dom.
9. Favorite Christmas Music?
I love the old R&B versions of Christmas Songs, and those brought into the mainstream by R&B musicians: “This Christmas” by Donnie Hathaway, “Merry Christmas, Baby,” by Otis Redding, “Santa Clause Go Straight To The Ghetto,” by James Brown and the like.
10. What was the best gift you’ve ever received?
A Barbie Doll that looked like me 🙂
L. V. LEWIS – AUTHOR BIO
L. V. Lewis is a married, mother of four who lives in South Georgia, and works in the Florida Panhandle. A new author who decided that stories like Fifty Shades of Grey needed a little more diversity and comedy in them, she penned Fifty Shades of Jungle Fever as a parodied response to those wildly popular books from a woman of color. A voracious reader since kindergarten, L.V. loves nothing more than to curl up with a good book and a glass of wine. She and her husband are political junkies, a hobby that is time consuming, but free. Now that Lewis has teens who think they don’t need their parents anymore, she has taken up another time-draining career of writing. However, she is happy to report that, for once, her extra-curricular activity costs far less than her husband’s. Her love for writing is only eclipsed by her love for her family.
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The Author to Author Blog Hop is hosting a giveaway for a prize package of eBooks from our contributing authors. Enter below, and the winner will be notified by e-mail. You have a chance to enter every day on any of the participating authors’ blogs – so keep checking back. (Note: eBooks labeled 18+ will not be awarded to a winner under the age of 18.)
The Author to Author Blog Hop Giveaway Prize Package includes:
Legacy of a Dreamer by Allie Jean (16+)
Lessons Learned by Sydney Logan (16+)
Ghostwriter by Lissa Bryan (16+)
Behind Closed Doors by Sherri Hayes (16+)
Fifty Shades of Jungle Fever by L.V. Lewis (18+)
Riverbend by Andrea Goodson
Serial Summer by Angel Lawson (18+)
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