Readers, Keisha is a good friend and the vice president of our local ACFW chapter. She served in that capacity the last year of my presidency. I love her and am thrilled to be able to introduce her debut novel to you.
Welcome, Keisha. Tell us how much of yourself you write into your characters.
My characters and I share a lot of the same traits, quirks, and dialogue choices. And for the most part, I’ve felt every emotion my characters have gone through in my story. So I definitely write from personal experience emotionally.
What is the quirkiest thing you have ever done?
The quirkiest thing I have ever done and continue to do is sing at the drop of a dime about anything. As a teacher, I sing the directions to my students and rap instructions and procedures. It makes for great fun during the school day.
When did you first discover that you were a writer?
When I was twelve, my mother died of cancer and as a way of dealing with that loss, I began writing poetry. And all through high school and college, I enjoyed writing papers in English. Then in a college creative writing course, we wrote short stories, and I was hooked.
Tell us the range of the kinds of books you enjoy reading.
I enjoy reading my genre, contemporary women’s fiction, as well as romantic suspense. Also, I read a great deal of non-fiction, from devotionals, to self-help, to memoirs.
How do you keep your sanity in our run, run, run world?
As a teacher and a coach, I get a lot of practice on how to keep my sanity. (Lol!) But really, when things get hectic, I’m always reminded why I do what I do. Which is to glorify God. And as long as I do my part, I know He’ll do His and everything will work out fine. Also, I try my best to keep everything in balance. Whether it be writing, relaxing, spending time with my family, or anything else, I always make time for all of the above and to do something special for myself.
How do you choose your characters’ names?
I usually try to pick something unique or a name that matches my characters’ behavior. For this novel though, my main characters’ names start with a letter in my dad’s name. His name is Art, so that’s where the names Ava, Rene, and Toni come from. Just an unofficial shout out to my daddy.
What is the accomplishment that you are most proud of?
The accomplishment that I am most proud of is beating drug addiction. I was addicted to marijuana and cocaine, and I’m proud to say that May 24th will make eleven years clean. God has definitely walked with me through the fire. When I share my testimony with people in my life now, they say how they can’t imagine me as an addict. That is something to be proud of and a testament to how God can accomplish His work in you.
If you were an animal, which one would you be, and why?
I’d be a Labrador Retriever because they are happy dogs and love kids.
What is your favorite food?
Anything with Louisiana Hot Sauce on it, especially pizza.
What is the problem with writing that was your greatest roadblock, and how did you overcome it?
My greatest roadblock in writing is finding the time to write. I am a night person, so I used to wait until the end of the day and try and write for an hour or two. Working a full-time teaching and coaching job, I usually was tired and it didn’t work out so well. Nowadays, I write when I can. Fifteen minutes here and thirty minutes there, and then on the weekends, I go to the library, and get away from everything and write for between two to four hours.
Tell us about the featured book.
Permanent Resident at the Purse Table came about because I thought a lot about the girl who never gets asked to dance. Whether it be a poor self-esteem, poor self-image, self-doubt, or all of the above, we have to find our worth in the Lord and nothing else. Society or the world may shun you, but everyone needs to know that to God, we are cherished and special.
My main character, Ava, struggles believing this about herself, and when she receives attention from her best friend’s fiancé, she betrays her friendship. Having a poor self-image, can lead you to make bad choices to feel important or noticed. My novel explores this issue and the consequences that linger as a result of those choices.
Please give us the first page of the book.
Ava sat next to the waterhole that posed as a lake. Flicking the cool, murky water with her toes, she contemplated her next move. An old Nike shoebox rested across her lap.
Gripping Xavier’s sunglasses, she shook her head. “Humph, cheap.”
She threw the shades back in the box and picked up the CD of slow songs he’d made for her after an argument. Snapping the CD in two, she tossed the pieces in the shoebox and considered throwing the box, and her memories of him, in the water.
Toni, one of her closest girlfriends, planted the idea in her brain. Toni’s words echoed in Ava’s mind. “Girl, when you see his stuff float away, a calm feeling will overcome you and you’ll get closure.”
Ava giggled at her friend’s dramatic suggestion and the visual therapy it could provide, but she didn’t want to pass her problems on to Mother Nature. The sign that read: DON’T MESS WITH TEXAS, along with the $500 littering fine also aided in her decision. She walked by a garbage dumpster on the way to the lake and knew that location would work. Maybe even better. Imagining his personal belongings getting crushed at the land-fill with the rest of the trash, would give her peace.
“Lord, why did I put myself through this again? Last time my heart broke, I said I’d wait on you to bring the right one. Then Xavier showed up, and I jumped into a relationship and into bed with another fool.”
How can readers find you on the Internet?www.twitter.com/BassKeisha
Thank you, Keisha for sharing your life and new book with us. I can't wait to get mine, so I can read it.
Readers, here are links to the book. By using one when you order, you help support this blog.
Permanent Resident at the Purse Table (Urban Books) - Paperback
Permanent Resident at the Purse Table (Urban Books) - Kindle
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