Welcome to the first annual Black History Month Hop hosted by Reflections of a Bookaholic and Mocha Girls Read a month long blogging event which focuses on giving black authors, books, and those who support them a month in the spotlight.
For the fourth week of the hop we have a few things planned for you. What’s a hop you ask? At the bottom of each post you will find a list of other sites participating in the hop. This way you can easily hop from one blog to another.
Weekly Topics for the Black History Month Hop
1st – 7th Black History Month Giveaway Hop
2nd – 4th Around Town
5th – 11th The Business of Black Books
12th – 18th Black Love
19th – 25th Black Books
26th – 29th The Best of…
We have a lot of giveaways going on right now from great Black authors. All winners will be announced on 2/29/2012.
Monda Webb’s “7:33am” (Ends 2/25)
Stephanie Norris’ “Trouble in Paradise” (Ends 2/28)
Earnessa T. Carter’s “32 Candles” (Ends 2/28)
This is the week we introduce you to books by Black authors or with Black character.
Love & Wrath: The Beginning
This first novella of a three part series pulls back the curtain on the lives of three best friends to reveal love, friendship, and budding romance. Their stories are woven together against the backdrop of the mid-western art world, but pretty pictures are the last thing that photographer Lily and her business partner Sheila are worried about after their mutual friend reveals an explosive secret that ends up threatening all of their lives. Readers will hang out with these divas and enjoy the joy & laughter of their posh lives. Beware though… before you know it you will be pulled into a roller coaster ride of suspense, intrigue, and a shocking finale as the friends execute justice their way!
MGR: Welcome to Mocha Girls Read and thank you for stopping by. G.E. tell us what was the inspiration for this book?
GJ: The storyline for “Love & Wrath: The Beginning” was one that I completely made up, but I was inspired to go ahead and write the first book by a co-worker who worked with me back in 2008. She had already finished a manuscript and was sharing it with me. I told her that I had a story in mind and when I shared it with her, she encouraged me to go ahead and get started developing it and writing it out.
MGR: What were some of the obstacles that you encountered with this book?
GJ: The writing process actually went pretty smoothly. I am a very organic writer and I advance the story as I “feel” the story. However, the editing almost drove me insane! I am a chronic perfectionist and it takes quite a while for me to release a project as correct and complete.
MGR: Are there things in this book from your life?
GJ: The only things in the book that come directly from my life are the physical locations in the book. The setting of the story is Kansas City, MO, and I have lived there off and on for a total of six years over the past decade, in the neighborhood where my main characters live in the story. Also, some of the restaurants, businesses, and brand names in the story are ones that I have visited or used at one point or another in my life.
MGR: Can you tell us what are you working on now?
GJ: I recently released book two of the series, “Love & Wrath II: Confessions”. I’m excited about spreading the word about this particular book because it includes a free download of an audio series that I produced to go along with the book. It features four very talented voiceover artists who bring the Love & Wrath characters to life and I even voiced a character myself!
MGR: Wow! I have to take a listen to it now. What are you reading now?
GJ: I currently have over 60 titles in my TBR (To Be Read) pile! They include a mixture of African-American fiction, Contemporary Women’s fiction, Literary fiction and even a few Paranormal Romance novels.
MGR: Girl I know what you mean. I just added a few and I am at 80+. Who are some of your favorite authors?
GJ: Alice Walker, Toni Morrison and Zora Neale Hurston are definite classic favorites of mine. I spent many days of my youth getting lost in the worlds that they created through their writing. A contemporary favorite of mine is Eric Jerome Dickey. I absolutely love and am inspired in my own writing by how he creates universes, particularly in his early books, where characters are intricately connected and can show up at any time, in any story.
MGR: How did your family react to your title of published author?
GJ: They were very supportive and congratulatory. One of my aunts was absolutely ecstatic, but I think the funniest reaction was from my teenaged daughter. She read the proof copy of the book twice and was in awe for about two weeks. After that, I went back to just being “mommy”, the source for skinny jeans and eyeliner!
MGR: LOL!!! That is too funny. What advice would you give black indie authors?
GJ: Understand that your journey is going to probably be more difficult in getting your name out there, especially if you write in a “niche” genre such as street fiction or hardcore urban fiction. Know your demographic, but also don’t box yourself in because readers have versatile tastes in books and you might find fans of your work in areas where you least expect them. Finally, cross-promote with other authors. They are not your competition! There are enough readers to go around and other authors who understand the obstacles that you are facing make powerful allies.
MGR: That is great advice. Finish this sentence for me…”If I had to do this all over again, I would…”
GJ: Redesign the book cover for “Love & Wrath: The Beginning”. At the time, I felt it was perfect because it encompassed the themes of the story with simplicity, a perfect reflection of the story itself. However, now that I have looked at it for so many months, I believe it could have been done with more artistic beauty. Then again, that could be the perfectionist in me talking again.
MGR: What’s your guilty pleasure?
GJ: Pork bacon and recently, strawberry moon pies. They’re guilty pleasures for me because I’m trying to eat better food and I have actually lost almost 40 lbs. over the past 6 months. Moderation is the key, though, because I don’t see me giving up my bacon. The moon pies can go.
MGR: Congrats chica on losing 40 lbs. *whisper* I need to start that process too. When you were a kid, what did you want to be?
GJ: A doctor. I’ve mentioned in previous interviews that I actually did a semester of Pre-Med at Vanderbilt University and, after sleeping my way through the biology class, I realized that clearly medicine was not my calling.
MGR: You mean sleeping as in “Zzz” right? LOL!! I had a steamy romance novel in mind for a minute. oops! Where do you see yourself 5 years from now?
GJ: I want to have touched as many art forms as possible. I get great fulfillment from creative projects and want to try my hand at several things, especially film and photography. I also want to be fully engaged in community service and making a difference for people who are in desperate need.
MGR: That is the a great answer and I hope it happens for you. What are some of your Pet Peeves?
GJ: People who make decisions on anything other than sound logic, even if it’s emotional logic, really upset me. I am very likely to become irritated with anyone who cannot provide a sound line of reasoning for their actions or beliefs. “I don’t know” as a reason is unacceptable.
MGR: What are two things on your bucket list?
GJ: I definitely want to visit Israel and travel to some of the places where Jesus walked, taught, and dwelled. I am a Christian and I feel it would be a beautiful enhancement of my spiritual life. I would also like to visit some of the architectural splendors around the world, beginning with the W Hotel located in Barcelona, Spain.
MGR: Thank you so much for stopping by and chatting with us. Would you like to give a Shout Out?
GJ: I would like to give a shout out to the awesome cast of the “Love & Wrath II: Confessions” audio series: Kim Crawley-Norris, Barbara Owens, Antoine Beane, and M. Roc Perine. They are all truly wonderful and talented people so keep an eye out for them!
G.E. Johnson is the author of the Love & Wrath fiction series, including her debut novella “Love & Wrath: The Beginning” and the newly released “Love & Wrath II: Confessions” with complimentary audio series. She was also previously published as a contributing writer to the non-fiction, inspirational anthology “Super Singles Activate! Testimonies to Inspire and Uplift the Single Woman”. She is the content provider for the “L.O.V.E. – Lyricism, Oration, Verse, Expression” blog featuring articles about writing, publishing, and other great writers and the “90 Days in the Machine” blog that details her journey through the Amazon Kindle Direct Publishing Select program.
G.E. is also a member and volunteer of the WoMen’s Literary Café, an online community that brings together readers, authors, reviewers, and bloggers in an effort to promote great literature. Her interests include reading, writing, photography, spiritual outreach, and helping others develop their entrepreneurial ideas. She currently resides outside of Atlanta, GA.
Facebook Fan Page: http://www.facebook.com/gejohnsonfans
Reader Blog: http://gejohnson.blogspot.com
Love & Wrath: The Beginning (Amazon): http://www.amazon.com/Love-Wrath-The-Beginning-ebook/dp/B005F4FNE4
Love & Wrath II: Confessions (Amazon): http://www.amazon.com/Love-Wrath-II-Confessions-ebook/dp/B006XJMJAQ
Check out the other blogs and the books they are talking about. Bloggers add your link to the linky as well. One lucky blogger will win a great prize for joining this week.