It's morning, the first Monday of the month and I've decided to share a recent interview that will give my readers a sense of who I am:
Where are you from, and do you have pets?
I am a native New Yorker, first-generation American with Caribbean roots.
Yes, I love dogs and have had dogs throughout my childhood with the last one being a Dalmatian. The plan is (I’m still trying to convince my husband) to have two dogs when we move to a warmer climate. I have already selected the names. No, I’m not sharing.
Tell us your latest news?
Just returned from beautiful Costa Rica. Planning this trip for a long time. Our villa had a spectacular view of the ocean with unfamiliar sounds of wild-life providing a constant soundtrack. I was able to carry out my fantasy of writing while looking out on the ocean and pausing from time-to-time to watch the sunset. This experience will certainly find its way into my writing.
I am more than halfway through, I think, my latest work which I hope to complete in the spring of 2019.
What inspired you to write A Brush with Fate, trilogy?
My passion for writing found its expression throughout my life. But it was while writing a book in the academic arena that I could not shake the feeling of needing to say more. I had for a long time written short stories and loads of poems for my own creative release and enjoyment, but this time was different. I was writing on an important issue involving women of color in the academic sphere that required a tight focus on research and factual data. It was satisfying but also frustrating. I knew I had had plenty to say, but how do I integrate important issues and themes primarily about women into stories that excite, provoke, and entertain? This was the driving question as I started to write A Brush with Fate, trilogy.
Women talk a lot about relationship issues, and we think and talk about sex. It is a natural part of intimacy that should be celebrated. I was disappointed to learn that if I wanted to include sex in my stories in ways that were real, it came with an industry label–erotic. I feel that this label dissuades a host of readers from reading A Brush of Fate, trilogy. Nevertheless, I wrote book 1, a suspenseful hot romantic tale about two complicated individuals, brought together by fate. It is through their story that their insecurities, secrets, pain, and humor were all laid bare as their tale of love unfolded maybe providing lessons for us all. A story I needed to tell.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I start out needing to say something. It haunts me. Much of the main parts of my stories are written in my head long before I commit any of it to paper. This becomes even truer as each chapter develops. I know the premise, and usually how I want to end the book, but the specifics of the story take on an amazing life of its own. I am constantly asking myself, ‘who is this person/character?’ ‘I am fiercely attached to each character knowing who they are, their motivation, their secrets, their pain, etc. All of this helps me to create identifiable and authentic dialogue for each character. I find that this helps in story development. For example, I may have an idea to take a scene in one direction but may find that it is not consistent with my belief in who the character is, so I adjust.
Storytelling is an ever-evolving process. I am learning, reading, stretching but more importantly, believing that I have something meaningful to say and trusting my instincts while developing my own voice for what it’s worth.
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
Yes. There were things on my mind when I finally decided to sit down and start to write book one– A BRUSH OF FAITH trilogy. Like how unresolved pain can jail us to our past infecting our relationships and changing the trajectory of our lives forever– if we let it. Or what it means to really love our life partner, and our capacity to forgive. These are all very real and important relationship issues that I wanted to explore in my storytelling.
Are experiences based on someone you know or events in your own life?
Yes. My stories are a compilation of people, events, situations, places in my own life sprinkled with a whole lot of fantasy, and suspense. My stories also integrate issues surrounding relationships that were consistent themes revealed in my other professional work.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
It is a story about the indomitable human spirit. True stories are represented in one woman’s plight, who has sustained the most horrific life trauma that any person should endure and her journey in finding herself again in a world now foreign to her. It is filled with twists and turns, lots of suspense and, of course, love interests.
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
I am interested in fusing together important issues with exciting, provocative and entertaining stories. I want folks who read my books to walk away with something that ignites a question or makes them want to learn more. I want my readers to feel that they received something very personal to them. I’ve given myself a high bar to reach.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
For me telling the kind of stories I want to tell takes time. I have not yet, and perhaps I will never, be able to pump out book after book, after book in a short amount of time. Perhaps it is an issue of my style, or my ‘ever-evolving’ writing process needs tightening. In any case, this is a challenge, especially with the lag time involved in the final publication.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
I would prefer to call it useful “observations.”
I believe your writing should come from a persistent voice inside your head that just won’t shut up. Without this nagging force, it is difficult to pursue writing with any seriousness and consistency. It is a story that you must to tell.
You also must get to a point in your life that you are willing to be bold enough to trust your own instincts. Of course, you should consider advice from the “experts” but don’t let other voices dissuade you. Just write!
A Brush with Fate Trilogy is now available.
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A Brush with Fateby Sila LongPublish: Nov 07, 2015Suspense Contemporary Romance Romantic Suspense New Adult Romance
Crazy Love (A Brush with Fate Book 2)by Sila LongPublish: Jun 02, 2016Thrillers Suspense Contemporary Romance Romantic Suspense New Adult Romance Women's Fiction more»
Always ~ A Brush with Fate ~ Book 3by Sila LongPublish: May 19, 2018Suspense Romantic Suspense New Adult Romance Women's Fiction
It is funny how most of my childhood memories of growing up in New York are happy ones despite my father’s sudden death when I was almost six years old. I think this is a testament to a loving extended family and a mother whose strength and determination still brings tears to my eyes.
I was the first in my family to complete college and I lived on campus in a different state for my undergraduate studies. This was also the first time that I felt the heavyweight to be academically successful. My graduate studies occurred at different periods in my life, my choice. Although both university campuses were in Manhattan, New York City they yielded much different experiences. I attended a university in the West Village, and a university in Mid-town. They were not far apart in distance but worlds apart in relation to a cultural vibe. The vibrancy of the surroundings bled into the learning environments in ways difficult to describe – I loved it!What do you love the most about writing romance genre? What is it about a love story that takes your breath away?
When I started writing my aim was to write about themes that impact adults, especially women and their relationship with men. Of course, those themes included: betrayal, the ability to forgive, the pressures from outside forces, unresolved pain, sex, love and a whole lot more. I wanted to position such themes in a story that entertained, had relatable diverse characters, offered suspense and talked about love and sex in a way that real people talk about love and sex. My aim was not to write a “romance” per se but to write a story about the challenges involved in building a loving relationship.
What took “my breath away?”
The small and big moments when the awesome power of love was on full display. It could be a reflection, a gesture, a kiss, words spoken that I ty to capture as I write. If I get it right, yes that ‘takes my breath away.’Do you still write poems?
Oh yes. My most recent poem is a poem of gratitude. Check it out:
The Dash If the dash between my birth and death could speak out loud: It would tell tales of my life’s journey The moments that took my breath away The times I could not bear one more day That small dash holds my life’s history The unanswered questions that remain a mystery But amid such accounts, there’s a story An unexpected rare gift, a symbol of life’s glory If the dash between my birth and death could speak out loud: No matter its’ volume it could never express The immeasurable appreciation that I possess To say to have known you was more than a pleasure Would not give credence to how much I treasure Your belief that all I reached for could be mine As long as I possessed the tools needed to shine In that dash, the depth of your gifts silently reside But today I share my gratitude while we are both still alive.How do you balance time between being an adjunct professor and a published author? What do you enjoy doing more?
I was just talking to my son about this challenge. When you are teaching there is so much time dedicated to reading, preparation, etc. I am not the kind of writer that can turn the creative writing faucet off and on. I need a stretch of uninterrupted time. I find that each character’s dialogue requires a level of concentration that allows me to reach my zone. and I can’t get there without sufficient time. So, I use spring, winter and summer breaks. It’s hard, but that’s my reality for now.Do you find it more challenging to write the first book in a series or to write the subsequent novels?
Once I got started the characters took on a life of their own. It’s true, once I’m in my zone one storyline just leads to another. My structure is minimal, which probably sounds insane, but it works for me. Because the main characters were people of depth who lived such interesting lives, their story was just not complete after book one. The other books were just the natural continuation of the different phases of their exciting life together.How many of your family or friends have been the model for one of your characters? Whom was Isaac Coles modeled after?
Ha! Can’t answer the last question, but generally, my characters are a compilation of people I know. The places, events, situations are mostly from my own experiences with embellishment and fantasy to appeal to the imagination. I admit, that folks who know me tell me that they see a lot of the protagonist in me. I don’t disagree.In what ways has become an author been completely different than what you imagined it to be?
I haven’t yet fully embraced ‘an author’ title. Maybe because it is not my full-time gig. I’m working on that. I can tell you that writing for me is an absolute blast. There were times that you could literally hear me cracking up uncontrollably in my office while writing, or if you were to see me, you would wonder why I appeared so distraught. I enjoy my connection with the characters and absolutely love how the story often feels like it has its own momentum and direction. A curious process that I’ve learned to just go with it. You can always edit later.What are some things you do to motivate yourself when you're stuck in a rut?
I go for a very long walk, alone.What kind of audience do you hope to appeal to with your books? Would you let your children read your books?
A Brush with Fate, trilogy is a series for the adult reader. Yes, both of my children, young adults, have read my books.When can we expect the next book in the "A Brush with Fate" series? Are there any new elements or interesting characters that will be introduced?
I have completed A Brush with Fate series. But there are still plenty of stories to tell in the life of Brook and Isaac if I were to write a sequel.
In the book I am working on now, there was a character that Brook played in her film debut, that I have brought to life. You will have to read the series to understand.What are some author milestones you've achieved so far? What more do you hope to achieve in ten years’ time?
I still consider myself a new author who hopes to achieve a level of recognition from well-written books that leave readers with something very personal to them.
My next book is a story based on real-life events. It speaks to the ability and strength of the human spirit to thrive in the face of horrific life experiences. Again, I want to write about issues I care about, couched in provocative, compelling and suspenseful stories.
In ten years, I will be celebrating years of full-time status as an author with plenty of books under my belt.What were some of the challenges you faced on the road to publication? How has been your experience working with AllAuthor?
Just getting name recognition and my books in the hands of readers. When you don’t come into this business as a known entity or loads of discretionary funds for advertising it’s a slow climb. I love the services offered by AllAuthor. I use the wonderful book mockup banners on my website, Facebook, and other social media platforms. The easy access to sample chapters and links for buying increases the chances of engaging readers.
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