The Manuscript

Remember that initial sense of pride that you had when you wrote that first page of your book? Then it grew when you hit page 20? Then from there, you thought, "Ahhh, shux! I'm doing it now?" Then that feeling subsided as you wrote more and more pages, and then you grew increasingly anxious to get to the finish line while battling that bittersweet feeling of kissing your characters good-bye? Well, relax, my friend. They will be with you for a very, very long time.

 

The manuscript. The thing that gives you so much pride while stealing all of your energy. It ain't for the faint of hearts! This thing will go through so many hands it'll make a prostitute jealous!!! Okay, well, whether it gets seen by a handful of people or more, it should see more than just your set of eyes. You will scan and re-scan, read and reread, write and rewrite, and more. You'll always ask, "How can I say this or that better?" Just when you feel confident in yourself, the world and all else in between, you'll tamper with it so many times until you reach what you feel is perfection. Perfection. That will never happen. But I do know, you start thinking of your favorite author's writing style, and you may find yourself wondering just how he or she would say it. I know I do. I can't help but think of Stephen King and his breathtaking writing style. Then I stop reaching for the stars and settle for the ceiling. Why? Because your writing style has a ceiling effect until you polish your craft with each keystroke over time.  That's more than okay. You are where you are right now because you must pay your dues. If any of us thought we could wake up and roll over and write with the mind and style of any other great writer, that'd be crazy. Besides, you must fall into and establish your own writing style, and then one day someone else may admire yours. But we all have to have our own voice, but as long as you know this, it's okay to drool over another writer's style. But all in all, this manuscript of mine was crafted by these little hands of mine and I reveled in that feeling for as long as it lasted. Remember when your teacher or professor asked for a 20-page paper and you gasped? Yeah, on one hand it's nothing compared to writing a book, but it's something when you have to add research on top of a topic you could care less about.

 

But I can't say it enough. After you write your first manuscript, I think you can pin that Author badge on your shirt pocket. Unpublished or not, but just because you had an idea and you wrote it out into a book, that makes you an author in my manuscript.

My Inspiration

What made you pick up the keyboard-since I highly doubt it was a pen in these days-and write your first book?

I can tell you that I had already read my share of Harlequin novels when I was 19. That means a lot of sex scenes, which I enjoyed reading, so when I opened up a book (that shall remain nameless) that had nothing but sex in it, I couldn't take one more finger-poking scene or reference to nudity that I felt didn't need to be there. And you know that as an author, it's a crime to me, to suggest what should and should not be written by the hands of another writer. Just out of respect, you know? I dare someone to question my imagination and what I want to say, so I decided to put down the book and do it my way and do away with all the mental complaining. So, if you don't like something, do something about it, right? Right. So, with respect, I put down that book and started my own! 

 

I should also share my other point of influence. Sex and the City. I lamented the end of the series even though I became a viewer a year or two after it had ended. And even though I appreciate each leading lady and their characters' contributions, I wanted diversity. I didn't know how well that series would've worked with any other type of woman, but I think very nicely. But that, too, had to be respected, and again, I told myself to do my own thing and to make it my own. And I did. I stand beside it with pride. And you should of your work as well. I love diversity and grew up around it. Not necessarily at the beginning of my childhood and some other places in my life. Some colors were more prominent than others. But I know my college, current living and work experiences in the DC area, has been heavy on diversity. I couldn't see my life without it! My work will never be painted by one hue from the canvas of ethnicity. However, I have to make it clear that I didn't mind that SATC did the complete opposite with their leading ladies. I always respect what creators of art do because I know, if I don't like it, then I can put the book down or change the channel. Not rocket science here.

 

I also know that my baby was born from the streets of DC with the DNA of all the inspired work her mother had been exposed to. So when you read my work, there's some kind of strand of inspiration floating around in there, whether it be from the well-traveled streets that lace(d) my various residential addresses, the sentiments of my heart or my deep appreciation from other people's art. Surely, those who know me well, will always see ... me.