Shelia E. Lipsey is a multi-award winning author. Her novels are available at most bookstores nationwide as well as online. Lipsey’s books have been called gripping, life-altering, memorable and realistic. Lipsey was recently awarded the 2009 Top Shelf Award for Beautiful Ugly by Black Pearls Magazine.
She also won 2009 Shades of Romance Readers’ Choice Awards for My Son’s Wife in the following categories: Author of the Year, Christian fiction Book of the Year, Christian Romance of the Year, Best Book Cover of the Year, Best Fiction Book of the Year, among several other awards for her novels, Into Each Life and Sinsatiable.
Lipsey is the proud mother of two sons and the grandmother of three blessed young men. She is president of UCHisGloryBookClub.net, founder of Living Your Dreams Now a non-profit organization and MAAW (Memphis African American Writers). Read an excerpt and check the tour schedule at http://bit.ly/BeautifulUgly For more information, visit http://www.shelialipsey.com/
Intimate Conversation with Shelia E. Lipsey
Ella: A Legacy is something that is handed down from one period of time to another period of time. Finish this sentence- My writing offers the following legacy to future readers…
My writing offers the following legacy to future readers…..words in print can never be taken away, even after our physical bodies have gone on eternally. As much as I am sorrowful about the recent deaths of authors such as E. Lynn Harris and the first AA Romance Novelist, Elsie B. Washington, there works will forever live on. My books are my legacy. They not only showcase my talent to the world, but they will forever linger in the lives of my children, grandchildren and on and on. I envision that perhaps one day after I have met my demise, that someone, somewhere, in the distant future will pick up a book and they will note the author is Shelia E. Lipsey.
From one generation to the next, words change lives. From one generation to the next, our words speak volumes about the past, present and future. Words are powerful. They are even more powerful when they are written. That’s why the Bible and what God says inside the Bible can never be taken away or destroyed. It is written, God says, man shall not live by bread alone. Even God uses the word written. God says my tongue is the pen of a ready writer. The word of God also says “Write the vision, and make it plain on tablets, that he who runs may read it. I write not only because I have to write because it is God’s gift and purpose to me and for me, but I write because there are so many thoughts, feelings, and emotions inside of me that are eager to give birth.
Everyone leaves a legacy. Everyone has a choice whether the legacy they leave for the future is one that will positively or negatively impact families, loved ones and the world. I choose to leave a legacy of the redeeming love, mercy and grace of Jesus Christ.
Ella: Introduce us to your book, Beautiful Ugly. Beautiful Ugly is the story of three close friends. Each one of them has life challenges, and each of them love, encourage and support each other through the good and the bad. Sometimes we look in the mirror, like Layla does in Beautiful Ugly, and we see an ugly image of ourselves. We fail to see the beauty that God has created. Or we may be like Envy, whose life is based on her name. She struggles with who she really is and why the person she sees in the mirror is not the beautiful, intelligent, smart woman that God made her to be. Instead she sees a young woman who has deep, dark secrets that only she and God know about.
As for Kacie, she equates beauty to having a man. She looks in the mirror and she sees a physically handicapped woman with a bad limp, and six children with six different baby daddies. Her vision of herself is one of low self-esteem and self-worth. How do they face the problems of life? How do they look at themselves and see that they are all wonderful creatures designed by God. When will they learn that beauty comes in so many different ways that even the human eye cannot conceive? Three friends struggle to learn their true identity that only God can define for them.
Ella: Introduce us to your message and the main characters.
The main characters in Beautiful Ugly are three, 30 year old women. They have been good friends for eleven years. There is Layla Hobbs, who has a singing voice that could easily give Jennifer Hudson a run for the money. She is the lead singer in her church choir, but she battles some serious issues over her size. Envy Wilson is a beautiful, intelligent successful business woman, who is also very promiscuous, something her friends do not know about her. She also has a deep, dark secret that haunts her life. Kacie Mayweather, is a part time cashier, lives on Section 8 and has six children by six different men. She has real self-esteem issues because of her physical disability of cerebral palsy. The message in Beautiful Ugly can only be determined by the person who reads the book and dares to stand before the mirror and see themselves for who they are and for how God created them, which is fearfully and wonderfully made.
Ella: Are your characters from the portrayal of real people?
Yes, my stories are from the portrayal of real people because that is the way I write. I write about every day people, so that somewhere, someone will pick up one of my novels and be able to identify with someone in the book, or know of someone like my characters. That is the essence of my gift of writing. I call it perfect stories about imperfect people.
Ella: What inspired you to write this story? I write stories according to what God places in my spirit to write. At first, a title is given to me, and from that point, God orchestrates the words on the pages. Beautiful Ugly is such an everyday story for many women in the world today. We all have issues of some kind with our outward appearances whether we consider ourselves fine, thick or ugly and fat. Society just about bases everything on outward appearances, which is not the way it should be. Unfortunately, it is what it is; the world is warped when it comes to defining the difference in Beauty and Ugly.
Ella: What issues in today’s society have you addressed in the book?
Beautiful Ugly addresses issues of how the world views individuals based on outward appearances. It discusses issues of low self-esteem, self-consciousness, secrets that we hide from the closest of friends and families, and the importance of loving one’s self.
Ella: Was it difficult to complete the novel?
Beautiful Ugly, surprisingly was not difficult to write. Having a physical disability of my own, I was easily able to get into the lives of my characters. I faced many of the same type of problems and issues they have; not all of them, but I can say that looking around today, I saw something of my characters in everyone my path crosses.
Ella: Why did you decide to pick the Christian fiction genre for your book? I did not pick Christian fiction as my genre. Christian fiction picked me. When I self published my first novel back in 2000, I called it inspirational because at that time there was no such thing as AA Christian fiction, at least not that I recall. I started out with the great fiction authors like Victoria Christopher Murray, Vanessa Griggs and Jacqueline Thomas. They have taken their writings to a much higher level and enjoyed tremendous success. Knowing and seeing how God has prospered them in their genre of writing, gives me hope to rise to their level of greatness and beyond.
Ella: What is your most valuable lesson about the publishing industry? The publishing industry can afford to be very choosy about who they offer a book deal. Today, the AA market and non AA markets too, are bombarded with a flood of authors. It is an industry that I believe will forever remain, and I believe we will see an even larger influx of self published authors coming on the literary scene.
Ella: What writers inspire you and why? I am a J. California Cooper fan because her writing is so pure. What I mean by pure is that she is able to weave a story that compels readers to her character(s). She is one that will go down in the great history of literature and be talked about in years to come like other great authors such as Faulkner, Washington, Walker, Morrison and so many more.
Ella: What did you hope to accomplish by writing this particular story? What I hoped to accomplish is for those who reader Beautiful Ugly will close the pages of the book and be drawn toward their own inner beauty. I hope that those who do not like the person standing in the mirror, will read Beautiful Ugly and then see the wondrous, unique individual God Himself created him/her to be.
Ella: Share with us your latest news, awards or upcoming book releases.
Some of my latest news is that I was awarded several times over, the 2009 SORMAG Readers’ Choice Award. I was also awarded the prestigious 2009 Black Pearls Top Book Awards. Beautiful Ugly will be available nationwide August 1, 2009. Also the sequel to My Son’s Wife will be released September 2010 and the title is My Son’s ex-Wife-The Aftermath.
You can contact Shelia E. Lipsey at firstname.lastname@example.org You can learn more about me by visiting my website http://www.shelialipsey.com/ All books are available in bookstores nationwide as well as online at sites such as Amazon.com; bn.com; target.com; Wal-mart.com; Black Expressions.
Please join in the discussion by leaving comments below.
Return to Black Pearls Magazine Online — Twitter with Ella