Intimate Conversation with Andrea Clinton
In June 2011, the first novel in Andrea’s “Life Knows No Bounds” series, “One Who Loves You More” was picked up by a producer to be adapted into a theatrical production. Presently, Andrea is gearing up to put many of her short stories that were published in magazines and newspapers, up on eBooks.
BPM: Tell us about your passion for writing. Why do you write? What impact do you want your book to make on the readers?
What drives me is my passion for story telling and entertaining the readers or listeners (I’ve been summoned to randomly make up and tell stories). I write to enlighten or to pull the readers coat tail to an issue or subject matter.
I pray the impact that my books has on readers is that: The upper class begin to learn and are introduced to the other classes and what they live and experience, why they make the decisions they make, etc. and that the middle class learn to not look down their noses at the poor or lower class, but have a respect for their struggle and to recognize that they are being played in the game as well, and to not revere the upper class so much, as their problems are as great as their money; and for the lower class to reach for the stars by obtaining KNOW-HOW, and work hard to maintain that sense of “down-to-earthness” we posses that the other classes wish they had and seek but can’t find because of the airs they put on and their ongoing evil to maintain what they have. I want to show the poor or lowered class that we really aren’t missing as much as we believe, and we’re much happier than we think.
BPM: Introduce us to your latest full length novel, A Blessing and a Curse.
In “A Blessing and a Curse” Malika has the life every woman wants, a hardworking husband who makes it happen financially; kids, both adopted as well as biological; her career as an artist with partners who own an art gallery; nice house, nice neighbors and the gift of foresight. Malika couldn’t ask for much more, until her gift of sight and infrequent ability to read minds opened her up to her husband’s disgust, followed by his uncaring desire to leave her. She can’t figure it out, what has gone wrong? But a well needed vacation helps her find her worth but to what detrimental end?
BPM: What sets A Blessing and a Curse apart from other books in the same genre?
The use of the abnormal, the gift of foresight is what separates this novel from others in the genre. I like using all the devices and qualities, etc., from various genres. I don’t want to be put in a box or be so confined that I don’t explore other ideas because they are ingredients for other genres.
I made sure that nothing about the use of the main character’s gift of foresight was scary. Instead, you get to look inside the mind and goings-on of a person who can see the future. Also, although you may not be able to relate to her blessing of seeing into the future, you will be able to relate to the issues that bombard her and her family. Lastly, I made sure to give the readers a few twists and turns in the read, a sort of, “Just when you thought it was all good….”
BPM: Tell us about your new e-short Red Dollar. What inspired this story?
Red Dollar is a story about a red dollar that many believe has been touched by the devil. It’s like bad luck money many hate to get and rush to get rid of when they get it because they believe so long as they have it in their possession, they’ll go broke in the worst way. An ex drug addict owes money to his old dealer and to rid himself of the debt and them taking advantage of him, he sets him, Low-Blow, up to receive the red dollar. Low-Blow who never heard of the red dollar, finds his life whirling into a kaleidoscope of weird, awkward happenings, leading him to believe he’s in a sort of twilight zone.
BPM: Did you put a lot of time into thinking about Red Dollar or was this something within that was ready to go?
Have you ever seen on a movie, a 3D movie, like, “Inception,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio, where something broke into a bunch of pieces, and then they all do like, a rewind and come back together as a whole? Well, once I thought about a world of people all dodging or loathing this red dollar, all the pieces of the story had surfaced and were surrounding me while I stood on line in the store. It was as if they’d been there, floating mid air, and finally, at the sight of the red dollar, the cashier’s awkward reception of the red dollar and so forth, something clicked, and when it did, each of those floating pieces circled and enclosed me. I snatched out my cell phone and began emailing the story idea to myself. Then, I raced to my car to pack my bags inside, and continued laying out the blueprint of this story via email from my phone.
Thirty minutes in, I emailed it to myself, raced home and while my son put up the groceries, I ran to my laptop and began filling in the gaps and within 24 hours, 90% or more of the story was written. Prior to seeing the red dollar, I just wanted to go home and eat breakfast. After seeing the red dollar, I swear, it’s as if the pieces of the story were there and had gotten permission for take off, and gravitated together to form the short story, Red Dollar.
BPM: What would you like your readers to take away from Red Dollar?
Basically that we get what our hands call for. If you live hard, life will be hard and hardships will come to you in many ways. In my 2nd novel, A Blessing and a Curse, I named a chapter title, “How we Live is How we Cry” and I want readers to understand and accept this. If you live right, are doing good, when you cry, it will be good, happy cries. But if not, you will receive the adverse affect and it won’t be pleasant; and, you will feel the pain, spiritually, physically, emotionally, etc., believe me. Life is for living, but living right, not foul. If we don’t change our ways, we will feel the fire here and in the hereafter. Also, we shouldn’t run from change and reform, it’s necessary throughout life. I’m still finding out that changing for the better never stops, it’s ongoing.
BPM: Will there be a sequel to “Red Dollar”?
I’ve let five people read it and all five said, “That book is an intro to a full length, thriller based novel. Since they are avid readers, I have to consider that. But, thrillers are a serious thing. You are forever chasing the thrill, enhancing it, trying to top it with another, making sure it goes over as such and is exciting and captivating, and so on. So, I have my work cut out for me. Yes, I think it’s safe to say, Red Dollar will continue on, maybe via many shorts about it’s so called evil and impression upon numerous character’s lives.
BPM: How do you view the past 20 years of Black literature?
We have made a remarkable impact in literature: you see more African American authors published by traditional publishers or starting their own publishing companies; Urban Lit has kicked down the door, so to speak, with African Americans monetarily showing and proving Urban Lit.’s worth as well as setting the tone and the schematics of what the genre is about, contains, etc.; and much of our contributions are revealing our relevance in the industry and that we do have a voice and a huge audience.
I’m noticing other impacts we’ve made in Romance, Horror and other genres, where it is being accepted by publishers that the writing might be a little different in the African American’s world. I believe book clubs and avid readers of all races, etc. are showing via sales that African Americans DO read and that we love a good book like the rest–African American authors are exhibiting we have what it takes to make it happen in the industry and that we too play a vital role in publishing good and great books as well as contributing to great sales.
BPM: Where do you think Black literature is headed? Will ebooks change the direction?
Black literature is headed for greatness. I believe we are opening up the eyes of publishers and readers of various races and with books like, “The Color Purple,” and many others, we’re showing there is just as much interesting drama, mystery, etc. in African American books as it is in any other. I believe finally, you’ll begin to see more African American authors published by traditional publishers and respectfully with publishing contracts that are comparable to that of great non African American publishers.
eBooks, yes, they are changing some things but much like the Internet, but things will remain a little scattered before they are put into a perspective that is great for the author as well as the publisher and/or eBook company/service. Presently, a book sold for $.99 only offers the publisher 35% (35cents) per sale, with approximately 25% of the 35 cent going to the author. So, the publishing companies aren’t seeing much from the sales, nor is the author. This is one of the first issues that will be rectified as publishers have to deal with overhead and more. Authors at some point may not feel it’s worth it, which may become an issue for publishers and the eBook companies (and Print on Demand).
So, before it’s all said and done, big publishers being the survivors that they are, will form a sort of union or meeting of the minds and will put pricing into a better perspective that will find favor on all involved. Unfortunately, I don’t think the small publishers will have an impact unless they all band together and produce a united front. But, I’m no sure how soon that will happen.
BPM: Looking back over the past 20 years of Black literature, what have you observed?
Wow! I’ve observed so many changes. With people in general now able to easily become authors and self publish due to digital printing being more affordable, along with a few other things, I’ve seen more African American authors than ever. However, I’ve noticed just as many authors leave authoring. After writing, paying for editing, layout, book cover, printing, selling, placing books on Amazon, and Barnes and Noble, etc. and then committing to book tours, these authors soon retire. With the industry changing in technology, pricing, and an antiquated industry totally flipping the script, nothing is settled and there are more innovations on the rise, changing the publishing industry every day. This is hard on the new self-published author. Whether or not this trend I’ve noticed will continue remains to be seen, but I believe we all learn to respect publishing and authoring books after the experience.
BPM: Finish this sentence- My writing offers the following legacy to future readers…
Realness with an understanding that: Our upbringing/what and how we’re taught, our environment, innate qualities that we get thru genetics or are God given, instincts and drives such as Self-preservation and Desires all play a role in how we turn out, how we think and the decisions we make. We have to look at all of these things and decide who we will be, hopefully enjoining the right and forbidding the wrong.
Purchase Red Dollar by Andrea Clinton
Purchase A Blessing and a Curse by Andrea Clinton