****** CONTEST ALERT******
Comment on this interview between and be entered to win a copy of Family Pictured by Rachel Berry. To enter contest you must leave a comment (connected to an email address) on or before March 31, 2010 11:59PM EST.
1. Tell us about yourself? I consider myself an out-going and goal oriented person. I have a respectful and prayerful relationship with my creator as he continues to show and grow me. My family means everything to me, and after trying to please my creator I do everything I do for them. I do my best to give-back to the universe in any way I am guided and gifted because I am thankful for all that I am gifted with. I’m blessed to be a daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, sister, auntie, best friend and so much more. Life can be challenging but it’s good.
2. How long have you been writing? I’ve been writing since the beginning of my teen years. Imagining about things to write long before that.
3. What drove you to pick up that pen for the first time? Probably my mother. She is a great storyteller and poet. She put the love of words in my heart and mind through songs, stories and poems she’d recite during dinner time when I was growing up – well, still to this day even. Now, writing is the ink that colors me. I don’t know what I’d do if I couldn’t write. I write in my head while I sleep and then jot it down when I wake up. Gosh, the movies that play in my dreams.
4. Tell us about your book Family Pictures and the plus size heroines featured in this book. Family Pictures is simply the saga about a family and the challenges and celebrations they all go through. It’s main characters are both full-figured women who in many ways are very different and very similar. The youngest, journeys through the book discovering who she really is because of a secret the eldest protagonist divulges to her early on in the story. Through her family stresses Regal (the youngest) also battles with wondering if she is pleased with her weight, single-parenting, a love triangle and many other personal issues. Emma Jean; Regal’s aunt is also faced with her changing life and the effects of coming from a dysfunctional family and a sister-n-law that has made her life hell. But through unconditional love, forgiveness, therapy, and letting go of past skeletons the two woman learn that they too can put a better face on their promising futures.
5. Why did you chose to feature plus size heroines in your novels? Because plus sized woman have the same hopes and dreams, challenges and celebrations as smaller woman do. Too many books only feature slim women. I wanted to show the beauty, fear and boldness that live in all of us women.
6. Do you plan to write more books featuring plus size characters? I’m sure I will, because when I meet my characters they tell me who they are, what they do etc. I lay them out fully from skin color, education, martial status, sexual preference on down to pet-peeves before I begin writing so I can know them and present them to the fullest. When and if they tell me they are full-figured I will present them as such.
7. When will your next book be released? Tell us a little about your next book? Will it feature a plus size character? I’m planning on winter 2010. ‘Between The Tears And The Laughter’ is a story about another family living in Louisiana. They’ll be dealing with a different set of challenges and show us how they triumph, live and learn. That’s what writing is about for me: telling a good story people can relate to but also learning lessons along the way. But don’t be surprised if something else pops up before the winter.
8. What is the biggest challenge you have faced as a writer? Well, writing is the pleasure and easy part of my career. But if you write something and no one knows about it, it’s all a waste. Promoting and marketing and putting myself out there is a challenge. I don’t have an assistant yet. So advertising, answering and sending out e-mails, social-networking, and putting together events and book signings take up a lot of my time. Recently this leaves little time for me to work on other works-n-progress.
9. Tell us a little about your organization Black Pearls United. BPU is an African American sister-circle I founded almost nine years ago. We come together to improve ourselves, communities and families. Women need a place to vent and grow. We learn from each other, grow together and sometimes professionally network. I’ve witnessed some powerful sister-bonding over these years. I’ve always been blessed with having sincere and positive women in my life of all ages, and this avenue affords me the blessing of sharing that gift with others. My sisters are busy women, but are also warm, intelligent women with giving hearts, and we give back to our communities on a yearly basis. We’re a small but mighty group. I am so proud of the Pearls; they’re real jewels.
10. You also have a show on Blog Talk Radio called From The Heart & Soul with Lady Serenity. Please tell us about the show and in general what you discuss during your show. How and when can those interested tune in to hear Lady Serenity speak? My show is an extended mission of Black Pearls United – for women and about women, but open to everyone for discussion. I try to be a horn that blows about the things, situations, triumphs and trials of women. I do a segment called “Ordinary Women Doing Extraordinary Things.” It’s one of my brands. I showcase unsung shero’s. Not taking anything away from our men, but since I am a woman I am interested in “the all” of women. Women do so much, carry so much. So much goes unseen and unsaid about our caregivers and community helpers; though their effects are sometimes bountiful. I seek to bring to light those women making a difference in the lives of others. Telling stories we might never get to hear. Also, as an author I do my best to help promote other authors, so I do an author’s showcase. We need all the help we can get and it brings me pleasure whenever I can help someone else. I play ole school music to ‘put a mellow view to all that we do.’
My show airs on Mondays 4Pm EST unless I’m doing a special show and then that time and show is advertised. You can catch a live show or listen to the archives at: http://www.BlogTalkRadio.com/Lady-Serenity
11. What are you reading now? What types of books (genres) do you read in general? I’m reading Maxine Thompson’s latest novel ‘Hostage of Lies.’ I love mystery, suspense and romance. I love a book that engages all my senses and keeps me wondering and turning the pages.
12. Who are your favorite authors? OMG. Just to name a few, Eric Jerome Dickey, Mary Higgins Clark, Zane, Alice Walker, John Grisham, Pat G’Orge Walker, and the list could go on and on because now there are some new dynamic writers out. Too many to name.
13. Tell us about the online and offline personal appearances you have planned over the next couple of months. Where can readers connect with you up close and personal. Well, I doing the Author’s Holiday bash on December 19th in Washington D.C. hosted by Ella Curry of EDC Creations. In April I’m doing the Author’s Pavilion hosted by RWA book club in Richmond Virginia and in June I’ll be at the AAMBC National Author’s Convention held in Chicago.
14. How can readers get in contact with you? Do you have a website?
Yes, my cyber home address is: http://www.rachelberry.webs.com/
My e-mail address is: firstname.lastname@example.org
Drop me a line anytime. Please check out my book trailers at: http://www.youTube.com/wordfairy4u Plus I’m on Facebook, My Space, and Twitter as Wordfairy.
15. What is the one thing you would like all of your readers to know about you? That I appreciate them, their time and honest feedback. Please continue to jump aboard my literary rides, because without readers, words say absolutely nothing.
About Rachel Berry: Rachel Berry was born Sarah Rachel Gaines in Newark New Jersey. She grew up in Newark, East Orange, and Orange school systems. Rachel later moved to Virginia and is now a mother of 4 adults, wife, grandmother of 2 gorgeous girls, a published author & poet, motivational speaker, radio talk show host and a community leader.
To Read her complete bio go to http://rachelberry.webs.com/bio.htm