Sunday, October 25, 2009
AAMBC Author Monique D. Mensah
Q.1. What inspired you to write this novel?
A.1. I constantly have story ideas and characters flowing through my mind. A conversation I’ve overheard, a television show, or a news story may spark some ideas. Sometimes I pull from my own experiences or those of my friends. However, the concept of Who Is He To You emerged purely from my imagination. I was prompted by a close friend to get started on my first novel and shortly after I came up with a broad, general idea. I knew that I wanted to defuse some stereotypes and keep the readers shocked and guessing. I wanted to write about things, other authors have yet to explore. The rest unfolded throughout the writing process.
Q.2. What message(s) are you trying to convey to the readers?
A.2. When I started writing Who Is He To You, I did it with the sole intention to entertain. It wasn’t until after I completed the manuscript and read the story in its entirety did I recognize the underlying messages weaved throughout the plot. Women too often count on the men in their lives to validate or complete them. For Simone it was her father, Ryan’s boyfriend, and Jessica’s husband. Women have to learn to love themselves, recognize their self-worth and learn to be happy instead of expecting a man to fill the gaps in their lives.
Q.3. What do you want the readers to feel when reading about the struggles of the three main characters?
A.3. It is my responsibility as the author to create a unique experience for my readers. When reading Who Is He To You, my readers should feel as if they are in the room with these characters, experiencing their stories first hand. I want the readers to feel Simone’s pain, desperation and uncertainty. They should empathize with Ryan’s frustration, and root for Jessica’s emergence into her identity. My goal is to have my readers identify a piece of themselves in one of the three main characters. That makes the story realistic and identifiable.
Q.5. What differentiates you and your novel from other novels in your genre?
A.5. Who Is He To You is edgy and unpredictable. The characters are flawed, complicated, and multi-dimensional. Each chapter is filled with dramatic, descriptive scenes that pull the reader right into the story. Who Is He To You is an intense experience with real depictions of character reactions, emotions, and life situations. The novel gives an intelligent exploration of the infrequently discussed issues of incest, self-injury, and depression in the African-American community. It also breaks down and dispels some stereotypes and opens the readers eyes to fresh, new perspectives.
Q.6. What is your writing process?
A.6. I have a freestyle method of writing. I don’t create outlines for the story or characters. I start with a general idea, and then I begin to type. I allow the characters to take on lives of their own and guide me through to the end. Although I find it difficult to stick to structure, I try to commit to writing at least an hour a day. If during that time, I am unable to come up with actual material, I will spend that time thinking of how to further the story or alter what I’ve already written. I need complete silence when writing because I tend to be distracted easily. I usually write at home, in the evenings after my daughter has fallen asleep. I completed Who Is He To You in nine months by committing to that schedule.
Q.7. What can readers expect from you in the future?
A.7. My readers can expect more dramatic, intense novels filled with literary adrenaline. I will always provide original plots, real dialogue, and believable characters. I like to read the kind of books that make me want to flip back to the beginning after reaching the end. I hope to provide that same type of experience for my readers. My novels will evoke strong emotion and audible reactions. Overall, my readers can expect a unique experience.
Who Is He To You?
When love involves incest, self-mutilation, drug-addiction, and murder, will Simone, Jessica, and Ryan fight to hold on or will they escape before it's too late?
Simone, a shockingly beautiful teen, is on the downward spiral of destruction as she battles incest and self-hatred. She finds cutting to be the only way to relieve her pain. She must do something to regain control of her life and restore her family back to normalcy. But Simone may be too late as unexpected events threaten to throw her dream of contentment far out of reach.
Jessica lives the upscale lifestyle of a refined society matron. She strives to be the perfect wife, but without her husband, Ross, she would be nothing more than the abused stripper he rescued 16 years ago. When their marriage is threatened and it forces her to face her past, Jessica vows to do whatever it takes to protect what she has rightfully earned, even if it means murder.
Ryan, a fiery thirty-something, is quickly slipping into depression and prescription drug addiction. As her boyfriend, Anthony, artfully dangles the empty promise of marriage, she watches helplessly as their relationship dissolves. In an attempt to regain her sanity and self-esteem, she finds herself on a mission of self-restoration while trying to save the life of someone she doesn't even know.
As the shattered lives of three very different women collide, they find that they have one thing in common: They're all in a desperate fight to hold on to love. Experience their emotional journey through to the shocking end where these women will experience injury, imprisonment, and even death while crafting new lives from the ashes of their ruination
Author Website: www.MoniqueDMensah.com
Book Trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vcJMgSbyvK0