Thursday, July 8, 2010

Interview with Author Avah LaReaux, July 2010 Featured Author, Tribute To Family

Joins us as we chat with Avah LaReaux, author of Bastards, the third installment of her Lost & Found Series and one of our July Featured Authors. Please feel free to comment on the interview. And don't forget to visit the Sexy Ebony BBW African American Book Club website for a chance to win the Avah LaReaux Prize Packet. Contest ends August 7, 2010. Go to for more information and contest links.

1)Tell us about yourself? I am an author, a mother, a wife, and a lover of the arts. As far back as I can remember, I’ve always been interested in anything art-related. Whether it was plays, operas, concerts, dance, or singing in the church choir, I loved it and wanted to be there.

2)How long have you been writing? What drove you to pick up that pen for the first time? I’ve been writing a very long time. I officially started writing poetry when I was nine years-old. I don’t really know what drove me to writing, but I remember loving it. I remember being pre-school age and dragging out old phone books, pretending to write my own books. That may be common for many children, but my desire never ended. It just got stronger.

3)This month we will be giving away a copy of your novel Bastards. Please tell us a little about the novel. Why should readers buy a copy of your book today? Bastards is the third installation of the Lost & Found saga series. This title ends the prequel portion of the series and sets us up to move forward through the remainder of the saga. In Bastards, we are taken back to our main character’s childhood and come to know not only Marcus Clayton, but the people who were instrumental in shaping his personality. In this book, we learn what makes Marcus the guy we love or hate. For readers who know the series, this novel starts to answer questions they may have developed from reading the first two books. For new readers, this book is a good introduction to the series and characters they will encounter in future books.

4)Bastards is the third release in your Lost and Found saga. Can you tell us a little about the saga as a whole and where exactly do you plan on taking readers in this saga? The Lost & Found saga series is a collection of six novels that introduce three families and describe how each are connected to one another over a span of several years. We follow the characters from these families from elementary school age to middle adulthood. Throughout the series, we watch the characters mature, marry, and establish families of their own as they deny or accept the truths of their lives.

5)What is next for Avah LaReaux? When will your next book be released? I have so much I would love to accomplish, but for now I am actively working on strengthening my craft and finding ways to assist others to do the same. My next novel project is the fourth book in the series and is entitled Smoke and Mirrors (formerly Hell Hath No Fury). That title is scheduled for release in spring 2011.

6)You are currently published under Blue Planet Publishing, an imprint owned by you and your husband. Please tell us a little about Blue Planet. How long have you been publishing? What other authors have you worked with? What releases are in the work for Blue Planet? How can interested writers find more information? Blue Planet Publishing was established in 2006. Our goal is to provide services to new fiction authors who have a passion to share their gifts with the world. Currently, we have six authors on our roster. Three of us have at least one novel on the market while three have novels scheduled to release this year. Blue Planet also does a collaborative project with authors from other imprints. The first project was completed in 2009 and was an erotic anthology that introduced Blue Planet artist S.A. Brown and included myself, Hazel Mills, and Sunshine Royal.

The next releases for our imprint include debut novels by Allyson Olivia Ringgold, S. A. Brown, and Tony Graff. Updated information is posted in the Blue Planet Publishing FaceBook page, on our blog (, and on our website at While we are not currently accepting new projects, interested authors with exceptional work can visit our website for query submission guidelines. We also have a new author contest going on in conjunction with our Art Lovers in Paradise Cruise. Guidelines and instructions can be found on our blog.

7)What is the biggest challenge you have faced as a writer? My biggest challenge as a writer has actually been conquering my own fears. I have often said that I am my own competition and I believe that is true of all people. Once we overcome the personal fears that prevent us from moving forward, we open our minds to the impossible. I practice that everyday.

8)What is the biggest challenge you have faced as a publisher? As a publisher, the challenges are a bit different. Helping artists to understand that being an author is a job has been interesting. Many authors come into the industry with the belief that writing is merely a hobby. With that mindset, success will never be realized. There is an abundance of learning and relearning that must be done in order to be a successful author. Getting that point across to new authors has been a labor of love.

9)Playing the dual role of writer and publisher can be rough. What is a typical day like for Avah LaReaux? How do you manage time for self and family? Where do you find your balance? For me, the writing life is just that, my life. I am always looking for bigger and better opportunities for myself and my company and am continually inspired by what life brings. Some days begin at three in the morning. Some days begin at one in the afternoon. Balance, for me, is sometimes an issue. As much as I love what I do, I am learning to make a conscious effort to time to play more often. All work and no play doesn’t make a well-rounded Avah.

10)Where do you see yourself a year from now? One year from now, I will have completed Blue Planet’s first signature event, the Art Lovers in Paradise Cruise. I will also be working on the 2012 publishing calendar and preparing to receive my master’s degree in Education.

11)What are you reading now? Who are your favorite authors? Right now, I’m reading The Art of Racing In the Rain by Garth Stein. He’s a new author for me. Normally, I read James Patterson, Eric Jerome Dickey, Donna Hill. The list goes on, but those are a few of my favorites.

12) How can readers get in contact with you? Do you have a website? Readers can always find me in Avey World, I am also available on FaceBook, Twitter, and MySpace. Just search Avah LaReaux

13)What is the one thing you would like all of your readers to know about you? I am passionate about literature as a whole, not just my writing. I am student of the art and have been since my youth. I don’t take writing or words lightly because I believe words are alive and represent power and life. I love art, completely.

14)What is the one piece of advice you would want to give every aspiring writer?
Start writing. Your dream will never be realized if you don’t begin.

Interview with Author Rachel Berry, July 2010 Featured Author, A Tribute To Family

Joins us as we chat with Rachel Berry, author of the dynamic epic novel Family Pictures and one of our July Featured Authors. Let Rachel tell you about Family Pictures and her life journey as a whole. Please feel free to comment on the interview. And don't forget to visit the Sexy Ebony BBW African American Book Club website for a chance to win the Rachel Berry Prize Packet. Contest ends August 7, 2010. Go to for more information and contest links. (This interview is a reprint of Rachel Berry's interview with BBW Reviews Author Interviews. A few of the questions have been deleted or modified.)

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.

7. When will your next book be released? Tell us a little about your next book? Will it feature a plus size character? For more information on Rachel Berry's new releases please visit her website

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:

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.

14. How can readers get in contact with you? Do you have a website?
Yes, my cyber home address is:
My e-mail address is:
Drop me a line anytime. Please check out my book trailers at: 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.