With so many thoughts and emotions going through me, I thought it was necessary to find a place to unleash it all. The blogosphere seemed like the perfect place. Becoming a published author I’ve learned takes lots of time, patience and dedication. Well, I’m just in the beginning stages of it all so I guess I’ll let you know on future posts. My plan with this journey is to have you follow me as I journey on becoming a published author. I will start at the beginning of it all, way back in 2003 and then end when I receive my first copy of Diamonds In the Rough in the mail. Hope you join me for the ride…btw, we have 9 books to go!
In all honesty, the idea of Diamonds In the Rough started off in a dream I had one night back in 2003. I will admit that I watered down the overall concept of the novel to create it into something that I wanted to write/read and felt that others would want to read. The dream consisted of a girl who met a guy who was able to control her with his eyes. Well, not just with his eyes, although that is his most eccentric feature, but he just had a certain power over her to the point that she couldn’t break away from him. I’m not into science fiction at all so I knew that I wasn’t going to make the male character have some sort of supernatural powers. Instead, I decided to use the dream to start work on a brand new novel.
Making A Difference
I love urban fiction, but I love street certified urban fiction even more. The storylines to me are great! I realized this when I noticed that I had read The Coldest Winter Ever by Sistah Souljah in 1 day. (BTW, I just finished Dirty Money by Ashley & Jaquavis which I finished in 8 hours–sidebar-please read this book BEFORE Supreme Clientele!). However, I always felt that something was missing. That thing was God. Yeah, there were some references to the Man above, but at times I felt that it wasn’t enough especially with some of the things these characters are doing. Although it’s not Christian lit, I still felt that if the characters showed at some point in the novel that they believed in God (and were not agnostic or atheist) that at some point they would call on Him at their darkest moments. I decided that since I was a spiritual person than God had to be somewhere up in my book even if I am cursing after every other word.
Also, I noticed that most of these books have the same kind of scenario: good girl meets drug dealer and gets sucked into the game, drug dealer fresh out of prison looking for revenge or good girl/boy from poor background trying to make their lives better through hustling. Well, dang it, what about the people like me? What about the self-proclaimed Cosby kids? At some in point in time, I want to read a book about someone who doesn’ t live in the projects or the hood even if this is urban fiction. I know, I know, your first thought probably is: why would a rich person hustle? My answer to that…well, to stay on top. Then again, what did they do to become rich? Okay, well let’s say that they are not a rich person. Let’s just say that they are a part of the working class with dreams and goals.
How about this true life scenario: You have dreams of becoming a published author. YOU CAN: One, self-publish and promote yourself. Two, get an agent and let them help you. The problem with number one is that self-publishing takes $$$$. If you’re working at a dead end job AND paying bills all at the same time, where is that extra money going to come from if you are already having a hard time? The problem with number two is that you’ll have to give some of the royalties of your book to your agent, BUT they will probably land you a deal with a major publishing house. Most of the time, major publishing houses want to receive your book from an agent other than you submitting it yourself. Number two is a GREAT option, but you have to choose the right person to represent you.
So, those were MY two problems (although I easily could have done number two). My solution? Become a hustler so I can self-publish and retain full control over everything… literally….I figured I could stack enough money to get what I wanted and in record time. Besides, who would assume that little ol’ innocent me with the college degree would be hustling? So…I hit up the people I thought were in the biz (and who actually was lol) and they told me NO. Well, dang, there goes my connect! According to them, I had too much going for myself to end up in prison and it wasn’t worth it. My job was to write about the drug dealers not become one. DAYUMM! Well, I decided to use that same ambition and channel it into the novel hence what you read in the synopsis. I decided to create a character who was rich at birth, ambitious as all hell, who gets sucks into the drug game among other things because of her own AMBITION.
Setting the Stage
The best thing about writing a novel is that you can use your imagination. Although there are tons of places in the world to choose from, wouldn’t it be better to just create your own? That way, you cut out a ton of research from your novel. Out of that idea, came Brookstone, New York. A city that moves almost as fast as NYC and is divided into two major hubs: East Brookstone, where the upper middle class and high-class folks live and West Brookstone where the working class and poor live. In the novel, Carmen & Jay are both born and bred in East Brookstone although Jay has major ties to the West.
Creating the Players
I absolutely love the name Carmen. I’ve loved it ever since I first saw Beyoncé in Carmen: The Hip-Hopera. I guess I’m showing my age now. Most people won’t consider this a classic, which I don’t, but it led to me watching the Dorothy Dandridge classic, Carmen Jones. To be honest, in one version of the novel, my main character’s name was not Carmen. It was actually Leona. However, when I saw the name Carmen, I knew that was one the one!
When it came to the character of Jay Santiago, I knew he had to have a Hispanic-sounding last name since he is Puerto Rican. Lopez is used too regularly and even though Santiago is, too; I liked the way it sounded better. Here’s a slight breakdown of the two major characters of the novel. I would give more, but I gotta leave something for you to find out when the book comes out…:
Carmen Denise Davenport- 21, Bahamian-American, student at Brookstone University, major: Business Administration, daughter of Harold and Patricia Davenport, works part-time @ Flame, a clothing store catered to young women
Jay Santiago-27, Puerto Rican-American, owner of Sapphire (nightclub), son of Hector and Lady Santiago, drug kingpin and leader of the Santiago cartel.
PART II Coming Soon….