Wednesday, August 04, 2010
FEATURED AUTHOR: Jennifer Coissiere
EDITOR NOTE: You know it is always a pleasure to be able to introduce someone I know; however it’s even better when the person is a loyal supporter of SORMAG. I’m excited to be able to introduce you to a debut author, who I know you will be adding to your favorite author list.
Jennifer Coissiere is originally from Kingston, Jamaica, raised in Jamaica, NY, and currently living in a suburb of Georgia with her husband and three children. Jennifer is currently working on her BS in Early Childhood Education. Aside from writing and being a student, she also dabbles in making beaded gems.
Rachelle Martin’s mother died on Mother’s Day when she was only 15. To make matters worse, Rachelle was in church singing her mother’s favorite song. Now, at age 30, she still has not gotten over the loss of her mother. She feels it is her job to mother and protect her twin brother, Raheem. However, when Rachelle’s dad asks her to sing as a Christmas gift to him, she is transformed. She becomes the focus of many as she focuses on the here and now, instead of the pain of so long ago. She goes from a perceived ugly duckling to a beautiful swan. Her transformation changes the lives of others; making them realize what they want in life. Slowly but surely, they will all begin Crossing Over.
Would you like to giveaway a copy of your book? (if so, I’ll send you the winner’s name and address later) Yes, I would love to give one away and also a bracelet from my beaded gem collection. That would be two winners. You can come up with a crafty way to give away the bracelet.
How did you start out your writing career?
I began writing many years ago, back when I was in junior high school. I used to write poetry to help me deal with the emotions I was feeling. In high school, one of my assignments in my junior year, for my AP English class, was to writing a short story. I had the most amazing time ever writing it. The accolades from my teacher in junior high (about my poetry) and my teacher in high school (about my short story) encouraged me to keep on writing.
What did you learn while writing this book?
I learned authors are the vessels/tools used in relaying a message. The characters are the ones who dictate the way they want their lives to be in those pages allotted for their life span. I also had some ah-ha moments while I wrote the book. The passages from the Bible that were used in getting a certain point across were passages that I need to make my life better as well.
What did you hope to accomplish with this book?
I want to touch as many lives as I can. The underlying topic of my book is the lost of a mother (in some form) and overcoming the hurt and pain. I want people who have lost a loved one to understand they can continue to live and enjoy life even though the person they loved is no longer here in the physical. But in their hearts the memories of all the good times with that person will always live on. When we dwell on the death, it almost seems as though that one-day of that person’s life is more important than all the other days they spent on this earth.
What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer?
The toughest test… trying not to be offended when a reader doesn’t get the concept of my book or their interpretation is so far off I wonder if I could have done some thing different.
If you had the opportunity to talk with three writers, who would you choose and why?
Please forgive me when I sound cliché. There are so many great authors I would love to have a moment or two with. I don’t want to know about their writing process, but I want to know why they wrote what they wrote. Since I can only choose three, I will pick a variety.
Charles Dickens – I want to know what made him write Great Expectations. When I first read this book back in HS I was intimidated at the size of the book, but I connected with the character, Pip. The story was a bit dark and back in the time when I read the story, so was I.
Toni Morrison – The Bluest Eyes would be the topic of our discussion. The self-hatred by Pecola was my first view into my own dissatisfaction with myself in certain areas of my life. I would love to know why Ms. Morrison didn’t think this book was good enough.
James Baldwin – If Beale Street Could Talk was my first taste of romance and the unfairness of life. I believe after I read this book, my reality of happily ever after and fairy tales waivered. It was at that moment roses died for me. Tish was doing something I vowed never to do…go visit my man in jail with a piece of plexi-glass between us.
Believe me I could go on with my list of authors.
What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?
I wish someone had told me writing the book is the easiest part of being in the publishing world.
I’m a reviewer, have been for a while. I wish I had known that no matter how much an author tries, it’s very hard to catch every little mistake. I was a stickler for that. Now I’m a little more lenient, because I understand.
I wish I knew how to market myself better. I still wish I knew that at this very moment.
Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?
Don’t try to please everyone with your writing. Chances are you will never be able to accomplish that in this lifetime.
Do your best to write every day. Your book/story cannot write its self.
I borrowed this question from Author Carleene Brice, What is your author fantasy?
Man, this is where I get to dream big. I would love to see my debut novel on screen. I would also like to be a best selling author at least one time, while I’m still living.
What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
I wish non-writers would understand not every author can churn out a book in a month. I take my time in crafting my stories, because I have to connect with my characters so that the story can feel real.
What was the best advice you’d ever gotten about the publishing industry? The worst?
The worst: it’s so cutthroat out here for authors, you may need to reconsider publishing at all. The reason why this is the worst, it came from another author who was still writing stories and getting ready for yet another release.
The best: write what makes you happy. This is a bonus for me, because I love writing and the topics I write about may not always make me happy. But knowing I have delivered a message that’s changed someone’s life a little makes me happy.
If you could visit any place in the world where would you travel to?
I would love to visit Hawii. I want to see a volcano up close.
What is something readers would be surprised you do?
Wow, I feel like I’m an open book already, not sure anything I say would surprise anyone at this point. The one thing not many people know about me is that I can actually sing.
Our theme for this month is STAYING OUT OF THE SLUSH PILE? What advice would you give someone to make sure their manuscript stays out of the slush pile?
Make sure to do your research, especially if you’re incorporating information in your manuscript you have no clue about. Also, the research needs to extend out to agents and/or publishing houses you will send/submit your manuscript to. Be certain the person you are submitting to is the person who is accepting the genre you’re writing.
Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?
I know for sure that no one knows everything. If I want to continue to grow in my craft and life, I have to accept that I will need to keep learning for the rest of my life.
Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?
I’m working on two books right now. The first one is the sequel to Crossing Over titled Beyond New Beginnings. The other is a standalone titled Hiding Under the Umbrella.
A look onto the pages of Beyond New Beginnings:
With her hands wrapped around the steaming cup of black coffee, Paula watched her sister and her daughter. They had an unspoken bond that she didn't want to tarnish the relationship they had formed over the years. She hadn’t come back from the Philippines to do this to her family.
"Rebecca, I'm wondering if you would like to travel with me back to the Philippines to see a different side of the world?" asked Paula.
Dawn looked at her with great disdain. She shook her head; she knew her mother had been lying all along. A little part of her wished that Paula had been telling the truth; at least she wouldn't have felt like she was unwanted and abandoned.
"I have to go," said Dawn.
"You just got here. You woke me out of my sleep to stay fifteen minutes?"
Dawn leaned toward Rebecca and kissed her cheek, "I have many things to do Aunt Becca. I will come by later to see you. I love you."
She didn't acknowledge her mother. Dawn grabbed her jacket and headed for the door.
Paula reached out her hand, but pulled it back before she could touch her.
Thank you LaShaunda for taking time to do what you do for the literary community. We (authors and readers) truly appreciate your dedication.
Jennifer is giving away a copy of her new book, Crossing Over and one of her own creations, a beautiful bracelet. Leave a comment or question for a chance to win one.
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