Friday, August 13, 2010


Lorraine Elzia has always had an admiration for both the spoken and written word and has exercised that gregarious gift in various venues. She began her writing career five years ago with her inclusion in Chicken Soup for the Single Parent’s Soul. Inclusion in a second Chicken Soup for the Soul anthology, inclusions in two of the Gumbo for the Soul Anthologies and a story in The Triumph of My Soul Anthology followed that first publication. Lorraine is an Author, Editor, and Ghostwriter. She is also Co-Owner of Eve’s Literary Services, contributing Editor of the “Gumbo for the Soul” series; and Co-Moderator of Essentially Women, a writing group for African American women. Her debut novel, Mistress Memoirs was released in 2009 to stellar reviews and made her the recipient of the Break Out Author of the year award. Her sophomore novel, Ask Nicely and I Might will be released September 1, 2010 from Peace in The Storm Publishing.

Ask Nicely and I Might

A twisted game of intrigue proves that
six degrees of separation bridge the gap
between the sane and the insane.

Alex Carlysle is a savvy homicide detective highly respected among her peers. When her lover becomes the latest victim in a series of brutal murders, the investigation of the killings becomes personal for her and catching the killer could be the break she has been waiting for concerning her career.

Jade abides by a different set of rules. Instead of enforcing the law, she is the thorn in its side. She is a sexy enigma of a serial killer who taunts the police just for the pleasure of it while devouring her prey in the process. As the hunter becomes the hunted, both women are destined for a massive head-on collision with each other. The thrill of pursuit is not the only tie that binds them; they are also driven by bloodshed and a chain of circumstances that began in the subconscious mind.

Ask Nicely and I Might is a racy thriller filled with sexy suspense; a wicked game of cat and mouse where time is rapidly running out for both the hunter and the hunted.

How did you start out your writing career?

Quit by happenstance, although I now know it was a blueprint from God. I joined an online writing group several years ago after persuasion from online friends who said I had a knack for storytelling. That was their polite way of saying, “Your emails are way too long; why don’t you become a writer and publish a book instead?” I joined a writing group as a lurker, taking notes and slowly but surely testing the waters of expressing myself through the written word. The group embraced me, showing me the strength and weaknesses of my writing, and most of all they gave me the courage to let my voice be heard through written form. A Call for Submissions for Chicken Soup for the Soul was posted in the group. I had a story in mind that fit the call, and decided to write it and submit it for consideration in the anthology. Even though it was my first time submitting my work to anyone outside of family and friends…I had no fear. It felt natural. When my story was accepted for publication in one of their anthologies on my first try, I got a high from that experience and a confirmation of sorts…from that moment on, I decided to adorn the hat of a Writer.

What did you learn while writing this book?

As I tried to write Ask Nicely and I Might, I noticed it was taking longer than my first novel. Everything was slower. I was feeling a sense of pressure--although self imposed--to try and come up with something better than my first. No one put that pressure on me--except me--but it was there just the same and it caused writer’s block. Then one day I had to remind myself of why I write. It has nothing to do with book sales, reviews or recognition…it has nothing to do with acceptance or pleasing others, since we can never please everyone no matter how hard we try. I had to remind myself that I write because I LOVE to write. I write because it is my purpose here on earth. I write because it is an extension of who I am as a person. As such, I can never let the outside obstacles of the literary game sully my passion for what I feel I was created to do. I had to teach myself to lose the baggage of wondering if I will please others who read my words and to just do what God created me to do. If I am a writer, then I should write, I should tell the story as it has been given to me to tell…plain and simple…all the other stuff will work itself out accordingly. A writer uses the gift they are given and does not worry about how it will be received. It took me a hot minute to swallow that and to press the forward button on my craft, but I finally did.

What did you hope to accomplish with this book?

I want each of my books to allow the reader to FEEL as if they are in the mind of the character I am writing about. I write in a lot of genres from religious to suspense to erotica…but in doing so, I want everything I write to have a message. And I want that message to be delivered from the mindset of someone that is actually walking in those shoes as opposed to someone else judging the behavior or describing it as they see fit. I want readers to become one and live vicariously through my characters all the while marinating on the message I am trying to convey. With this book the message is that we are a product of our surroundings, yet, we each make conscious choices in every decision we make. I want people to see that ‘yes’, our history has something to do with who we are as an individual, but that ultimately we shouldn’t choose to use that history as a crutch and instead we should use it as a catalyst.

What is the toughest test you've faced as a writer?

(I have to smile at this one)…Letting my work go, trusting it to fly on the wings I have given it. Being able to say, “It is done, it is what it was intended to be, and therefore…it is complete.” I have a tendency to be the landlord of OCD when it comes to writing. I will write and rewrite and edit and re-edit and then review a single chapter to death. I am like an over-protective mother in that regard; I have a hard time letting my babies go. That’s the toughest test for me...learning when to let my work go to its final destination…allowing it to leave the nest.

If you had the opportunity to talk with three writers, who would you choose and why?

The names would not be known to most people because my taste changes with the wind. Currently, I really like the writing styles of some ‘unknown’ authors. Something about the hunger in their words is satisfying to me. I am also a big fan of poetry and a borderline stalker of the lyrics of local spoken word artists.

What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?

1) That writing is truly a form of self expression which leaves you on a stage, naked before the world, and open to criticism of every pimple.

2) As a writer, everything we say is both a blessing and a curse. They will forever follow us, even if at the time of putting them down in ink, we had no realization of the power they possessed.

3) Only believe half of anything you hear about your writing…good or bad. You’re never as bad as some will say you are and you’re never as good as your followers will proclaim…the truth lies in the middle, so only believe half of what you hear.

Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?

Do what you love.
Don’t let anything stop you.
In the end…that is all that matters.

I borrowed this question from Author Carleene Brice, What is your author fantasy?

To one day see one of my stories on the big screen with some of the strongest black actors in the country as leading characters in a story of my creation…however, I’m not greedy…I’ll gladly take some B-list actors in my story on the LifeTime movie network as well. That will work too.

What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?

That writing takes the same skill and discipline possessed by athletes. It may not be as physically challenging, but it requires the same kind of dedication if not more.

What was the best advice you’d ever gotten about the publishing industry? The worst?

Best – Don’t expect to get rich as an author.
Worst – All publicity is good publicity because it keeps you in the mind and on the lips of people. (That works in Hollywood concerning celebrities, but it’s not true in the literary world.)

If you could visit any place in the world where would you travel to?

New York. I love to people watch and New Yorkers are the realest people on the planet. Whatever your appetite craves personality wise, you can find it on the streets of New York. I love to just sit and inhale all that city has to offer.

What is something readers would be surprised you do?

I pray over EACH and EVERY chapter I write before I consider it done. It’s one thing to have a story in your mind, acknowledging that you need a beginning, middle and an end. But readers are fickle creatures…their wave ebbs and flows chapter by chapter, not storyline by storyline. (Some writers miss that) It only takes one ‘bad’ chapter to lose a reader and make them turn on you. Thus I pray over each chapter I write. I treat each chapter as if it was the first and each gets as much significance in my mind as if it were the only one. As such they all get my prayer and my blessing before I consider them done.

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?

Flava, Flava and more Flavor…What sets a good book ahead of another good book is the descriptive seasoning put in it. (Back in the day, they called it, “Putting your foot in it!”) A writer can’t just write words, they have to paint a picture. They have to go for the WOW jugular vein of those that will read their work. They have to hook the reader from sentence one and maintain that momentum throughout the entire story. You stay out of the slush pile by making your words stand above the rest and making the reader hungry for the “secret sauce” of what you have to say. I have a tag line I use of “Why blend in when you are born to stand out.” I adopted it because that’s reality. You move out of the slush pile by using your words to stand out above the rest.

Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?

That there is a God. That I am His Child and that as long as I have faith of a Mustard Seed, He will bless me abundantly. Everything else in life is just gravy on my taters!

Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?

In keeping with my first-person form of storytelling, my novel for 2011 will come from the mouth and mindset of two main characters. But I’m flipping the switch a little as the main character in this novel will be a man. The storyline revolves around a man on death row and the 30 days leading up to his execution. He communicates with a late night radio talk show host who tries to aid in stopping his execution before time runs out. Think of “Sleepless in Seattle” flirts with “Dead Man Walking”, add a dash of an urban twist and you have a “taste” of my next book.

How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)

I can be contacted via email at; through my publisher at; and through my website:

LEAVE A COMMENT OR QUESTION FOR A CHANCE WIN A COPY OF LORRAINE's TWO BOOKS Mistress Memoirs (debut novel) and Ask Nicely and I Might

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Super Mommie said...

I'm normally too emotional to read suspense but this one looks really good! I can't wait to pick up a copy of it.

Persia Ellis said...

I've always been a fan of Ms. Lorraine since her first entry in the Chicken Soul Anthology. I read MM and I fell in love with her writing all over again. As a writer, she has very eclectic taste that seems to shine though her penetrating lyrics--regardless of the genre.
I’ve had the honor to read Ask Nicely..and I gave it 5 out of 5 stars and it’s on my TOP READS for 2010. Ms. Lorraine obeys that inner voice and creates a character based upon that voice. The characters are rich, realistic and most of all energetic.
THANK YOU for sharing your world with us and know that I am true fan, Ms. Lorraine.
God bless in your future endeavors. You deserve it.

Sharon said...

Lorraine...what an awesome interview. I read Mistress Memoirs and I can tell you it is a descriptive read of a mistress's POV. Keep up the good work!!

shawnalb said...

I have never been a fan of mystery or detectives book, but in reading the preview I can no longer wait to get my hands on the book. I believe it will keep me on my toes.

Brian Ganges said...

Great interview Lorraine. That's how we do it in Texas, girl.

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