Monday, November 14, 2011
FEATURED AUTHOR: Angeline Bishop
Angeline Bishop was born in Washington, D. C. but lives most of her life in New Jersey and considers the ‘Garden State’ her home. Her childhood passion for writing led to a degree in English Literature and a membership in Romance Writers of America.
She works in academic, is a current board member of Write of Passage, Inc., a nonprofit which supports under-served artists in the Baltimore, MD area and an active member of the NAACP. She enjoys providing aspiring writers with writing resources to strengthen their craft.
How did you start out your writing career?
I’ve been writing since high school but I began to take the craft very seriously as an English/Literature major in college. It was there that I decided to broaden my literary tastes.
In my college, Celtic Mythology & Early Irish Literature course, I had an epiphany when Professor Tom Kinsella told me I was a good storyteller. I was the only black woman in that literature class, with not an ounce of Irish blood coursing through my veins, but my story was one of the best. It was a light bulb moment for me. I was captivated by Celtic Mythology and amazing how many of their traditions supersede race and time.
Now, I enjoy writing contemporary African-American novels and I continue to be influenced by many different literary genres.
What did you learn while writing this book?
You know many single moms put their responsibilities and careers in front of everything else because they don’t want the drama of a bad love choice to sidetrack them.
They’ll bury themselves in work, child-rearing and community service in order not to face the fact that love is a risk and sometimes a battle. This book reminded me you have to put your heart on the line to get the love you deserve. Good loving relationships aren’t for the faint of heart. They’re for the brave. We need to stop envying the kind of love relationships other have and get out there and do the work.
What did you hope to accomplish with this book?
I hoped to entertain romance readers with Sheridan siblings and make them root for their favorite. I wanted to tell Graham’s story more than anything else. He’s a troubled soul because he’s always had to fight to protect what is his. He had to fight his father’s dreams of him entering the Navy to enroll at Princeton University. He had to fight to start a magazine with a concept no one thought would work. He even had to fight to make his former fiancé part of his past, and not his present. I can gladly say I’ve done what I set out to do. I told Graham’s love story.
Which character did you have the most fun writing about?
That’s a hard question because I had fun with all of them, in different ways. Yvette has a very ‘over the top’ and ‘in your face’ mentality so I enjoyed writing her dialogue. But I also have a soft spot in my heart for Caresse --she took a chance on love when she didn’t have to.
What has surprised you most about becoming a published author?
The way I bonded so quickly with the wonderful authors at Soul Mate Publishing. The publishing process can be very overwhelming so at our author’s blog site we share stories, information and encourage each other. It’s nice to know there are some friends in the trenches with you.
What aspect of writing do you love the best, and which do you hate the most?
I love editor feedback. It always challenges me to be a better storyteller. I totally hate writer’s block. I’m a plotter so if I can’t see where the story is going I just stop right there in the outline stage and get frustrated. That is when I usually step away from the computer and live my life away from writing.
What are three things you wish you’d known before you reached where you are now?
I wish I’d listen to my gut instincts that kept telling me to send out more queries. Just because my novel didn’t fit one agent’s taste or a publishing house worried about causing competition with other series author on their roster, I lost my confidence and stopped my process. Thankfully, my life changed drastically and my writing was able to take center stage again.
Can you give us one do and one don’t for those aspiring to be a writer?
Do – Write something every day. It keeps you sharp and helps you improve as a writer.
Don’t - Waste days, months, and years talking about the story you want to write. Make it happen. Don’t talk the talk, walk the walk.
What one thing about writing do you wish other non-writers would understand?
It’s a job, not a hobby. Its work that can be very reward and cathartic but it’s still work. And just because no one pays you doesn’t mean you can get away with less of a commitment.
Each night, I would tell my colleagues, I was going home to work my second job, and I’m sure all of them thought it was cute that I liked to write at night, but it was so much more. With North Star available it will be great to show them the results of my work.
If you could be a character from any book you've read, who would you be?
Do comic books count because I’m feeling the new Black Panther series, right now? Shuri is sister of King T'Challa (the Black Panther most comic book fans know). Through her self-sacrificing act to save Wakanda, she earned the mantle of the Black Panther. When one assumes the identity of the Black Panther, they're not just becoming a costumed champion, they're also becoming the ruler of Wakanda; one of the most technologically advanced nations in the Marvel Universe.
Like me, Shuri is a pretty complex woman, and she's doing her best to put on a good front. Both of us have evolved from headstrong, short-tempered and arrogant little sister to being the master of our own fate. When we first meet Shuri, she appears cool and confident, but some of that is a front. It's a 'fake it until you make it' thing. She’s learning to trust her instincts and her support team, (known as P.R.I.D.E.-Princess Regent's Intelligence Division Executives) just like I seek the wisdom of my inner circle.
Okay, if we aren’t talking comic books I would have to say I would be Penelope from Homer’s epic poem The Odyssey. Right now I can relate to the way she never gave up hope. She’s martial faithfulness personified.
When you're not writing, what do you like to do in your spare time?
I like to exercise, visit with friends, watch ABC’s Grey’s Anatomy/Private Practice, cook, horseback riding and reading.
What do you do to interact with your readers?
I enjoy using the social networks like Facebook and Twitter. My Kindle Fire contest has a Twitter component so I can see how Tweeter savvy my fans are.
Oprah always asks, What do you know for sure?
A healthy loving relationship bring you joy, not just some of the time but most of the time.
Can you give us a sneak peek of your next book?
My next book in the Sheridan series will be South Beach, it’s Laila’s story. I’ll be sending her on a much-needed vacation in sunny Florida, where she’ll cause a media whirlwind with her old college friends, Dr. Sofìa Vega-Barea and Ms. Marina Carter. Fans will also get to hear from Malcolm, Graham and Gray again.
How can readers get in contact with you? (mail, email, website)
Caresse Aldana is chosen to persuade Psyche’s dangerously handsome editor-in-chief, Graham Sheridan, to feature an article on the Mason Community Center. She tells herself it’s just business.
She thought her heart wasn’t in jeopardy, but she clearly underestimated Graham’s charm, and his determination to win her heart. As their passion intensifies, disturbing mishaps at the Center place Caresse’s life in danger.
The highly anticipated Mason Ball fundraiser is in peril. Can Graham decipher the evidence, finger the culprits, and save Caresse before it’s too late?
Book trailer: http://youtu.be/WNMhnmqhfkM
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