Monday, June 19, 2006

FEATURED AUTHOR: V. Anthony Rivers

SORMAG: Please give the readers a brief bio on you the person and the writer.

V. Anthony Rivers:
I was born in Los Angeles many moons ago. Growing up I had two dreams as far as what I wanted to do with my life. I wanted to either be a football player or my number one favorite, Zorro. Ha! What can I say! I grew up always wishing/wanting to be the rescuer and looking real cool at the same time. I've also always wanted a black horse. I guess that's why I've never had a car that wasn't black. I don’t think I ever imagined being an author until not too long ago, about two years before my first book, Daughter by Spirit, was published. At that time a friend of mine used to tell me that eventually I'd be writing novels because all my short stories and poetry seemed to be written in a way that made you want to know more. That person was right and soon after I would start making my short stories a little bit longer. I'd develop a love and fondness for dialogue which I could hear in my head as if someone were speaking to me. No, I wasn't going crazy!

I wrote my first novel called November Friend back in 1998 and self published it through 1st Books. Tee C. Royal of RAWSISTAZ found the book and loved the story. She spread the word instantly and caught the ear of bestselling author, Zane who signed me to her publishing company, Strebor Books International for which I am forever grateful to her. She's been a tremendous supporter and hero in my literary career thus far.

November Friend was too short to be an actual novel so it was Zane's idea to combine this with what I had written as the sequel. Born out of that was my first big-time release, Daughter By Spirit. Following my first release came various anthologies, and Chocolate Flava, and my second novel, Everybody Got Issues. Between my second and third novels, I penned stories for a couple more anthologies, Love Is Never Painless and Truth Be Told. Now, thanks once again to Zane and Strebor Books International I'm excited about the release of my third novel, My Life Is All I Have.

SORMAG: Tell us about your current book?

My Life Is All I Have is a coming of age story about a young woman (Leesha Tyler) looking back on her life as she contemplates a very drastic decision. This decision will have an impact not only on her life but the lives of others. The story also paints a portrait not only of her life but the influences that affect her decision such as her negative relationship with her mother and the rough neighborhood in which she grew up. This neighborhood actually exists in Los Angeles as it's often referred to as "The Jungle" located in the Crenshaw area of South LA, sitting directly below the more affluent Viewpark neighborhood.

SORMAG: What would you like your readers to take away from your book?

I'd like for them to take away a few things. First, I'd like for them to enjoy this literary journey, if you will inside the mind of this young woman. I'd like for readers to hopefully connect with the characters on an emotional level so that it becomes an interesting escape all the way to the last page. And as this story relates to life in the real world, I hope that this story leaves the reader with some sort of understanding about the consequences of each decision we make on a day to day basis no matter how big or small. Everything matters from a decision to buy a new car to saying hello in passing to someone who might truly need it. Decisions are a powerful barometer with respect to the direction of our lives...

SORMAG: How did it feel to reach your publishing goal?

It was a blessing that I remain very grateful for each and every day. It's something that I can always hold on to because it happened not only once but several times although my goal is more of a creative one now as I attempt every time to push the envelope a little further.

SORMAG: Any advice for those striving for the same goal?

Learn the business, pay attention to those wonderful people who know what they're talking about and have paved the way, and always strive to push your own creative envelope to never before imagined heights! Everyone has many stories to tell regardless of how similar they might sound. There's always that extra twist that can make it unique.

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

It's not as easy as it looks! A lot of thought goes into this creativity and at the same time it's such an appreciated blessing to be able to do this and to have someone email or respond in some way about how the story has touched them. I get my biggest thrill when someone tells me my story made them cry or burst out laughing because those are two very real emotions that come to the forefront when you've truly struck a nerve, so to speak.

SORMAG: Do you have any promotional tips for writers?

If you're not really great at doing it all yourself, find someone fabulous like Marlive Harris of to represent you from a publicist point of view. I definitely recommend finding people that can keep you pointed in the right direction and who can better spread the word for you in places you're not able to do on your own. Other than that I would say prepare to invest some hard earned money from your regular job so you can purchase bookmarks, postcards, flyers, etc, etc.. Whatever it takes but in the end it's worth it because as I said, when someone tells you how much your story or your characters touched them, you quickly learn that that sort of reward is priceless!

SORMAG: What is a favorite book from your childhood?

Green Eggs and Ham by Dr. Seuss. I actually tried to make some green eggs when I was a kid after reading this book. I figured I could shoot some food coloring into my eggs, thus creating my culinary masterpiece. I added the food coloring in there but then left the eggs cooking on the stove because I was engrossed in some Saturday morning cartoon watching. My eggs came out black and if it wasn't so funny to my mother, my behind might've been bruised to match my eggs... Ha!

SORMAG: What was the last book to keep you up at night reading it?

One of my favorites of all time that I recommend to everyone called A Woman's Worth by Tracy Price-Thompson. That one kept me up and had me reading every chance I got. Now thanks to my publicist, I have a feeling I'm gonna be up all night reading The Buffalo Soldier by Chris Bohjalian.

SORMAG: What resources do you use on the net?

I'm constantly on the net, browsing all the various author sites, bookseller's sites, and Google for research necessary for stories that I'm working on. Seems like in this day and age the Internet goes hand in hand with anything literary, especially when it comes to promoting and/or finding out what's happening in the world, literary and otherwise..

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

Readers should never hesitate to visit my website at They'll be able to find my email information and other great stuff when dropping by for a visit. Thank you so much, Shades Of Romance Magazine.


Shelia said...

Anthony, your characters seem to jump off the pages...I like the point you made that life is about decision can lead to other things. After reading My Life, I'm anxiously waiting on your next book. Now to my questions, was it difficult writing a female character and why did you choose to write it from Leesha's point of view instead of Scottie's?

Sylvia Hubbard said...

i've read the excerpt and sincerely enjoyed it! I'll be putting this on my Amazon TBR list.

VAR said...

Hey Shelia...

I appreciate the compliment and you taking the time to read this fabulous story of

To answer your question, there was really never a question in my mind about who's point of view to tell this story from. Leesha's character and purpose for this story was fully developed in my mind before I even began writing MLIAIH. This is her story, her journey, if you will. Scottie's character was basically developed as the story progressed. All that he said and did wasn't really planned as much and if I used his point of view the story would be completely different. We wouldn't have been able to witness the other important character's such as Leesha's grandmother, mother, Treyvon, and the other influences in Leesha's life that caused her to reach her personal crossroads aka decision. I love it that many readers have fallen in love with Scottie and as such, they want more and more of That's a beautiful thang! :-)

Thanks again Shelia and very special thanks to SORMAG for this really cool interview! I appreciate it very much! :-)

Vanessa A. Johnson said...

Hi V Anthony,
Very interesting beginnings. Can't wait to read My Life Is All I Have...Continued success with all of your publishing endeavors...

Love & Peace,

Anonymous said...

Hi Mr. Rivers,
I read Everybody Got Issues and loved it. I appreciate the advice you gave in the interview to new authors. May God continue to bless you as you continue to write.

Take care,
Felecia R. Ellis
Chaos and Mistaken Murder

VAR said...

Vanessa: Thank you very much and can't wait for you to read MLIAIH as well... Holla anytime and let me know your thoughts.

Felecia: I appreciate you lovin Everybody Got Issues. I really hope you checkout My Life Is All I Have. You'll be in for quite a literary ride with this one and probably fall in love with the character of Scottie. I've been getting tons of responses from the ladies saying they want more of Thanks again.. :-)

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