IN YVETTE’S OWN WORDS…New kid on the block, debuting my writings at the ripe ole age of 40. Residing in Chester, PA, I spend my time reinventing and enhancing my life. My passions are the culinary arts, Swarovski Silvercut crystal, seafood and femininity…not necessarily in that order. I’m an old school homebody who only aspires for the simple things in life…Simplicity.
How long have you been writing and how did you get started?
If I include my childhood journals, I would have to say that I’ve been writing almost all my life. My attitude changed from recreational to professional only a short time ago, however. I entered a poetry contest and won the honor of being published in 2002. The poem was entitled “You” and is part of a compilation in Walking In Shadows.
Give a brief synopsis of your book, Unconventional Love.
Unconventional Love is an entanglement of three main storylines that intertwine into an unexpected twist. My main characters are Rocky and Coco, are two lesbian lovers that haphazardly meet in a nightclub, have an instant attraction and enter into a whirlwind relationship. Rocky is a master mechanic. She is your classic stereotypical blue jean stud that has aspirations of financial freedom by one day owning her own repair shop. Coco is Rocky’s absolute opposite. She is your stereotypical high maintenance “lipstick lesbian” she’s a fulltime college student who aspires to be a psychotherapist. Coco, to Rocky’s displeasure, rounds out her nights working part time as an exotic dancer. Then we have the Constentino’s: Leslie and Max. High school aweethearts, living lies and were forced to drop out of the institution of marriage because of deception, indiscretions and abuse. Those are my two main focuses of my book….Oh I did say three main storylines, right? Well the third character pops in and out as a confidant, girlfriend and mother figure to Rocky. Her name is Della. She’s an older lesbian looking for love in all the wrong places and gives Unconventional a new meaning.
How long did it take you to write Unconventional Love, and how has the reception been so far?
From vision to existence, Unconventional took about two years to write. Working a 9 to 5 (which in reality was a 9 to 9) and trying to raise a family took precedence. However with better time management, I buckled down and wrote the bulk of it in four months. Overall, I have been greeted with favorable comments about my book. I’ve been blessed with having some realness and honesty in my friends and acquaintances, so even comments that some may construe as negative has been positively received as constructive.
Tell us about the main character, Rocky. Is she similar to you in any way?
Besides being of the Caucasian persuasion, Rocky is a lot like me. She is a down-to-earth true romantic who only wants the simple things in life…and a beautiful soul to share it with. Rocky and I both share an entrepreneurial spirit as well as an enthusiasm for family whether blood or not (if you’re my friend, your family). We are committed and true to self and family. We both have also found that we have a passion for being in love.
BTW: I put a little of myself in all of the main characters.
Unconventional Love is a novel with an unusual storyline: kidnapping, infidelity, rape, etc. Where did you come up with a plot like this?
Sadly…from life. We all know that life isn’t all bad but we are also aware that these inauspicious things have happened, are happening and will sadly continue to happen. Of course I find a way to balance out the Shar Chi with Sheng Chi in Unconventional…you can’t have the Yin without the Yang. Also I’ve found that it’s because of these storylines, my readers are compelled to see what happens next.
Sistahs on the Shelf has to ask: Did anything in the book actually happen to you in real life?
Because Unconventional Love is based on my observations, imagination and of course memoirs, I threw a little of my real life in there. One of Rocky’s ex-girlfriends shows up in the book as a stud. She was a femme when they were together but tried to use Rocky to teach her how to be suave. Unfortunately for her, she was a poor scholar in the passionate art of truly loving a female. There’s a major storyline in the works for this character…only because she still tries to be a major part of my life.
Do you think Rocky and Coco will live happily ever after?
We all dream of happily ever after and I intend on continuing to do so myself. Rocky and Coco will go through their tribulations just as we all do. You know that I have to keep them interesting and I have a captivating storyline for the two of them in the sequel.
Will there be a sequel to Unconventional Love?
Yep, I am actually working on the sequel as we speak. I realized that Unconventional left my readers wanting more and I will not do them a dishonor by leaving them hanging. The sequel promises to have all the same page turning excitement as the original with a lot more meat…unless you’re a vegan or vegetarian, you won’t leave the table hungry.
What are you working on next?
I’m concurrently working on another book titled To Whom It May Concern. This is a fictional account of a once neglected and twice abandoned child who grows up and is faced with the harsh realities of his life’s circumstances. He soon realizes that he doesn’t have to be the exception but the rule. This is more of an inspirational and motivational piece loosely based around my imagery.
What is a typical day like for you?
Typical? The only thing typical about my days is coffee in the morning. Because of the multitudes of hats I wear, I can be spending all day in flannel pajamas writing, running around trying to convince people why they need my service (I’m an Independent Associate for Prepaid Legal Services, Inc.), being a mediator to one of my families quarrels or jumping on a plane for business or a personal adventure. Now that I’m working full time again though…a lot of that is now limited to work (I manage a bakery), home and writing.
What do you do for fun?
For fun you can catch me in one or two places…my computer playing spider or on my Yamaha trying to play anything…I almost got Stevie’s “Ribbon In The Sky” down.
What are your favorite books? Favorite authors?
Because I’m into enhancement and growth, my favorite books are those of that nature. Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill, Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki and all of Donald Goines. Reading Donald Goines back in the day started my motivation to read. Of course, Donald isn’t one of a motivational stature but he sure kept a sistah interested.
Where do you see yourself in 10 years?
Satisfied. I’m planting and cultivating seeds of happiness and fulfillment in my life’s garden and nourishing them with a positive flow of passion and drive. My hopes are that if I am still around 10 years from now, that I will have matured an impregnable tree of success in whatever branch…be it love, finance, career…whatever! I just see me satisfied.
What motivates you to write?
Drugs…nah, just kidding. Honestly, I have to discipline myself these days. My motivation has always been my family and friends. Now that I’ve somewhat removed from a lot of them, I am now my own motivator. I try to keep myself in line but there are times when I have to pick up a phone and get some long distance inspiration.
What piece of advice can you share with aspiring writers?
The 3 Rs. “Read, Research and Review.” These are definitely necessary evils when it comes to writing. Time consuming? Yes…but in the long run it is time well spent. I’ve begun to take this advice more seriously for my next projects because it can only develop me to a better writer for my readers.
Why do you feel it’s important for black lesbian to tell their own stories, like you did with Unconventional Love?
Primarily because that’s the story we know best. Who better else to do it? Secondly, I believe in sharing our stories incites a cornucopia of reactions in those who read them. These reactions can range from simply identifying with the author to inspiring an accomplishment of sort. From all the adversity and challenges we face to all the love and blessings that’s been bestowed, if we were to share our stories, the world would truly see how conventional we live our lives.
Interviewed February 2006
Yvette Michelle Hall’s Reviews