Cydney Rax Interview with PeopleWhoLoveGoodBooks
When did you decide
you wanted to write?
I think wanting to be a writer is a result
of reading a lot of books. As a youngster I read voraciously and it is easy to entertain thoughts of writing, but back in
the day, it's like no one really makes money doing this so if you do it, you write for fun, for the love of it. But the event
that specifically made me say I WANT TO DO THIS is reading Disappearing Acts by Terry McMillan. I was instantly enthralled
with the novel. It was so different at the time, so contemporary, so real. And by the time I got through reading the last
word, I went straight to a computer and started writing. I'll never forget that. Terry was so good at what she does, that
she made a lot of other people want to be writers.
novels in all have you written? To be honest, I have written many novels, probably five
or so, plus there are a lot of partially written stories. What happens is you think about all the books you've written and
you try to pick the one that you feel has the most commercial appeal. My Daughter's Boyfriend was the third novel
I'd written but it was the one that I can envision being on a bookshelf.
did it take you to write your first novel? I wrote from December 1999 to October 2000. It was amazing because
you're so excited and you just can't wait until you're done. Writing block attacked me a few times and that was a scary experience
but I managed to write that last word and immediately started looking for an agent. The funny thing about it is even after
I'd written the book, I was still changing things around, new scenes were coming to me, so the process was ongoing.
do you get your inspiration for your stories? Let me tell you, I think I get ideas for stories on a weekly
basis. Whew! And those ideas stem from things I read in a magazine, a newspaper, wherever. One thought leads to another and
you began to ask yourself 'what if'. And all these ideas start blasting off in your mind and you really have to put a stop
to it or there will be too many unrealized ideas which isn't a good thing.
characters based on real people?? One time I tried to write a character based on someone I know and the results
were disastrous. So based on that experience it seems better to just let the characters emerge. I try to give them real, emotional
reactions and feelings to make them seem genuine, but no, the characters will not be based on actual people.
made you decide to write a story like "My Daughter's Boyfriend"? I was sitting in the lobby of a movie theater
one Saturday and thought what would happen if a guy had a girlfriend but started liking his girlfriend's mother. That's it!
You do the 'what if' question and you start thinking about characters, their ages, what they are like, how would they react,
etc. The story isn't based on me (I don't have a daughter), or on anyone that I know. I had to use my imagination. But, interestingly
enough, I read an article in Teen People Magazine. It was about these girls whose mothers were babes. Their moms
were youthful looking and very attractive, and the girls' boyfriend would be checking out the mom. So this does happen but
people don't talk about it a lot. It's scandalous and they don't want people to know that they're attracted to their daughter's
boyfriend. But it seemed that the scenario would make a good story so I went for it.
writing your first novel, did you self-publish?? If so, how was that experience? I didn't self-publish.
It was my third option, my plan C, so to speak. I always wanted to get picked up by a major publishing house, but if that
hadn't worked out, I probably would have self-published, or approached a small press. I feel very fortunate that my debut
novel was published by Random House, a place I never imagined would pick up my book.
plan to write a sequel to "My Daughter's Boyfriend"? I do not seriously plan to do a sequel, but from
time to time have entertained those thoughts. I am thinking if I did a sequel, it wouldn't focus on the mother, but on the
daughter during her college years.
feedback have you received from fans? So far, everyone that has e-mailed me have enjoyed the book. People
liked the story, but they don't like the mother Tracey. They see her as very selfish, which is understandable. But I was hoping
that even though we have this main character who makes bad choices, that people would still look past that and hopefully find
the novel entertaining and thought-provoking. The reaction has been amazing and I am grateful to all the book clubs and author
promotion websites that have featured My Daughter's Boyfriend. It's a dream come true.
authors do you admire? Did one of them inspire you? Lots of authors inspire me; and I admire so many of them.
I always mention Terry McMillan because she was my initial inspiration. I love her dialogue and she's very funny in her books.
I wish I could be like her, writing universal and wide-reaching stories about strong women. I also like the works of Margaret
Johnson-Hodge, Sheneska Jackson, Bebe Moore Campbell, and Marissa Monteilh. Cheryl Robinson is a newer author and I love her
style. As far as male authors are concerned I love Alexs Pate, E. Lynn Harris, RM Johnson, and a slew of others. I just cannot
name them all. I remember years ago, I said I wanted a career like Kimberla Lawson Roby (minus all the traveling). Her audience
has grown with each book and that's what every author desires.
your only passion? I absolutely love reading magazines. It's an addiction and I mostly like mags such as Essence,
Today's Black Woman, and Upscale. But I also gotta get my celebrity entertainment news so US Weekly
satisfies those cravings. Anything that has to do with entertainment, women's issues, fashion and shopping, things like that,
I feel passion for those things. Oh, and getting spiritually fed is important too.
do you see yourself in 5 years? My dream is to keep writing fiction and to do different kinds of novels with
non-traditional characters. I want to spread my wings and start doing socially conscious storylines that make people think,
and feel, and nod their head in agreement, or squirm because the material is filled with painful truths. Being safe,
valued, happy and fulfilled are very important and that's where I want to be in five years.
advice would you give aspiring authors? I would say please know that the industry is crowded right now. It
seems that everyone is writing and publishing a book. This means that the industry is more competitive, readers have more
choices and they might not automatically choose to buy your book so you have to come out strong and hard. You should have
an original voice with a story that demands attention. Make people care about what you've written, write with passion, include
different twists, and bring honesty to your work. Don't let rejections get you down. Be determined to succeed, keep the Lord
in the mix, and you may fulfill your literary goals.
would you like readers to learn from your stories? A Cydney Rax novel is not going to be like everyone
else's, at least not my initial books. Right now the stories that are coming to me include characters that people may find
difficult to understand, but please know even if you aren't likable, it doesn't mean you don't have a story to tell. Be open
to the different ways that stories are told, don't put writers in a box thinking they have to do stories the same old way
all the time, and know that every experience we have, good or bad, causes us to be the people that we are. I think that's
what my stories say: we've all been through hell and we all can survive those troubling times.
working on another novel? What is it about? The second novel is called My Husband's
Girlfriend; it's a steamy and controversial love triangle between a husband, his wife, and a tripped out other
woman. I've worked very hard on this book and I hope people will check it out.
can people purchase your books? Do you have a website? You may buy my book online at http://www.amazon.com/ or http://www.cushcity.com/ . It's also available in national chain stores such as Waldenbooks, Barnes and Noble, and
Please visit my website(s). I have two
Thanks Shay for the marvelous interview
questions. And thanks good people for buying or reading My Daughter's Boyfriend. You've made my dreams come true.