Meet Up and Coming Author Gena L.
Author of "Baring It All"
PWLGB: When did you decide you wanted
GG: I began writing as a kid. I used
to make my own coloring books and write stories in them. As a teenager I moved up to short stories and poetry. However I also
sing. I've been told that I have an annointed voice and my parents and most of the people around me emphasized my singing.
I wanted to major is journalism in college but was convince to major in music education by my parents. After awhile singing
and music became my focus and writing took a backseat.
Then in 1999 my brother passed away and left
me a small amount of insurance money. He always encouraged me to write so I purchased a computer and started writing again.
PWLGB: How many novels in all have
GG: I've written 2 novels and am working
on a 3rd
PWLGB: How long did it take you to
write your first novel?
GG: From start to finish about 3 years
however I wasn't actually working on it all of that time. It began as a short story that had 3 parts. Then I put it away for
awhile. When I began on it again I completed the story but it still wasn't long enough to be a book. So for the next year
I went back and forth working on it adding chapters, fleshing out characters and so forth.
PWLGB: Where do you get your inspiration
for your stories?
GG: I have no idea. Things just seem
to pop into my head out of nowhere. I used to make up stories alot as a kid so I guess that's where it comes from.
PWLGB: What made you decide to write
a story like Baring it All??
GG: My muse, Marcus, who is a good
friend told me about a dream he had of owning an upscale adult entertainment club. So I wrote a short story which was originally
supposed to be about him and his club. Then it evolved from there.
PWLGB: Are the characters based
on real people?
GG: Everyone in Baring it All has a real
life counterpart. When I write in order for me to invision the characters and what they will do I think of real people. However
the real people may not see themselves in the characters. For example the main character Marissa Rogers is me. Although I
have to clear it up that I've never been a stripper. However like Marissa I've struggled financially and considered different
ways of making ends meet. I've struggled with my sexuality as a single person. And also like her I've wondered about God's
purpose and place in my life considering the fact that I know I haven't lived a perfect life. So each of my characters has
some traits of a real life person although I transformed them and made them new beings.
PWLGB: Can you tell us a little about the
GG: Baring it All is a unique love
story between a minister and a stripper. That relationship seems to shock most people however one of the points I try to make
in Baring it All is that if you allow yourself to, you can love almost anyone. The other aspect of the story is a murder mystery
involving the other strippers who work at the same night club as Marissa. As we follow them through the story we get to watch
how the murders, and their unlikely love change them both as people. Of course being set in a strip club the story is very
sexy, but there's also a message that speaks to a person's heart about what true unconditional love from a person and from
God is about.
PWLGB: Did you self-publish?? If so,
how was that experience?
GG: No. My publisher is Publish America.
I considered self-publishing because getting read by a major house can be difficult. However I did not want to give up the
control of my story I felt an agent may ask for. So I chose Publish America as one of the few publishers who do not require
an agent for submissions. I've been very happy with the way I've been treated as an author and the results of my book.
PWLGB: What authors do you admire? Did one
of them inspire you?
GG: Victoria Christopher Murry is the answer
to both of these. I'd fallen into a period where I no longer read African American fiction because I felt I was seeing the
same story over and over again. I also was strugging in my relationship with God and wanted to get closer to him while reading.
Someone gave me Temptation and it sat in my car trunk for about 3 months. Then one afternooon I was waiting on my sister to
come out of the store and I began reading it. I finished within 24 hours because I could not put it down.
She was the first author of Christian fiction
that I'd read where there was a balance between story and God. It was entertaining without being preachy but by the time I'd
finished it I'd learned a valuable lesson. After reading that it inspired me to look for other Christian fiction authors and
also gave me the courage to put God into my writing as well.
PWLGB: Is writing your only passion?
GG: No. As I mentioned earlier I also sing.
My church choir takes up a large amount of my time and I love singing almost as much as writing. Gospel is my favorite music,
but I also sing a little r&b and some country. Being from the mountains of South Carolina that's what I heard alot of.
PWLGB: Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
GG: In addition to writing my novels, I am
co-owner of a story website. www.privatelibrary.net It's a site that has stories available to anyone who wishes
to read on the net. In 5 years or less I see this site as being a major launching board for up and coming authors. Although
I love to write I also want the opportunity to use my writing as a tool to help others see their dreams come true as well.
There are thousands upon thousands of stories out there, they just need an audience willing to read them.
PWLGB: What advice would you give aspiring
GG: The best advise I got and would like
to pass along is read. The greatest authors are those who are also avid readers. So I recommend reading as much as possible.
Read books, magazines, pamphlets, newspapers. Read whatever you can get your hands on. Don't limit your reading. Even if you
love romance, as I do, pick up a science fiction or horror novel once in a while. Read the classic authors like Zora Neal
Hurston, and Toni Morrison. And especially important for black authors is read other things besides African American authors.
Read novels from other cultures and countries if you can find them.
By reading you learn the difference between
good storytelling and good promotion. There are books that sell millions due to good promotion but are not well written or
good stories. Learn to tell the difference in the two and you'll become a successfull writer.
Lastly, don't ever become a writer for the
money. Write because you love to, and because your characters wake you up at night wanting you to put down on paper what they
are doing. When money becomes your least concern, your writing will become it's greatest.
PWLGB: What would you like readers
to learn from your stories?
GG: That unconditional love does exist and
is worth waiting for. Sometimes it comes in an unfamiliar package, but open it up and wait for the surprise. And also that
even in the worst of times, and maybe even the saddest of lives, God's is still there. He never forsakes us, it's us who forsake
PWLGB: Are you working on another novel?
What is it about?
GG: I've finished my second novel entitled
The Rainbow Z. It's also a love story between two unlikely pair. An earthling and an alien. The alien has traveled to
earth to rescue his planet's Princesses when he meets and falls in love. There's also a sub-plot involving the possibility
of the AIDS crisis being caused by the presence of these aliens.
PWLGB: Where can people purchase your books?
GG:My books are available through my publisher's
website www.publishamerica.com or through barnesandnable.com. I also reccomend going to or calling
their local bookstores. As an unknown if there are enough requests for my book they will order and stock it.
PWLGB: Do you have a website?