Author Spotlight: Electa Rome Parks & Monica Garner
KG: What is one word to best describe your writing style?
KG: Who is the target audience for readers of your work?
ERP: My target audience is any reader looking for a good book with an intriguing storyline filled with drama, relationship complexities, topical issues, memorable characters, and a dash of spiciness. However, my target audience primarily tends to be African American women of all ages.
MG: Mature Adults
KG: Describe your writing life.
ERP: Road Trip, book number 12, is my return to the writing industry. Before Road Trip, my last novel, When Baldwin Loved Brenden, was written five years ago. Due to just life and personal issues, I had taken a hiatus. However, if you are genuinely passionate about writing and the power it possesses, you can never stay away for too long. It's a calling and a gift that you must respond to live out your mission and purpose in life.
MG: Part-time, but full-time. I work a full-time job but also devote a great deal of time to my writing. When I log off of my Dell from my full-time job, I log into my MacBook and write. I've written Adult fiction, YA, and romance novels and currently have 16 books in publication.
KG: What is your greatest literary accomplishment?
ERP: I have two. Lol. I love, love, love being able to create memorable characters that come to life between the pages of my books. It still blows my mind how just my vivid imagination and my laptop can create characters that readers can relate to and talk about as if they are living, breathing people who will live on, within the pages of my novels, forever. Secondly, I adore my readers. There is nothing like bonding over a good story. Over the years, I have attended many book club meetings and have bonded with women across the country over my novels, good food, and lots of wine. It is an undeniable connection that is priceless. Those are sisterhood moments I will never forget.
My YA series Indigo Summer appeared on the American Library Association (ALA) 's
list of 2008, 2009 & 2010 Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers.
KG: What has been the greatest lesson you've learned since becoming a published author, and advice would you give an aspiring author?
ERP: The greatest lesson I have learned since becoming a published author is that you must be true to yourself. Never let anyone tell you what you can and cannot write. For your authentic stories to resonate with readers, you cannot emulate or try to be someone else. Listen to your characters and write from the heart. Also, your novels are not for everyone, and that is fine. Don't take it personally. The goal is to have a powerful voice and be heard; those who need to read/receive it will come.
MG: the greatest lesson I've learned is that no one is going to promote your book better than you. This career takes dedication and thick skin. Learn who your readers are and connect with them. Give them your best.
KG: Tell me about your latest release and what made you write it.
ERP: Road Trip, as an idea, has been a work in progress for a few years. Monica Garner, my sister, author-friend, and I had talked numerous times about penning a novel together. However, we wrote in different genres, and we always had other projects and commitments we were working on at the time. Finally, an opportunity presented itself; we had a conference call, brainstormed, and here we are. Monica and I decided on this storyline because, at the time, we were recently divorced. We wanted to write about being a middle-aged black woman, divorced and picking up the pieces of her life because many of our readers were going through this or had been through this scenario.
MG: Road Trip is my latest release and collaborates with my author friend Electa Rome Parks. We'd talked about writing a book together for years, and once we found ourselves both picking up the pieces from being divorced, we decided to write a book together. Our book is about two divorced friends who each embark on a road trip separately.
KG: How has Covid19 affected your literary career?
ERP: Covid19 hasn't majorly affected my literary career. Most literary functions can be performed online, on a laptop, and through social media, even before Covid. I do miss the ability to attend literary events such as festivals and conferences in person and connect with my fellow writers and, of course, the readers. However, Zoom still combines us to book clubs and other online literary events, but there is nothing like bonding face-to-face.
MG: What I've learned about COVID is that it has forced everyone to get in touch with their crafty side. As such, I've been able to write more and complete projects that I never had time (or made time) to complete before. However, the downside has been that I've not attended in-person events and connected with readers as I did in the past. Everything is virtual now, causing that personal element to sort of dissipating.
KG: What are some other projects that you are working on besides being an author?
ERP: Is there anything else? If I am working on a project, you can bet it is literary. Hopefully, Monica and I will complete another project together since we are a great writing team, and I plan to release a novel, currently untitled, that I wrote three years ago. Regardless of what is going on in my life, I will continue to write, nurture my creative spirit, and be an avid reader. It's in my blood.
MG: I also make candles, which I love and gives me a great deal of personal satisfaction.
KG: Lastly, what book did you read that made you fall in love with reading?
ERP: I cannot pinpoint one particular book that made me fall in love with reading; so many were pivotal. I fell in love with the written word as a young child, maybe at 5 or 6 years old. Being a shy child, I spent countless hours lost between the pages of a good book that transported me to exciting and interesting places and allowed me to meet new and captivating friends through the characters. As I discovered, there is power in words, and my addiction spread, and I became an avid reader.
MG: Terry McMillan's Disappearing Acts and Eric Jerome Dickey's Friends and Lovers. After reading those books, I devoured everything written by both of them.