What’s the story behind the story? What inspired you to write The Mayor’s Race?
My previous book, No Halo Required, pushed me into uncharted territory. It was the first time I had written a plot-driven novel as opposed to character-driven. It is my first piece of Noir fiction (focusing on protagonists who are seriously flawed and morally questionable). And the main characters are black. It was written as a one-off. However, I was so pleased by the reviews, I decided to write a sequel. Plot? The politics in America has become so ludicrous I used that as a springboard for the characters’ motivation with much focus, in a humorous way, on the racial atmosphere in the United States in the 2020s.
If you had to pick theme songs for the main characters of The Mayor’s Race, what would they be?
For Yvette, it would be “I am Woman” by Helen Reddy. She likes to be heard and she likes to roar. Cory reminds me of the song “Grace Kelly” by Mika where he continually asks “Why don’t you like me?” and vows he can be anything she, Yvette, or society, in general, wants him to be. Cory wants to be a hero but is not seen that way.
What’s your favorite genre to read? Is it the same as your favorite genre to write?
It’s more what I don’t like. I like stories that are believable (so that’s fantasy and Sci-Fi out the window) with flawed characters (there go the James Bond types) with fears that we all share (that’s the alpha males gone.) I like strong women with deep underlying insecurities and men with an alpha mentality but a Charlie execution. The closer it is to real life the more I enjoy it, so that puts biographies and memoirs pretty high on the list.
What books are on your TBR pile right now?
I’m a member of a writing group which leaves me reading a lot of manuscripts not yet published. I love new talent, although I do read some who are not so talented as well. As far as recognizable names, I enjoy Sophie Kinsella, Steve Cavanaugh, Mark Twain, and George Orwell.
What scene in your book was your favorite to write?
Chapter two is what the story is all about. Cory meets with the mayor asking to build a sports center and for it to be named after him. The mayor basically calls Cory a loser and tells him to name it after a black guy and he’ll pass it. That was fun trying to capture the emotions of each character when they were at polar opposites of their respective wants.
Do you have any quirky writing habits? (lucky mugs, cats on laps, etc.)
Once I formulate the characters in my mind, I go online and find pictures of them. Not celebrities, but real people. I’ll search Shutterstock for a “Twenty-four-year-old redhead female” kind of thing. Once I get the male and female MC, I print off their pictures and hang them over my desk the entire time I write the novel. I sometimes stare at their picture when I’m stuck and ask them, “What are you thinking?” I have pictures of all the main characters from all my books.
Do you have a motto, quote, or philosophy you live by?
I don’t always give my characters happiness at the end of the book, but I always give them hope.
If you could choose one thing for readers to remember after reading your book, what would it be?
Wow, I did not see that ending coming!
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