True Confession Conversation with author Electa Rome Parks
Electa Rome Parks currently resides outside Atlanta, Georgia. After successfully self-publishing her debut novel, The Ties That Bind, New American Library, a division of Penguin Group, bought the rights. Electa signed a three-book deal with New American Library. All three books were immediately chosen as Black Expressions Book Club main selections and embraced as Books of the Month by book clubs across the country. Dubbed a "book club favorite," avid readers have embraced Electa's true to life characters that tackle prevalent and heavy hitting issues.
Since then Electa has become a bestselling author of several other mainstream (Loose Ends and Almost Doesn't Count) and erotic (These Are My Confessions, Ladies' Night Out, Diary of a Stalker and True Confessions) novels with Penguin Group, HarperCollins and Kensington.
The self-proclaimed, Queen of Real, Electa has been a frequent guest on radio shows, has been nominated for many industry awards and has been interviewed by newspapers, AOL's Black Voices, Vibe Vixen, Upscale Magazine, Today's Black Woman, Rolling Out and Booking Matters, to name just a few. With a BA degree in marketing and a minor in sociology, she is following her true passion and working on her next novel and first screenplay.
BPM: Electa, tell us about your passion for writing. What impact do you want your books to have on readers?
Wow! Where do I begin? There is no way to best describe it. I always jokingly state that I have a passionate love affair going on with reading and writing. Our torrid affair has consumed me for much of my life. Writing is in my blood and I can’t imagine life without it. My very spirit would probably shrivel up and die if I couldn’t write. Writing is my therapy. My Voice. My sincere expression of the world as seen through my eyes.
I don’t write as a hustle. I write because I’m passionate about the power and beauty of words. As my children say, “That’s real talk.”
When I write, I am transported to another dimension. My soul feels free and at peace. Writing brings me serenity and peace like no other. When I write I feel powerful---after all, I’m creating life with the stroke of my pen or computer keys. My characters come alive on the pages of my books. And when my readers read my stories, they get to meet these incredible people, faults, imperfections and all.
What drives me? Life, the precious beauty of existing, the experience of learning something new each and every day. Joys, pains. Failures. Accomplishments. Life lessons. My children, my spouse. Observing people in their beauty and splendor and seeing the not so pretty side. Writing is my essence, my link with the world.
As far as an impact is concerned, I simply want my readers to be entertained and pulled into a world completely different, or maybe not, from their own. If a life lesson is learned during the process that makes the experience all the sweeter.
BPM: Take us inside the erotic fiction, True Confessions.
Twenty-eight year old Kennedy Logan is gorgeous, educated, talented, and in love. Unfortunately, Drake Collins has other ideas about the true state of their relationship. Kennedy hopes to turn him around; Drake just wants to turn her out sexually. Kennedy is also searching for her biological mother, who gave her up at birth. She wants answers and she has tons of questions. The enormous weight of these predicaments leads to a failed suicide attempt.
Her overprotective and overbearing mother, Dorothy Logan, moves in with Kennedy and makes it her mission to get her daughter's life back in order. The first step is getting rid of Drake Collins once and for all, but that's easier said than done. Drake has no intentions of going anywhere. Kennedy's ever loyal and fun-loving best friend, Taylor, and her absentee father join forces to help support Kennedy in her time of need.
At her psychiatrist's advice, Kennedy uses writing as her therapy. She starts to keep a daily journal detailing the erotic circumstances and family drama that led up to her despair. Through very personal, funny, and graphic entries, readers will share her confessions. Brace yourselves for a very steamy journey!
BPM: What specific situation prompted you to write True Confessions?
True Confessions actually started out as a short story titled These Are My Confessions in the anthology These Are My Confessions (Harper Collins, 2007). So many readers emailed or excitedly asked me during signings about Kennedy and Drake and their back story that I decided to pen the novel length version. I've always believed in listening to my readers and taking their suggestions:).
Kennedy and Drake captured my imagination as well; they stayed with me long after the short story was published. I wanted to delve deeper into what made them "tick" and a short story didn't allow that. As a writer, for me, it is always about what makes up the core essence of my characters. How did they become who they are? What event(s) shaped their lives? What brought them to this place in their lives when they are introduced to my readers? We are all products of our childhood and I adore piecing the puzzle together to create a likeable, sometimes not so likeable character(s) that has faults, imperfections, just like we all do.
BPM: Electa, who do you want to reach with True Confessions and the message within?
I would like to reach the readers who have wisely figured out we are all works in progress. Can I get an amen? If we are truly honest, there are aspects of our lives that we can all work on during our journey of self exploration.
As with my previous titles (The Ties That Bind, Loose Ends, Almost Doesn't Count, Ladies' Night Out, These Are My Confessions and Diary of a Stalker), they have dealt with topical issues that are prevalent in our communities and society in general. And True Confessions is no different. At first glance it appears to be a relationship gone bad type of storyline, but True Confessions is so much more than that. Issues of suicide, adoption, dysfunctional relationships, bond of a mother and daughter, father and daughter bonds, divorce and low self esteem issues are all addressed. Bottom line, if I had to encompass a general theme prevalent throughout the novel, all of Kennedy's problems and issues stem from feelings of low self esteem and unworthiness.
So. . . my underlying message is that just because someone appears to have it all together doesn't mean they actually do. Kennedy and Drake were prime examples each in their own way. Before we can receive love or give love, we have to love ourselves first. Kennedy and Drake didn't love themselves and it showed up in various aspects of their personalities and life.
BPM: Besides the actual writing process, what is the most gratifying aspect of being a writer?
Hands down, the most gratifying part of being an author has been meeting and greeting new and interesting readers who are embracing my stories and e-mailing me and writing me and meeting me at signings and telling me how much they've enjoyed my books! We talk about my characters like they are old friends. No matter how many times I've experienced this, it always makes my day. Puts a big Kool-Aide smile on my face (LOL).
Their (the readers) feedback and reactions totally validates that my craft is a gift from God! If I can touch a number of people with my stories or even if I only entertain them and they don't walk away with a life lesson, then I've still done my job.
As you know, my stories are typically relationship based, very drama filled with an ounce of spice thrown in, well maybe a pound of spice thrown in, and they usually cover a topical issue that is prevalent in today's society. Believe me, I have so many characters screaming inside my head, waiting to tell their story, that I feel like the lady from the movie Sybil (LOL). So, bottom line, I pray and claim that my readership base will continue to grow and I'll have wonderful opportunities to meet many more fans.
BPM: If you weren't a writer what would you be?
Don't laugh, but if I weren't a writer, I'd probably be a psychiatrist. I absolutely love getting inside people's heads and seeing how or why they tick the way they do. The human psyche totally amazes and intrigues me to no end.
BPM: What is one thing most readers don’t know about you?
Most readers don't know that I'm moody and a real perfectionist. Well, I guess that is two things. LOL.
BPM: How do you deal with adversity and failure?
I stress out! I totally freak out, have a pity party, and take to my bed (LOL)! I'm laughing, but I'm pretty accurate. I'm so hard on myself, I'm my worst critic, and I've got to stop doing that. I can't enjoy my successes because I'm too busy worrying about what I could have done better or thinking about the next venture.
After I finally pull myself out of bed and stop my pity party (this usually lasts for roughly 24 hours), I analyze my situation like I'm breaking down a trigonometry problem. After all is said and done, I learn the lesson, file it in my permanent memory bank, remember I'm still standing and move on. In afterthought, life lessons are wonderful, even the ones filled with adversity and failure; they make us stronger and wiser and who we are today.
Also, if I may add, I have a good support team in place with my family and friends. Plus, I have a solid spiritual foundation that keeps me strong and undaunted by the dream dashers.
BPM: Electa, how do you define success?
Good question. Personally, I define success as being able to do something you truly love on a day to day basis, getting paid for it in the process, giving back to the community (to whom much is given, much is expected) and being the best person you can be which enables you to sleep peacefully at night. To me, those combined elements make you a successful person. And. . . if you place God and your family first, the sky's the limit!
Check out True Confessions by Electa Rome Parks
Preview at Amazon.com