The Next Big Blog Hop

It is week 29 on “The Next Big Thing Blog Hop”, and I was tagged by the phenomenal Fiona Zedde. The purpose of this blog hop is to expose folks to writers and their work that perhaps they haven’t heard of, whether a new release (story, novel, novella, etc) or a Work in Progress (WIP).

According to the rules of the hop, I will be answering some questions (the same ones for every other blog hopper) about my newest release, The Secrets of Mercy  (September 2013, ebonyLotus|Publishing). At the bottom of the post, I’ve listed an author who will do the same thing in their blog on Wednesday, February 6th.
What is the working title of your book?

The Secrets of Mercy

Where did the idea come from for the book?

The idea for this book was birthed from my passion for drawing awareness to the continuous problem of domestic violence and my love for the stories of the slavery time-period.

What genre does your book fall under?

Historical Fiction

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

Lynn Whitfield would be perfect for the role of “First Lady”, a black slave woman that lives the life of a white plantation mistress, Suzzanne Douglas could play the role of either “First Lady” or “Sylvia” a former slave woman who shares an unlikely bond with her mistress. Sally Field would suit the role of Mistress Vivian Purvis quite nicely. Either Rachel True or Lisa Bonet is the image I see for “Yuna”, the daughter of “First Lady” and “Master Butler”.

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?

The Secrets of Mercy follows the lives of four southern women as they each define for themselves and pursue what it truly means to be free in a world of slavery and abuse.

What is the longer synopsis of your book?

News of emancipation reaches the southern town of Mercy where within its boundaries four women journey to define freedom within their lives. They endure abuse, tend to unrequited love and ache from broken families. Suffering too long, only their dreams, desires and secrets hold them up each day.

Sylvia, a cook on the Purvis Plantation, hungers in silent desperation for a life with her sons who were sold years ago and for her husband who sleeps beside her filled with fury in his fists. She is not the only bruised soul on the plantation. Mistress Vivian Purvis moves about Mercy with a veneer of perfection, a fabricated likeness of the perfect wife to one of the town’s wealthiest and distinguished men. He, too, is lined in a pretty caul to conceal his brilliant misimpression. In their suffering, the two women discover they can help each other stand up and heal.

The resounding news marks the lawful end of slavery for Blacks, yet, on a neighboring plantation, they do not scatter and run, they do not gather up their children and move their free limbs in a joyous, gallant departure. Instead, they are trepid not eager, frighten not dotish. The deaths of Blacks brave enough to leave the plantation behind have their legs stiff with fear as they watch their neighbors kick up dust pulling their belongings behind them.  There, with sharp eyes and long ears resides First Lady, a black slave and the Master’s mistress, who lives in luxury and exploits her position among the other slaves. When the comforts of her life begin to dwindle at the onset of emancipation, frenzied and despondent, she strives to maintain the past to secure the future for herself and her daughter, Yuna.  A woman with her own desires, Yuna, struggles against her mother’s manipulations and stingy love for a different life all her own.

In Mercy, secrets hide in sluggish water and misfortune roams upright, and without restraint. When freedom rings, each woman finds she is a prisoner grappling for some of it. Within their journeys, they discover the passageway to freedom resides within.

Will your book be self-published or represented by an agency?

The Secrets of Mercy will be released by press, ebonyLotus | Publishing.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

Nearly 6 years! Many start overs, “I quits”, “I can’t do this” “I CAN do this!” and sleepless nights.

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

The inspiration for this book came from a combination of the lives of the women of my family and hearing the stories of other families whose lives have been impacted by domestic violence. Frequently, domestic violence seems to be family heirloom passed on from generation to generation. In the early years of my life, my great-grandmother told me stories about the life of her great-grandmother, Priscilla, who as a slave endured many types of violence at the hands of masters, strangers, and loved ones.  The imprint of the stories of my ancestors on my creative memory and bearing witness to domestic abuse in my own home and those of many of my friends, I knew it was my duty…my honor, as a writer, to give voice to those beaten into silence. I wanted to tell a story that not only told the truth about domestic violence and its limitless boundaries across class and race during slavery, but also illustrate the friendships and relationships that called upon the strength needed to endure and survive.

Next Wednesday, check out the blog of Maliika Marsh to find out about her Next Big Thing!

Until the next word,

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