Sunday, March 21, 2010
Intimate Mondays with Author A.C. Arthur
Q. How long have you been in the publishing game and how many books have you had published to date?
I’ve been published since 2003. September 2010 will see my 20th published book.
Q. Of all the sexy characters that you have created so far, who is the top male contender and top female and why?
Wow, this is tough. Hmmmm, I’d have to say Thaddeus Delos from Heart of the Phoenix because not only was he scrumptiously sexy, he was actually a Greek god, complete with powers and a sense of chivalry to be admired in today’s world. As for the heroine, I’d have to go with Cienna Turner from Office Policy. Cienna is every woman: independent, strong, intelligent and no-nonsense.
Q. So many readers confuse a romance novel with a relationship novel. Please explain the difference.
For me I think the main difference between a romance and relationship novels is that a romance has a happy ending. Sure the characters go through their ups and downs but you know that in the end they come to a compromise because love is the driving force in these stories. Relationship novels take everything—the good, the bad and the ugly—and whatever the results they are dealt with accordingly.
Q. One of the biggest events for African American romance authors is the Annual Romance Slam Jam. I understand it is coming you way next year. Can you tell the readers a little bit about it and what your involvement is?
Yes, it is! I’m very excited about Romance Slam Jam coming to my hometown of Baltimore, Maryland. Working with the Sweet Soul Sisters Bookclub we’re trying to come up with innovative and entertaining ways to celebrate this annual meeting of black romance writers and readers. Hope to see you all there! Please stay tuned to www.romanceslamjamconference.com
Q. For years you have been known for your romances. This year you have taken a leap into a completely new direction with a YA series. Please tell us about that. How you got the idea. The first title. When the series will begin and why in the world YA! LOL.
It’s funny because for the past couple of years I was adamant that I was not going to write a YA novel. But I firmly believe in signs. (1) My little cousin who was fourteen at the time said to me “can you write a story for kids my age?” (2) One of my youth ushers commented one Sunday, “You know, you should write a book for young adults.” (3) My Bishop’s wife said to me one day, “You would write excellent stories for our children.” (4) My fifteen year old daughter said, “Mommy, can you write a young adult book?” After all that I figured somebody was trying to tell me something. LOL
I really didn’t know what I wanted to write about. I just knew I wanted to tell a story that would relate to young adults and the types of issues they face today. Of course, I wanted to add the spin of a paranormal world, but at the heart of it all, I wanted a story for teenagers to take something from. So I turned to my daughter who reads everything young adult and some adult stuff that she probably shouldn’t. I tossed out ideas, she slammed a few and said to keep the others. The Mystyx were created from a Saturday morning brainstorming session over Raisin Bran and leftover pizza(my daughter’s breakfast of champions). The first book in the series is titled Manifest and will be released August 2010 from Kimani TRU.
Q. How difficult was it to try to write for YA? Where did you pull from to craft the young adult voices?
I did a lot of plotting and planning before I wrote the first chapters. Then as I started to write I kept deleting stuff because I thought it sounded too mature. After a few tries I began listening to my daughter’s conversations with her friends. I watched shows on the Disney Channel and Nick Teen to get a real feel for the lingo. It was amazing how foreign it all felt to me at first. After that I read tons of YA books. I read the reviews for these books as well because I wanted to know what was working for the audience and what wasn’t.
Q. What are some of the promotional plans for the new YA series?
I will be heading out to promote directly to the young adult audience via libraries and schools. I’ll also be appearing at BEA and ALA. A lot of efforts are being concentrated online as well, including a book trailer that will be debuting soon!
Q. Will you continue to write romances? And do you think that it will confuse young readers when they are in bookstores and see your name on a book with a half-naked man on the cover?
Yes, I will always be a romance junkie so those stories will most likely keep coming. For the YA I used my full name, Artist Arthur, so that young readers would not instantly pick up an A.C. Arthur book. However, I’ve learned not to take young people’s intelligence for granted and know that realistically they may make the connection. In fact, I had a fourteen year old email me just last week about reading one of my romance novels. But in the stores the two different genres are shelved separately so that, along with the pen name, should help differentiate.
Q. What advice would you offer to writers who may be considering writing for the blooming YA market, especially African American YAs?
Think about the young readers first, what they want to hear, what stories they want told. Don’t just tell an adult story with younger characters.
Q. What's next for you?
Another book and prayerfully another and another. I just love to write. I’m currently working on a new YA series and a spinoff of one of my popular romance series.
Q. How is it for you managing a family and a full-time career?
It’s all about prioritizing and organization. I’m blessed to have wonderful supporters who allow me to be me, with all my quirks and issues. That helps a lot.
Q. Where can readers go to get to know you better?
Visit the websites
For romance novels, www.acarthur.net
For YA novels, www.artistarthurbooks.com
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