Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Meet: Ernessa T. Carter, author of 32 CANDLES

32 Candles is one of my favorite recent reads. I loved it! And I've been so happy to get to know Ernessa's blog Fierce & Nerdy. Like the woman and the blog, the book is funny, charming and very warm.

It is my pleasure to introduce you all to someone I hope will become a very big name in readers' circles (and movie circles, the book's already been optioned) and I urge you to check out her book, which pubs TODAY!

Funnily enough, author Lori Tharps, won the Snubbr.com giveaway here and chose 32 Candles as the book she will receive. So congrats Ernessa on your pub day! And congrats Lori on winning the book! 

White Readers Meet Black Authors: Tell us about your new book.

Ernessa T. Carter:  It’s about Davie Jones, a girl growing up mute, poverty-stricken and unpopular in Mississippi. She sees the movie Sixteen Candles for the first time and decides that she wants her own “Molly Ringwald Ending.” Much drama ensues.

WRMBA: Describe your work for someone unfamiliar with it. What's your writing style like? What subjects/themes do you explore?

ETC: I set out to write what I would call a literary romance, and what others might call women’s fiction. The point was that I love romantic novels and I love literary novels, and I didn’t understand why they were so often mutually exclusive. I like to talk about love, dreams, sanity, and emotion in really different ways. Most of all, I like to write the books I want to read, but aren’t seeing on bookshelves. If I wasn’t a frustrated reader, I probably wouldn’t be a novelist. Also, I like original characters. If my main character reminds you of someone else’s main character, then I want to meet that novelist, because obviously she is a parallel universe me that has come here in some kind of multi-dimensional time machine, and I have a few questions for her.

WRMBA: What's your goal(s) as a writer? Do you set out to educate? entertain? illuminate?

ETC: I think a lot people do this. They say, I adore movies and I adore writing, so I should be a screenwriter. That’s what I said to myself when I went and got my MFA for Dramatic Writing. I didn’t take into account that I don’t particularly like writing with other people or being told what to do or leaving the house for work. When you take that into account, I’m probably best suited to be a novelist. I think it’s important for people to keep on reassessing their personalities and make changes accordingly. I don’t regret my tangled journey, though. I got my first FT writing job and met my husband because of my MFA, so I consider it money well-spent, an investment in my future that paid off in really strange ways.

ETC: That’s an interesting question. Most of the authors I like have tons of fans already. For example, I’ve recommended ORANGE MINT AND HONEY to quite a few people, but usually they’ve either heard of it, already read it, or were planning to read it before I came along. Still, It took me over a year to find the graphic novel, BAYOU by Jeremy Love (which The Bottom of Heaven blogged about here), so I’d like to spread the gospel about that terrific read. I also wish more people would read BLACK WATER RISING by Attica Locke (reviewed here in the L.A. Times) and I adore how Lisa Tucker writes. Her book premises are never the same, and man, is she suspenseful.


Lydia Sharp said...

Loved this interview! :)

Girl on a Mission said...

Great interview! I first heard of this novel in my Essence magazine and now I'll definitely pick this one up now that I have a better understanding of where the author is coming from.

evelyn.n.alfred said...

My TBR list is growing. Great interview.

Shalema said...

Enjoyed the interview Carleen. 32 Candles will be my next summer read. Thanks.

Carleen Brice said...

Thanks ladies! I really think you'll enjoy this book!

Doret said...

I loved 32 Candles.

Today I decided every time a customer tells me how much they loved The Help. (this happens a lot since I am in Atlanta)

I am going to tell them about 32 Candles.

Either they are going to love the idea of a poor Black girl from Mississippi trying to get her own Molly Ringwald ending and want to read it.

Or they will wonder why I am telling them about this book.

I win both ways

Lovelyn said...

I enjoyed the interview. I first came across Ernessa's blog by accident. I can't wait to read 32 Candles.

Carleen Brice said...

Doret, Ha! This is why we love you!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful interview and I seem to do well trusting your judgment, Carleen. I put this on my Amazon wish list, but I guess I will have to change it to order now. I am like a child in a candy store, all of these authors and books you have introduced me to have so enriched my life. Thank you for being you<3 Barbara Albin

evelyn.n.alfred said...

I got a copy of the book on my Nook. It makes me want to watch Sixteen Candles again so it's fresh in my mind. I wonder I can finish reading it all today, so I can get back to Who Fears Death.

Carleen Brice said...

Barbara, Thank YOU for all your support!

Evelyn, That's a good idea. I haven't seen 16 Candles in a million years. Book clubs should do a watch & read!

Dera Williams said...

I love this interview. It was so real. Congratulations to Miss Carter on the release of her book. I have heard good things and plan to read this summer.

evelyn.n.alfred said...

I'm having a contest where one person can win a free copy of 32 Candles: http://goo.gl/fb/qxg49

It really is a great book. The books you support generally turn out to be good ones.

I did eventually get 16 Candles on Netflix. It was great to see it again, but I noticed some (troubling) things I didn't notice as a kid watching it the first time.

Carleen Brice said...

What troubling things did you notice in 16 Candles?

evelyn.n.alfred said...

Well if I were Asian, I'd probably be offended at Long Duck Dong and all the "Chinaman" references.

There was also a part in there about a Black guy where I was like "dang". Molly and her friend are walking down a hallway. They are talking about how her parents forgot her birthday and things that she wanted and she uses the word black as a description for the color. Her friend mistakenly thinks she's referring to a Black guy and you can read the shock/horror in her face at the thought of Molly dating a Black guy.

I think there was another thing about Jake's girlfriend that bothered me too, but I forget.

Carleen Brice said...

Yeah, I guess so!