Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Meet: Bernice McFadden

Some quick links before my conversation with novelist Bernice McFadden:

Congrats to friend of the blog Felicia Pride, whose new YA novel Patterson Heights is newly on shelves!

Martha Southgate brings together black male writers for a reading in Brooklyn. The Defenders Online writes about it.

Publisher's Weekly is launching National Bookstore Day, November 7, to celebrate indie bookstores.

The obituary for Sarah E. Wright makes me wish I had known of her work long ago.

If you have an iPhone, get the Lol Book Blogs ap and follow White Readers Meet Black Authors on your phone.

There's nothing I like better than discovering an author I haven't read who has lots of books for me to read. If author Bernice McFadden is new to you, you're in for a treat. Bernice has been an online friend since I started blogging at the Pajama Gardener, and was one of the inspirations for this blog. Blogging about her journey to get get a publisher for her literary novel Glorious (after blurbs from the likes of Toni Morrison, excellent reviews, and awards for her previous novels including Sugar, This Bitter Earth, and The Warmest December), she shared with readers, authors and wannabe authors the hard truths about publishing, especially when it comes to literary fiction. Being a creative person in a society that doesn't much value creativity is hard. Her blog made me feel not so alone and a little less crazy. Happily, the story behind the story of Glorious has a happy ending: it will be published next year by Akashic Books! In the meantime, read this Q&A and get to know Bernice and her work:

White Readers Meet Black Authors: Describe your work for someone unfamiliar with it. What's your writing style like? What subjects/themes do you explore?

Bernice McFadden: I like to think that I have a lyrical style. I enjoy history and so there is often a historical slant to my novels. I write about every day people, who once they hit the page are transformed into extraordinary characters.

My most recently published novel, entitled: Lover Man which was written under my pseudonym, Geneva Holliday. Lover Man is the sequel to my 2008 book, Seduction. The story centers around a man who I can only describe as a serial lover....(smile)

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

BM: My goal as a writer is to honor my ancestors, while writing the book that I want to read. I do hope that once the book is published that it would go on to educate, entertain and illuminate.

WRMBA: What's next for you?

BM: Next up for me is the 2010 release of my historical novel, Glorious. The novel is set against the backdrops of the Harlem Renaissance and the post-war South, and blending fact and fiction, Glorious is the story of Easter Venetta Bartlett, a fictional Harlem Renaissance writer whose tumultuous path to success, ruin and finally revival not only represents and pays homage to those gifted artists that came before me but offers a candid and true portrait of the American experience in all its beauty and cruelty.

It is a novel informed by the question that is the title of Langston Hughes famous poem: What happens to a dream deferred? Based on years of research, this heart-wrenching fictional account is given added resonance by factual events coupled with real and imagined larger-than-life characters.

WRMBA: What's the best book (or whose the best writer) that not enough people know about?

BM: I think one writer to definitely watch is William Henry Lewis (I Got Somebody in Staunton).


Shelia said...

Sugar is one of favorite books. Another favorite book of mine is Nowhere is a Place. That book inspired me to research my family history instead of waiting on someone else to do it.

Doret said...

I loved Warmest December.

I think McFadden is a Black author if non Black readers read would say,"look what I've been missing"

Glorious- sounds wonderful.

Pamala Knight said...

Thanks for the great interview. I'll look forward to reading Glorious. It does sound wonderful indeed and I'm sure she's proud of the inspiration she provided to you, Carleen.

Rebecca V. O'Neal said...

I read Sugar in high school and LOVE IT!
I haven't read any McFadden since, but will now make it a priority.