Hello there everyone!
Yes, I'm late with this post, for a very good reason. I was reading! Yep, that's what I do, I read and recently, I began posting reviews to Goodreads. That's how I met today's author, through Goodeads. Her name is
I wish I could say I was late reading her story, but I can't. I have to be honest. I wanted to start it, honest. However, I had been ill for a couple of days and there was one pesky story in the way that wouldn't be denied, Glass Houses by Rachel Caine, our guest author this past Saturday. Now that I've started the series, looks like I might not be able to do much else until I finish it. The books seem to put this odd little spell over you. For some reason, I keep hearing the words, "must read, must read!" *shakes head vigorously* Sorry about that, do know what happened there!
Okay *shakes head vigorously again* getting back on topic here.
Anjuelle Floyd is an author I met through Goodreads. Her first book, Keeper of Secrets, is actually a collection of short stories that are all connected by one incident. Now, even though they are short stories around a central theme, we've seen similar ideas before, so this seems to be a current trend for story telling. For example, Susan Beth Pfeffer did it with her Moon Crash series, Life As We Knew It and The Dead and the Gone. The first book is about a catastrophe from the eyes of one person, while the second book is about the same catastrophe through the eyes of a different person in another place. Well, that's kind of the principle in Keeper of Secrets. The players are all connected somehow. To find out, you need to read the book!
Let's get on to the interview!
Let’s start with some trivia about you:
Q. Do you have any favorite Thanksgiving movie or program that you enjoy watching every year? If more than one, tell us all of them!
A. My favorite Thanksgiving movie of all time is The Addams Family Values.
I especially love this scene in the movie.
My kids watched this movie over and over during one Thanksgiving we spent in Maui.
Q. What, if any, Thanksgiving traditions (decorating, gathering with friends and family for a meal, etc.) do you have?
A. [The answer to this one is a mystery...lol! We'll have to get her to answer that one!]
Q. What was your most memorable Thanksgiving and why?
A. My most memorable Thanksgiving would be the one we spent in Maui ten years ago. My youngest, now 10, was 8 months old. The trip was our second time in on the island that year. We had traveled there in June also. We celebrated the birthday of our eldest, now in graduate school, during that week of Thanksgiving.
My husband's best friend who was his college roommate and who is now godfather to our middle child joined us. We drove to Hana located on the other side of the island and went to the black sand beach. Though we go to Maui every summer this vacation was truly enriching and spiritual. I will always hold it dear.
Q. Which do you choose: white or dark turkey, white potatoes or yams, green beans or corn, bread rolls or crescent rolls?
A. I really don't care much for turkey, and I rarely cook for Thanksgiving. We travel. When I do eat turkey, I prefer the dark meat.
Q. What, in your opinion, was the oddest food served at a Thanksgiving dinner you’ve attended?
A. I find no food odd as long as I do not have to cook and prepare it.
Q. Tell us 3 things you are thankful for this year, please.
A. I am thankful to be alive and healthy.
I am thankful for my family, three children and a husband, and their good health.
I am thankful that the forces that be have placed us together in this lifetime.
Q. Just for fun, if you could be among any of the original members of that first Thanksgiving, who would it be, the Pilgrims or the Wampanoag (Native Americans)? Why?
A. I would choose to be among the Wampanoag. I have Cherokee ancestry.
Q. Considering that feast, what do you think that first harvest celebration meal would be?
A. The meal would perhaps include some type of fish.
Now, let’s get to your writing:
Q. Why women's fiction? What’s the draw?
A. I write women's fiction. I love to explore the evolution of women's personalities and their spiritual development within the context of marriage, motherhood and career.
Q. If you could describe your writing with a word or phrase, what would it be?
A. "Realism with a hint of poetry."
Q. What do you want readers to take with them when they've finished reading your story?
A. I most want to stir readers to ponder the invisible spaces that separate us from ourselves, and each other.
Q. Have you ever written Thanksgiving into your stories? Why or why not?
A. Yes. The central character was Lahni Irete' for whom both parents are deceased. With no siblings, and recently widowed in the plot of the story Lahni feels alone in the world.
Lahni has Thanksgiving dinner at a San Francisco hotel with her professional partner, Amos Morgan, during which Amos reveals an aspect of character concerning his marriage. Amos' wife, recently deceased as well, was in love with Lahni's husband, who is also dead. Minutes later, and very much shaken by this revelation, Lahni sees the man who has fallen in love with her, and in whom she has begun to trust. The man is in the restaurant of the hotel where Lahni ate with Amos. The man is having dinner with a beautiful woman. Imagination of the worst possible reason is with this woman leaves Lahni feeling heartbroken. The backdrop of Thanksgiving in the course of events texturizes and deepens the ache of Lahni's loss and grief.
Lahni Irete' stands at the center of the second short story, "Keeper of Secrets," which is the namesake story in my collection, "Keeper of Secrets...Translations of an Incident". Lahni is also the central character in my novel, Road to Ibadan.
Interested readers can peruse the first 10,000 words of "Road to Ibadan" and download the remainder @: http://www.smashwords.com/profile/view/anjuellefloyd
Q. Who decides what you write about, you or your muse?
A. My muse is an intricate part of me. I like to think of my muse as my imagination. In this way we, my muse and I, work in tandem.
We're always thinking together, but on different sides of issues that interest me.
If I read a news story that grabs my attention, my muse will offer any idea to fictionalize the drama held within the news story.
If I determine to write the story, my muse delivers the substance forming and informing me about my characters, while I set out to create a blueprint for the plot.
Q. What kind of influence do you have over your story, or is the muse always the one basting the turkey?
A. I am propelled to write by conflicts with which I grapple. These conflicts can be ones that I am working to sort out in my personal life, or as in most cases, struggles I witness others tackling, and that provoke me to reflect upon a universal theme affecting human life and the art of making meaning as we live.
Q. Have you ever based a character on a real-life person? If so, why? Was it simply to immortalize them or was there more to it than that? If you can, tell us the name of that person, please! We’re all curious here!
A. I've never based any of my characters on a particular person. Yet my characters do reflect aspects of people I encounter. I often meet people who remind me of characters I have created. These experiences are quite extraordinary, and moving. Meeting a person who reminds me of a character I have worked so hard to create brings that character to life. The experience makes real what has to that point only lived upon the page. It is an incarnation of the character in to personhood, so to speak and that aspect of my story. The experience of meeting that individual becomes like interacting with the avatar of that character.
Q. What character did you have the most fun creating and why?
A. I experienced the most fun creating Lilah Montgomery Bearden. Lilah is the central to the first novel I ever wrote, entitled, Subtle Incantations. I had so much fun creating Lilah for two reasons. Subtle Incantations was the first novel I ever set out to write. Having taken no classes on fiction writing, I broke all the rules. Nothing was off limits. I did everything.
Perhaps this occurred because I never set out to write a novel. I had intended to craft an essay on sitting down to the computer. As I began typing a novel came instead. I simply wrote to see what would happen next. I had no glorious ideas of publication. I came to know Lilah through the writing of the story, as she revealed herself through the course of events forming the plot, and that to this day still fascinate me.
The characters of all the novels and stories I have written since are in some way connected, and also by ancestry, related to Lilah. Though presently packed away, "Subtle Incantations" will always live within me. I don't know that I'll ever revise and publish it. Some days I feel that all the work I have done since writing it has been but preparation for going back and polishing it for publication.
I would need to break the narrative into 3 books, make it a trilogy, should I do that. The over arching title would remain, "Subtle Incantations". The subtitles of the three books would be Samuel, Africa, and Home, or something like that.
Q. If you had the opportunity to meet just one of your characters in real life, who would it be and why?
A. I would like to meet Lilah Montgomery Bearden. Lilah, who possesses incredible powers of telepathy, and healing, stands at the center of my novel, "Subtle Incantations". Lilah has inherited these abilities involving her sixth sense from her grandmother. Lilah's grandmother was the daughter of a voodoo priestess and a British adept. After being nearly raped and slaughtered by the KKK, Lilah is forced to leave America in 1881 against her will. The man who becomes her husband takes Lilah to the countryside of England. Though he saved her life, Lilah does not love him.
Lilah is shot while living in England. The surgeon who saves her life in this second trial falls in love with her. The surgeon is Africa American, a descendant of slaves like Lilah. Samuel, her husband dies of questionable causes. The night after the funeral Lilah encounters Samuel's ghost. Later, and married to Xavier, she finds herself pregnant with twins. Samuel has fathered one twin; Xavier is father to the second. Thus the battle begins for Lilah's body, and her soul.
"Subtle Incantations" addresses challenges on all planes of living and being. It addresses what we call paranormal activity.
The second book in the trilogy, "Africa," like its name takes Lilah, then in search of the surgeon, Xavier, first to the Cape of Good Hope in South African, and then up to Kenya in the east, where Xavier has established a coffee farm.
As she was and still is with Samuel, now dead, Lilah is indelibly tied to Xavier. Through the expertise of his hands Xavier pulled her from the brink of death because of the gunshot wound.
"Home," the last book of the trilogy, returns, Lilah, a very transformed woman, to Atlanta, Georgia, in the United States, and near where her roots lay in Louisiana.
Q. Which of your characters would you never want to meet under any circumstance and why?
A. I've never crafted any characters that I would not want to meet, or fear encountering. I love all my characters despite their flaws and failures.
Some Background on Anjuelle:
Anjuelle Floyd is the author of Keeper of Secrets…Translations of an Incident, a collection of interconnected short stories, and a novel, The House, due for publication in Fall 2009.
Anjuelle is a wife of twenty-seven years, mother of three, licensed Marriage and Family Therapist specializing in mother-daughter relations and dream work.
A graduate of Duke University, she received her MA in Counseling Psychology from The California Institute of Integral Studies, San Francisco, she has attended the Dominican Institute of Philosophy and Theology, Berkeley, California.
Anjuelle received a MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College, Port Townsend, Washington. She has also received certificates of participation from The Hurston-Wright Writers’ Week and The Voices of Our Nations Writing Workshops. She teaches online fiction classes at Perelandra College.
A student of Process Painting for the last decade, Anjuelle has participated in The Art of Living Black Exhibitions 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, and 2009 held at the Richmond Art Center, Richmond, California.
Anjuelle facilitates writing groups and provides individual consultation of fiction projects. She also gives talks on The Need for Family, The Writing Process as a Path Toward Self-discovery and Healing.
Anjuelle hosts the weekly blog talk radio show, Book Talk, Creativity and Family Matters
Read Anjuelle’s blog and more about her @ www.anjuellefloyd.com
"Keeper of Secrets...Translations of an Incident"
by Anjuelle Floyd
One truth begets
another as a tale of passionate
confrontation in a restaurant travels from
eyewitnesses to others present.
Each protagonist views the
attack through an emotion-stained
lens, the story taking on a life of its own
as filtered through different
individuals’ pasts, present and futures.
Ultimately every character
unweaves and re-braids their hidden truths
and exposes the chain of inner mysteries
that binds them.
Memories of the Hindu icon of dancing Siva compel wife and mother, Raven Clarke, to intervene in the attack of one restaurant patron on another.
Watching from a distant table, Lahni Irete finds herself driven back to the violence of her childhood and adolescence. The next day she shares her account of the happening with psychiatrist, Reynard Williams.
Williams embraces the tale as a man seeking help to confront the core of pain that has distanced him from his wife and left him sexually and spiritually impotent.
Along the way Williams consults with Sahel Denning, an injured psychologist no longer practicing psychotherapy.
The restaurant incident offer bridge engineer, Michael Banks, a map guiding him on the path to reclaiming the events of the morning before he fell from scaffolding on the Richmond Bridge.
Rumor and innuendo cloud Ariane Gadsen's acquaintance with the story, propelling her down the path of reconciliation with what she is hiding.
The restaurant scene stirred regret and despair within Trey Williamson, a widower, on his first date since the death of his wife three years earlier.
The intimate backdrop of the restaurant offers containment wherein newly discharged Captain Darryl Sharpton reveals his most dark and intimate truth.
"Dancing Siva" from Keeper of Secrets...Translations of an Incident
by Anjuelle Floyd
Raven stifled a yawn as she stared at the wooden
icon of Siva. Another night had passed with her being awakened by the wails of her four-month-old daughter, Kaarin. Raven had gone to Kaarin’s bed, taken her from the crib, and cradling the infant, lay down in the bed of the guest room. It had been this way nearly every night since Kaarin’s birth. Kaarin never cried during the day.
Raven contemplated the mahogany carving of Siva dancing within the ring of fire. Its eyes, mere slits, appeared to widen. The icon’s four arms seemed to reach out, beckoning her. Raven’s soul was thirsty, parched from Kaarin’s nightly screams.
Absylom’s father had carved the statue now standing on the bookcase by Raven’s bed.
Absylom had given it to her. Two months after marrying Drew, Raven aborted
Absylom’s child. The fetus had been four months. Now after sixteen years as Drew’s wife, and mother to their three daughters, Raven stood searching Siva’s face, wondering, as on every night when Kaarin cried, about the
life she aborted. Drew exited the bathroom while buttoning his shirt, and
approached Raven. “It’s last minute, but I’m meeting a client for dinner tonight. His wife is coming.” Drew began arranging his tie. “I’d like you there.”
“Why?” Raven turned from the bookcase. “It’ll make him feel safer.”
“That’s your job.” Catching one last glimpse of the wooden deity, Raven began making her side of the bed. “Besides, my braids need to be redone. I don’t know if I can get Nilini to sit.” Raven resented the way Drew sought to make comfortable and defended the guilty. He inserted the second cuff link into the holes of his French cuffs, and walked to her, lifted her chin. “You look fine.”
“My presence won’t wipe out your client’s sins.” “But it can help his wife.” “And, why should I help her?” “Because I’m your husband.” Drew let go of Raven’s
chin, then in the low, attorney-like tone used when addressing clients in public places, “We can’t keep going like this. Kaarin’s crying, this lack of sleep—it’s making you cranky.”
“I’m fine.” Raven turned back to the bed and bolstered her pillow.
“You’re not. How could you be? You haven’t gotten a decent night’s sleep since she was born.”
Raven went around Drew and began straightening the covers on his side of the bed. “She’ll be fine.”
Drew followed her. “Let Kaarin sleep with us.” “She needs to learn to sleep in her bed.” “Like that’s happening now? That’s not what you said
about Anisha or Emily. They slept with us for at least a year.”
“Kaarin’s different.” Raven patted Drew’s pillow.
“How is that? She looks just like you.” Drew captured Raven’s hand. She snatched it back, threw down his pillow.
As if knowing what lay hallowed and untouched between them for sixteen years, Drew slapped Raven with a stare of his own. His neck, the color of Georgia clay against his white collar, called to her. Raven searched Drew’s brown eyes, inhaled the scent of his cologne, a mixture of eucalyptus and herbs. She imagined burying her lips in his neck above the mauve tie, and resting her head on his chest. She sighed heavily. “I don’t want to go with you tonight.”
Raven wondered if her eyes were flickering green, as Drew said they did when she was angry. Absylom had said the same. She lowered her head.
“I miss you,” Drew sighed. “I want you beside me at night.” He leaned forward, kissed her forehead and caressed her shoulders. “The reservation’s at eight.”
Raven exhaled. Drew then whispered, “I’ll be home at six-thirty to shower and change.” He pulled away as he added, “--if you care to come.”
The House, a novel due for publication this fall.
by Anjuelle Floyd
What would you do if you learned the person you were divorcing is dying?
On receiving the very thing she wants, a divorce and the power to sell their house, Anna Manning learns that Edward, her soon-to-be ex-husband, is dying. A faithful wife for over three decades, Anna endured Edward's constant absences while traveling on business for his international real estate firm, and his extra-marital affairs.
Anna takes Edward to live out his last six, possibly three, months in the house she fought so vigorously to sell. But letting go of someone who has caused so much pain does not come easily.
Edward has changed.
As their children return home, and say their farewells Anna confronts the challenges that Edward's impending death delivers each of them. Then there is Inman who loves Anna, and provides the one thing Edward denied their marriage—passion and intimacy.
Anna must also face the hopes and dreams she abandoned as an art history major turned wife, and mother out of college. In requesting the divorce she had planned to use her proceeds from the sale of the house to move to France. She would study the great art works of Europe, perhaps work as a docent in a Paris museum.
News of Edward’s terminal illness provokes Anna to understand the present rooted in the wellspring of the past, and pouring into a future without him. The House shows what happens when we adopt the belief that, All hold regret, and are seeking forgiveness. Our salvation rests in the hands of others—most particularly the ones whom we love most, and who have treated us wrongly.