February 27, 2015
FEATURED AUTHOR OF THE WEEK–Darby West
Hello all! This week I’m featuring Darby West, author of Today I Kissed a Butterfly and Hello Maribeth! Sit back and enjoy my interview with this wonderful author, who truly has the gift of gab!
What genre do you write and why?
I write young adult novels and African American fiction. I started writing young adult novels after I started reading a book my daughter had gotten from the library that was supposed to be part of that genre. The book was really a book of erotica for young adults and I found that unacceptable.
Who inspires you?
I think most of the people that are authors on Facebook keep me inspired.
Who or what inspired you to become a writer?
When I was little I would go to the library with my mother on the weekends, to the library in my neighborhood. There were no books in the library about Black people, so I started writing and making up my own stories. I have always wanted to be a writer.
Does your family support you in your writing career? How?
My son goes with me to my book signings and speaking engagements. He loves writing also, so I want him exposed to that environment, to see what it is like. When I need peace and quiet they all squatter and leave me to my writing.
That’s wonderful, Darby. Family support is so important. Let’s talk a little about your books and writing.
Tell us about your latest book.
My latest book is called Through the Fire. It is about a young woman named Toni. As a child, she was abused by her mother. However, her life took a dramatic turn when she went to live with her father and his new wife. Even though her life was much better, the void of not having her mother in her life was always there. She overcompensated with people she loved by being somewhat passive. When she married her husband Michael, she hoped that he would love her and be supportive. It was Leon that would treat her as she wanted to be treated, but she was still married to Michael.
Tha’s a nice cover.
Who designed the cover?
My cover was designed by Allyson Deese. I think she did a wonderful job in capturing what I wanted.
Why do you think readers are going to enjoy your book?
My books are very soulful in that anyone can relate to my characters. They speak to the issues that we are facing today. It may not be something you may be going through, but you certainly know someone who is.
How do you research your books?
I do research at the library and online. If I am mentioning a neighborhood or someone in my book, I want to be truthful, so I will research. If I say something about the neighborhood, I want to make sure it is accurate.
What books or authors have most influenced your life?
Maya Angelou has been most influential in my life. Her book I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings was my first book by someone that looked like me as a teenager.
When you’re not writing, how do you spend your time?
I am a professional storyteller and travel a lot sharing my stories. I love crocheting and playing word games. When I am not doing that, I am baking up something sweet.
Who are your favorite authors?
Of course you, J. California Cooper, Octavia Butler, Victoria Christopher Murray, Beverly Jenkins, Barbara Joe, and Sonia Sanchez.
Thank you for the compliment! I know you’re always writing something, Darby. Are you currently working on anything?
Tell us about your latest work in progress.
My work in progress is my young adult novel, Finding Becca. It is about a teenager who runs away from home to be with a boy she met on Facebook. However, when she gets to New York, she finds out his “boy” is really a man. He holds her against her will and forces her to do all kinds of terrible things. Her mother pulls out all the stops to find and bring her daughter back home. When Becca returns, she is very quiet and withdrawn, certainly not the child she was when she left. The journey is only half over for Becca.
It sounds like an interesting story; I’m looking forward to reading it.
As a writer myself, I’m always curious to know what other writers/authors think about the different avenues that are available to becoming published today.
What are your thoughts on self-publishing versus traditional publishing?
I am self-published. I don’t think I will every try traditional publishing. I feel that if I am doing all the hard work to market and sell my book, why should I split the profits with four or five other people? That’s crazy!
I agree, that is crazy. Okay, this is my final question, I promise.
What advice do you have for other writers?
I would advise them to make sure they are passionate about what they are doing. There are enough books out there that are half written and have no substance. Research the business before you dive in because there are some ruthless folks out there offering new authors bogus book deals.
Darby, I want to thank you for stopping by my blog today. I’ve enjoyed getting to know more about you and sharing your experiences with my readers. Before you go, let’s do a little housekeeping.
Where can a reader purchase your book?
My book is available on Amazon.com as an eBook and paperback.
Through the Fire (Amazon)
Darby’s other books are available there also. Visit her Amazon author page to read samples from her books and to purchase them.
Where can people find out more about you and your writing?
I have a blog – http://wwww.darbywest1.blogspot.com