Today, I’m very lucky to be interviewing Yani, author of Love’s Deadly Masquerade.
Hi Yani, thank you for agreeing to this interview. Tell us a little about yourself and your background?
Thank you for having me! Well, my name is Yani and I am an indie author from Philadelphia. I’ve just released my 5th novel under my company Anitbeet Productions. It’s called Love’s Deadly Masquerade and it’s about a young woman who falls madly in love with a man who she thought was the perfect guy for her. He really turned out to be a total nightmare, he was abusive and put her through a lot of pain. I wanted to shine a light on domestic violence and how a lot of young women are being killed at the hands of their mates. I want to make sure women see the signs and hopefully evoke empathy in my readers and get them to see that women don’t always stay because they’re stupid.
What were you like at school?
I was a bit of a rebel. I questioned everything. I stood up for people even when no-one stood up for me when my time came. And though I was smart as can be, I wasn’t really interested in what was being taught to me in school so my grades took a dive in high-school. But overall, I was a good kid, stayed out of trouble, was able to gain respect from my peers through the poetry and stories that I wrote.
Were you good at English?
I was excellent in English. So good in fact that some of my teachers encouraged me to major in Education and become an English teacher, but I didn’t really want that.
What are your ambitions for your writing career?
Right now I’m striving to hit the New York Times best sellers’ list. I want that more than anything this year. I feel like once I make it on there, even the sky isn’t a limit for what I can achieve after that. I also want to write movie scripts and produce and direct films. I aspire to have all of my books made into blockbuster movies.
Which writers inspire you?
Richard Wright, Toni Morrison, Margaret Walker, Terri McMillan, Langston Hughes. A lot of the great authors from the early 20th century like Mildred D Taylor are the reasons why I picked up a pen and started writing.
So, what have you written?
I’ve written five novels. I wrote my first novel when I was 15 years old. It’s called A Thug’s Redemption. I self-published it in 2012 and it hit the Amazon’s best sellers list for African American Urban Fiction. I followed that up with two sequels, A Thug’s Redemption 2: Jamal’s Return and A Thug’s Redemption 3: The Wrath of Andre. They both hit the Amazon best sellers’ list as well.
Then in 2014, I tried my hand at Erotica/Romance and released my fourth novel, Obsessive Intimacies. That also made the best sellers list for African American/ Romance on Amazon Kindle. And now this year, I am releasing a Thriller/Suspense Psychological Thriller, Love’s Deadly Masquerade. I’ve also written a few poems which I sometimes post on my blog and I’m just now getting back into performing my poetry at various clubs. I am currently working on my 6th novel as well as writing the script for A Thug’s Redemption.
Where can we buy or see them?
You can find all of my books on Amazon.com on my Author’s Page amazon.com/The-Author-Yani
I also have an author page in the UK amazon.co.uk/The-Author-Yani
As well as a France page amazon.fr/The-Author-Yani
And Denmark (LOL) amazon.de/The-Author-Yani
Lastly, readers can get paperback copies of my novels directly from my website www.theauthoryani.com
Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is so special?
My main character is Vanessa. She is a sweet, intelligent and ambitious young lady who seemed to be pretty head strong at a young age and knew exactly what she wanted to do with her life. Unfortunately, she let her boyfriend (Eric) reduce her self-esteem down to nothing and turned her into a fearful, timid coward. It takes a while for her to get back to being a small fraction of what she once was but I think a lot of women will be able to relate to her, even women who were never abused physically may be able to look at how love dulled her common sense and made her do things that she would not have normally done. That makes her real, that makes her special.
What are you working on at the minute?
Right now, I am working on a BDSM
What’s it about?
The book is about a young woman who is heavily in the Femdom world, a female financial dominatrix. She indulges in various fetish kinks and men pay her handsomely to be dominated by her. While it seems that she does it because she enjoys the money and luxuries that are provided for her, it’s really her way of taking back the control she feels was stolen from her when she was raped by her step-father at the age of 16. I spent a few years in the BDSM world as a Femdom Mistress in Financial Domination as well as other fetish kinks, so I’m really spilling the beans on this life-style and showing a side toe BDSM that a lot of people aren’t familiar with
What genre are your books?
My books are urban fiction, suspense, drama, women contemporary, romance, erotica, crime and psychological. I’m a very diverse writer
What draws you to this genre?
I’m kind of drawn to urban fiction because I enjoy writing books that teaches the generation coming up that there are consequences to being in the streets the wrong way and even when it feels like there is no way out, you can either find a way out, or make your own way out and do it the right way. I don’t want readers to feel like the street life should be glorified because there is nothing glorious about genocide.
Which actor/actress would you like to see playing the lead character from your most recent book?
I would love to see Keke Palmer playing the role of Vanessa. I would also love to see Nate Parker play the role of Eric because I see him play the good guy in a lot of movies. I want to see “the bastard” side to him. I want to see if he can play it well. (I believe he can. He’s so hot!)
How much research do you do?
I write my books from personal experiences. The research doesn’t start for me until it’s time to market and promote the book.
Have you written any other novels in collaboration with other writers?
I’ve never collaborated with any other authors but I have been asked to.
When did you decide to become a writer?
I knew I wanted to be a writer the first time I heard of Nikki Giovanni when I was in the fourth grade. When I found out how young she started out I said to myself, “That’s me. That’s how I’m going to be.”
Why do you write?
I write to preserve my sanity, to help deal with a lot of the things that are going on in my life. Writing brings me peace in a world of chaos.
Do you write full-time or part-time?
I write full-time
Do you have a special time to write or how is your day structured?
I don’t really have a special time. But I do find that the night time is the best time because my children are asleep and I can focus more.
Do you write every day, 5 days a week or as and when?
At the moment, I’m not writing five days a week because I am mostly marketing and promoting Love’s Deadly Masquerade
Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
No, I mostly write until I’m all out of ideas or I don’t see what’s happening next in the book. Then I read over what I wrote to see if that brings forth any new ideas and if it does, I do a little more.
Do you write on a typewriter, computer, dictate or longhand?
It’s something very intimate about holding a pen in my hand and letting the words form on a piece of paper. But I use my laptop a lot as well.
Where do your ideas come from?
Most of my ideas come from things I’ve either personally been through or things I’ve seen people around me going through.
Do you work to an outline or plot or do you prefer just see where an idea takes you?
I prefer to see where the story takes me. I like when it takes on a life of its own and its like a movie playing in my head where I just write what I see is happening.
How do you think you’ve evolved creatively?
I think my writing has become more descriptive and my stories are becoming more compelling.
What is the hardest thing about writing?
The hardest thing about writing is killing off a character that I liked. It’s been quite a few times where I wanted to go back and keep them alive but I stick to my guns and leave them dead (LOL)
What was the hardest thing about writing your latest book?
The hardest thing about writing my last book was being very detailed with the abuse Vanessa experienced. I made it very descriptive because I wanted my readers to see it as they read it. I want my readers to feel her pain, feel her fear and lose their breath while they are reading it. It actually had me question my sanity when I read over it.
What is the easiest thing about writing?
The easiest thing about writing is the ability to make my ideas come to life with every stroke of my pen or every keystroke on my laptop and not second guess what I am writing.
How long on average does it take you to write a book?
Between 7-9 months which is great because I usually call the finished product “The birth of whatever the title is” just as a baby is born in 9 months typically.
Do you ever get writer’s Block?
I got writer’s block for 12 years and it was the hardest, darkest, saddest 12 years of my life.
Any tips on how to get through the dreaded writer’s block?
I don’t have any tips to get through writer’s block. I just pray that it never happens again.
If this book is part of a series, tell us a little about it?
I haven’t decided if I’m going to make this a series, though I am pondering over a prequel to the book and I re-introduced two characters from the A Thug’s Redemption series at the end of Love’s Deadly Masquerade and it’s going to spin off into another story with those two characters but it won’t have anything to do with ATR or LDM
What are your thoughts on writing a book series?
I think book series are great just as long as the story line stays consistent and it doesn’t go off into something terrible like the Nightmare on Elm Street series.
Do you read much and if so who are your favourite authors.
Right now I am heavily into Laurell K Hamilton’s Anita Blake Vampire Slayer stories. I love, love, LOVE her style of writing.
For your own reading, do you prefer ebooks or traditional paper/hard back books?
I can do both but I love the feel of turning actual pages.
What book/s are you reading at present?
Right now I’m not reading anything, but I just came across Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor, which is a book I read when I was a little girl and I think I’m going to kick back one day this week and read that book to see if my interpretation of it as an adult will be different than when I was 9 years old.
Do you proofread/edit all your own books or do you get someone to do that for you?
I prefer to proofread and edit my books because I’m very picky about what goes in and what should or shouldn’t come out.
Do you let the book stew – leave it for a month and then come back to it to edit?
I usually edit it as I’m writing and then when it’s completely finished, I’ll go in and edit it about three times.
Who designed your book cover/s?
I designed A Thug’s Redemption. A friend of mine designed Jamal’s Return. I designed The Wrath of Andre as well as Obsessive Intimacies and Love’s Deadly Masquerade.
Do you think that the cover plays an important part in the buying process?
Absolutely! Even though there is a saying Don’t Judge a Book by it’s Cover, I believe readers buy based off of how presentable the cover is.
How are you publishing this book and why?
I’m independently publishing this book because I want to eventually develop my own production company.
What would you say are the main advantages and disadvantages of self-publishing against being published or the other way around?
The main advantage is having more of a say over how things are done with your book. The disadvantage is having to do everything yourself and being turned down by certain book stores who do not take books by indie authors.
What are your thoughts on good/bad reviews?
I think if the review is legit, while it may hurt that someone didn’t like your book, if there is something you can pull from their criticism over your book, take it and use it to perfect your craft.
Did you do a press release, Goodreads book launch or anything else to promote your work and did it work?
I’ve done a press release and made my book available for presale at $0.99 I may do a Goodreads book launch. I’ve also reached out to various blogs to put together a blog tour and do a giveaway on their sites.
Did you get interviewed by local press/radio for your book launch?
No I haven’t been interviewed by local press yet but I am hoping to get an interview in the near future.
Why do you think that other well written books just don’t sell?
I think the book just wasn’t marketed properly to their target audience.
What do you think of “trailers” for books?
I am doing a trailer for the first time and am hoping that it has a great impact on my sales.
Do you think that giving books away free works and why?
I think it can go either way. In a book series, it can be beneficial because the free book may lead to the reader buying the other books in the series if/when they come out.
What is your favourite motivational phrase.
Ignore what you can’t conquer, conquer what you can’t ignore.
What advice would you give to your younger self?
I would tell my younger self not to put off our dream of becoming a writer. I would tell her to keep pushing even when I’m told no. I would tell her there’s no such thing as “I can’t”. I would tell her that if plan “A” doesn’t work, that there are 25 more letters in the alphabet.
Which famous person, living or dead would you like to meet and why?
I would love to meet Tupac. His music, poetry and idealism inspired me and I wrote my second and third book listening to his music. And besides he’s a Gemini like I am. And Geminis rock!
If you could have been the original author of any book, what would it have been and why?
The Shining, because that book scared the hell out of me and I would love to write a book that scares the hell out of someone else.
How can readers discover more about you and you work?
Readers can learn more about my work by visiting my website http://www.theauthoryani.com
Thank you very much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to take part in this interview.
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