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Interview with Author Suzetta Perkins

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What motivated you to write your first novel?
I was going through a bleak time in my life. I attended a literary retreat in New York in 2000, and after listening to author after author share how they came to write their first novel, I allowed a long-time dream of mine to take flight. I redirected my energy and began to write, and I also began to heal.

What is the premise for Behind the Veil?
Jefferson Myles, Black Businessman of the Year and CEO of his own securities firm, allows greed to take him down a dark and dangerous road and compromise the lives of those near and dear to him.

Do you do research for any of your stories? If so, can you share some tips.
Yes, I have done some research for my books. The research may be cumbersome or a minor undertaking. For Behind the Veil, one of my characters drove down a real street in Fayetteville. I drove down the street in my car and recorded every building in succession on my digital recorder. I also had a scene where a character goes into a police station. Since I modeled my story after the police station on this particular street, I drove to the police station, went inside the building, and recorded what I saw to include the inscription I use in the book. It is wonderful to have a reader email you and tell you that your book provided a wonderful introduction to a city they had just moved to.

In my third novel EX-Files, which will be released in May 2008, I have a character who has breast cancer. Besides going online and the library to do my research, I contacted an oncologist who happens to be on the Board of Trustees where I work, who graciously gave me facts and background information based on the questionnaire I shared with him. He also provided me with the opportunity to visit his clinic so that I could see firsthand where chemo treatments are administered and what the room looks like. If you use the information correctly, you should have a story that is authentic.

Tell me more about New Visions Writer's Group. How can interested writers join?
New Visions Writer's Group began as a writers group for aspiring writers headed by best-selling author, Jacquelin Thomas. Several New Vision members (myself included) attended a faith-based literary conference organized by Ms. Thomas, and during that experience many of us expressed the desire to start a writers group.

New Visions members live in the Raleigh/Durham/Fayetteville, North Carolina area, and we meet once a month at a members home or restaurant and discuss our work in progress, providing critiques and other helpful feedback. We also receive instruction from Ms. Thomas about the mechanics of writing, often purchasing books that our discussion comes from. We also have a members' yahoo group where assignments, messages, and photos are posted as well as a blog to enhance our work.

Several members now have published work. While our membership is almost full, anyone who is interested in participating in our writers group and live in the Raleigh, North Carolina area, can email me at nubianqe2@aol.com.

Who are some of your favorite writers?
That is a tough question since I enjoy many writers. If I had to narrow it down to two or three, I would say Toni Morrison and Pearl Cleage.

To learn more about Suzetta Perkins and her books, visit her website at http://www.suzettaperkins.com.

Interview by Shelia M Goss, an entertainment writer and author of My Invisible Husband and Roses are thorns, Violets are true. For more information, visit www.sheliagoss.com.

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