Readers have questions and I have answers! After letting readers know Teal and Trent’s second book will be released at the end of the year, readers started emailing me with questions about Teal and Trent. The questions are really similar to a Q&A I did with Crystal Moody and readers that I decided to share with you some of the questions from the email as well as the group. I’ll also answer questions for the first book, Incarcerated.
Q: What inspired you to write Incarcerated?
A: I wanted to write about a relationship that would have to handle real issues many people face, but don’t talk about. Like my brother and I and along with my guy of eight years is white and we have weathered a few storms. My brother is the color of peanut butter with kids who have blonde hair! I wanted to tell Katie’s story and I wanted to see how readers would respond to her actions as she saw Logan for the troubled man that he was. I also wanted to explore forgiveness and how hard or easy it can be to offer it.
Q: Would you befriend a convict in a pen pal program as Katie did?
A: As an adult, probably not. I’ve watched too many Criminal Minds episodes to do that. And I highly doubt SSA Derek Morgan is going to come save me if I end up writing a crazy inmate who plans to visit me after his release. However, when I was younger, I did write to a friend of a friend who was in jail for armed robbery. And in jail, inmates often get tired and restless. They need to reach out to someone. In some cases, they do it in order to maintain their sanity. I’ve never experienced the loneliness Katie experiences in the book, but I’m still not too keen on writing a possible murderer or rapist.
Q: When Harper returned home with Marcus and saw the tattoo on Trent, she walked away. Why did she turn her back? As a woman who lives in the south, I’m used to seeing Confederate flags but that doesn’t make a man racist.
A: I didn’t get a chance to delve as deep into Harper as I wanted to. Harper lived all those years without Trent, but she did have her father. I could only imagine what her father said to her to convince her all of those years to stay away from Trent. After she turned 18 there would be nothing he could have done to stop her. But in a part that was cut by my editor, I did have Harper tell Trent that she’d heard rumors and that her fear of her son meeting a racist was stronger than her will to stay and learn the truth. I really wish I hadn’t cut that scene! In the next book, you learn EXACTLY why Harper walked away from Trent when you meet Harper’s cousin Violet. Time has gone by and my muse has spoken to me and I think readers need to know what made Teal walk away. Also, as a woman raised in Virginia around the most loving and sociable red necks, to me, the Confederate flag is just a symbol of a lost war.
Q: Why did you write 15K words of Trent’s past, I just wanted to read about Trent.
A: When I started Inevitable, I didn’t have a Part one and two and so forth. However, 20K in, I didn’t like Trent. Even though I knew his back story, I had no emotional ties to him. So, I knew the readers needed more. You may think you didn’t, but tell me, didn’t you hurt for Trent as Harper’s father ripped his heart out and stomped on his pride? I did.
Q: Trent was accused of being a racist for using a racial slur. If anyone uses a racial slur, do you consider them racist? (Ex: Paula Dean)
A. This is a hard one. I really think it depends on the situation. There are some people who are brought up in places where this is the norm and they think nothing of it. Racism is taught, not born. I once had a friend who called a stranger a Sand Ni****. When I asked him about it, he told me his father taught him it was okay because they didn’t like America. In the book, Trent tells Teal that she had used racial slurs against him and Teal was in no way racist. I had Trent explain to her that her hurtful words were just as bad as the words he’d used in the past. He even gave her the definition: Racial slur: a derogatory or disrespectful nickname for a racial group, used without restraint.
Q: Teal and Trent were explosive from the beginning. What inspired you to write their story?
A: My mom asked me twice to write their story instead of a Katie and Logan continuation. And I really wanted to give Trent a story. I hated the way I’d left him in Incarcerated. I really did.
Q: Why does Teal have unprotected sex with Trent. She barely knew him? I would never do that.
A: Teal, like any other woman, is human and prone to make mistakes. I write real characters, not perfect ones. Also, the story is about Teal, her actions, and decisions. You can’t base her actions on hers, she is a fictional character who does as she pleases. Hell, she drove me crazy in Incarcerated.
Q: Since Logan has been to support groups and seems to be better, do you think his racist ways are over? How do you think he will endure the pressures of raising biracial kids?
A: No, I think Logan will spend much more time trying to overcome his past. His babies and wife will make it easier, but I do think there will be times he reverts to his old untrusting ways. I do believe that he will have Trent there to yank his butt back, too.