My latest release is a novel called Imperfect. It’s the first in a set of two. It’s the story of a woman named Carol Mathers. Carol was born a sickly child, in a home fraught with undercurrents that threaten to sweep away any chance she might have for a normal life.
Now in her mid-thirties, she’s a highly sought-after IT guru in St. Louis. She has built a great life for herself with her partner, Alexandria, even though the two face prejudice as lesbians, and as an interracial couple -fighting tragedy and sometimes, finding triumph.
During her tumultuous life, Carol discovers that she has acquired AIDS as a result of a childhood transfusion from the dark period of time before AIDS was widely known… or understood, not even by the medical profession. Now, the two women face even more obstacles, prejudice, and a strange, new life as AIDS patients.
Carol learns just how much her chaotic past has affected her, and how she can never really escape it, even as she tries to move on with her life.
An unexpected event creates even more pain and tragedy in Carol’s life, and causes her to wonder about the meaning of and purpose of her own life… or if there is any purpose at all…
How did you choose the title?
Imperfect came pretty much as soon as the storyline came to me. It’s very much a reflection of how Carol sees herself.
How do you come up with the names for your characters?
Most of the time, the first letter of their name comes to me. Sometimes I’m lucky enough that the entire name just comes to me without any research or difficulty. Othertimes, I look at names or sound things out until they seem “right” to me.
Did you learn anything from writing and publishing this book? What?
I learned a lot from Imperfect, actually. Imperfect took me over a year to write, which is one of my longest projects to date. It was my first full-length novel (my background is in non-fiction). I learned how to compose a full story, the importance of details and descriptions, and much more. Imperfect is a personal milestone.
If you were doing it all over again, what would you do differently?
I’d like to re-word it in certain sections. I’d like to embellish some others. I’m a perfectionist, so I’d always love to tweak something more!
Who is the perfect reader for your book?
Anyone within the LGBT community, or people who are open-minded and conscientious of the AIDS epidemic. It’s a very universal story, but I think it’s the kind of book you need to approach with an open mind and an open heart.
Are you working on your next book? What can you tell us about it?
I am! I’m actually working on the sequel to Imperfect, Impeccable.
Carol’s story continues, this time in a much different setting and emotional state.
Impeccable is an interesting book because it is both cerebral and emotional at the same time. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever read before, so I think that readers will be pleasantly surprised (and touched) by it.
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
Persistence is key. You have to be persistent in writing, re-writing and editing your piece until it really shines. Don’t get discouraged or bored. It’s not always fun, but it needs to be done.
You also need to be persistent when seeking publication. Everyone has a rejection story. It’s just the nature of the beast. Keep working it, taking any constructive criticism you get into consideration and always move forward. That’s how you get published.
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?
My Facebook profile is http://www.facebook.com/leharvey77