The title of my book is Guys With Really Bad Shoes, and the genre that it falls under is something that I like to call “Urban Chic Lit.” It is in vein of authors such as the late E. Lynn Harris, Terry McMillan, and Zane, but has a lot more “urbanicity” to it. The book takes place between New York City and Miami, Florida, two of the many places that I’ve lived, and follows the life of the twenty something year old main character Taura Lewis, who is trying to find a man to fill her father’s size 14 shoes. The book carries the reader through those crazy twenty’s and a life of employment, unemployment, love, hate, sex, tragedies, insecurities, and the trying times of the free spirited twenty’s. The wonderful thing about the men that Taura meets throughout the book is that they are all named after shoes such as, Ferragamo 30, Nike Jordan 18 and Timberland 24. The reason that the men are named after shoes is to defy that old adage that “you can judge a man’s character by his shoes.”
Tell us something about yourself.
I am a complete Mutt when it comes to this question! I was born in Ontario, Canada, raised in Hackensack, New Jersey, and South Florida and I am the spawn of West Indian parents. The reason that I state that I was raised between New Jersey and South Florida is because I spent my formative and fundamental years in New Jersey and moved to South Florida when I was 12-years-old. I returned to New York two more times to live when I was in my twenties prior to settling back down in South Florida. I can honestly say that New Jersey really bred me (I still have my Jorsey accent) and South Florida raised me.
This may sound corny, (and I am corny) but I have been writing all of my life! When I was a child, I use to write poetry and I have had a Journal since the age of 12 (I had a lot of issues with moving from Jorsey to South Florida). As a child, I was required by my father to read the newspaper every day. He would quiz my cousin and I with questions such as “What was on the cover of the newspaper?” etc. My cousin and I made a game of it. I remember doing this as young as 8-years-old. She and I would pretend to be news anchors, staring into the face of an imaginary camera reading the news articles and saying “And back to you Rolanda,” for Rolanda Watts, Channel 7, New York news.
What inspired you to write this book?
I’ve been writing this book for years. I had written a piece of the book into an article that I submitted to Essence Magazine back around 1998/1999 for their “Sister to Sister” section. I received a response about a year later stating that they had wanted to publish my article however, the former editor lost it and someone wrote something similar to it and they ran that individuals article. I was one angry sister when that happened.
How did you know you wanted to be a writer? How did you get started?
Besides my father Q&A on the daily newspaper and my cousin and I playing anchor women, I knew that I when I wrote, I garnered attention from people. Whether it was family, or other adults or teachers, when I wrote a poem, or an article, or essay, (I’m going to toot my own horn) it was good. And I loved the accolades that went along with that. I was first published when I was 13 when I wrote a poem titled “Proud to Be Black.” From there it was anything that involved writing, whether it was an essay contest or poetry I would get involved. To be a good writer you need inspiration. I started working at the age of 12 at a produce market, I was a candy striper by age 14 and I was and still am a worker bee. I got involved in Student Government from freshmen to Senior Year of high school which helps with public speaking and networking, both necessary for writers to succeed. I wrote for my community college newspaper, and developed clips that helped me land my first internship at “The Source Magazine” at the age of 20 and from there….
What do you believe is the hardest part of writing?
The hardest part of writing is knowing that you are a good writer and watching people get their career and jobs because of who they know and not what they know. (I see you Housewives of New York Kelly Bensimon!;-)
How did you do research for your books?
I lived it. The book is loosely based on my life as a 20 something year old and the many people that have come and gone throughout my life. A lot of the book is embellished and a lot of the book is truth. Which is what and what is which, I’ll never tell!
Did you learn anything from writing this book?
I learned a lot of things but I truly learned that you have to struggle in life to truly appreciate your successes.
What are you reading now?
I recently joined Page Turners which is a book club in South Florida and we are reading “In Cuba I was a German Shepherd,” by Ana Menendez
What types of books do you like to read?
I’m really black and white with no gray in between. It has to either be Chic Lit or a good adventurous conspiracy theory. This is due to my younger years: it had to be either Nancy Drew Mystery’s and The Hardy Boys or Sweet Valley High.
Who are your favorite authors?
Tom Clancy, Dan Brown and on the flip side, I like a good E. Lynn Harris Book.
Are you working on your next book?
What can you tell us about it?
The most that I can tell you is that Taura has not given up on her search to find the man to fit her father’s size 14 shoe, but never the less, she meets “Dirty Puma 32” and the focus evolves basically around this shoe (duhn…duhn…duhn). Also, Ferragamo 30 will make a cameo in this book. (Please remember readers, shoes represent a guy.)
What is the best advice you could give other writers about writing or publishing?
It is truly the ultimate dedication and if you are a person like me that likes to see projects completed from beginning to end, it is the ultimate in success. If you are interested in writing a book, commit yourself to writing 1,000 words a day and in 90 days you will have a novel.
My advice as to publishing: self publishing is good; getting a contract, with an advance, from a publishing house, is priceless!
What are you doing to promote your latest book?
I thought that was what I was doing right now.
Where can readers learn more about you and your book?
Readers can go to www.outskirtspress.com/Tbodenewolfe the link will give you my bio and the first 10,000 words of my book “Guys With Really Bad Shoes.”