This week the Motown Writers Network shines the spotlight on Tracie Christian a.k.a T’Elise as this week’s featured author. Come with us as we get to know more about T’Elise and her latest novel.
Where are you from?
I from the Northeast side of DETROIT MI.
Tell us your latest news?
I recently released the 3rd and final installment of my urban reflective fiction trilogy book series, The Black College Sabbatical – SPRING QUARTER under my company B CYDE MULTI MEDIA, I am Station Manager/Program Director/On-Air Personality on 7mileradio.com, I Executive Produce, Back on the B Cyde radio show airing SATURDAYS 11am on http://www.7mileradio.com/radio
When and why did you begin writing?
I have always enjoyed writing. I have a lot to say and writing is one way to get it all out without being interrupted. I have been writing stories ever since I was about 8 years old.
When did you first consider yourself a writer?
Answer: When I received the first physical proof of my 1st novel, The Black College Sabbatical – FALL QUARTER in my hands. That’s when it got real for me. It was no longer a dream, it was a reality.
What inspired you to write your first book?
I had been so positively affected by my experiences attending a historically black college that I wanted to write a fiction story that would speak to how that experience can shape young people beyond the classroom.
Do you have a specific writing style?
I like to write in the first person so it feels like the character is talking to the reader. I also write what I like to call Reflective Fiction. My stories are always told in a way to pass along a lesson I learned personally, via realistic fictional stories.
How did you come up with the title?
Since a Sabbatical is a defined as (a period of paid leave granted to a college teacher for study or travel) I figured I’d tie that concept in with the black college experience, thus creating The Black College Sabbatical
Is there a message in your novel that you want readers to grasp?
I want them to understand many of the deep rooted traditions and practices that exist at historically black institutions. I also want readers to discover how long lasting friendships are created and that the education many receive extends far beyond the classroom, thus illustrating the overall vitality of these institutions.
How much of the book is realistic?
ALL OF IT IS REALISTIC.
Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?
Absolutely. If you attended Central State University in Wilberforce OHIO, between 1990 and 1997 you will recognize several dynamics of how orientation and Fall Quarter especially were run at that time in my book. It’s reminiscent of what my orientation was like.
What books have most influenced your life most?
Mama by Terry McMIllian, Eldorado Red by Donald Goines, The Autobiography of Malcolm X as told to Alex Haley, and of course my own.
If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?
Donald Goines, Carl Weber, Terry McMillan, Dwayne Joseph and Zane
What book are you reading now?
Currently, I am reading my own first 2 novels to update the content for re-release of 2nd editions under my company like SPRING QUARTER. When that’s done, I have 3 Carl Weber books I need to get.
Are there any new authors that have grasped your interest?
Janaya Black, Writer L. Bush, Monique Mensah and Shaka Senghor are my local favorites. These brothers and sisters are killing it with the pen. I Love them.
What are your current projects?
The re-release of my book series under B Cyde Multi Media, finishing my next novel, Toast to the Fool, and planning the next B Cyde Radio Luncheon-Book Launch in April 2014
Name one entity that you feel supported you outside of family members.
Motown Writers Literary Network
Do you see writing as a career?
Yes. I am never at a lack for ideas and writing gives me guts to do radio and try other things. It will always be a part of my life.
If you had to do it all over again, would you change anything in your latest book?
Not necessarily with this book, but I would have been more patient in releasing my first book. At that time (2007), I was so hell bent on proving all my doubters wrong and putting the book out, that I hastily approved a proof of my book that clearly needed more editing. I should have slowed down long enough to do it right the first time. That is why I am taking the time to release a 2nd edition, to correct that costly mistake.
Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?
I started writing poetry and after reading a few books, I said to myself, “I want to do that.” And eventually I sat down and just started writing. Now I’m here.
Can you share a little of your current work with us?
My current novel, Toast to the Fool is a story of 5 friends all at pivotal crossroads in their individual lives. Each one makes horrible choices with drastic results and now need to sift through their own collateral damage to find the lessons. Premise being: If you LOVE who You are in the present, then don’t be overly critical of the mistakes you made in your past. Give a Toast to the Fool in you of then, because that Fool took you to the Here and Now!
Is there anything you find particularly challenging in your writing?
Editing, now that I realize the importance of proper editing I take it more seriously. So much so that I have to learn to let the work go after several detailed editing sessions. I’m getting better with it every book though.
Who is your favorite author and what is it that really strikes you about their work?
Carl Weber is my favorite author because he has a knack for conversational, situational storytelling. I love it and wanted to be a writer like that.
Do you have to travel much concerning your book(s)?
Not as of yet, however as I gain exposure I’m optimistic that will change
Who designed the covers?
I designed the covers for my book series, but I have made connections to some very talented graphic artists that I intended to pass the torch to in regard to covers for my future books.
What was the hardest part of writing your book?
Getting started. Once I got started, it’s been on ever since.
Did you learn anything from writing your book and what was it?
I learned the importance of knowing and respecting my writer’s voice. Although there are several writers that I admire, finding my voice was definitely the most rewarding part of writing my books. I want readers to remember me as an individual artist, and not the literary clone of someone more popular. I think that’s very important.
Do you have any advice for other writers?
Be diligent, yet patient. Do your best the first time around no matter how long it takes. Being a writer is largely dependent upon being self motivated, knowing the only way the bus stops or goes is through you, The Driver, The Author, The Alpha and Omega of your project. Embrace this and you’ll be fine.
Do you have anything specific that you want to say to your readers?
I just want to say a heartfelt THANK YOU to EVERYONE who has supported my writing up to this point. Success cannot be spelled without “U”!
Learn more about Tracie E. Christian aka “T Elice”
Name of Book: The Black College Sabbatical – SPRING QUARTER
Author Website: www.b-cydemultimedia.com
Facebook Link: https://www.facebook.com/t.e.bsidedj
Twitter Link: https://twitter.com/TEliceBCydeDJ
YouTube Video Book Trailer link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xC4EgsB2byY
Check out this Excerpt from:
The Black College Sabbatical – SPRING QUARTER by Tracie E. Christian
** Cierra Folsom
“Yes Gerald I made sure to lock all the windows once I left your house.” I whine into my cell phone as I open the door to my dorm room.
“Well did you lock the back door and the fence?” He continues to pester me.
“Yes I locked the windows and the security fence. Damn!”
“Okay baby my goodness. You don’t have to get so touchy. I mean I am still gonna be gone for almost two weeks. I just don’t want to get back and find the house ram-sacked.” He replies defensively. Realizing that I must have hurt his feelings, I calm down a bit.
“I’m sorry sweetheart, but you act like you’ve never left to go out of town on a recruiting trip before. How did you make sure everything was locked up safe and sound before we got together?” I tease him in a much more pleasant voice.
“Hell, I don’t remember much of how anything worked for me before we got together Cee-Cee.”
“Oh, that’s so sweet. But you’re talking awfully free not to be alone. Where’s Derek?”
“He’s in the bathroom. You know, it would be sweet to me if you made sure to take care of that business we talked about before I get back. Really you should do it as soon as possible.”
“I said I would take the damn pregnancy test Gerald and I will! Even though it’s a complete waste of time and money because I keep telling you that I ain’t pregnant!” I insist; getting mad all over again.
“Wishing doesn’t make it so baby. I’ll tell you what. If you’re so sure that you’re not pregnant; take the damn test already! I promise you will get my full attention to say, I told you so, if you’re right. But if I’m right, then we’ve got some heavy decisions and plans to make. Okay?” He teases me happily.
“Yeah whatever,” I reply emotionless.
“Okay yeah whatever. Since I can tell that you’re not feeling me right now, I’m gonna go. My flight is boarding. Look Cierra, I just wanna tell you that I love you and whatever happens, that fact won’t change, alright?”
“I’ll call you once we land.”
“Okay, I love you Gerald and please be safe.” I remind him. Like he has a choice once he’s up in the air.
“You too baby. Bye.” He replies before hanging up. Once I put the phone down on the table, I start to unload the grocery bags that I brought in from the store.
As I put the milk, bread and lunchmeat in my little economy size refrigerator, I pull out that damn pregnancy test and my mind starts racing again. What the hell am I gonna do if I am pregnant? I ask myself. I am not ready to be nobody’s momma. And while Gerald’s all happy about this, he’s not even thinking about his career and reputation. Hell, I guess people could say neither one of us has been thinking much about that. Well Cierra, I guess you betta get your dumb ass to the bathroom and pee on the stick before Hayley gets here. I gotta make sure I keep this on the hush. No one can know that I even think I’m pregnant. And once I’m sure that I’m not, I gotta get my shit together and be more protective of the man I say I love…and myself. Leaving all the rest of the stuff on the floor, I head to the bathroom down the hall. I’m glad not too many people have started arriving back yet. I can get in and out the bathroom without being noticed and once I get that negative result, this will all be over. I try to silently convince myself. I swear at times like this, I really miss Ananda’s way of showing the silver lining in a dark cloud cause Lord knows right now, I really need to see one.