Hello Ebony welcome to Books2Mention Magazine.
I want to begin my congratulating you on the success of your debut novel Slow Burn.
I had the opportunity to review the book and I truly enjoyed it from beginning to end. The very first page grabbed my full attention and engaged me into the storyline.
B2M: Can you start by telling us what inspired you to write this incredible story?
EBONY: Wow that's a big question. But, basically to me its just life. I think that there is not one person in this world who hasn't ever been in love and experienced the loss of love or the feeling of isolation within a relationship. And I just kind of drew on all of those emotions to write this book. It started off with me just writing a couple of pages down and the next thing I knew, it had just blossomed into something bigger.
B2M: The characters in this book are very well developed. What techniques did you utilize to build these strong characters that allowed readers to identify with them?
EBONY: Basically what I did is, I tried to essentially become that character as I was writing. Even if it was a male character, I tried to become that character. I tried to get into their frame of mind. And just tried to imagine, what is this person feeling right now, what do they see, what do they hear, what music are they listening to. And I actually had soundtracks, if I was writing about Ayzha; there would be certain music that I would play. Just to try to get me into her mood. If I was writing about Serafina, there was certain things that I would play. I just had to become that person. And just try to close my eyes and pretend like I was that person and then get into the moment. There was a point when I couldn't get into that characters head or didn't feel like that character or maybe there were days when I didn't want to be that character. Like Serafina, I didn't want to be her sometimes. Because she would bring me down at points. So I didn't write her and that's basically what I did to get into each person. And I think that's what made them believable. Because when I was writing that person, I believed that I was that person.
B2M: You did a really great job. It was like a movie playing. I could see it. I really enjoyed it.
EBONY: Good. Good. I always love to hear that. It just makes me smile.
B2M: Was it difficult to write a story that deals with so much emotion?
EBONY: At times it was. It really was because of the fact that there was difficult scenes in the book. When I started writing this book I had plotted it out in my mind and also on paper. This is what's going to happen from beginning to end. Boom, boom. boom. It was like I had my own power point presentation of what this book was going to be like. But once I started writing it my characters wanted to do something completely different. So, at that point I decided to let the characters write themselves. And I was just kind of like their puppet. They are going to do what they want to do, and I can't plan this out.
B2M: I understand that there will be a sequel to Slow Burn. Can you tell us when we can expect it in bookstores?
EBONY: Well the sequel is called Orchid's Nectar and I'm actually working on the sequel right now. And like I said before, I'm trying to plot and plan it again. I don't know why I keep doing that. My characters are not doing what I want them to do. So, essentially I'm going to have to sit back, relax and just open up my heart to them and let them decide what they want to do. But, I did the general consensus which really shocked me. And after I finished the book, I just sat there for a long time and I cried. And I said to myself, wow, I really want to know what happened to Jeremy. And I don't know if my readers want to know what happened to Jeremy, but I do. So, my next book is going to focus on Jeremy. And what amazed me is that when other people read the book they felt the same way. They really want to know what happened to him. Because he was not a likeable character at the beginning of the book. But we were able to grow with him
B2M: When did you realize that writing was your forte?
EBONY: Oh wow, I had been writing since I was a teeny tiny girl. I started reading when I was about three years old. And when I was probably in kindergarten, I would write little poems and little stories. I was always making up something. Some little tattle tales to tell my mommy and daddy. I ran across some little stories not to long ago. And my mother found them, its just funny. It's amazing to me how far I have come. But, I have always loved to write. I've never really wanted to show people what I've written. But, I think when I was in the tenth grade; I had this big old crush on Al B. Sure and I would write this story. I had a best friend named Christal and she would write about Ronnie Devoe. And we would write in these notebooks every single day. We'd be in school, supposed to be doing our work and we would be writing in these notebooks. We went to different schools and we would always meet up at the bus stop and trade notebooks. So we could see what the other person had written. And after school, we would meet up again at the bus stop and trade back and we would write more. Those books turned out to be like thousands of pages. We wrote those books for about two years. All about me and Al B. Sure and Ronnie Devoe and our little soap opera lives together. I think it was at that point that I realized that I really just wanted to write a book that other people could see. Because nobody could see that, it would be to humiliating if somebody ever found that. But I realized then that I really did want to get serious about it. I really wanted to start writing. So, when I was in the twelfth grade, I actually started to write a book. I still have that book. I will never ever let anybody see it. But, I thought it was just off the hook at the time. I do love to go back and look at the book every now and then to see the growth, just to see this is where I was at eighteen and now look at me at thirty-five. I still have so much more to learn. Yeah, it was definitely at that point that I realized that this might be something that I can do.
You know, you have these dreams that you want to pursue, but you don't know how. Then being a young black girl, I had never seen another black woman's book in print. Not a romance book or a dramatic fiction. You know I had seen Toni Morrison and Maya Angelou. But, I had never seen dramatic fiction until one day I was at the grocery store and there was a romance novel with Black people on the cover. I was like oh my God, momma, momma buy me this book. I'll never forget, it was called Night Song by Beverly Jenkins. That's when I realized that Black people could write these books and somebody would read them and they would sale. That was actually just a romance book. But then I had a certain style that I liked to write and I had never seen that style before. And someone telling these stories from each characters point of view.
B2M: Since you mentioned that you wrote some poems early on, I noticed the poem at the beginning of the book on the first page, Slow Burn did you write that?
EBONY: I wrote every poem in the book.
B2M: So, maybe one day we can look to see a book of poetry by Ebony?
EBONY: I actually have a book of poetry that's no longer in print. But now that Slow Burn has come out, people are starting to ask about that book of poetry again. I'm going to actually put that book back in print again. The book is called Butterfly Kisses: Poetry for the Many Faces of Love.
B2M: That's an interesting title.
EBONY: I wrote it because, you know when you are in love you go through so many different emotions. You have a new love or you just found this love and, Oh God, I think about him all the time. And then you have the love that's matured. But then you also have the love where I can't stand you; I hate the fact that I love you. And then you have break ups and then you have sex, you have everything. So that book covers the hold entire spectrum of love, and that's why the title. I love butterflies and Farashuu means butterfly. So that's where the title came from. But, The Many Faces of Love, I just said that there is so many facets of love and I want to explore all of them. So that book, I can't say when it's going to be back in print, but it will be back in print before the end of the year.
B2M: So I will have to look for it.
B2M: What has been the most memorable experience for you so far as a writer?
EBONY: Wow, the most memorable experience was having other authors call me, authors who are like my idols. Call me up on the phone and say, Ebony I just read your book and I cried, and I laughed and I loved it, and I can't believe this is your first book. I think that just made me feel like wow. These are the people that I have always wanted to call and talk to and have a camoderie with. And these people are calling me and saying that they love my work. What do you mean you love my work. I love your work. You know, I am admiring you, I want to be like you when I grow up. So I think that's one of the just, wow, one of the biggest moments. But now that I say that, I think of another big moment. The greatest moment ever was last year in Short Hills, New Jersey, where I was getting ready for my very first presentation of Slow Burn to the Sisters Silverton Book Club annual reunion and I had not seen the book yet. I had not seen it in print. I knew everything in the book, I knew what the cover was going to look like, but I had never actually seen the book. The book had not been released yet. The book was not released until September. This was in April. My publisher had eighty advance copies of the book printed up. He took them to the hotel, and left them there for me in these two big boxes. And I got to the hotel and I saw the boxes, I didn't even wait until I got to my room. I ripped the boxes open right there at the counter at the hotel, and I pulled my book out. I never knew what it would feel like. It was almost like having a baby. It was like the first time that I held my child. Because I looked at that book and I started crying and I could not stop crying. And my husband was looking and he was like wow, what does that feel like. And I said I can't even explain it. I said that it feels like I went through this labor for so long and then all of a sudden somebody just hands me what I created. It was the most overwhelming feeling in the world to me. And I can only compare it to when I held my daughter or my son for the first time. Because it's like, Thank you God, I finally got through all of this pain, this is what I created.
B2M: What or whom has been the motivating force behind your writing?
EBONY: I think there is not one particular person or one particular thing. I think it is love and emotion that has been the biggest motivator. I write with a lot of emotion. I am a Sagittarius. We are like the lovers, and we are ultra sensitive and we love love. And we love being in love, and we hurt so much. Everybody hurts, but I think Sagittarius, we are just different, we love hard. We love very very hard. When we love you, you know that we love you. And when you hurt us, that hurt just takes over our whole body. And I put all of that, all of my happiness, all of my pain, everything I ever been through in my entire life, I put all of that into that book. Even editing that book was hard. Just because of the raw emotion that was there. There are certain parts to that book that I cannot read any more. I won't read them, because I know that I'm going to cry. And I know what's happening, it's just like watching Malcolm X, I know that he dies at the end. I still cry when they start playing that song with him riding in the car.
B2M: Name a book that you have read that has been an inspiration to you?
EBONY: Wow, you know what, Disappearing Acts by Terry McMillan. And I say that because I mentioned before that I didn't think that it could be done, writing the style that I write, from a character's point of view. So, I always tried to write third person and for me it never came out right because it wasn't in my heart. It wasn't what I was feeling. When I read Disappearing Acts, and I saw the fact that Terry had actually took us into Franklin's head, took us into Zora's head. It just opened me up to the possibility, that hey, you really can do this. You don't have to write the way everybody else writes. You can actually follow your heart just like she did. That was so unconventional. You can do that, so that book inspired me. It really did. I read the book and I loved the book and I thought to myself, wow, this really can be done I really can write from each character's point of view. So, from then on I have never written third person again. From the moment I read that book anything that I wrote was always in first person.
B2M: In your wildest dreams what do you envision as your legacy as a novelist?
EBONY: In my wildest dreams I think I want my legacy to be just great work. That years from now somebody can pick up my book and it would still be relevant to what's going on in the world at that time. Even if it is 3027, I want someone to be able to pick up Slow Burn, and still laugh and cry, and relate to what's going on in that book. I want all of my work to be that way. And I always want people to say she really followed her heart. She put her heart into this. She didn't write what she thought we wanted to read. She wrote what was in her heart and I can appreciate that. That's what I want my legacy to be and that's what I wish every author could do. Just write what's in your heart and don't worry about what's going to sale and what's not going to sale. If you love to write put those thoughts down and somebody else is going to love it too.
Ebony, it has been a pleasure speaking with you. We encourage you to continue writing engaging stories.
Thanks for interviewing with Books2Mention Magazine. We look forward to speaking again with you in the near future. We wish you continued success with all of your endeavors.
Much Success To You!
The Staff @ Books2Mention Magazine
You are welcome to visit the website of Ebony Farashuu at www.EbonyFarashuu.com.
Books by Ebony Farashuu include:
Butterfly Kisses: Poetry for the Many Faces of Love