Gwynne, welcome to Books2Mention Magazine.
Your total body of literary works has been exemplary over the years. You've written on various subject matters that have touched the fabric of our lives. It is a great honor to have this opportunity to learn more about you and your gift of writing.
B2M: Being an award winning national best selling author is an extraordinary accomplishment within itself, however you have enjoyed a successful career as a Demographer and former senior United Nations Officer. It is apparent that you are an achiever. Where does your motivation derive from?
GF: I've never had to answer this question, so I haven't given it any thought. Since early childhood, I've had goals, and I was an incurable daydreamer. It was understood, that I would get the leading female role in a school play, because I would work hard to learn it and perform it properly, so I did. I went to school the first day already reading and writing. I was five. I graduated from high school as class valedictorian and from my undergraduate college, magna cum laude. I've had some rough challenges, but I work, fight and pray my way through them. I suppose that if your parents make demands on you from the beginning and help you meet those demands, that fits you for life.
B2M: What would you say has been your greatest accomplishment thus far?
GF: Probably starting at the first professional level at the United Nations in New York when I'd just finished graduate school, fighting the male chauvinist attitudes toward women professionals and the race discrimination (those no longer exist at United Nations), and leaving there years later at the highest professional level, having represented the United Nations Secretary-General at conferences, seminars and workshops in countries all over the world, and having directed a research unit--with a staff of professionals, clerks and secretaries--responsible for levels and trends of fertility and their determinants and consequences in all countries of the world, as well as authoring and having published under my own name twenty-seven books and articles in the field of demography.
B2M: Having authored thirty-one works of fiction, twenty romance novels, six romance novellas and five main-stream novels, are there particular stories that you have written that stand out to you?
GF: Among the romances, of course that first book will always be special, but Beyond Desire and the Harrington series (Once In A Lifetime, After The Loving and Love Me or Leave Me) and Against The Wind (my only interracial story) have proved to be special with my readers, and with me as well. Of the mainstream stories, If You Walked In My Shoes and Getting Some Of Her Own stand out with me. Some stories are difficult to write. These took wings and seemed to fly out of me.
B2M: Your books have taken readers on awe-inspiring journeys of life lessons in the mist of adversities. How important is it for you to write books that offer great stories and also a silver lining of hope?
GF: That's a very interesting question. I try never to preach to the reader. But as a social scientist, I see life as causes and consequences, and I write that way, particularly when it comes to character development and the way in which people deal with problems. I try to be both logical and as true to life as I can be, and that's a challenge. A boy who went to Sunday School from age five to age eighteen is more likely to return an old woman's pocketbook than is one who belonged to a street gang from the time he was seven and never went to Sunday school. The trick is to show that without telling people what to do with their lives. I like to read and write stories of success and of lost individuals finding their way, but if a character transgresses, I always make him or her pay. In my book, When You Dance With The Devil, I never say the words, but it becomes clear that if you dance with the devil, you have to pay the bill.
B2M: The novel, When You Dance With The Devil was truly a great story. Can you tell us why you decided to write this particular book?
GF: In 1998, Genesis Press published one of my novels, Naked Soul, which won a national award. Readers wanted to know what happened to the second male lead, a real scoundrel who was seen by all who knew him as a gentleman. At first I said I couldn't write his story. Then, I decided to write it and make him change during the course of the story, and that meant making him experience some of the pain he'd caused, making him change into a better person. I needed a female lead to offset his character and created Jolene. I couldn't use the same names as in Naked Soul, because my contract with Genesis forbade it, so I changed his name to Richard Peterson and wrote When You Dance With The Devil.
B2M: What do you feel is the single most important ingredient necessary in creating stories that readers can sink their teeth in?
GF: The characters. Great characters with goals, failures and successes can make an unforgettable story, and particularly if their story is told within the context of the family.
B2M: Are you working on your next book?
GF: I have a first draft of my October 2008 mainstream novel, and at this time, I'm writing a romance. It is something of a challenge, because the two principal characters are a doctor and a nurse, and I'm dealing with health issues, social issues, and political issues along with a rather sizzling chemistry between these two main characters.
B2M: Besides writing, do you have a favorite pastime?
GF: Absolutely. The question is how much time do I have to spend on it. Music first and last. I love jazz, opera, symphonic and chamber music, blues--the more gutbucket, the better--and country music ballads. I am also an avid gardener.
B2M: Over the years, what has been the most striking fact that you have learned about the process of writing?
GF: The importance of words, of using words that convey precisely the nuance needed, that express a thought or, if necessary, that paint a picture, a world in a unique way. Words, even simple ones can lift the reader out of her seat, if strung together well and imaginatively. The sun need not always set at night and rise mornings. It can sink gradually to peaceful sleep or to dark oblivion only to awaken the next morning, proclaiming its authority over the earth and all that is in it.
B2M: If you could offer aspiring writers advice, what would it be?
GF: Learn the English language, particularly grammar. Read the kind of books that you wish to write. When reading and you see a word that you do not know, write it down, look up the definition and then practice using that word in sentences. Write fifteen sentences using that word. If your vocabulary is weak, you cannot express your ideas, so get a book that teaches you vocabulary building. Set a time to write every day, and do not allow anything or anyone to interfere with your writing at that time. Get a good instructional book on fiction writing, and use it. Work hard, and don't let anyone discourage you.
B2M: When writing is there a particular place in your home or elsewhere that allows you to tap into your creativity?
GF: I have an office in my home, and I write there on my PC. However, when the writing becomes difficult, I take a pad and pen and change to another room--the kitchen, bathroom, or wherever. I write on planes, trains, in airports and train stations, even in my garden. Whenever and wherever there is an opportunity. I have even written on the street with my tablet against a lamppost.
B2M: Who has been your source of inspiration?
GF: My mother. She was an educator, and she practiced her classroom philosophy at home. She wrote the first fiction that I ever read, and loved to read in public the works of African American poets. Whatever she did, she did thoroughly, and she instilled that in me.
Gwynne, we appreciate your talent and encourage you to continue in your pursuit of presenting great stories with great lessons that all readers can relate to.
Thanks for interviewing with Books2Mention Magazine. Pease be sure to come back again and keep readers informed about all of your future endeavors.
Much Success To You!
The Staff @ Books2Mention Magazine
GF: Thank you so much for this opportunity to connect with your readers.
You are welcome to visit the website of Gwynne Forster at www.GwynneForster.com.
Books by Gwynne Forster include:
Getting Some Of Her Own
When You Dance With The Devil
When Twilight Comes
Blues From Down Deep
If You Walked In My Shoes
Whatever It Takes
Sealed With A Kiss
Against All Odds
Fools Rush In
Against The Wind
One In A Lifetime
Last Chance At Love
After The Loving
Love Me Or Leave Me
One Night With You
Just The Man She Needs
Novellas In Anthologies
Christopher's Gifts (Silver Bells)
A Perfect Match (I Do)
Love For A Lifetime (Wedding Bells)
Miracle At Midnight (Midnight Clear)
Learning To Love (Going To The Chapel)
The Journey (Destiny's Daughters)