Imani Wisdom's brainchild -- Pink Noire Publications -- has been known for her unpredictable style of storytelling. Now its founder is expanding the "pink and black" brand to shine on prolific artists. From the inspirationalist, Danica Worthy to bestselling author, Stacy Deanne, Pink Noire understand these talented individuals know how to express their craft through words, song, dance, and stroke of a brush.

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I've met many authors since being in the literary industry. Some have come, some have gone. But one, a near twenty year industry vet, has really caught my attention. She have shown to someone like me who has one book to her name, that hard work and persistence isn't a cliche. 

Stacy-Deanne began her career at the age of nineteen and has never looked back. This award-winning author has no reason to slow down. In fact, the Houston native released three books this past December alone. 

If a budding writer or author are searching for that experienced novelist to emulate, Stacy-Deanne set a perfect example on how to be that writer or author. For every word she writes, a sentence she completes, and characters she create, Stacy-Deanne beams with satisfaction. And if there's no satisfaction while working a dream, you have nothing.

Imani: Pink Noire is honored to have the award-winning author, Stacy-Deanne in The Lounge. First of all, welcome. I am truly humbled you've accepted our invitation to join us for this occasion. Now share with us, who is Stacy Deanne?

Stacy: I’m just a simple person who lives in my head and that’s why I love writing. It doesn’t take much to please me. I also like having my own space. I’m a loner so I like to do what I want without having to compromise. LOL! I’m an introvert and homebody and besides family, I love writing more than anything. It keeps me sane and helps me combat negativity, which I try my best to keep at bay.

When did you realize you were indeed a writer?

I guess I always was one, but I didn’t want to do it professionally until I was 19. I always had a great imagination and loved to make things up so writing became a way for me to harness that. When I was a kid, I never said I wanted to be a writer. It hit me all at once after I got out of high school.

Your answer just lead me to the next question: At nineteen you began your Freshmen title, Divas of the Millennium. Tell us more of that experience.

Actually, Divas of the New Millennium came WAY after I’d been in the business. I started in the business in 1997 and Divas came out in 2005. It took all those years of honing my craft and fighting rejection from agents and publishers to get my first shot through the door. The experience of working with the publisher for Divas was fine, but I never intended to write nonfiction. I had a yearning inside to write a biography of some of my favorite singers and that’s how Divas was born. I’m grateful because the book was a bestseller and opened doors for me for my fiction work.

You're one of a few authors I know that aren't self-published. Why did you choose traditional publishing, and would you ever self-publish your work?

When I started out self-publishing was extremely hard. Remember this is 1997 we’re talking about and print ruled. Whenever someone self-published it was almost impossible for them to sell their books to a wide audience. Back then, most self-published authors sold their books by hand out of the trunk of cars or at events or used high-priced vanity publishers. That was nothing that appealed to me.

As far as self-publishing in general, I don’t plan to ever do it. Nope, nope, nope. I never wanted to be a publisher so I have no desire to publish my own work. I am a writer, period. LOL! I don’t want to do all the junk that comes with handling the stuff behind the scenes. I want to do what I do best, write. I’ve never wanted to run a business or anything like that. It’s not me plus I have too much to do as it is that I would have no time to self-publish. I love publishers, and aside from a few bad apples in the bunch, I’ve had mostly positive experiences. It’s publishers all the way for me.

Earlier in your career, you were signed with Simon and Schuster for a couple of years. Since then you've been signed with a smaller press; such as, Sugar and Spice Press and now Jessica Watkins. It seems smaller presses are your preference. So if an author is considering traditional publishing and want try a smaller press, what are the pros and cons before they sign the dotted line?

 I love small presses. It’s hard to say pros and cons because every situation and every publisher is different. These days I refuse to waste time with a publisher that cannot sell books. That’s the number one deal breaker for me so when I look at small press or any press, the first thing I do is check their sales and if I see they have a bunch of books that aren’t selling, I run the other way. There is nothing worse than being with a publisher who cannot sell books! Luckily, being in the business this long, I have millions of contacts, and whenever I have my eye on a publisher, I always seek out their authors and ask questions. Most times, I will know at least one author at a house. I also frequent the Absolute Write Water Cooler. I’ve lurked on there for years and they have a Background and Bewares section where they share any info, good or bad about publishers.

I try to stick with reputable houses with good reputations. I know a lot about many publishers in the business so most times I know who stinks and who doesn’t. LOL! The main thing I have to say is writers need to do their homework and don’t be desperate to sign with just anyone. There are people who are calling themselves publishers, but they are just inexperienced and sticking books up online. These are NOT publishers. A publisher knows how to sell books and has the author’s best interest at heart. A genuine publisher knows it’s a team effort. Beware of publishers with low-selling books, badly edited books, and anyone you hear that is not paying their authors! Also, stay away from pubs that look like author mills who sign just anyone. A writer should always investigate and ask around if they are unsure.

"I never wanted to be a publisher so I have no desire to publish my own work. I am a writer, period. LOL! I don’t want to do all the junk that comes with handling the stuff behind the scenes. I want to do what I do best, write."

What's your methodology of a compelling storyline?

I outline. I used to just jot down scenes here and there as I go along but I outline my books from beginning to end these days and it’s keeps my ideas in line. What I like about outlining is it eliminates filler and helps you stick to the meat of the story.

 Are you character or plot-driven?

 Both. I used to say mostly plot-driven, but I am writing more and more books that focus as much on the character’s inner struggle as the main plot so I feel it’s both.

Many of your novels are thrillers filled with suspense. What, or perhaps whom, inspired you to write such jaw-dropping stories?

 I’m a mystery buff at heart and Alfred Hitchcock and Edgar Allan Poe are my idols.

I've read somewhere that you love creating villains. So what qualities make an unforgettable villain for readers?

I’d have to say the best quality is that a powerful villain is a villain the audience appreciates or even enjoys. The most common mistake some writers do is make one-dimensional villains. Every character should be three-dimensional. No one is all good or all bad, not even the villain. Just because your character is a killer doesn’t mean he can’t love children right? You gotta give all characters more than one side to be realistic. Creating villains keeps me on my toes and they are fun. Since I write a lot of contemporary romance now, I don’t always have villains but there will always be an antagonist, and I do my best to make him or her well-rounded.

You've won numerous awards since being in this business. How did you feel when you were first recognized for your work? And how about now -- twenty books later -- still receiving honors for your literature?

It felt wonderful every time. I didn’t care whether I was just nominated or if I won, I was still proud. I was proud and appreciative that someone enjoyed my work enough to nominate it for something. I work hard, hard, hard on my writing. It’s a part of me so any time I receive praise for it, it’s an honor. That will never change no matter how long I write.

Okay, let's switch it up and talk about the hottest genre to this date -- Interracial Romance. Why is this category growing with popularity? And what decided you to write in this genre?

I don’t know why it’s so popular, but I am glad it is. LOL! I am a TRUE IR supporter. I am not just writing it to cash in on a bandwagon. I write it because it’s from my heart. It’s not really interracial romance itself that’s popular, it’s black women and white men books in particular. Some IR pairings in books don’t sell nearly as well because black women are the dominate readers of the genre.I’ve always loved white men, and I’ve always loved black women and white men romances so I’m glad it’s exploding in books. I think it’s hot because this is a genre that has been ignored for so long. Also, many more black women and white men are dating these days as well.

For generations, black women who dated or married white men did not have romance books for them. They either had to read black romance or mainstream romance. Now they have books geared specifically to their preference and it’s a beautiful thing. IR has been huge for years, but I see more black women who don’t even date white men reading it now. I think part of it has to do with Scandal. I also see more black women becoming open to interracial dating, and I think that’s why they are buying these books. Some are buying them out of curiosity, but I believe most women buy them because they are in IR relationships and they want books that reflect them.

"The most common mistake some writers do is make one-dimensional villains. Every character should be three-dimensional. No one is all good or all bad, not even the villain. Just because your character is a killer doesn’t mean he can’t love children right?"

You had three new book releases in December. Would you share the titles and their brief descriptions for the readers?

Sometimes MoneyAin’t Enough came out November 20th. An Unexpected Love and Under the Surface just released. All are BW/WM romances and Under the Surface is the first Christmas romance I’ve done.

Readers can check those books out and others at my author page on Amazon:

What's new for you in 2015? Do you have plans for another project(s)?

Do I have any plans for other projects? Am I still breathing? ROFL! As long as I am living, I will always be working on something. Anyone who knows me can tell you I never stop. I am already working on projects for next year. My first book for next year will be Love is a Crime another BW/WM book (of course), published by Jessica Watkins. I always got something going. I’m like the Energizer bunny. LOL! The minute I finish one project, I jump into another.

You say your literary heroes are the great Edgar Alan Poe and legendary filmmaker Alfred Hitchcock. If they were right now, what one question you would ask of them?

Are you as sick in the head as I am?

As we conclude this interview, I would like to know where do you see your career in five years?

Oh, I don’t like to answer these types of questions. LOL! I used to make plans for years ahead then learned that you can’t do that. We don’t know where we will be in five years. I just focus on the fact that I love writing and if I’m still living in five years (never know what happens), I hope to still be writing. I anticipate great things for the future though. It’s about time because I’ve worked my butt off and paid my dues.

Thank you so much, Stacy-Deanne for taking the time to share some of your world with the readers. If they would like to know more about you and your work, as well as finding you the web, where should they go?

Thanks for having me and they can check out the links below to keep up with me:


Stacy-Deanne said...

Thanks again for having me!

I recently changed my website address so here is my new one for folks to check out:

Imani Wisdom said...

You're very welcome! Please come back again.