Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Women Writers of Color: Ernessa T. Carter

Full name: Ernessa T. Carter
Date of Birth: January 16
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Website/Blog:- 32candles and Fierce and Nerdy
Genre: Women's fiction.
Most recently published work: 32 Candles

How frequently do you update your site?

I put new stuff up at 32 CANDLES weekly and my community blog, Fierce and Nerdy is updated every weekday.

Is your site designed for interaction ?

Yes, I love to talk with folks on both sites.

Post of note, or something in particular you want readers to check out.

People really seem to like this post about my writing process and how I came to get my book deal.

Can you tell us a little about 32 Candles?

Davidia Jones, a girl growing up poor and unpopular in Mississippi, sees "Sixteen Candles" for the first time and decides that she wants to have her own Molly Ringwald Ending. Disaster ensues when she falls in love with the most popular guy in school. She ends up running away to Los Angeles, only to have him show up on her doorstep fifteen years later, forcing her to answer the question, "Can someone have a Sixteen Candles ending at the age of 32?

I loved Davidia. She is one of the most original characters of the year. Was it difficult selling people in the book industry on the idea of a poor Black girl from Mississippi who loves John Hughes movies?

Actually no it wasn't. There were a few editors who didn't get the concept, but mostly the response was hugely positive. When I was writing it, I wondered who would want to read about a strange black girl. Now that I'm on the other side of the process, I see that different is what a lot of publishers are looking for. My editor straight up said in an interview, that she only wants to acquire works of fiction that are completely fresh and unlike anything she's ever read before. I think a lot of writers worry about being too different, but in my opinion more should worry about not being different enough.

You've been active on facebook and twitter promoting your debut, long before it was released. Do you think this has turned into sales?

I haven't seen any sales numbers yet, but I hope the fact that even my most distant acquaintances know about this book is a good sign. Also I've made way more connections than I would have without the promotion. Figuring out promotion has been the great privilege of getting my book deal. I don't think many other people ever get the chance to say, "Hey, let's not only learn a whole new skill set but also throw a bunch of stuff against the wall and see what sticks." I really do enjoy promotion, and yes, I hope that translates into sales.

32 Candles appeals to a wide audience. Usually when I mention the book's connection to "Sixteen Candles," customers eyes light up. How have the crowds so far been for the booksignings? Mixed or mostly Black?

Mostly white so far! The only time it wasn't was in my hometown, St. Louis and when I signed at the NAACP convention and the Leimert Park Book Festival, which focuses on black authors. And even at the NAACP convention, I had white women coming up to tell me how much they loved Sixteen Candles. You're the first person that's asked me about that.

Is there anything else you'd like to share with Color Online.

I love hearing from readers, even the ones that haven't read my book. So please feel free to drop me a line at etc at!


rhapsodyinbooks said...

Great interview as always, Doret! By the way, James McBride also says that for Color of Water, most of his fans seem to be middle-aged white women!

Doret said...

Thanks Jill, I totally jacked up the Read more part.

Color of Water still sells very well.

Shalema said...

I enjoyed the Q&A. Really good questions.