Author Denise Turney is the writer of the urban novels Love Pour Over Me, Portia, Love Has Many Faces, Spiral, Gada’s Glory, Gregory The Lionhearted and Long Walk Up. She has more than 40 years of writing experience. She is a full-time writer whose works have appeared in popular African American magazines, diverse newspapers and women’s periodicals. Denise has also appeared on popular Christian and educational radio and television stations around the United States. She is a newspaper and magazine columnist and the editor of the literary periodical The Book Lover’s Haven. Please welcome Denise to my blog today.
Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?
I am a mom, book lover and sister. Passion for reading started for me when I was a kid. I’ve been reading books so long that reading feels part of my DNA. Thanks to Gwendolyn Brooks, I started writing when I was 10. It was a book that Gwendolyn Brooks wrote that ignited my writing passion!
What do you do when you are not writing?
When I’m not writing, I read, travel, visit family and enjoy relaxing outdoor walks.
Do you have a day job as well?
Yes – I have a day job. I also freelance write for businesses and other clients and I operate my radio show “Off The Shelf Books Talk Radio” (https://www.blogtalkradio.com › denise-turney-) on Blog Talk Radio.
When did you first start writing and when did you finish your first book?
I was 10 years old when I started writing. It was the grand year of 1998 when I finished my first book Portia
How did you choose the genre you write in?
Oh, I have written family sagas, mystery and a bit of romance. Mainly, my books are family sagas. I love to show how family impacts us all along the way. Doesn’t matter how far we think that we’ve gone away from home.
Where do you get your ideas?
Great question. Book ideas come to me from real life experiences, news articles, observing others and even from dreams.
Do you ever experience writer’s block?
No. Fortunately, I don’t experience writer’s block. Gotta keep the inner critic at bay to create.
Do you work with an outline, or just write?
Both. Spiral is a book that I used an outline with. So is Love Has Many Faces. But, with other books like Portia, Long Walk Up and Love Pour Over Me – I just sat down and started writing.
Is there any author or book that influenced you in any way either growing up or as an adult?
Gwendolyn Brooks’ powerful book of poetry is actually what inspired me to start writing.
Can you tell us about your challenges in getting your first book published?
Oh, I reached out to traditional book publishers and literary agents for years. Even now, I can see myself typing up letters to send them. Back then, snail mail (the kind of mail you put a paper stamp on) was big. This is long before the Internet took off. I’d read Writer’s Digest and other writing magazine articles for tips on how to crack the code to get my book accepted by a traditional publisher or literary agent. Was told that getting a literary agent was the first, necessary step. When those doors didn’t open, I studied self-publishing, reading books like Dan Poytner’s “The Self Publishing Guide”. Then, I published my first book, Portia, and went out and earned my chops. You can read free excerpts from Portia and my other books at – http://www.chistell.com
If you had to go back and do it all over, is there any aspect of your novel or getting it published that you would change?
No. The only thing would be to find that magic genie in the bottle, rub that bottle, and land at least 10,000 book sales a year. That’s what I’d do.
How do you market your work? What avenues have you found to work best for your genre?
Marketing for me has come thru my radio show (Off The Shelf Books Talk Radio), my newsletter (The Book Lover’s Haven), guest blogging, blogging at my website (www.chistell.com), attending literary events and cultural festivals, paying for Amazon and Facebook ads, being active on Twitter and other social media platforms, appearing on other radio shows, writing and sending press releases, adding SEO to my website, promoting my website, branding on mugs, book bags, distributing postcards, direct mail, holiday greetings, giveaways, etc. I could go on and on.
Have you written a book you love that you have not been able to get published?
Not yet. But, I self-publish.
Can you tell us about your upcoming book?
I am working on three books. Gada’s Glory (working title) is set in the raring 1940s in Chicago. Oh, yes! It comes with Chicago’s gritty ebb and flow, the type of ebb and flow that can cost a man his life. The star of the show is Gada, a woman not to be fooled with. She’s also the country’s first successful woman gangster. But, she’s smooth – classy. Gregory the Lionhearted is close to my heart. I plan to put it out as a superhero story, maybe a comic book. Then, there’s Rosetta’s Great Hope. This is a Young Adult book. Rosetta is spunky!! I love her! She’s from a loving family. But, she’s mischievous. Readers will love her!
Is anything in your book based on real life experiences or purely all imagination?
Portia is based on real life experiences. I really did have a breast cancer scare when I was in my early 20s.
What was your favorite chapter (or part) to write and why?
What I appreciate about Portia is how it allowed me to express my love for my family at a time when I didn’t think that I’d live to see 23. I went to specialists and was just afraid.
How did you come up with the title?
Great question. I met a woman named Portia who left a powerful, positive impression on me.
What project are you working on now?
My three book
Will you have a new book coming out soon?
Plan to release Rosetta’s Great Hope this year or early 2020.
How can your readers find you?
Reader, please check me out at www.chistell.com
Love Pour Over Me – shorturl.at/dqvLW
Portia – shorturl.at/cmBQ4
Spiral – shorturl.at/wzJZ0
Love Has Many Faces – shorturl.at/zHN26