Which five words best describe Unveiled?
Can you share one highlight from the book?
Here’s a short excerpt –
Grief and the sickeningly sweet smell of too many flowers hung heavy in the warm air of the late August afternoon. Morgan felt the weight of tears shed and hearts breaking. She rubbed her hands down her black silk suit when she walked slowly toward the simple wooden coffin that held the body of her beloved baby brother, Winston. “Half-brother.” She could almost imagine her mother, Marie, standing in front of her and uttering the word “half” as if it were some sort of disease. Morgan breathed deeply and pushed Marie’s words from her mind as she exhaled. They had no place here.
Winston’s mask-like, powered face somehow belied the words “heart attack” that still echoed in her head. Morgan stepped away from the coffin and quickly brushed away her tears. She fled the church and barely heard the words of comfort tossed her way. Outside there would be air she could breathe without inhaling the pain of mourners.
Morgan moved quickly once outside. Her legs felt somehow lighter than they had only moments before. She breathed deeply for the first time since she had received the news of Winston’s death a week ago and headed for the sanctuary of her car. The tinkling melody of the car alarm signaled her safe haven. She slid onto the butter-soft, caramel-colored leather seat and found comfort in its warmth. She cranked up the car, pushed the button to lower the windows, and turned on the CD player. The soulful sound of Jill Scott’s voice surrounded her as she watched the family file out of the church and head toward limousines with the words Garrett Bros. painted in gold across the rear doors and windows. Of course, it would be Garrett Bros. They were still the only mortuary in town that “knew how to do colored.” Morgan had heard her maternal grandmother, Essie Baptiste, say that many times while she was growing up. Mama Essie, as everyone lovingly called her, had made everyone in the family vow to take her body to Garrett Bros. when her time came. Although it had been three years since Mama Essie passed, Morgan still felt her presence in this place. This thought alone eased the tension in her neck and removed the large knot that had taken up residence in the pit of her stomach.
What is the purpose of this book?
The purpose of the book is to take a look at what happens when family secrets are challenged. “Unveiled,” tells the story of a young woman who risks everything to find the truth and break generations of secrecy in her family.
As a reader, one of my favorite things about a novel is it allows me to escape and discover. Readers tell me that “Unveiled” did this for them and that makes me happy.
Are there themes that you find turn up again and again in your work? A common thread?
The theme or common thread in “Unveiled” is truth and each character has a different relationship to it. Some are seeking it, others are burying it while a few find accepting it a challenge. Another common thread is family and how people relate to each other and themselves in the context of their family system.
Which character or part of the book was the most fun to write? Which part was the hardest?
Rhonda Lattier and Celeste Du Maurier were the most fun to write. Rhonda for her zest for life and unapologetic way of being. Celeste because of the mystery that surrounded her and the wisdom she exemplified. I also enjoyed writing about Dr. Maurice LaShurr. He has the courage to be vulnerable and Black men often aren’t presented in this manner.
There were several parts in the book that were difficult to write; the ending for one. There is also an assault that takes place; the issue of domestic violence and the murder of a beloved character.
Can you tell us something that even your most loyal fans may not know about you?
What people may not know is that they have a very competitive spirit and love to play games and win. I’m also a huge baseball fan and enjoy listening to a game on the radio as much as watching it on television or attending live.
Is there anything else you would like to share with our readers?
I just want to thank them for reading “Unveiled.” I don’t take it lightly that they spent their time and money to read my book. There are millions of choices and I am humbled and honored that they chose “Unveiled.” I’d love for them to post a review on Amazon or Goodreads and let other readers know what they thought about the book.
La Rhonda Crosby-Johnson, author of Unveiled, is a native of Oakland, CA. She is a contributor to the award-winning Life’s Spices From Seasoned Sistahs, Go Tell Michelle: African American Women Write To The New First Lady, All The Women In My Family Sing, and an ebook serial novel Jubilee’s Journey.
Paperback book link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/0578652692
Kindle book link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B0859TVQFC