Tell us about your book, Rise of the Ravenisha.
Rise of the Ravenisha tells the tale of female empowerment told through the lens of warrior women who shapeshift into werepanthers.
It tells the story of ancient warrior African women, who made a pact with the demon La Panthère Noire. In exchange for their loyalty, La Panthère Noire turns them into werepanthers who must eat humans once a month to survive. They will live forever and possess superhuman powers. Their BFF Queen Idia, however, has other nefarious plans. She convinces her friends to be enslaved and taken to America. She tells them she will join them later and the Ravenisha can rule on two continents.
Once in Ravenswood, Alabama, the Old-Generation women have daughters, who also have daughters. These daughters are known as the New-Generation Ravenisha. Teddy, a New-Gen and super breed is tapped to lead the Ravenisha out of their bonds. Can Teddy overcome her own emotional bonds to lead her Nana and the other Old-Gen Ravenisha to freedom, or will she doom them to an eternity in slavery?
Why did you decide to write it?
I fell while at a family reunion in the Poconos, and to keep my mind from the pain, I asked myself two questions, which were the genesis for Rise of the Ravenisha. What if there were these women warriors, and what if they shapeshifted into werepanthers and ate humans? I finally listened to the universe and God. I returned to California and wrote the book in 3 months. Of course, it took about a year and a half to revise and edit it.
Who is your favorite character in the book and why?
This is a tough one. I like Teddy and Fredi. I get to introduce the reader to horses and dressage through Teddy. I also work out my issues through her, as well. As you can guess, I wish I was a sharpshooter and bad-ass like her. Fredi makes me laugh out loud. She is so bad, and I admit, I have an affinity for “bad” people.
Which five words best describe Rise of the Ravenisha?
Different, bold, action-packed, campy, layered like an onion.
Can you share one highlight from the book?
“I don’t know about y’all, but I’ll be damned if I’m going to allow that evil man to defeat us. He is right about one thing, though. The time to break these bonds is here. That bitch Idia promised us we’d be free. Instead, she’s taken our children. Now she wants our grandbabies? This means war! And what’s with him talking in that old white southern vernacular? Ugh! When we get back to the house, Tildy, please ask Leona to summon Lieutenant Allensworth. We need him and his men here yesterday. Also, notify the sheriff to prepare because the shit is about to hit the fan. Lord, I just hope that baby girl licked up enough of my blood just now. There may be hope for us yet, sistahs. We’ll get back at Idia. And once we do, we can carry on what La Panthère Noire has always wanted from us. We can rule this land, and all others, as Ravenisha. Rufus and Idia done picked the wrong women to fuck with. We are warriors! We are queens! We are Ravenisha!”
They raised their fists in the air and gave the Ravenisha war cheer, their ululations and roars singing on the still air.
What is the purpose of this book?
The hope is that the reader will feel a myriad of emotions, from anger and sadness to jubilance and laughter.
Are there themes that you find turn up again and again in your work? A common thread?
Women are fierce but vulnerable. We are warriors whether by design or fate. My book is also about courage, resilience, and battling demons–real and inner.
Which character or part of the book was the most fun to write? Which part was the hardest?
The most fun was Fredi. I got to reminisce on all of the times my baddy niece said or did something that I still shake my head at when I think about it. The hardest was Teddy, as I had to delve into my psyche and confront some things about myself.
Can you tell us something that even your most loyal fans may not know about you?
I’m a Jimi Hendrix fan.