BBS: Today we have the pleasure of speaking with best-selling Author Adrienne Thompson. Adrienne thanks for joining us today. Please tell our readers a little bit about you.
A: Hey, thanks for interviewing me! I was born in Ohio but raised and still reside in Arkansas. I’m a divorced mother of three grown folks, the grandmother of two little geniuses although I’m way too young to be a grandmother, lol. I have an obsession with music (anyone who can holler-sing in tune is on my list of favs and I’m a sucker for a hip-hop beat even if it’s over country music) and possess an eclectic list of passions from going to the movies to fashion, to researching absolutely anything that interests me. I’m a lifelong writer in some form but have been a full-time author since 2012. I decided to pursue writing books as a career after some prayer and introspection during which I sought to find my purpose. I do believe I was born to write. I write mostly inspirational African American women’s fiction and romance.
BBS: Awesome! I'm a music fan myself. So, what made you decide to write in your current genre, and have you considered writing a story in another category? If so, explain.
A: Well, I let the story dictate the genre. Since I’m an African American woman, I write more African American women’s fiction than anything, but I’ve also written romance, AA fiction, historical fiction, fantasy, poetry, and Christian non-fiction.
BBS: That's good you let the story come to you. Do you think you’ll ever run out of story ideas?
A: I certainly hope not! It’s my prayer to do this professionally for the rest of my days.
BBS: Out of all of the books you’ve written, which one is your favorite and why?
A: Hmm, probably Summertime, because it took me all the way out of my comfort zone and was such a different type of story for me. It actually intimidated me to the point that it took me five years of off-and-on writing to complete it, but I’m more than pleased with the result!
BBS: Wow! I think I have Summertime on my to-read list, so I will definitely get started on it soon. So, Tyler Perry calls you up and offers a movie deal for ONLY one of your books. He loves them all, but he’s having trouble deciding which book to film. What book would you recommend and who would you get to play the characters?
A: Probably Your Love is King because I think it would translate well to the screen. And I have no idea who’d play the characters. That’s not how my mind works. These people are real to me with distinct features. It’d be hard for me to cast any movie based on one of my books.
BBS: I think the fact that they are real to you is what makes your characters come across so well-developed. Readers connect with believable characters too. Speaking of readers, do you hear from your readers? If so, what kinds of things do they say?
A: I do! I get some really nice emails and social media messages from them. I truly appreciate that they enjoy my work because I enjoy creating it.
BBS: That’s wonderful. You know, I’ve counted 30 books that you’ve written, two of which were collaborations. That’s amazing! How long does it normally take you to write a book? And what inspires you to write?
A: It really depends on what I’m writing and how well it’s flowing. I’ve written a book in a couple of weeks, and like I said before, Summertime took years. Life inspires me, people inspire me, my personal experiences inspire me, music and movies inspire me. Honestly, there isn’t much that doesn’t inspire me and that’s both a good and a bad thing. It’s often hard for me to turn my brain off.
BBS: Do you have a certain time of day that you write?
A: Nope. Since I’m blessed to write full time, I decided to take advantage of that and not box myself into a schedule. I write anytime, day or night, and take breaks liberally, lol.
BBS: I agree. I feel like creativity for me as well shouldn't be boxed in. It should flow freely. So, what would you say is your writing kryptonite and why?
A: Exhaustion. If I’m tired, mentally especially, I’m pretty unproductive. I can be a workaholic and am working to improve that, hence the liberal breaks now.
BBS: I hear you on that. Are you self-published or traditionally published? Why did you select that route?
A: Self-published. Initially, I did submit a story to some agents, none of whom were interested in it. Reading it now, I understand why. It was definitely not my best work, lol. When I learned I could affordably self-publish my work, I jumped on it and I’m so glad I did! I’m a control freak and love the autonomy of self-publishing. Also, I don’t have to share the bulk of my income with a company. Getting fifteen percent of the earnings will never work for me.
BBS: Do you think self-publishing is a fad or something that will be around for a while?
A: I think it’ll stick around in some form. Most readers don’t care who the publisher is. They just want to read a good story. And the landscape of the world of art is ever-changing with technology, so I don’t see the gatekeepers of publishing taking over again.
BBS: So true. What would areas of self-publishing make the playing field between traditionally published books more competitive and/or fair?
A: The stories. Authors of self-published works aren’t inhibited or limited in what they can write. That’s not the case in traditional publishing. I think having no limitations on what is written gives self-publishing a distinct advantage.
BBS: True. What are the pros/cons of self-publishing vs. traditional publishing?
A: I’m 100% #teamselfpublishing, so I don’t see many cons there, other than the amount of work that goes into putting out a good product. However, if you put in the work on all ends, including marketing, you reap the bulk of the benefits. There is work in being traditionally published as well, including doing some of your own marketing, but you have to give up the bulk of the royalties. That is really a deal-breaker for me.
BBS: A lot of artists and authors are cutting out the middle-man, so I can understand that. So, having written so many books, what would be the common theme of your books and why?
A: Survival, redemption, and perseverance through the grace of God, because that’s been my experience. Of course, I have to add some drama for entertainment purposes, too.
BBS: Those are themes that make a good story too. Are you working on any new projects? If so, what’s it’s about and when can we expect the release?
A: The first quarter of this year, I’m focusing on promoting my backlist, but am also sketching out the sequel to Breathe Again and another novel in my mind, and I’m working on a YA book that intimidates me more than Summertime did, lol. I’m hoping to release the Breathe Again sequel before the summer.
BBS: Quite a few of your books are sequels, which means readers want more and that’s a good thing. Do you try more to be original with your stories or give readers what they want?
A: A little of both. I try to give the readers what I know they want, but I don’t force stories to come to life. They have to flow on their own for me to write them.
BBS: Some authors engage with others on social media by discussing politics, current events, or social issues affecting the community. Is it important to engage with others about topics unrelated to books and writing? Which do you prefer?
A: Eh, I think enough people are discussing that stuff and it’s okay for them to do it if that’s their thing. I’d rather encourage people. That’s my thing.
BBS: I’m always encouraged by your posts, so keep it up. I think it’s good to be humble the way you are. Speaking of which, do you think an ego helps or hinders an author when it comes to book reviews?
A: An ego probably is not very helpful, lol. It’s better to take both positive and negative reviews as what they are: someone’s opinion. I don’t let them define my writing. What one reader loves about a book can be the exact thing another hates, so it stands to reason that you can’t please everyone. There’s no need in trying or in taking it personally.
BBS: True. Thank God for a variety of books because we all have different tastes. Now, there’s plenty of variety out there. How do you think self-publishing has changed since you first started in the business?
A: There are tons more authors and those offering services to authors. Which also means there are more scammers out there. I hate to see authors taken advantage of, but it easily happens when they don’t do their research. I’ve also seen a lot of good authors who’ve stopped publishing their work for many reasons and that breaks my heart.
BBS: That’s a sad truth. Writers, please research and ask around to avoid getting burned!
Adrienne, it’s time for some fun since it’s March Madness! Give us your Final Four favorite authors?
A: Bernice McFadden, Love Belvin, Barbara Joe Williams, and probably Tia Williams or Ivy Symone. The list will likely change as the year progresses and I hopefully discover new-to-me authors.
BBS: Yes honey! Those are some of my favorites too. So, how many book awards have you won or been nominated for?
A: Child, I have no idea. A few, I guess. BRAB has been kind enough to award me a few times. I’ve been on UBAWA’s year-end list a couple of times, and I was nominated for an inspirational romance with Emma Award a few years back.
BBS: That’s wonderful. I think you set a good example for aspiring authors and even those who are already in the industry. What piece of advice would you give someone who is interested in publishing?
A: Trust your voice and your story. Be unique. Uniqueness fuels success.
BBS: Where can our readers purchase your books and connect with you on social media?
A: Website: http://adriennethompsonwrites.webs.com
BBS: Thank you for joining us today! We wish you much-continued success!
A: Thank you for having me. I appreciate this opportunity.