L. C. ROGERS
Words of Wisdom
What inspired you to write your book?
This book was inspired by a conversation with my niece years ago. I was visiting my grandmother in Boston and I was relaxing in her recliner chair and needed my pocketbook from across the room so I asked my niece who was about 7 at the time could she get it for me. She went and picked it up and of course it was heavy, and she says, oh my gosh auntie Raine, you have the whole world in this purse. And that was it! I decided to create a world where the secret portal was through a pocketbook. A woman’s purse has so much intrigue behind it. So the idea fascinated me. The setting was inspired by my time living in Massachusetts, and my main character’s name is Zyaire, and she is half Cape Verdean after my niece who put the idea in my head. The close grandparent relationships in the book was inspired by my close relationship with my grandmother.
What is your writing process like?
I like to write early in the morning, first thing while everyone else is still asleep, when the ideas are flowing freely in my mind without the interruption of life. I often write standing up.
How many hours a day do you write?
About 4 hours a day.
What does literary success look like to you?
Success for me would be my book being widely read, inspiring others to read and to write, and my biggest dream is that one day Pocketbook Diaries will become a film or tv series, and I can be one of the very few, if any, black authors to top charts in the fantasy genre on the level of authors like JK Rowling or CS Lewis, and James Patterson.
What is the most difficult part of your artistic process?
Writing and meeting my deadlines during difficult times. I tend to shut down artistically during difficult times in my life so resisting the urge to do that is something I struggle with, but my mom helps me push through those moments. Without even mentioning it to her, she’d randomly ask, are you writing? Kindly nudging me to keep my eyes on the prize. Now, that’s just one difficulty. Another is the editing process. Geez! It is grueling going through that process.
Does writing energize or exhaust you?
It definitely energizes me. Especially after writing a chapter I’m excited about. I’m like the reader as I’m writing because intricate parts of my stories often unfolds as I’m writing it. I have my baseline, but honestly my writing process is very organic so the ideas flow and the story unravels as I’m writing. Therefore, I’m just as excited as it comes to my mind as a reader who sees the plots and twist unfold page by page. My husband tells me he can see the sparkle and excitement in my eyes as I’m writing.
If you could tell your younger writing self anything, what would it be?
Start writing novels sooner. Don’t let life distract you.
What kind of research do you do, and how long do you spend researching before beginning a book?
I research areas, time periods, I’ll even research songs or when certain things were made, and because of the Greek mythology aspect of this book I researched about the different Greek Gods a lot. As far as the question of how long I spend? As long as it takes to write a compelling story that make sense. It is fiction but I also like to weave in reality and so research is important. I’m researching throughout the entire time I’m writing.
What advice do you have for other Black writers?
Write the story that is inside of you no matter what it is. A lot of people are surprised I chose to write in the fantasy genre because let’s face it, there aren’t many black voices who are well known in this genre. By well known I mean commercially known. Worldwide known. Household name known. I have been judged and questioned about my choice, or my ability to write in this genre. I’ve had people even surprised that I could write this type of story, and write it well, because a lot of people associate black authors with Urban fiction. But I always say my love for this genre was birthed from my need to escape trauma that befell me as a child. I often daydreamed and fantasized. I loved escaping into a good fiction book. So, it came naturally when I began writing in this genre. But, I’m like an onion. I have a lot of layers to pull back. So I plan to write in other genres too, but for now I’m lost in this fantasy world of mine. So, my advice, write what story you want to tell no matter what it is, because there is no limit to what we can offer to this world that will have a lasting impact and encourage those who seek to follow in our footsteps.
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