Thursday, April 22, 2010

MEET BERNICE MCFADDEN: AUTHOR INTERVIEW & GIVEAWAY

BLOGGING TODAY
WITH THE AUTHOR OF

SUGAR


AND


GLORIOUS


TODAY IS
BERNICE MCFADDEN DAY!

GIVEAWAY ENDED
Today on BOOKIN' WITH BINGO, it is my pleasure to have a day to honor the prestigious, celebrated author, Bernice L. McFadden. Today you will learn a little bit about this amazing author as well as two of her excellent books: SUGAR, her first novel, and GLORIOUS, her newest gift that was named in this month's OPRAH Magazine as one of the 10 finest novels to look forward to in this decade comparing it to THE HELP. You will also have multiple opportunities to enter to win these two books autographed by Ms. McFadden.

MEET BERNICE L. McFADDEN:

Bernice L. McFadden was born, raised and currently lives in Brooklyn, New York. She is the eldest of four children and the mother of one daughter, R'yane Azsa.

Ms. McFadden attended grade school at P.S. 161 in Brooklyn and Middle School at Holy Spirit, also in Brooklyn. She attended high school at St. Cyril Academy an all-girls boarding school in Danville, Pa.

In the Fall of 1983 she enrolled in the noted NYC fashion college: Laboratory Institute of Merchandising, with dreams of becoming an international clothing buyer.

She attended LIM for two semesters and then took a position at Bloomingdale's and later with Itokin, a Japanese owned retail company.

Disillusioned and frustrated with her job, she signed up for a Travel & Tourism course at Marymount College where she received a certificate of completion. After the birth of her daughter in 1988, Bernice McFadden obtained a job with Rockresorts a company then owned by the Rockefeller family.

The company was later sold and Ms. McFadden was laid off and unemployed for one year. She sights that year as the turning point in her life because during those twelve months Ms. McFadden began to dedicate herself to the art of writing. During the next nine years she held three jobs, always looking for something exciting and satisfying. Forever frustrated with corporate America and the requirements they put on their employees, Ms. McFadden enrolled at Fordham University. Her intention was to obtain a degree that would enable her to move up another rung on the corporate ladder.

She signed up for courses that concentrated on Afro-American history and literature, as well as creative writing, poetry and journalism. She credits the two years spent under the guidance of her professors as well as the years spent lost in the words of her favorite authors, to the caliber of writer she has become.

During those years, Ms. McFadden made a conscious effort to write as much as possible and began to send out hundreds of query letters to agents and publishers attempting to sell one of her short stories or the novel she was working on.

In 1997, Ms. McFadden quit her job and dedicated seven months to re-writing the novel that would become, Sugar In May of 1998, after depleting her savings, she took her last and final position within corporate America.

On Feb 9th, 1999, her daughter's eleventh birthday (and Alice Walker's birthday— one of Ms. McFadden's favorite authors) she sent a query letter to an agent who signed her two weeks later and the rest is literary history!

Bernice L. McFadden is the author of three novels—the national bestsellers, Sugar and The Warmest December (now available in trade paperback from Plume) and the just-released sequel to Sugar, entitled This Bitter Earth.

She is at work on her next novel.

AUTHOR'S INTERVIEW:

1. What is the next or current book/project you are working on?

On May 1st, my historical fiction novel, Glorious will be released. Glorious is an extraordinary story set against the backdrops of the Jim Crow South, the Harlem Renaissance, and the civil rights era. 

The story opens on a hot, steamy July 4th in 1910 as “The Fight of the Century” comes to an end and Jack Johnson becomes the first ever African-American Heavy Weight Champion of the World. This event sets off a series of violent, racial eruptions around the country and in the small town of Waycross, Georgia, the life of a young Easter Venetta Bartlett is forever changed.

Glorious follows the life of Easter Venetta Bartlett, a fictional Harlem Renaissance writer whose tumultuous path to success, ruin, and revival offers a candid portrait of the American experience in all its beauty and cruelty.

It is a tale woven with historical events and figures of the time. Langston Hughes, Carl Van Vechten, A’Lelia Walker, Nancy Cunard, Marcus Garvey, Horace Liveright and many other historical characters make appearances through out the story.

2. What have you just finished reading?

I am in the process of reading Wench by Dolen Valdez-Perkins.

3. What books would you say have made the biggest impression on you, especially starting out?

I am a huge fan of Toni Morrison, Gloria Naylor and J. California Cooper. So I would have to say that their novels: Sula, Beloved, The Women of Brewster Place and Family – were the books that most impressed me as well as assisted in developing the style that has become my trademark.

4. What gets you started on a new book? A character or story idea or….?

It’s a very spiritual process for me. A character makes an appearance in my minds eye. Sometimes its just a face, sometimes an entire body and often times there will be a quiet monologue running through my mind. I know when this happens, that I have just been blessed with the beginning of a new novel.

5. What is something about you that you would want people to know about you that we probably don’t know?

I want people to know that although I am a writer that happens to be Africa-American, my stories are universal. I want readers to know that I, as well as my fellow writers are frustrated by the treatment we receive from publishers and bookstores in terms of marketing and publicity. Many white readers are unaware that works written by most writers of color are not being made available to them. Our books are not offered in the mainstream book clubs (i.e. Doubleday) and if we are in your local bookstore, it’s more than likely that we are shelved in the “African American Section” – a section a non-AF-AM person will unlikely venture into. We have been marginalized just because of the color of our skin. It’s racist practice that I am working hard to abolish.

6. What is your best advice to anyone, including young people, who want to be writers?

Write what your heart tells you to write. But understand that publishing is a business and like any other business, they want to make money and so that means, that you not only have to be the artist, you also have to be your own marketing and publicity department. The publisher will do some - but the rest will be up to you.

7. What is something you would like to share with us about writing your favorite genre in general?

I love history and I love fiction, so it is an absolute pleasure of mine be able take literary license to mix the two genres.

GIVEAWAY:
PART ONE

THANKS TO BERNICE MCFADDEN
FOR THE TWO AUTOGRAPHED COPIES
OF EACH OF THESE AMAZING
BOOKS TO GIVE AWAY, SO TWO
WINNERS WILL WIN BOTH SUGAR
AND GLORIOUS !


--U.S. RESIDENTS ONLY
--NO P. O. BOXES
---INCLUDE YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS
IN CASE YOU WIN!
--ALL COMMENTS MUST BE SEPARATE TO
COUNT AS MORE THAN ONE!
HOW TO ENTER

+1 ENTRY: COMMENT ON THE AUTHOR'S INTERVIEW, OR WRITE A QUESTION YOU WOULD WANT TO ASK HER INSTEAD

+1 MORE ENTRY:
COMMENT ON SOMETHING YOU FOUND INTERESTING ABOUT BERNICE McFADDEN BY CHECKING OUT HER WEBSITE HERE

+1 MORE ENTRY: BLOG OR TWEET ABOUT THIS GIVEAWAY AND THEN COME BACK AND LEAVE A LINK

GIVEAWAY ENDS AT
6 PM, EST, MAY 10 !

GOOD LUCK!
*******************************************

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

I would ask her what inspires the ideas of her stories?
debp
twoofakind12@yahoo.com

Tore said...

I am interested in reading her books. History is so fascinating. Please enter me in contest. Thank you. Tore923@aol.com

Tea said...

I can't wait to read GLORIOUS. The interview is wonderful. There is so much about B. McFadden I would like to know. Amazing, we almost her to the international fashion world. Thank goodness, books won and not fashion.

teakettle58(at)yahoo(dot)com

Margie said...

The author says her novel idea begins with the appearance of a character, sometimes vague, sometimes the whole person. Some other writers begin with the idea for a plot. Interesting how the book idea begins.
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Margie said...

From the author website...one of her other books is Nowhere is a Place. This one looks interesting to me...how a young woman traces her family history.
mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Tea said...

I love going to her blog and/or pages. Geneva Holliday???? How wonderfully shocking, I had no idea Bernice McFadden wrote racy, humorous novels under a pseudonym. Would love to read one. The woman is multitalented.

teakettle58(at)yahoo(dot)com

Tea said...

I have put GLORIOUS and SUGAR in my sidebar. My link brings me back to you.

http://readwithtea.blogspot.com

traveler said...

Her fascinating books all sound appealing and wonderful especially for the historic aspect and the characters. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

traveler said...

Her website is informative and unique. I could browse there for a long time to learn about her writing and books. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Debbie F said...

I did not know that african american authors were treated differently. I am upset that I am missing some great books just because of the ignorant treatment handed out to these wonderful authors.

dcf_beth at verizon dot net

Debbie F said...

If I could ask her a question I would ask what a white reader could do to help stop the unfair treatment publishers dish out to african american writers! It is just crazy. Are white writers only shelved in the "White" section? Can only white people read their books? NO! Its just stupid!

dcf_beth at verizon dot net

Colleen Turner said...

It is so interesting how she describes her books' beginnings. She said it is spiritual with bits of the characters revealing themselves. Very well put!
Thanks,
candc320@gmail.com

enyl said...

I am wondering how large an audience exists within the African-American community for literary fiction outside of academic circles?
enyl(at)inbox(dot)com

enyl said...

Tweeted.
twitter.com@enylstil#sugar
enyl(at)inbox(dot)com

enyl said...

I was surprised to learn that the author uses a pseudonmy for her non-literary works.
enyl(at)inbox(dot)com

Linda Kish said...

She is a fan of Toni Morrison.


lkish77123 at gmail dot com

Linda Kish said...

Toni Morrison called her writing "searing and expertly imagined"


lkish77123 at gmail dot com

bison61 said...

Many white readers are unaware that works written by most writers of color are not being made available to them. Our books are not offered in the mainstream book clubs and if we are in your local bookstore, it’s more than likely that we are shelved in the “African American Section” - that was interesting.

tiramisu392 (at) yahoo.com

Pamela Keener said...

I love her voice in answering your questions. It comes through loud and clear. I love that it is a sort of spiritual process in developing her charachters.
Love & Hugs,
Pam
pk4290(at)comcast(dot)net

Pamela Keener said...

She writes humorous fiction in the pen name of Geneva Holliday.
Love & Hugs,
Pam
pk4290(at)comcast(dot)net

MRWriter said...

I like that she mixes history and fiction.
AlexDean03@yahoo.com

Wise Owl, Editor said...

I will check out my local bookstores and see how they handle 'writers of color, because of course I agree, their should be no distinctions made by them at all.

I follow.

Eileen
wiseowlreviews@aol dot com

Christine H said...

I'd like to know: How long did it take you to publish your first book, after you started trying?

chirth7@yahoo.com

Christine H said...

I learned that she's written around 10-11 books.

chirth7@yahoo.com

Christine H said...

Tweet: https://twitter.com/Romantic73/status/13252309119

chirth7@yahoo.com

Sandee61 said...

I really enjoyed Bernice's interview and would love to read "Sugar" and "Glorious". Please enter me in your giveaway. I read "The Warmest December" and enjoyed it very much.

Thank you,
Sandee56[at]aol[dot]com

I'm a follower! (Google)

jewelknits said...

I love this author and I love this interview! Something that I've always found fascinating about her and would like to ask is this, "When you first started out in the corporate world, did you already KNOW that you wouldn't fit the 'worker bee' mold or was it only after being in the corporate world for some time that you figured out that it wasn't the path for you?"

jewell330 at aim dot com

kathryn313 said...

Just like Bernice I love history and I love fiction but I could not imagine writing about it.
binthenow@gmail.com

kathryn313 said...

I am a subscriber
@binthenow@gmail.com

kathryn313 said...

Did a tweet
http://twitter.com/oHIoKit/status/13627968888
binthenow@gmail.com

catss99 said...

I liked reading about how she gets started on abook--how the characters just kind of emerge
amanda
catss99@yahoo.com

catss99 said...

tweet
http://twitter.com/catss99/status/13656841642
catss99@yahoo.com

catss99 said...

Her website revealed that she sorta has an alter ego/pen name for other types of books that she writes;-)
amanda
catss99@yahoo.com

kathryn313 said...

Extra entry
"I am glad I became a BOOKIN' WITH BINGO II FB fan!"

Kathryn Alkire Church
binthenow@gmail.com

Margie said...

I am glad I became a BOOKIN' WITH BINGO II FB fan!

mtakala1 AT yahoo DOT com

Darcie K. said...

I love Toni Morrison too. Beloved is one of my all time favorites.
dmkayes@gmail.com

Darcie K. said...

I am glad I became a BOOKIN' WITH BINGO II FB fan!
dmkayes@gmail.com

Nancye said...

"Many white readers are unaware that works written by most writers of color are not being made available to them." I am glad that the author is working to change this! I resent book stores and companies and publicists taking my decision making powers away. I do not choose my books based on the color of the author's skin, nor do I plan to start doing so. Her books sound intriguing. I would love to read them!

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

Something interesting from Bernice McFadden's website: She was born and raised in Brooklyn, New York. She still lives there now. She was the eldest of 4 children.

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

Nancye said...

Tweet! Tweet!
@NancyeDavis

http://twitter.com/NancyeDavis/status/13749297758

nancyecdavis AT bellsouth DOT net

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