Rebekah Lynn Pierce
Rebekah Lynn Pierce is an extraordinary woman. Originally from California she now resides in Richmond, VA with her husband of fourteen years and her two children, aged eleven and three. But she is not just a wife and mother; she is a veteran, a former college English teacher, professional developmental editor, motivational speaker and of course author. Rebekah writes everything from books to plays and films to life workbooks. She is an intelligent woman with three degrees under her belt: an Associates, Bachelors and Masters. She has been writing and teaching for more than thirteen years and likes her work to focus on contemporary women and their search for purpose and identity. Rebekah has also written and directed several fully-length and short plays. And as if her life is not busy enough, she even has a little home-based shop called Buffy’s Goodies where she sells delicious self-baked goods! What a woman!
And as busy as this acomplished woman is, she was kind enough to take time out to do an interview with me.
1.What are you working on right now, and can you tell us a little something about it?
I just re-released my historical fiction novel, Murder on Second Street: The Jackson Ward Murders. It’s a murder mystery set in the historic African American neighborhood, Jackson Ward (referred to in History books as “The Black Wall Street of America” in the early 20th Century) in Richmond, VA, 29 days before the infamous fall of the stock market crash – October 29, 1929. It features a rare character – an African American WWI veteran named Sy Sanford. He’s been hired by the Negro businessmen and women in the community to solve the murders of working class Negro women in the Ward. So, I am knee-deep in marketing this book to historical fiction readers, book clubs, bloggers, etc. I am also working on the completion of my new mystery novel series, Sex, Lies & Shoeboxes featuring the African American female protagonist, Bobbie Vale. This work is a traditional “gum-shoe” mystery novel set in the mid- 1990s in my hometown of Stockton, CA. 2. Can you tell us a little something about it?
My name is Rebekah Lynn Pierce, and I am a veteran, author, playwright, motivational speaker and former college English teacher. I have three degrees: an Associates, Bachelors and Masters. I’ve been married for 14 years and have two children: 11 and 3 (don’t ask!); we live in Richmond, VA, but I am originally from California. I love to read mysteries, the classics and other great works of fiction. Writing is a HUGE part of my life; it’s my greatest gift. I am a storyteller across genres meaning I write novels, plays, films, short stories, etc. It’s important to me that no matter what I write, it empowers and inspires the reader in some way to be the best they can be and to live their life on purpose. I believe that we all have a purpose and a calling on our lives; we just have to accept what that is and not compare it to others – not try to live someone else’s dreams.
2.Tell us, why do you write? Where do you draw your inspiration from?
I write because it’s what I’ve been called to do; it’s my gift. Writing for me is like breathing. I cannot live without out it – it’s an extension of who I am. I draw my inspiration from the world around me. I call myself a socially conscious writer in that I write about issues that affect the lives of women and children, especially in my dramas and in my nonfiction work. I released a life workbook a few months ago for modern working women called Kryptonite Killed Superwoman: Turning in the Cape for an Authentic, Purpose-Driven Life. It speaks to the pull modern women feel to be everything to everyone, and how in doing so, we are dying physically, spiritually, emotionally and financially. I am NOT Superwoman. Claiming so means I have no time to stop, regroup/reflect/embrace the present moment and take care of myself. Women today must remove the cape.
With regards to my novels, there is always a deep element of pain and joy in my characters. They are real in that people can identify with some aspect of that character’s persona or life events. I am an observer-participant, meaning I am inspired by what I observe happening in my surroundings and I participate in it by writing about it. I used to tell my students that it’s called “entering the conversation.” Whenever you write a response to what is happening in the world, you are entering that particular conversation about that topic. And that’s what I feel writers/artists ultimately are created to do.
3. When I write, I require Jaffa cakes (and lots of them), do you have a writing must-have?
No, I really do not require a must-have, although I am a little old fashioned in that I write by hand first on notepads and such. There’s something about the feel of the transfer of energy from hand to paper. It invigorates me and, in some strange way, it keeps me connected to my muse. I am, after all, just a conduit for the muse and the message it wishes to deliver to the readers.
4.What is your favourite book?
I have a lot of favorite books. For the classics, it would be Native Son, by Richard Wright. The depth of the writing style and energy in that story is so profound and haunting. Llove to teach this novel because it is a clear example of the change from a social inattention and fear of change to social responsibility and accountability. We are our brother’s keeper, essentially. For current contemporary literature, I so loved Wench, by Dolen Perkins-Valdez. The novel chronicles the lives of four slave women – mistresses to their masters. One summer changes their lives when they have to decide between escaping North to freedom or staying behind to protect their children and, for one, stay with her master, whom she loves. He is all she has ever known. It is powerful reading! I love how Perkins shows you the dichotomy of the lives of these four slave women and the wives of their masters. These women were all pitted against one another for the protection and safety of a man, and that is ultimately the story of slave women and white women of that era. But in terms of mystery/suspense novels, it’s Agatha Christie’s, And Then There Were None, Alexander McCall Smiths’ “No. 1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” series and the “Stephanie Plum” series by Janet Evanovich. Did I mention Ernest J. Gaines’, A Lesson Before Dying? Oh, my! You should have never asked me this question. Don’t get me started on plays, either!
5.Which author’s career, alive or passed on, do you admire the most, and why?
I think I’ve mentioned most above. But again, I am a huge fan of and grew up reading Agatha Christie, Nancy Drew & the Hardy Boys, Harlequin Romances and Louie Lamar westerns. Now, I am deeply influenced in terms of narration and POV by Alexander McCall Smith’s “No.1 Ladies’ Detective Agency” series. With regards to humor and gum shoe detective stories, I absolutely love the style of Janet Evanovich. And for classic mystery/detective, it has to be Walter Mosley’s “Easy Rawlins” series. Of course, for the classics, the period I most identify with and generally love to teach/read, it’s the modernist period. Some of those authors are Hemingway, Langston Hughes, James Weldon Johnson, John Steinbeck, etc. The use of imagery and language is powerful as well as the themes of their words: social justice, the loss of faith, redemption, and more.
6.Tell us something about yourself…an annoying habit or party trick perhaps? Can you speak a foreign language or have a hobby?
Well, I do not speak a foreign language, per se. I can speak a little bit of French, but not enough to make it on the streets of Paris, France. I am a baker. I have a little home-based shop called Buffy’s Goodies (www.buffysgoodies.yolasite.com). My specialty is red velvet and dark fudge chocolate chip cupcakes; I make a MEAN sweet potato and apple pie. And, honey, my chocolate chip cookies will put you in rehab. J On a serious note, I am also a professional developmental editor.
7.Do you have a blog, website or social networking account people can go to if they wish to learn more about you or your work?
Oh my goodness! Absolutely! I am on the following social media sites:
Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorrebekahlynnpierce (author page) and https://www.facebook.com/pages/Murder-on-Second-Street/124154814274796 (Murder on Second Street book page)
WordPress Blog: http://www.rebekahpierce.wordpress.com
Amazon.com: Murder on Second Street: The Jackson Ward Murders http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00E3XWN82
8.And now, for the most important question of all: Jaffa cakes – love them or hate them?
What in the name of sweet baby Jesus is Jaffa cakes? I love cake, though. Can I get the recipe? Did I tell you I’m a baker?