Writer Interview: Rebekah Lynn Pierce (second interview)

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Rebekah Lynn Pierce

Wife. Mother. Writer. Former College English Teacher. Professional Developmental Editor. Motivational Speaker. Playwright. Business Woman. Baker. Any one of these titles would describe Rebekah. A resident of Richmond, VA, this extraordinary woman finds time to fit in all of her passions, and kindly found time to fit in another interview with myself, to fill us in on what she’s been up to.

INTERVIEW

1. Tell us about your new book, The Secret Life of Lucy Bosman.

The Secret Life of Lucy Bosman is the story of a widow, former slave and mulatto woman named Lucy who has come to Richmond, Virginia from Tennessee in the spring of 1860 to claim a building her deceased husband has left her. Fearing that the law will not let her claim the property, as it is not safe nor legal in some states for colored people and even women of all hues to own property, she decides to let people believe she is white. They do not ask her, so she lets them “assume.”
In trying to keep her secret, Lucy soon discovers that it may be revealed because of the intense interest in her by the wealthy and charming horse breeder, Thomas Parker, and the looming Civil War. She has also found herself falling for Samuel Frees, a free colored man and blacksmith who has discovered Lucy’s true identity, but will not betray her to the people of Richmond.
What motivates Lucy to keep pushing forward is the desire to create/recreate her own identity. She is a woman – a woman of color – in an era where any drop of “black blood” – and even your gender – makes you a non-citizen of America. She starts a successful business in the building she now owns – a bakery. For the first time in her life, Lucy feels a sense of accomplishment, but it is teetering on the heels of her secret – that is a Negro, not a white woman. And with that truth comes the reality that she and many others cannot ignore the Civil War. It is a threat to everything, including her life.
The story has been receiving a lot of praise and support from readers. I am so grateful because this was a challenging story to tell for many reasons, one being, would this story be something 21st Century artists would want to read; you know, another Civil War story (i.e., another slave story). This story is so much more than that.

2. As a woman of colour, how easy do you find it to be a career woman? Do you find people treat you differently? Do you relate to Lucy Bosman, the lead in your story, at all?

I find that people treat you differently as a woman in business, period. They either try to walk on eggshells around you or avoid you all together. They don’t want to pay you on time or pay the requested fee for the service. But on the other hand, I do find that there are people who want to work with a woman because they feel we are understandable, compassionate and will get the job done.
My color does come into play, but only if I let it. It is quite sad to me that people still believe that women cannot run a successful business or do the work that men do even in the 21st Century. That is my connection to Lucy. We are both business women, determined to provide for ourselves and our families, and to “be.” In other words, in both of our worlds, women – especially women of color – are seen as less than. I am not less than anyone or anything, and Lucy is trying to create a mindset and an environment where that is true for her as well.

3. What is your next project?

My next project is a theatrical production of The Secret Life of Lucy Bosman. I was approached by a producer to create a play based on the book, which is quite challenging for me because although I am also a playwright, I just never saw this book as a “play.” A movie, yes, but a play? So, I have had to rethink my attitude on the roads a book can travel and the audiences it can entertain.
After I write the play, then I am going to focus on my next book; it’s a fantasy adventure tale which features a female pirate who disguises herself as a man after the death of her family to become one of the greatest pirates of the Caribbean seas. I am playing around with a title, but for now it’s called Captain Jack! I am so excited about writing this story. It has been on my mind/radar for almost six years now.

4. You have a passion for history and mystery. Do you see yourself ever jumping to another genre and perhaps writing a children’s book or a comedy?

I feel that writers should not limit themselves to one genre. You become a better and stronger writer if you experiment with other art forms. I write historical fiction and mystery/suspense, sometimes blending the two. But as I said earlier, my next book will be fantasy adventure. In addition, I am also a playwright. My plays are dramas focusing on such issues as child molestation, mental illness, marriage and family in the 21st Century and two historic dramas set in the 1970s and the 1800s/2000s. So, couple that with my academic writing and journalism pieces, I have a home in several genres.

5. What advice would you give to fellow writers, who may be new to the craft, or may still be on the journey of finding publication or representation?

If you are new to the craft of writing in general, my advice is to learn the craft. Take classes where you can and read the works of authors you like. You become a better writer and reader, and even speaker, by enhancing your vocabulary and imagination, and that comes from reading a variety of genres/topics. The second thing I want to share is that every writer should have a team; that team should consist of an editor, a proofreader, a book cover designer, website designer, a publishing expert, and a marketing expert. The team can help you prepare for publication and or finding representation.

6. If you weren’t in the field of writing and editing, what would you like to have a career as? (Ruler of the world is mine, so you can’t have that one. I am looking for a Second-In-Command if you’re interested though….)

Funny. I’d love to own a café slash bakery. As you know, I love to bake. I’d hire my brother to be my chef to prepare lunch and dinner dishes, my brother-in-law to be the barista because he makes the bomb coffee, my husband to be the business manager and my sister to manage the books. Ha! As you can see, I have thought this out.

7. What are your plans for 2015?

My plans for 2015 involve loving and taking care of myself, taking the kids on an awesome vacation, continuing to provide resources and support for my clients at http://www.ThePierceAgencyLLC.com, publish my fantasy adventure novel, promote The Secret Life of Lucy Bosman, and to just enjoy each day, one at a time.

8. People may not know this, but you also founded The Pierce Agency. Can you tell us about it?

The Pierce Agency (www.ThePierceAgencyLLC.com) is a literary and publishing services agency. We work with aspiring and emerging writers and playwrights to help them prepare their works for publication and/or production. We are the team I spoke of earlier. We provide editorial services, proofreading, book interior design, book cover design, website development, brand management (including social media) and much more. Check out our website to learn more.

9. Somehow in your spare time, you find time to bake and run a home-based shop called Buffy’s Goodies. How do you find the time to bake and what is your speciality?

Well, I only bake now on requests because the agency, my own writing and teaching has taken up my time. Yes, I teach Literature and Composition.  So, I definitely bake for my kids and the holidays. But if folks ask me for a sweet treat, I will provide. My specialties are pies (sweet potato and apple) and cupcakes, of course. Any kind!

10. Last time we interviewed, I asked if you loved or hated Jaffa Cakes, to which you asked for a recipe and I sent you one. Have you had chance to bake them, if so what did you think? And if you did bake some, I’m assuming mine got lost in the post…?

Ha! Sadly, I have not had the time, but don’t you worry, I will get to them. I am determined to try me some Jaffa Cakes. Or….someone could always bake me some and send them to me across the pond.  Hint, hint.

To follow Rebekah and her work please see the links below.

New Release: The Secret Life of Lucy Bosman (Now available at http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Life-Lucy-Bosman-ebook/dp/B00R58NPDE)

Website: http://www.rebekahpierce.synthasite.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/authorrebekahlynnpierce (author page) Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/rebekahpierce

Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7191171.Rebekah_L_Pierce

About.me: http://about.me/rebekah.l.pierce

WordPress Blog: http://www.rebekahpierce.wordpress.com

The chance to interview Rebekah again was one I couldn’t pass up. She’s a fabulous woman and so inspiring. I was fortunate enough to read her new book The Secret Life Of Lucy Bosman myself recently and have posted a review which can be found here:

https://thephantomwritertpw.wordpress.com/2015/02/03/book-review-the-secret-life-of-lucy-bosman/

TPW

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Book Review: The Secret Life Of Lucy Bosman

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The Secret Life Of Lucy Bosman by Rebekah L. Pierce

The Secret Life of Lucy Bosman has truly opened my eyes to a world and time I knew very little of. The struggles and treatment of coloured people that Rebekah describes is heart-breaking and I’m manly enough to admit, bought a tear to my eye. The way the writer has described the setting for the story is beautiful, and that, combined with Lucy Bosman’s flashbacks, transports you into a world of prejudice and heartbreak, but also bravery, courage, faith and compassion.
I know in America there is Black History Month, something I didn’t get in the UK during my school education. Much research has gone into this down to the simplest detail such as fashion and speech and I have learnt so much through this book that I struggled to put it down. It is elegantly written and there are no pointless characters. Every character has a purpose, and represents a different person of society, giving you a well-rounded and unbiased story. I loved characters and hated others, yet somehow managed to find compassion for them too. I was surprised by certain events in the book and even by some characters, particularly Mr Tom Parker, who surely surprised me in the end. It is not just a story about discrimination and a suppressed society, but also about friendship, love, fear and dreams.
I am normally a person who says “Give me a story with dragons, wizards, mutants and superheroes any day.” Yet, just like she did with Murder On Second Street: The Jackson Ward Murders, Rebekah has managed to sway me again.
I recommend this book no matter what your favourite genre. I guarantee, you will love it!

TPW