Author's Spotlight: Seressia Glass

Seressia GlassSeressia has always been a voracious reader, cutting her teeth on comics, cereal boxes--anything at hand. So it came as no surprise to family and teachers when she began creating stories featuring some of her favorite characters. One of her earlier works included the autobiography of a piece of bubble gum, and a short Halloween story was turned into a PTA play in elementary school.

Her proudest writing moment remains winning the first Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday "Living the Dream" essay contest as a high school senior and getting to meet Coretta Scott King. Since then, she's channeled her belief in the power of the written word by creating rich, emotional stories of diverse people coming together to achieve the universal goals of love and acceptance.

When not working on her next story, Seressia is an instructional designer for an international home improvement company. She spends her free time people-watching, belly dancing, and watching way too much anime.

Good Morning Seressia

Vagas Bites BackThe first couple of lines is my little spiel so that readers can understand why I’m bringing them these interviews. First I want to thank you for agreeing to be interviewed.  My aim is to spotlight authors on my website while at the same time showing the diversity in other careers held by writers.  Romance writers and readers have drawn snickers from some in the past.  I want to change that in any way that I can.

Dyanne:   Seressia, I know first hand that you’re a truly talented writer and an award-winning author at that. Would you please tell my readers a little about yourself and your life before becoming a writer?

Seressia: Thanks, Dyanne.  I’ve been writing since I learned how.  I started with short stories for extra credit in elementary school, writing skits for PTA, and several essays, one for MLK Day which won a city-wide contest here in Atlanta (I’m one of those rare birds: a native Atlantan living in Atlanta.)  I’ve had various retail jobs over the years before I moved into the corporate training arena.  For a while, I worked part time in a bookstore and that’s how I met ladies with the Georgia Romance Writers.  Stephanie Bond told me about the group, I went for a visit, joined, and got the motivation necessary to finish my book.

Dyanne:  When did you first decide that you wanted to be a writer and why?

Seressia: It’s Dick and Jane’s fault.  And Riki Tiki Tambo’s.  I read through my elementary school readers so fast I started writing my own stories to stay entertained.  And you know, there weren’t many black children’s books when I was growing up.  So I wrote stories and stuck myself in them.

Dyanne:   Why did you choose the romance genre?

Seressia: I love love stories.  I love the emotional rollercoaster.  I love the heroine’s journey.  I love that you can write about a wide variety of settings.  And I especially love that no matter what the couple goes through, you know they will have a happily-ever after.

Dyanne:  Seressia, if you had one wish for the genre, what would it be?

Seressia: I wish that I and my African-American romance writing sisters could hit bestsellers lists, have six-figure print runs and seven-figure publishing deals.

Dyanne:   Seressia, if you could not be a writer what other dream job would you have chosen? LOL.

Seressia: That’s a good question.  I’ve wanted to write for so long that I didn’t have a backup plan.  I went to college intending to get a journalism or communications degree.  If I wasn’t writing fiction, I’d be writing something—which is actually what I do in my day job.  Write training materials.  Oh wait, for a brief time in high school, I was in an all-girl band.  I played guitar.  We were called Scarlet Mane—a blend of the Bangles meets Klymaxx meets the Ramones.  We had a few songs but never had a public performance—life got in the way.  I still have a guitar that I occasionally pick up.

Dyanne:   Seressia, so many new writers still feel that they will become rich when they begin their writing career.  What would you like to say to them?

Seressia:    Writers who get rich out the gate are few and far between.  Stephen King had more than 80 rejections.  Nora Roberts took dozens of books to make it to the New York Times list.  There’s as much luck and timing as there is talented writing to getting a book published and selling.  It’s like the music industry.  For every one Justin Timberlake there are a hundred Justin Guarinis.

Dyanne:    Seressia, how many years of writing and how many manuscripts did you complete     before you sold your first book?

Seressia: People are probably going to hate me-- I sold my first book within six months of finishing it!  I joined RWA in 1997, finished No Commitment Required late in 1998, and sold it by May of 1999.  I didn’t have another manuscript in the pipeline for the option book in the contract, so it took two years for No Apologies to come out.  The only manuscript I’ve completed that I haven’t sold is an Irish medieval romance I wrote to entertain myself, but I’ve only sent it to two houses over the years.  I’ve been writing since I was a kid, but I’ve only been writing for publication the year before I finished NCR.

Dyanne:   Seressia, would you tell the readers a little about each of your works please?

Seressia: NO COMMITMENT REQUIRED is my first novel.  It’s a story about two people so apparently dissimilar on the outside who have more in common inside and how they overcome their emotionally battered psyches to love each other.  NO APOLOGIES is the sequel, dealing with their friends and what it feels like to be second choice and moving past that to value yourself as a person.  THREE WISHES is my second interracial, and I just wanted to write a sweet, family-focused story in which a little girl brings her father and her neighbor together.  THROUGH THE FIRE is its sequel, detailing a man struggling to overcome crushing loss and find redemption and a woman’s who’s suppressed her own pain to help others.

Then I went to a new publisher and paranormals.  DOUBLE DOWN is in the Vegas Bites anthology and is a story about a female werewolf wanting to be valued by her pack and a djinn wanting to be free.  CHANNELING MOONLIGHT in the Vegas Bites Back anthology has a werewolf going on a vision quest to find himself and finds a woman who needs his help instead.  DREAM OF SHADOWS is a full length paranormal about a family who passes psychic gifts from mother to daughter, but the current First Daughter doubts herself until circumstances forces her to accept who and what she is, even if it costs her the “normal” guy she’s falling for.  Then I return to contemporary interracial with SEX ON SOUTH BEACH in the What White Boyz Want, which is a sexy sassy romp between a food critic and a Sicilian restaurateur. 

The next year will bring the third installment in the Vegas trilogy: IN WALKS TROUBLE, which is basically a reunion story between a werewolf and his human special agent wife.  I’ll also have RODE HARD in the next White Boyz anthology, and THE SHARPEST EDGE in a new paranormal anthology called Carnivale Diabolique about this traveling circus that keeps demons from opening portals to our world.  Then the second book in the Legère Legacy is A CURSE OF SHADOWS, and will be (taking a deep breath) an interracial historical paranormal romantic suspense that chronicles how Legère matriarch Arielle met her Romanian parapsychologist husband—who kidnapped her to break an ancient family curse.

After that I’m going on vacation.

Dyanne:   Seressia, have you done any other kinds of professional writing?

Seressia: My current day job involves writing training materials.  I’ve been doing that for about eight years.

Dyanne:   Seressia, there is no possible way that I can interview you without asking you this question.  Shelving. Please give the readers a detailed explanation so that they will understand what we’re talking about. Then I would like for you to give me your stance on this. I now I don’t have to tell you to make your voice heard. You do that so well.  Also if you were in charge how would you handle it?

Seressia: There are some stores who segregate black fiction from the rest.  This is above and beyond the “local interest” sections that many of these larger stores have.  For one chain, it started more than 30 years as a way for AA fiction to have a place, and it was a good thing.  Finally, we had a voice, a place.  Just like when once we couldn’t get on the bus at all, then were able to sit at the back. 

We’ve come a long way, baby.  Black authors are writing in a variety of genres and voices, and I think it does them a disservice to be all jumbled together on a couple of racks.  This is especially unfair when there are non-black authors writing black characters, yet their books are shelved in their respective genres.  So what is the distinction, besides the race of the authors?  Either every book with a black main character goes into the black section or none of them do.  People think that it’s sour grapes, but it isn’t.  It’s about fairness.

Dyanne:  Seressia, as a writer who’ve written interracial, multicultural and paranormal romances which is your favorite? Do your readers follow you regardless or will only read certain things?  You know I’m asking that question since we both change up.

Seressia: I love all my stories, even the ones that piss me off during the creation process.  My thing is, no matter what subgenre I’m writing in, it’s still about the relationship and that’s the promise I make to my readers.  I know there are some who don’t read the interracial books, and some who don’t read the paranormals (thinking they’re too close to devil-worship).  I would like to think that if a reader likes the way that Seressia Glass tells a story, writes a hero, sets a love scene, they would take a chance on my other offerings.  There are so many people who get tired of an author telling the same story repeatedly, but don’t like authors trying new things.  I understand—I don’t like romantic suspense all that much, so I haven’t followed some authors who’ve moved into that subgenre, but mostly it’s because of the romantic suspense I’ve read, they’ve been heavy on the suspense and light on the romance.  Still my thing is, my story is first last and always about the developing relationship.  It’s what I want to read, so it’s what I give to my readers.

Dyanne:    I always like to give a word of advice to aspiring writers or even writers who’ve been in the game a while.  Do you have any thing you’d like to say to both the aspiring and old-timers?

Seressia: Listen to the voices in your head.  Always try to find the joy in writing, even if it’s just one phrase your character says that makes you laugh or cry or sigh.  Sometimes it’s okay to put that dream book in the drawer.  Now might not be the time, but tomorrow may well be.  If at first (second, third, fifth) you don’t succeed, write, write again.

Above all, be your own fan.  If you don’t love your work, why would anyone else?

Dyanne:  Seressia, tell us please, how does it feel to be an award winning author and to be receiving all the many accolades?  Does it make you feel pressured? Don’t forget to list all of your awards.

Seressia: I appreciate the accolades for two reasons: one they offer validation, which is a very human need—I’m doing something I think is good, and other people do too!  Two, the awards put my name out there and people who may not have picked me up before may pick me up knowing that I’ve won or been nominated for an award they’ve heard of before. 

And I always feel pressure, there are just days when it inspires drive instead of fear.  I know I’ve been lucky in that the negative reviews have been few and far between.  Still, I try not to read reviews or check my sales rank or go on message boards a lot, especially when I’m trying to finish a story and I have to fight for every word that sticks to the page.

Here’s a list of my awards:

  • 2006 Romantic Times Reviewer's Choice Award Winner, Through the Fire
  • 2006 Maggie Award for Excellence finalist for Long Contemporary, Through the Fire
  • 2006 Emma Award for Best Anthology Winner, Vegas Bites
  • 2006 Romance in Color Reviewers Choice Awards nominee, Genesis Press Book of the Year, Through the Fire
  • 2006 Romance in Color Reviewers Choice Awards nominee, Anthology of the Year, Vegas Bites
  • 2006 Romance in Color Reviewers Choice Awards nominee, Novella of the Year, Double Down from Vegas Bites
  • 2006 Romance in Color Reviewers Choice Awards nominee, Author of the Year
  • 2001 Emma Awards nominee, Best New Author
  • 2000 Romance in Color Reviewers Choice Awards winner, New Author of the Year
  • 2000 Romance in Color Reviewers Choice Awards winner, Genesis Book of the Year, No Commitment Required
  • 1986 Winner, "Living the Dream" essay contest, inaugural Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday celebration

Dyanne:   Seressia, thank you so much for taking the time to do this interview.  If there’s anything you’d like to say to the readers please do so.  Also would you give a link for reader to view your work?

Thanks, Dyanne for interviewing me!  Readers, thank you for investing your time and your money in my work.  It is those two things that enable me to continue doing what I truly love to do.  Keep buying new and we can keep writing for you!

All of my current and upcoming releases can be viewed at www.seressia.com/books

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