Interviews


An Interview with Grace McKeever
Author of a ‘Mile to Go’ – A Byte^Me Book from Awe-Struck and ‘Dancing in the Dark’ soon to be released by Awe-Struck E-Books.


AUTHOR NETWORK: Please give us some background data — where you live, where you’re from, where you were educated, where you’ve traveled, etc.

GRACE: I was born in Manhattan, the old Harlem Hospital, to be exact and grew up in the New York City area. Currently, I make my home in The Bronx. I attended Evander Childs High School, as it was one of a handful of schools I discovered during my search that provided a creative writing program in its curriculum. The rest of my education has been acquired through self-teaching (lots of how-to books), conferences, workshops and much trial-and-error.

My mind does a lot more traveling than I have, I must confess, although I do look forward to more (physical) traveling in the future.

AUTHOR NETWORK: How did you start writing, and Romances in particular?

GRACE: I’ve been writing as long as I can remember, most specifically dating back to the short stories I wrote and acted out when I was a first and second grader. Writing romances (or what I like to think of as Women’s Fiction or relationship stories) came as a natural progression of the stories I loved and still enjoy reading. I like exploring the human condition in all it’s many facets-the good, the bad and the ugly-and have found that both writing and reading Romances and most of the sub-genres, satisfies this desire.

AUTHOR NETWORK: How did you begin publishing on an epublisher? Do you have any hard-copy titles?

GRACE: I look at E-publishing as another outlet and venue for my writing, just different. And I approached e-publishers in the same manner as I had been querying traditional publishers–with the knowledge that they would see the viability and worth of my writing enough to give it a public platform. The platform in this instance happened to be electronic binding. The publishers (and editors) who appreciated and saw the value of my stories happened to be electronic publishers.

I don’t yet have any titles out in what you would call “traditional” hard copy. However, in addition to downloads, my titles can be purchased on disk (which is as hard a copy as they come ) directly from my publishers (http://www.dreams-unlimited.com and http://www.awe-struck.net) and other major book distributors including Amazon, B&N Online, Borders Online, Powells.com, and Mobipocket.com to name a few. Additionally, there’s several one-stop sites and “e-book only” directories where readers can learn more about and locate their favorite e-authors and titles. Among these sites are: Books From The Heart (http://www.booksfromtheheart.net), E-Books Rock! (http://www.ebooksrock.net) and Readers Central (http://www.readerscentral.com). If you can’t find my titles at any of these locations, as well as an extensive listing of other e-books, you probably won’t find them. Incidentally, NEW LIFE INCOGNITA is the Featured Book of the Month for February at Books From The Heart. Check it out under The Best of Other Worlds!

AUTHOR NETWORK: How do you achieve originality in your writing?

GRACE: Keeping an open mind to possibilities, and not discounting a particular idea because it’s “been done before”. A plot, a character, a situation or theme might have been explored before (i.e., reincarnation) but not with the accent of my voice and my vision. And these elements, unique to me, are what I bring to the table to make my work, not as much original as it is unusual and different.

AUTHOR NETWORK: Could you tell us about your work — the titles and main short stories?

GRACE: I have three titles currently available for purchase: The release from Dreams Unlimited, my debut novel, is NEW LIFE INCOGNITA. It’s a Paranormal Romance involving reincarnation and other New Age elements-Wicca, astral projection, and psychics to name a few. The main premise evolved after I had read and thoroughly enjoyed a paranormal romance by another author. I made some essential and key changes in the plot and characters of NLI (Instead of the main character returning to life the same sex as when he died, Kelly returned to earth in the body of a woman. From this basic device grew a lot a different twists and turns I had fun working into the plot–specifically, Kelly-a young black man-reconciling himself to his new life as a young married white woman).

My second book, DANCING IN THE DARK, an Ennoble Romance from Awe-Struck E-Books, deals with the contentious relationship between a physical therapist with a questionable past and a spoiled rich dancer, seriously injured in an accident and in need of rehab. This one doesn’t contain any paranormal elements, but I think the burgeoning relationship at the heart of the story, between two emotionally scarred people who find the courage to heal and love each other despite their baggage, is enough of a draw to readers of contemporary romance.

MILES TO GO, my latest release from Awe-Struck’s Byte^Me Line, is a bit of a departure, as the hero and heroine are teenagers (albeit with very adult concerns). I wouldn’t classify Chris and Tori as “typical” teens as much as I’d describe them as typical people complete with the idiosyncrasies, frailties, strengths and free will with which human beings all live and still manage to excel and survive despite, or even because of their weaknesses.

AUTHOR NETWORK: Why did you choose the oeuvre of Romance?

GRACE: I don’t know if it’s a matter of my choosing the central idea of Romance, or my just gravitating towards the genre that provided the most opportunities for me to explore some of my favorite themes–the dynamics of family and male bonding and how each shapes our concept of love. I especially enjoy delving into the dependence between siblings and how this dependence impacts romantic affiliations later in life. In my three published titles, the past relationship of brothers is the guiding force behind main character motivations and plot development. For example, in NLI, Kelly is the youngest brother of seven boys, comes from a large, loving and close-knit family. None of these prevent him dealing drugs or coming to a violent end, as much as they impact his marriage to another man in his next life. Tyler-Kelly’s “husband” and a narc-brings to the table his own prejudices and attitudes about being the oldest only brother of a gifted and favored son who died young from a drug overdose. Naturally, he has strong feelings against the drug culture and fast living which directly impacts how he relates to and sees his new “wife” (Kelly).

Among the dynamics of family relationships and male bonding, I’ve always been fascinated by the issue of racism in our society and its impact on interracial couples and multi-racial individuals. In MTG, I touch on some of these topics as far as relates to the story line and the relationship between Chris and Tori-the hero and heroine-a mixed couple. The focal point, however, remains the difficulties of growing up and achieving success in today’s urban America rather than growing up a person of color involved with someone who’s not.

Another theme that I’ve found runs strong through most of my work is how humans deal with the death of a loved-one. Two of my shorter works focus on the idea of suicide as a means to end, not specifically life but (emotional) pain. FORGIVEN, my first published short story examines how a cop, still mourning the death of his wife, handles killing a young boy. Suicide is one of the alternatives he seriously entertains before finally coming to grips and confronts the dead child’s grief-stricken mother. In THE SYMBIOTIC INVITATION, a paranormal suspense novelette, a widowed father and his teen son who holds himself responsible for the death of his mother and younger brother, each come to terms with the deaths in different and ultimately unfortunate ways. Both of these pieces are available and can be read, free of charge at Gracie’s Gallery (http://hometown.aol.com/gwiz10/myhomepage/index.html) or Authors Den (http://www.authorsden.com).

AUTHOR NETWORK: Do any of your readers seek you out?

GRACE: A handful of individuals who’ve come across my Homepages have contacted me by e-mail to tell me how much they enjoyed my excerpts and short stories. I don’t know how much “seeking out” I’d welcome beyond this and the cyclic fan letters or e-mails. (Perhaps Stephen King’s MISERY made more of an impact on me than I thought ).

AUTHOR NETWORK: Do you participate in conferences, workshops, seminars, signings, etc.?

GRACE: When the occasion arises-for instance a pertinent Keynote speaker appearance, panel discussion or curriculum is offered-I’ve attended several conferences and workshops. I haven’t done a signing yet, and this is one frontier I’d like and need to cross at least once in my career.

Coming 2002 from Awe-Struck E-Books: FLAMES PAST!
Visit Grace’s Author Webpage at: www.paintedrock.com/authors/mckeever/mckeever.htm
MILES TO GO – Out Now! – A Byte^Me Book from Awe-Struck
DANCING IN THE DARK – Out Now - awe-struck.net
NEW LIFE INCOGNITA – Out Now - dreams-unlimited.com

If you would like to contact us about this page please email: beth@author-network.com

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