Q:  This is your first novel.  Where did you get the idea for this book?

A:  That is correct, this is my first novel.  My first book, was a collection of poetry entitled, If I Decide To Fly! Collected Poems of Affirmation and Celebration For African-American Men (https://www.amazon.com/If-I-Decide-Fly-Marina/dp/096414252X).  I also cut a cd that included selected poems from that book as well (https://www.amazon.com/Decide-Fly-Affirmation-Celebration-African-American/dp/B00116GJCU).  The idea for this novel came to me one day when I was sitting at my kitchen table.  The first line of the manuscript came to me out of nowhere, and the rest is history.

Q:  How long ago was that?

A:  Over twenty years ago!

Q:  Wow!  Why did you decide to publish it now?

A:  That's another book in and of itself!  The short answer is that I finally decided it was time.  I'm ready now.  That hasn't always been the case.

Q:  Can you expound a little more?  I'm intrigued.

A:  What I will say is that this book can be conceived as very controversial.  I had to reconcile myself with that and be okay with that possibility. 

Q:  I can see that having read the book.  Your characters are so real!  There were a few that I wanted to literally choke!  I found myself talking to them as I read the book!  How were you able to create such realistic characters?

A:  I believe the characters are real.  Just because I don't know them doesn't mean they aren't real.  None of my characters are based on people in my life or people I know, but in terms of their stories being relatable, they are real.  What I was able to do was get out of the way and allow them to tell their stories through me.

Q:  Was that hard to do?

A:  In the beginning, yes!  

Q:  Why?

A:  Well, because if I'm honest, I was afraid.  I was afraid of what people might think.  Afraid of being judged, criticized and stereotyped.  Initially, I tried to change the voices of my characters to be more "accepting."  That didn't work because they weren't having it!  So back to what I said earlier, I had to be okay with me.  I had to evolve to a space where I didn't care what other people thought.  When I did that, I wasn't concerned about how my characters showed up.  I allowed them to be authentic.

TO BE CONTINUED...

Hi, My name is Alanah, and I am an Undergraduate Communication Arts major with a concentration in Journalism in my Senior year at JCSU.  Ms. Thomas was so kind to allow me to interview her about her forthcoming novel, Hurts Just Like Love.  I hope you enjoy Part 1 of my interview.

PART 1 Q&A WITH AUTHOR M. THOMAS

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