Bandits and readers let me introduce you to my friend, Celya Bowers. Welcome to the Lair Celya, pull up a cushy chair and I'm sure we can find a cabana boy around here to bring us some refreshments!
Suz: ANYTHING BUT LOVE is one of my favorite Celya Bowers books. Can you give us a little look into the story?
Celya: ANYTHING BUT LOVE is a contemporary romance about two very A-type personalities who don’t want to date, but end up doing just that. Kendall Matthews is a very talented doctor in a prestigious hospital. Her world get turned upside down when her past comes back to greet her. Coletrane Highpoint was her first love and now he was back in town. He hadn’t noticed Kendall when she 16, but he notices her now at the tender age of 40.
Suz: Your heroine and hero have a past history. How did that mold them into the people they are now? And how does it affect their relationships both together and with other people?
Celya: Kendall always carried the hurt of Cole’s dismissive attitude toward her all these years. It formed her into the very focused woman she is now. She’s determined not to let another hurt her again. At first Cole can’t understand why Kendall has such an attitude about him, but when he realizes she was still harboring ill feelings from the past. He tries to rectify it.
Suz: Both characters have strong family ties. Is this important to you to show that part of their lives?
Celya: I’m very close to my family. I couldn’t imagine not speaking to someone in my family at least weekly. There’s such negative images of the African-American family, I’d like to show the world that there are still solid families on this earth. All my books have strong family ties.
Suz: Your secondary characters also have a second parallel love story. Do you feel that adds to the richness of the main story?
Celya: Yes, I do. I think it helps adds a much needed layer to a romance. Nothing is worse than being so focused on someone else’s romance you don’t realize you’ve fallen in love yourself.
Suz: So what's next for Celya Bowers?
Celya: My latest release is a Celya Bowers book and is called 2 GOOD.
2 GOOD features a plus size heroine, Madisyn O'Riley and wide receiver for the Dallas Cowboys, Aidan Coles. Madisyn is tired of playa-playas and wants to find just one good man. She's had her fill of two legged dogs. When she volunteers at Aidan's charity, she can't believe that he's actually interested in her. Aidan is immediately attracted to Madisyn because she's not swayed by his wealth. Is she 2 Good to be true? When her security is threatened by an ex-lover, Aidan jumps at the chance to show her how much he wants her. Madisyn had begun to think men like Aidan didn't exist anymore, but is so glad she was wrong.
Suz: Can't wait to read 2 GOOD. I love football players as heroes! You also write as Kennedy Shaw. What’s up next for her?
Celya: The next book by Kennedy Shaw is called TOUR OF DUTY, and
will be released December 2009. This is a romantic suspense and is concerning unauthorized military testing with our troops in Iraq. It features high school sweethearts Mikerra Stone and Drake Harrington. This story is set in Wright City, Texas. Mikerra has a secret. She's been living in New York working as an editor, and seeing a married man. Now that man wants her dead. Mikerra returns to her hometown for safety. She never dreamed she'd run into Drake. He still habors bad feelings toward her for the break-up. Drake is a an army ranger, home on leave after a tour in Iraq. Unfortunately, he's been suffering from headaches since his return from the desert. The one person who holds the key to his headaches is the same person who broke his heart all those years ago. Can he put his hurt aside and listen to Mikerra?
Suz: Why do you write as two different pseudonyms? What is the advantage in doing that?
Celya: Kennedy Shaw’s story are usually set in the fictious city of Wright City, Texas. Every now and then Kennedy Shaw will have something different.
I wanted to keep those stories separate from Celya Bowers.
When you write totally different stories, it’s best to do it under a different name, so your loyal readers won’t be offended.
Suz: What do you see as the advantages of being a romance writer who happens to be African American? The disadvantages?
Celya: When I first started writing, there weren’t many African American romances out there. Now there’s more opportunities for writers of color, which I’m so grateful for. I try to write uplifting stories that give a reader hope. That’s why they’re paying to read my book. Escapism, but with the thought “hey, this could be me.”
To me the biggest disadvantage is that most mainstream readers think the minute they see AA on the cover, it’s going to be a story about the hood, drug dealers, and so on. I don’t write those kind of stories, because frankly, I don’t know that life style. I don’t write about baby mama drama, baby daddy drama. That’s just not my cup of tea. I write from my heart and things that occur around me. None of my friends are doing drugs, so I can’t write about that.
I guess I would like people to see my books as just romances. I don’t want it labeled a black romance just because of the color of the characters.