Debut author and veteran award-winning journalist Rolonda Watts drops by to talk with us about her first book Destiny Lingers:
Destiny Lingers (genre: creative non-fiction; length: 266 pages)
As an investigative news reporter in New York City, Destiny uncovers breaking stories every day, but she has yet to uncover the truth of her own life—until the morning she discovers a strand of red hair on her husband’s pillow. Unfortunately, the only person Destiny knows with red hair is her best friend, Eve.
Amid two personal tragedies and a shocking story of deceit, Destiny is sent plunging into a nightmarish depression that prompts her to flee back to her roots on Topsail Island, North Carolina—first with her husband and then by herself with the hope of healing her heart and piecing her life back together after their marriage unravels. But when fate keeps leading her back to the island’s handsome police chief, Chase McKenzie, Destiny soon realizes that her racially-charged past has risen up to meet a more progressive present and opened the door for a second chance at first love. Now only one question remains: is this the right time for both of them?
In this contemporary romance, a heartbroken journalist embarks on a journey of self-discovery where she must overcome her personal pain and find tranquility before she can realize true love.
Technically classified as creative non-fiction, your book is based off of your real life with some creative license. When writing, how did you decide where to blur the lines between fiction and reality?
When I needed to take the story, the action, the conflict, emotions, and even sometimes my own healing process to the next level or beyond. The fun comes when you get to create your own outcomes.
Having grown up on Topsail Island and surviving Hurricane Bertha there in 1996, through your current experience of your “special little island”, do you believe Chase and Destiny would be accepted as a couple there now, more so than when the characters were children?
Wow, what a great question. With 15% of American relationships today interracial, I don’t think folks would be as surprised, but that doesn’t mean everybody accepts it even today. Laws may change–but sometimes attitudes don’t. I know that Chase and Destiny would have a lot more confidence to walk openly in their love today and would have a lot more support as they are certainly not alone these days in cross-cultural dating.
There is a deep spiritual thread in Destiny Lingers, with Aunt Joy’s spirit returning to Destiny at key points. Have you had similar experiences in your own life?
Yes, I have. In fact, Aunt Joy is modeled after my Great Aunt Flo with whom I spent my childhood summer’s on Topsail Island. She was everything to me. Many years ago, when I was between jobs and worried about my dwindling finances, Aunt Flo came to me while I was half asleep, kissed me on my right temple, and told me everything was going to be alright. She said, “I’m going to talk with those folks at ABC.” Well, I was negotiating with NBC at the time, and feared Aunt Flo had it all wrong, until King World Chairman Roger King informed me that ABC had countered NBC’s offer and the “Rolonda!” talk show was a go! Thank you, Aunt Flo! I feel her guidance, love, and divine assistance everyday–as I do with all of my angels, including Roger King, my dad, Auntie Maya Angelou, and more.
There is an ongoing discussion about the representation of African Americans in media, including books. Did you have any hesitance about writing a character like Eve?
Heck no! If Eve wanted a better story, she should have treated Destiny and their friendship better. Eve got what she deserved in the end. The evil Eve stands as a stark contrast to Hope and Kat, Destiny’s true friends and support system.
What is the question no one has asked you yet about this book that you wish they had?
Can we please make Destiny Lingers required reading at our colleges and universities?
Kate E. Stephenson is a freelance communications specialist whose business encompasses content writing, comprehensive editing and quality resume services. Lexicon is her brainchild, a blog all about Language—insight into today’s job market and hiring tips, book releases and reviews, and general folly concerning the many mysterious facets of the English language and human communication. Be sure to read more about Kate, check out a full listing of services, and enjoy her columns here on Lexicon and on Kate.Book.com!