Author: Kenda Bell
Title: For Every Love There Is A Reason
Web site: www.kendabell.com
Disilgold: What can you tell the Disilgold community about yourself that will explain why Disilgold has sought you for a perSOULnalized interview?
Kenda Bell : Well, I cannot speak for Disilgold; I am so appreciative of the opportunity. I hope that my literary voice has resonated with you and your readers. Maybe it is the sassy yet sweet , delicately rare neo-soul flair I have with my words. I suppose that my desire to get out there inspite of my stutter …and grabbing folks ears has intrigued you. Stuttering was a part of me that I use to loathe but have learned to now embrace. My now slight vocal inflections not only make me unforgettable but has enhanced my writing. Who better to craft compelling dialogue than a person who has thought of the best words to say at the most opportune times yet kept them quietly in the pages of journals.While this has been a year of gains ; it has also been one of losses.While my novel made its debut on Valentine’s day , my dad was in his last days. By March 1st , he had decided it was time to return to his heavanly father. I can’t tell you how I battled selfish feelings of wanting him to still be here yet resolving that he had been truly healed and was in a better place devoid of oxygen tanks and pains. Pushing through the lost and going on was hard many a day …and still is but I know he wouldn’t want it any other way. I put a smile on my face and got out there…it is still hard at times but each day gets a little better.
Disilgold: Thank you for sharing Kenda. Your words have comforted myself. I just found out that my father whom I haven’t seen for 14 years is gravely ill with Parkison’s. Been thinking about him for years and this fear of failure if I didn’t ever see him again I wouldn’t be able to pursue my literary goals maximally because when I think of him at signings and events, I get choked up and resist folks asking me about my family. My sister found me somehow whom I also haven’t seen since youth. We’re driving to Atlanta to spend time with my father who hid his illness all of these years. I guess he felt he would stop us from reaching our dreams and so he disappeared without a trace. My sis is a major producer now and we share a lot of my father’s ambitions, so trust, I do understand all about speech impediments making you want to just journal and contain your feelings Kenda. I use to stutter as well, but taught myself how to stop at around age 10. You are an inspiration because if I hadn’t stopped, I see that I would have been fine. You show folks how to face adversity. Your work speaks volumes for you!What is your latest book about?
Kenda Bell : “For Every Love There Is A Reason” is a novel that shows you that not everything is as it first seems; especially in love. Often time’s choices are not easily made because circumstances are often shaded with varied degrees of gray. Best friends Keilah (Kay-lah) & Norelle take you along this path that is filled with ghost of love past that threatened the present, childhood dissappointments that taunt new hopes, and tightly held secrets the threatened to be exposed with each turn of the page.
For starters, by the time barely-married, busy body Norelle figured out that she was beginning to look and act like the woman she blamed for her father’s death, she hoped that her own indiscretions with her son’s father, Tariq, does not cost her the perfect husband when she receives unexpected news. Even though she is walking a tight rope of half truths and lies, Norelle turns some of her energy toward helping her best friend Keilah look at the possibility of a second chance at love after she receive news from an old love that turns her world topsy-turvy.
By the time you finish chapter one, the readers wonders “What did Andre expect from Keilah after he told her? Was he expecting Keilah to explain away his emotional duality, or more specifically, was he expecting answers to questions that were left unasked between them when they made a costly choice two years ago?” While Andre attempts to deal with the pain of his past, and anxiety about his present circumstances on his own, Keilah attaches herself to a man who she knows is not right for her rather than contend with the emotional avalanche that began with the choices her mother made so many years ago. Can Keilah get clear so she can see that special someone waiting just around the corner?
When flashbacks of the past and present collide, both Norelle and Keilah ask themselves what won’t they do for love. Norelle must deal with her own demons while Keilah must get emotionally naked once and for all with Andre to put together the pieces of their past so they can go on … with or without each other.
For Every Love There Is A Reason takes the reader into a multi-layered tale of choices and consequences of thirty-something best friends, Keilah and Norelle, who slip and slide with laughter and tears through their own mistakes, as they try to make sense of love on their own terms.
Disilgold: How long did it take you to complete your book?
Kenda Bell : From start to finish, it took roughly a year and a half to complete ‘For Every Love There Is A Reason. I commend disciplined authors who can create masterpieces in months.
Disilgold: What were the happiest moments you have experienced while writing your latest book?
Kenda Bell : I guess the epiphany that I worked overtime on my dream and not someone else’s… and it came to fruition. Now, don’t get me wrong I am thankful for my job, Lord knows it, but when I realized that I would not shudder to work OT for my employer for temporary gratification (extra money) yet felt I had no energy or time for my own dream of writing a novel…something was very wrong.
Yes, I was compensated monetarily for my hours, but creatively I was expensed out. His/her dreams were being realized while mine had to wait. So I still worked OT but came home and sacrificed a few hours sleep for me. I looked wreck a couple mornings, but I felt good that I closer to my dream… you know what I mean?
Disilgold: Yeah, it sounds like Goapelle’s song. I think everyone has rocked that song on their website. Describe your writing style?
Kenda Bell : A rhythmic dance of words choreographed by the realities of life that connect all of us … tip toeing oh so carefully across gray areas love and life. Think about that neo-soul record that wraps lyrics around your ears so effortlessly that each verse resonates to the familiar places of you…yeah kind of like that.
Disilgold: How did you develop your writing style?
Kenda Bell : I am still developing from my view point. As a freshman fiction world, I think I have presented an authentic voice of my own but I still have much to learn and vast room for improvement. Good can only get better with time, experience and mentoring.
Disilgold: Mentors are hard to find these days. Everyone who makes it only has time to sign copies of their books at events. but there are some who find the time to support authors. Do you have a favorite author of all time or someone who inspired you to achieve your goals as a writer?
Kenda Bell : I am partial to the contemporary literary midwives Toni Morrison & Alice Walker. The depth of their works keeps me in constant pursuit of raising the bar in my writing.
Disilgold: These are Literary Divas everyone loves. I think I have every book these ladies have written Kenda. Where do you see yourself as a writer ten years from now?
Kenda Bell : I hope to have several bestselling books (both fiction & non-fiction) under my belt, some award winning plays & films. I also want to be running a successful non-profit for single parents and children.
Disilgold: Just do it Kenda. Anything is possible when you have achieved the first book. I will be in the first row with new tickets. What marketing tips can you provide to new authors?
Kenda Bell : Learn your market but don’t limit your audience. Focus more on the themes in your book that may connect with people rather than just race, gender, or age. Always be excited about your work and never get caught without bookmarks or postcards…you never know who you’ll meet at the grocery store or gas station.
Disilgold: So true. You said it. What other projects are you working on?
Kenda Bell : Well, I have been working on a non-fiction version of “For Every Love There Is a Reason” but my readers have been demanding a sequel. A lot of people have gotten so invested in my characters’ lives that need to know what’s going on with them like they are friends of theirs ; so I have give the readers what they want. I am also learning how to do a screenplay, “For Every Love There Is A Reason”. When I saw “Why Did I Get Married?”, all I thought about was how great my novel would look on the big screen. Another project , that is ongoing is Kenda. I am always on the hunt for new ways to make myself better.
Disilgold: What are your top ten favorite books right now?
Kenda Bell :
1) The Holy Bible
2) Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
3) The Street by Ann Petry
4) Temple of My Familiar by Alice Walker
5) Sula by Toni Morrison
6) God Is A Verb by David Cooper
7) The Prophet by Khalil Gibran
8) Value In The Valley by Iyanla Vanzant
9) Wild Seed by Octavia Butler
10) For Every Love There Is A Reason by Kenda Bell
Disilgold: I’m not mad at you!!!When do you write and for how long?
Kenda Bell : I do most of my core writing at night, usually beginning at 10pm until about 1am unless the mood leaves and I leave it alone. If I am really on a roll, I may go until 3am. I try to write every day, but life with its many changes makes it difficult at time, so frequency fluctuates.
Disilgold: Do you have a favorite location for writing?
Kenda Bell : Well, since I got my laptop just about anywhere. In bed, at the dining room table, on the living room floor… no matter!
Disilgold:Girl, for me it’s even the gym while riding a bicycle. I hear you. What method did you use to write or organize your book?
Kenda Bell : I am not structured writer. I like to take a subject and theorize it based upon limited circumstances. After that, I start to think what questions surround the subject and the type of people who may be involved in the issue. Once I do that I begin to visualize and carve out scenes as they come to me and build the story around scenes. I have tried outlines, and they just don’t work for me. Some authors are gifted like that; maybe as I move along on this journey, outlines will serve me better.
Disilgold: Now that is interesting! What three words best describe your writing style?
Kenda Bell : Unapologetically human, delicately raw, rhythmic realism…okay that was six words but three concepts…so I answered it…right? (smile)
Disilgold: That’s a violation, but I will let that one slide because you represented with DisilgoldSOUL at the Book Expo’s African American Pavilion and gave inspiration to many people who stopped by. I thank you for that Kenda. What other hobbies do you pursue when you aren’t writing?
Kenda Bell : I love vintage stores and consignment shops and any odd stores. I love discovering hidden treasures. I found some of the funkiest gear and wonderful art pieces in the most interesting places. I like to constantly being in a learning mode…so new people…new restaurants…lectures…independent films…all of course budget allowing. I love to people watch, too. You can some of the most extraodinary story ideas just by holding a conversation with an everyday person. You would be surprised how many people actually tell me more things when they find out I am an author.
Disilgold: Are there any hidden jewels or talents that you possess that many of your readers may not know?
Kenda Bell : Well, believe it or not I am a really good actress. While I have stuttered most of my life, I can take on a different voice or character and run with it…in most circumstances my stutter almost undetectable. I initially took theater in high school to help me with public speaking. I am an extrovert by nature but functioned for many years as an introvert due to a stuttering problem…talk about torture. I have gotten past it over the years. I am very much a conversationalist and I believe that is why my dialogues and inner voice sequences in “For Every Love There Is A Reason” has really won people over.
Disilgold: Where can folks buy your latest book?
Kenda Bell : “For Every Love There Is A Reason” is available at Borders, Barnes & Noble, Amazon.com & any retail bookseller. If they don’t have it on the shelf, they can order it. You won’t be disappointed.
Disilgold: Where can folks meet you?
Kenda Bell : Well, I will be in Delaware and Maryland this month. In March I will hit the Quaker Mill Mall in New Jersey on March 2nd. I am really excited to meet with Rhonda Bogan and the Mocha Readers of Dayton, OH & the patron’s of Kana’s Cds & Bookstore & Borders Booksellers @ Polaris Mall in Columbus, OH. I will be doing something with Baltimore Natural Hair Expo in Baltimore this April. I plan to venture south in the summer. I encourage book clubs, book lovers and booksellers to reach out. I am only an email away. I try to keep on the move. Book club meetings are my favorite, they are always so passionate and energized…plus they like to feed you really good food. So reach out to me and I will reach back.
Disilgold: What have been some of your toughest obstacles as a writer?
Kenda Bell : The first thing was thickening my thin skin. Whether it was rejection letters from agents and publishers to prospective readers looking over my book and placing back on the table, I had to get my mindset positive. Secondly, I would say learning time management. I still teeter the tightrope of personal, professional and artistic life. Thirdly, getting pass co-dependency. I had to learn my motivation to promote and continue to write should not be in direct correlation to how many accolades I get from fellow authors or how much praise I get from readers. Of course, I want to be appreciated for my work like anyone else, but I have to accept that I won’t please everyone all the time. All I can do is be my most authentic self and have faith that the people who enjoy my writing will share the good news to others.
Disilgold: This section of our interview requires brief responses since our inception.
The “Get PerSOULnal” Interview
Disilgold: What time do you awake normally every morning?
Kenda Bell : Monday from Friday, I try to get up by 6am. On the weekends, unless I have book signings or time sensitive errands, I try to sleep as long as I can. I am a night owl; so night time is my prime time.
Disilgold: What is your writing fuel at night?
Kenda Bell : If I have to get up early the next morning; Red Bull and skittles; if not Moscato wine. In either case, I have to have music…music is a must for my writing process.
Disilgold: What early morning rituals have followed for many years?
Kenda Bell : It is a very rare occasion I write in the morning, unless it is between 1-4am… in which case…Red Bull, Skittles and my favorite CDs.
Disilgold: HA,HA…now that is an endorsement. What are your favorite foods to snack on while writing?
Kenda Bell : Skittles & fruit salad.
Disilgold: Lord, let me call Skittles and get you a commercial. I am sure their sales will go up for folks who read this interview. Do you watch television or listen to the radio when you’re writing, and if so, what do you watch or listen too mostly?
Kenda Bell : While I am writing, if I am trying to evoke a certain emotion I may pop in some of my favorite CDs. They range from Seal & Sting to Mary J & Jill Scott to Anthony Hamilton & Dwele … then I may slide in some Donnie Hathaway or Nina Simone along the way. If I am just in the building stage, I tune into my favorite internet radio stations www.soulsounds.com or www.neosoulcafe.com to get a good vibe going. Good music is to my writing process, like air is to wind.
Disilgold: What is your favorite book of all time?
Kenda Bell : It is so many books I love…this is so hard to answer. I can’t go on record saying just one.
Disilgold: What is your favorite magazine of all time?
Kenda Bell : Wow, that’s a hard one too. I used to really like Emerge.
Disilgold: Me too, whatever happened? Do you have an exercise regimen to suggest for busy writers?
Kenda Bell : I wish I could, I need to get one myself.
Disilgold: What is your everyday outfit?
Kenda Bell : I don’t have set style. You may see me in a tailored suit or skinny jeans and boots. Then yet again you may see me in a dashiki dress or a sassy crochet outfit. I basically wear what I like and what feels good at that moment. I do tend to favor earth tones w/variations of reds and oranges. I love chunky bracelets & rings in silver, cooper or bronze. Of course gold is good, too.
Disilgold: What is your pet peeve?
Kenda Bell : I am a pretty liberal person but I really do not like when kindness is perceived as a weakness. Taking advantage of a person is quick way to get a swift kick from the universe.
Disilgold: If you could inspire a child, what would you say?
Kenda Bell : Yes, we can!! Look to the American dream realized in Barack Obama…no limit! No matter what limitation you may think you have or have been told you have, you will because you can.
Disilgold: What is your favorite motto?
Kenda Bell : “Do not give dogs what is holy; and do not throw your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under foot and turn to attack you.” Matthew 7: 6
Disilgold: What is your favorite time to put your writing pen down and rest?
Kenda Bell : When the words don’t make sense anymore…
Disilgold: Have you traveled anywhere besides your hometown and if so, where?
Kenda Bell : I have mainly traveled north and south. I look forward to get back to traveling for book business and pleasure.
Disilgold: Where is your dream vacation?
Kenda Bell : Any place warm and exotic with beaches, good island food, a cool sweet drink and no stress w/my soul mate…and no haven’t met him yet.
Disilgold: What do you particularly like about the literary world today?
Kenda Bell : I love the fact that African American literature is no longer viewed monolithic by the masses. African American literature is no longer a singular genre but database for diverse genres that share varied interpretations of life. I also am appreciative that an author’s voice is not limited to traditional publishers’ approval. With small presses such as my home Xpress Yourself Publishing and self-publishing companies, voices will be heard.
Disilgold: If you could leave one word of advice to people in general, what would it be?
Kenda Bell : Be patient with yourself and try to be the best you can be and leave the rest up to God.