Friday, November 9, 2018

Interview With Author Alretha Thomas

My guest today is Alretha Thomas. Shortly after graduating from USC with a degree in journalism, Alretha soon realized her interest in her major was not heartfelt. Instead of writing news stories, she wanted to write plays and books. Several years later, her church gave her an outlet to fulfill her writing desires through their Liturgical Fine Arts Department wherein Alretha penned twelve theatre pieces. This led to plays outside of the church, including Alretha’s One Woman, Two Lives, starring Kellita Smith (The Bernie Mac Show), directed by four-time NAACP Image Award Best Director recipient, Denise Dowse.The production garnered rave reviews from critics and audiences.

In between plays, Alretha’s first novel Daughter Denied was launched in 2008 and has received glowing reviews from readers and book clubs across the country. Representing her books and plays, Alretha has been the guest on many radio shows and television shows including San Francisco Public Affairs show Bay Sunday with Barbara Rodgers on CBS affiliate, KPIX Channel 5. She was also interviewed by Sam Rubin, Entertainment reporter for KTLA in Los Angeles. In 2011, Alretha launched her second novel Dancing Her Dreams Away, and it was also well received. Her third novel, Married in the Nick of Nine spawned a four-book series that was acquired by Soul Mate Publishing in January 2014. In August 2014, Alretha was awarded the Jessie Redmon Fauset Literary Award for her indie novel Four Ladies Only. In 2016, Alretha penned the Detective Rachel Storme Mystery Series: Justice for Jessica, Losing Lauren and A Penny for Her Heart. Additionally, in 2016, Alretha returned to acting and is now writing and acting full time.


Question: What is the title and genre of your latest novel?  Why did you select them?

Answer:  The Women on Retford Drive. It’s a mystery. I chose the title because the novel is female-driven, and the backdrop of the novel is a mansion on Retford Drive. I chose the mystery genre because I love writing mysteries.

Question:   What inspired this novel? How did it come about?

Answer: I write from the inside out. All of my stories form within me. It’s almost like I’m channeling people and situations from other times or dimensions. I know that sounds a little out of the box, but it’s true. A story about a mother and stepdaughter who together fight a common enemy just filled my spirit one day. After I created the characters, the entire story crystalized, and I was able to sit down and create an outline and proceed from there

Question:  Could you tell us a little bit about the heroine and/or hero of your novel?

Answer:   Julia Pritchard, 40, is someone who would see a homeless man on the street and bring him home, clean him up, and help him get into a program so that he could turn his life around. She’s a beautiful person inside and out. Unfortunately, it was her giving heart that let her see the best in her abusive husband Keith when she met him twelve years ago. So, after six years of marriage when he slapped her in the face with a TV remote and began to abuse her regularly, she was hard-pressed to reconcile the sweet man she had met with the monster he had turned into. Julia’s father was abusive to her mother and her mother stayed in the relationship, so her behavior is somewhat understandable. She had a successful sitcom ten years ago, and she’s vowed to finally leave Keith and make a comeback. She’s determined and tough as nails when she has to be. She’s not perfect. She’ll lie in a minute if she feels it’s justified, and she can be stubborn once she makes up her mind.



Question:   What are you working on now?

Answer:  Currently, literary agents are reading what is actually the second standalone novel in my Dancing Hills Mystery Series. The Women on Retford Drive is the first book in the series. If that book gets represented and sold, then it will no longer be a part of the Dancing Hills Mystery series. My next project will most likely be writing a second book for my new publisher. After I’ve fulfilled my contractual obligation, I’ll write a book to follow The Women on Retford Drive. While all that’s going on, I have adapted The Women on Retford Drive to stage. Yep, I’ve written the stage play version. I’m looking for a producer. I’d love to see it go up in June 2019.

Question:   What made you start writing?

Answer: My fifth-grade teacher inspired me to write. She gave the class a short story assignment. I got an idea to write a story about a bag boy in a supermarket who falls in love with a young customer. I guess you could say that was my first romance story. The following day our teacher congratulated the entire class on our work. However, she said there was one story that stood out. And that story was mine. I nearly fell out of my chair. I couldn’t believe it. She read it aloud and the class was riveted. While I was watching the expressions on the faces of my peers, I knew in that moment I wanted to be a writer for life.

Question:   What advice would you offer to those who are currently writing novels?

Answer: Write what you know and love. Don’t try to write what is trendy and never give up.

Question:  Where and when will readers be able to obtain your novel?

Answer:  My novel is currently available on Amazon.com.


Alretha is available for comments and questions.

18 comments:

  1. Wonderful interview! I feel the same about ideas for writing. Love your 5th grade experience. Teachers can have such a wonderful effect on students. Would love to see the play. Keep us posted.

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    1. Zari, thank you for your comments. And I appreciate your kind words. I will keep you abreast of the play. I hope it happens.

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  2. Nice interview, Alretha. I agree with Zari,thank goodness for teachers. They can turn one life around in a wonderful why. I'm impressed with your store of work. Best of luck.

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    1. Thank you, Katheleen. I appreciate you all taking the time to read the interview. It means a lot to me. Have a great weekend.

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  3. Vickie from The Reading CafeNovember 9, 2018 at 9:09 AM

    Great interview! I had no idea Married in the Nick of Time was only your third novel! So, that means, I've been with you from almost the beginning!! Love your stories lady!!

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    1. Hello Vickie. Thank you for your kind words. Yes, it was just my third novel. LOL. Yes, you have been there from almost day 1. I so appreciate your ongoing support.

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  4. Great interview. Alretha, your story sounds fascinating, and I love the teaser on the cover. Wishing you much success.

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    1. Thank you, Maris. I appreciate your kind words.

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  5. Jaqueline, thank you so much for interviewing me. I loved the questions! It was a blast.

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  6. Alretha! It's Carol from Ares - so excited to see that "retirement" is working so well for you. XOXO

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    1. Oh my gosh, Carol. Thanks for reaching out and yes, I'm living my dream writing and acting full time. How are you?

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  7. Nice interview! I love the fact that you write plays as well as a variety of novel genres. You have an impressive repertoire! Continued success to you!

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    1. Susan, thank you for your kind words. I really appreciate you reading the interview.

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  8. Sorry I'm late but what a great interview and such wonderful accomplishments!
    Good luck and God's blessings
    PamT

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    1. Thank you, Pamela. What wonderful compliments. God bless you as well.

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  9. I had one teacher encourage me too. At the time I thought she was out of her mind. I just whipped out the story so I could get a good grade. Me a writer?

    And yet here I am.

    Good luck with your book. May you have many sales.

    Janice~

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    1. Thank you, Janice and congrats on your body of work. Wonderful. I see you on Amazon.

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